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Forgiving to be Forgiven

If you forgive men for their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14

Jesus speaks in harmony with the prophet Micah, who also says that we are to “love mercy.” They both teach us that we are not just to love receiving mercy, but also to love being merciful enough to forgive others. In fact, if we want God to mercifully answer our prayers, we must forgive. For forgiveness from the Father is necessary before he can answer our prayers for mercy from him. Whether our friends or our enemies do us harm, Jesus’ promise takes away the burden of pretending we are God. For every sin against us is even more a sin against the Father. What a relief! So if we truly desire that God’s reputation will be valued more than our own, then we can forgive this way. For then we will trust him to heal our hurts while he stands against those who do us harm. As we place our vindication in his hands, we affirm our dependence on him to do everything necessary for our good, including forgiving us.

Father, I gladly release my enemies from their debt of honor to me. For I trust you to see justice done both for me and for you. Thank you for this promise that sets me free from being the judge. Amen.


2 thoughts on “Forgiving to be Forgiven

  1. How appropriate to my day, Doug!

    Forgiving, or just being courteous, to the young arrogant man in the slip next to us as he scratched the side of the boat while we were away. Of course, complete denial on his part.

    How to balance justice with grace. For me, justice came in reporting the incident to the harbormaster so it’s on record. As for grace, I have to admit that my distrust of the kid overshadows my desire to even be gracious.

    So, here is something so minor in the scheme of all things, but it really does reveal the condition of my inner being that still insists on playing God rather than placing in His care the burden I carry.

    Thanks, Doug, for the reminder that God would be exalted.

    Posted by ted & linda pampeyan | 2 September 2011, 11:18
  2. The balancing act is difficult, because our “judicial sentiment” is hard-wired into us, and appears particularly when the injustice has been perpetrated against us. I think the way to tip the balance in the favor of grace is to remember that the extravagance bound up in “hesed” (the word rendered “mercy” above) come from knowing that all of God’s goodness has been joyfully extended to us through/in Jesus. Therefore we never have to fear loss of joy in our lives or running out of goodness to extend to others. When we keep this in mind, we can experience enough happiness to move us to restore broken relationships; which God sees as an act of faith that moves him to extend forgiveness to us, which keeps the flow of grace moving in our direction. Fascinating dynamic!

    Posted by dougknighton | 2 September 2011, 11:44

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