It’s easy to hold a grudge, especially when we’ve truly been wronged, isn’t it? It takes much less effort to build a protective barrier or wall than it is to swing a wrecking ball of forgiveness and tear it down. But the Gospels tell us that if we don’t forgive, we won’t be forgiven. Yikes!
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26 ESV)
This is a very clear-cut verse. “We must” so that “God will.” This isn’t so much a formula of legalism so much as it is a biblical principle. If Jesus already forgave the person who wronged us, who are we to stand by and withhold forgiveness? If we believe His blood covered the sins of our fellow believer who sinned against us, then we have no choice but to imitate Christ and forgive them too. If we don’t, we’re essentially saying that Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough to cover their sin. It’s always much more productive to focus on our own sin and confession, rather than begrudge someone else’s theirs. Forgive, as you’ve been forgiven.
6. Confessing sin is crucial.
Just like we must walk in obedience to be heard by the Lord, we must also confess our sins. 1 John 1:9 states that when we do, God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us. Confessing our sins keeps us in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and makes space for conviction and growing in our faith.
The Bible is clear that if we keep our sin close, God doesn’t hear us. “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psalm 66:18 ESV)
“Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2 ESV)
Don’t get me wrong, we’re all going to mess up and sin. While we’re fully justified as Christians now, our sanctification is a process during our entire lives here on earth. The key is immediately recognizing our sin when we commit it, following our convictions, confessing, and being renewed by the Holy Spirit afterward to stay in fellowship with Him.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Prostock-Studio