Let’s continue on with our study of Jesus’ words about forgiveness. Last time we concentrated on Jesus’ forgiveness of our sins. This time we will look at what Jesus says about us forgiving others who sin against us. Let’s jump right into the red letters.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. “
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Of course, one of the obvious other places where Jesus mentions forgiving others is in the most spoken prayer in Christianity and that is the Lord’s Prayer. In that prayer we say “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” I have covered these words several times on this blog and in this sense I seem to take his words more literally than many “Literal and Inerrant” advocates. It is hard to take some other meaning to our forgiving others when Jesus repeatedly tells us otherwise.
These verses seem to say that there are pretty severe consequences for us not forgiving our neighbors when they sin against us. The last verse is pretty straight forward. The measure you use in forgiving others is what Jesus will use in forgiving you! This brings to mind the post I did about a month ago entitled “If God is Love where does hate come from?” The consequences of our lack of forgiving others is sometimes hate. As we know when hate takes over a person it is about as far from Jesus’ words of love as you can get.
Let’s close out this post with the same questions as the last one. What are the consequences of not forgiving others? Is it, despite our faith, an issue blocking us from heaven either permanently or for a period of time? I don’t know but and I don’t want to find out at the gates of heaven so I will do everything I can to forgive others so that Jesus will forgive me my many sins. I don’t want to rely on faith alone without actions to back it up. But then to me trying to live my life on this earth as Jesus taught us is almost as important as my eternity with our Heavenly Father. I believe earth is a staging area for heaven so that each of us can discover just where our place is to be in eternity. Or as some say it is to determine whether we are sheep or goats. God didn’t put us on this earth to simply sit back and wait for our entrance to heaven. That sounds like a good topic for a future post so I will stop here. All praise and glory be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.