May 8 I Monday
2 Kings 4-6
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” —Matthew 6:14
For us to be unforgiving is to have little understanding of the gravity of our sin and little understanding of the enormity of God’s grace, both of which He demonstrated through the ultimate sacrifice of His Son. From the cross at Calvary, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). It was not just the sins of the perpetrators that brought Jesus to the cross, but it was all our sins. We all need forgiving, but if we find ourselves struggling to forgive others after receiving God’s forgiveness, then we have not truly comprehended the magnitude of Christ having forgiven us.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus followed up on the opening verse with a very potent statement that we must take seriously. He said, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15). Forgiving others can be an extremely sensitive and painful issue for many, but we cannot overlook that when it comes to forgiveness, our relationship with God goes hand in hand with our relationship to others. We cannot expect forgiveness from God when we refuse it to others. For our own spiritual, emotional, physical and psychological wellbeing, we need to forgive. Otherwise, we risk giving fertile ground for seeds of anger, resentment and bitterness to take root and grow. Inevitably, this seeps into other areas of our lives and we end up hurting others as well as ourselves.
Withholding forgiveness grieves the Holy Spirit and could very well become the blockage that prevents the presence and working of God to be real and fresh in our lives every day. Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” We can either hold back forgiveness and hold on to bitterness, or we can come to God, humbly confess our bitterness and allow His grace to flow into our hearts and lives. He will then begin transforming us into people who forgive from the heart, breaking down the barriers in our relationships with others and bringing us into an ever more fruitful relationship with God.
Not to have God’s forgiveness is unthinkable to the soul who loves Him. Though it can be difficult to forgive, especially if we have not been recipients of forgiveness from others, in coming earnestly to the cross of Christ, we cannot help but be overwhelmed with humility and compassion. We forgive others because we, ourselves, have been forgiven.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for forgiving me. I pray that my heart will always be one with Yours in forgiving others.