Forgive Others Because You Need Forgiveness, Too
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV).
Forgiveness is a two-way street. You can’t expect others to forgive you if you are unwilling to forgive them.
Jesus says it like this: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV).
It’s a basic biblical truth. You reap what you sow.
One time, a man came to John Wesley and said, “I could never forgive that person.” Wesley said, “Then I hope you never sin. When you are unforgiving, you’re burning the very bridge you need to walk across.” When you’re not forgiving of others, you’re setting yourself up to not be forgiven yourself. Because God says you’re going to need forgiveness in the future.
When I hear somebody say that they can’t forgive someone, I realize that person doesn’t understand forgiveness. If you understood forgiveness, you probably would be more able to do it. Many myths get in the way of our readiness to forgive. For example, here are three of the biggest misconceptions about forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not:
- Minimizing the seriousness of the offense. Forgiveness is a big deal. To forgive someone doesn’t mean the wrong against you doesn’t hurt.
- The instant restoration of trust. Trust must be rebuilt over a period of time. If people hurt you over and over again, the Bible says you’re obligated to forgive them, but you are not obligated to instantly trust them.
- Resuming the relationship without any changes. Forgiveness is not the same as a reunion of a relationship. Forgiveness is what you do if you’re offended. If the relationship is going to be restored, the offender has to do three things: repent, offer restitution where possible, and rebuild trust over a period of time.
It’s time to forgive those who have hurt you. You’ll need the forgiveness of others later. Don’t withhold what you’ll depend upon soon.