Forgiveness is the essence of the gospel. The good news is God’s love extends forgiveness to us all despite the fact we’ve offended him and deserve eternal punishment.
With forgiveness, our sin is wiped clean, and we can fellowship with God.
Forgiveness doesn’t come automatically from God; we must confess our sins and repent each time we know we’ve offended him (1 John 1:5-9).
If we’ve been forgiven, in turn, we must forgive others. If we don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive us:
12 Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors… 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:12, 14-15)
What is forgiveness?
- Releasing the debt they owe us
- Ceasing the pursuit of revenge
Why does God hate unforgiveness?
- We claim to be God by withholding forgiveness.
- Unforgiveness is too much for us to bear; it poisons our life, slowly killing us, and harming others.
Why is it hard to forgive?
- Pride. The offense is taken personally instead of seen as an offense against God himself.
How to forgive others:
- Humble yourself
- Release the offense to God
- Acknowledge that God is the only one with the right to hold a grudge and repay his offenders.
- We must only reinstate fellowship if our brother/sister repents (Luke 17:3-4).
- We must ask God for spiritual healing.
Other scriptures to study Matthew chapter 18.