Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:32
We experience divine forgiveness for our sins only as we extend forgiveness to those who have offended us.
This cuts deep.
Perhaps you might be saying at this moment, “But I can’t forgive; I have been hurt too deeply.” Then, may I say it very tenderly, but very solemnly, you can never, never be forgiven. “But if you don’t forgive people,” says Jesus, “your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing” (Mt 6:15). In refusing to forgive others you break the bridge over which you yourself must pass.
A man once said to me: “I know I’m a Christian, but someone did such an awful thing to me that I find I can’t forgive him.” After spending a good deal of time with him, and getting nowhere, I said: “If it is really true that you can’t forgive this person, it suggests that you yourself have not been forgiven, and you may be deluding yourself that you are a Christian.” He looked at me aghast and went white in the face. My counseling methods are not always as abrupt as that; however, this brought him face to face with reality—and it worked. He got down on his knees, right where he was, and said: “Father, because You have forgiven me, I offer Your forgiveness and my forgiveness to my brother who has offended me, and I absolve him of his offense in Jesus’ name.” Then what happened? Instantly the joy of the Lord streamed right into the center of his being, and he laughed and laughed, literally, for almost an hour.
Lord Jesus, You who forgave those who spat in Your face and nailed You to a cross, help me to open my heart now and forgive all those who have hurt me. I do it in Your strength and power. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Mt 18:21-35; 5:7; Lk 6:36; Pr 3:3
How does this parable apply to us?
What is the basis of forgiving others?