Forgiving Others, Again

July 17, 2020

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions (Matthew 6:14-15).

These two verses are not a part of the Model Prayer, but are a commentary of Jesus on a significant point of the prayer. Jesus repeated one of the petitions in the prayer for a purpose, . . . forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (v.12).

Jesus called sin a 'debt' (moral fault) in v.12. Here in v.14 He called it a 'transgression' (side step; cross over a boundary; reckless and willful sin). In Luke 11:4 He called it 'sin' (offense; miss the mark). The reason Jesus repeated the issue of sin and forgiveness is because continual sin, lack of repentance, and unwillingness to forgive sin is such a devastating problem in a person's life and in the life of the church.

The core issue here is the motive of love - love for Jesus Christ so that we will not sin against Him, and love for others so that we will not sin against them and forgive them when they sin against us. Love is the primary characteristic of the disciple of Jesus Christ. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one  another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35). The greatest demonstration of that love is to not offend, and when an offense is committed, we forgive as God has forgiven us. Then Peter came up and said to Him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times" (Matthew 18:21-22).

Again, this is a serious issue. Lives have been destroyed, relationships ruined, and churches devastated when people have no regard for loving God or each other, no regard for sin, no regard for repentance of sin, and no regard for forgiving one another when they sin. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:7,11).

"Father, continue to convict my heart over the matter of love and forgiveness. I know my heart and how hard it is sometimes to love and forgive others for their offenses rather than to forgive as You love and have forgiven me. May that godly sorrow over sin the Apostle Paul talked about be my constant companion in life, and thereby be a minister of peace among others. Amen."

Pastor

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