Forgiveness in the Gospels
“…And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors...”
This is part of the way Jesus tells us we should pray. First, we should honor His name by proclaiming how holy He is. Then we should ask for His kingdom work to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Part of the work God expects us to do to usher in His kingdom is to forgive as we have been forgiven. Think if it this way: every time we forgive because we have been forgiven, we are one step closer to Jesus’ return and His restoration of the earth to the way God intended it to be.
“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.”These are harsh words! These are Jesus’ words to those who think they can have a relationship with God without doing the hard work of becoming a disciple. This means showing grace to people who don’t deserve it, which starts with forgiving those who have wronged us.
“When Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”
Not only do we have to forgive others, but we may have to forgive the same person multiple times. I have a hard time with this. Why should I forgive someone for the same offense more than once? It is one thing for someone to ask for forgiveness; it is another for them to be truly repentant about that behavior. Regardless, Jesus still asks us to forgive that person, whether they ask for it or not.
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”Jesus shed His blood so we can receive God’s forgiveness for our sins. Knowing what we have received from God, we are to show the same forgiveness for others. Jesus spilled His blood so we could have access to His Father’s love. It would be hypocritical of us to prevent others that same access.
“‘Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.’Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” According to this verse, love and forgiveness are connected. This makes sense considering it was God’s love for His children that caused Him to sacrifice His Son for our righteousness. If we love little, we forgive little. But if we love much, we will forgive much.
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’”
It amazes me that the last words Jesus utters on this earth are for His Father to forgive us for our sins. Sometimes we do things and have no idea they are sinful. Yet, God forgives both our sins that we do with evil intentions and the ones that we don’t realize are sinful. Because of Jesus’ act on the cross, it is important to always check our hearts. Is there anything impeding us from having the type of intimate relationship Jesus wants us to have with His Father?
Photo Credit: pixabay-rene-rauschenberger