One of the greatest things missing from many Christian’s lives today is forgiveness. People often hold grudges against others, even for things that happened many years ago. I’ve even heard people say, “I could never forgive that person for what they did!” And, that is a sad state to be in, because Jesus said, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
We too often think about forgiveness and argue, “well, I am a Christian, so all of my sins are forgiven anyway…” That is true, in that the penalty for your sins are forgiven in light of eternity and heaven. However, as long as we are alive on this earth, we must seek forgiveness for our sins daily in this life to have constant fellowship with and communion with God. It is true that as a Christian, we are forgiven in that when we die – we will go to heaven, our penalty has been paid, but just as God constantly punished the nation of Israel for their sins, He will punish us in this life for our unconfessed sin.
Notice in the passage in Matthew 5, Jesus said “…your heavenly Father…”, so He was talking to Christians, and yet He said, “if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”. We can’t expect God to bless us and have fellowship with us as long as we refuse to forgive others. In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus said, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” In other words, we can’t even worship God rightly when we have refused to forgive others, no matter what that other person has done.
Forgiving others isn’t easy most of the time, but what if we came to God at the moment of seeking salvation and said, “God forgive me of my sins…”, and God replied, “You know, I don’t like what you did to me, so no – I will never forgive you!” That would be terrible, and yet we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us! When we refuse to forgive others, we only make our lives worse, because not only do we create a wall between ourselves and the person we refuse to forgive, we also create a wall between us and God! Forgive and have God’s blessing, or else hold grudges against others and reject His commandments!