copyright 2011 Jeanne E. Webster
Matt. 6:14-15 "For if you forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you forgive not men their sins, neither will your Father forgive your sins." (KJV)
Christians, Jesus taught us to forgive others as we hope to be forgiven by God. Do we pray earnestly for God to forgive our sins? Does He forgive us because we prayed earnestly and were sorry? We have a double clutch here to deal with, a twin assessment. Christ says: 1. You forgive others AND you will be forgiven. 2. You do not forgive others AND you will not be forgiven. Our choice can be a double-edged sword: "If not...then you will not..."
The choice we make also brings out the worst or best in others and ourselves. A forgiven soul is a renewed spirit, no longer shackled to the agony of despair. An unforgiven spirit and/or an unforgiving spirit cannot be transformed; the presence of sin hinders any restoration.
We see here that God has the perfect solution to sin’s hold over us. We acknowledge our sin, repent, and we walk free...wait a minute...oh, yeah, AND forgive the person who did me wrong. Hmmmm, that’s not so easy, is it? However, we do it; we forgive, sometimes begrudgingly, so God will own up to His part of the deal. Most times we do not realize that our forgiveness has enabled another to breathe freer, hope longer, and see clearer the right way to live. This interaction trickles out to others and furthers a godly perspective. In other words, the world gets nicer, the natives drum slower, and life is good.
Let’s take this one step further: you’ve blundered, repented, then asked God to forgive your sin, which He does. Will you be an unforgiving spirit to yourself? If so, you are an unforgiven spirit wandering through life unable to accept the best God has in store for you. Forgive yourself. Fragmented into two words, forgive means “on behalf of, share.” (For means "on behalf of", and give means "share") Share on behalf of whom? Yourself.
We all have stubbornly dragged around old carcasses of mistakes too long. We bury them, then later dig them up to chew on again. We won’t let them alone, whether out of embarrassment, shame or anger at ourselves. We find it troublesome to forgive ourselves when we’ve really messed up big time, to say nothing about the many small incidents. We kick ourselves in the pants, we bite at everybody, we appear down in the mouth, and fret over the memories and won’t let them go. Well... why not? God has forgiven us! We need to forgive ourselves; then we’ll be all better. Let’s start today. Get out those old chewed carcasses and bury them one last time. They are held against us no more. What a brighter, cheerier outlook we’ll have. Release His power and accept His best. Amen.
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