”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).
Let me offer three reasons for making that choice:
- Be gracious to others and forgive those who’ve hurt you because God has been gracious to you.
You will never have to forgive anyone else more than Jesus Christ has already forgiven you. Remember that you haven’t always gotten what you deserved, either. God has been gracious with you. Now choose to be gracious with others.
- Forgive others because the alternative is bitterness.
Scientists tell us that resentment is the unhealthiest emotion there is. It always hurts you more than anybody else! Resentment will not change the past, and it won’t solve the problem. It doesn’t even make you feel better. In fact, it makes you feel worse.
The Bible says in Hebrews 12:15, “Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can very easily spring up in him a bitter spirit which is not only bad in itself but can also poison the lives of many others”(PHILLIPS).
- Show grace to and forgive others because God wants you to do it.
Matthew 6:14-15 says, “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” (NIV). Jesus says we cannot receive what we are unwilling to give. If you say, “I could never forgive that person,” then I hope you never sin. If you just don’t feel like doing it, do it anyway, because it’s the right thing to do.
One reason you may have a hard time forgiving others is because you don’t feel forgiven. Would you pray this prayer of liberation and freedom in your heart?
“Dear Jesus Christ, you know I’ve been hurt by others. You know that my resentment has made me act in ways that have been unreasonable and unhelpful and unhealthy. I need your power to release and forgive those who’ve hurt me so I can stop letting them control me. Would you please replace my hurt with your peace? God, I realize that I’ve hurt a lot of other people with my habits and my bad decisions and my hang-ups. Would you please forgive me for the way I’ve hurt others? Help me to make a list of those I’ve harmed and to humbly seek to make amends in the right way and at the right time. Jesus Christ, I want to refocus my life on you. I want to face the future courageously with love and peace in my heart. Would you replace my resentment with your love, my bitterness with your grace? Thank you for your graciousness to me. Thank you for forgiving me for the wrong things that I’ve done. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Perhaps you need to go a step further. Have you trusted Jesus for your salvation?
No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, you can have a place in God’s forever family ready and waiting for you. The invitation is wide open. Just believe and receive.
Are you ready? Here’s a prayer you can start with —
“Dear God, I know that when I die I’m going to give an account of my life to you directly. I confess that I have ignored you. I know I have sinned against you, and I have lived by my plan, not yours. I want that to change, starting right now. I want to turn away from my sins and move toward you.
“Thank you for sending Jesus to die for all that I’ve done wrong so that I don’t have to pay the penalty. I know that I don’t deserve your forgiveness. I know that only your grace can save me, Lord. I could never be good enough to get into a perfect place.
“Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that you took all my guilt on yourself. You made me acceptable for heaven, and I humbly ask you to save me. I ask you to save me from the sins and the habits that are messing up my life right now. I believe in you, Jesus. And I believe that you will keep your promise to save me instantly and certainly and completely and eternally. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
IN ORDER TO HEAR MY VOICE , you must release all your worries into My care. Entrust to Me everything that concerns you. This clears the way for you to seek My Face unhindered. Let Me free you from fear that is hiding deep inside you. Sit quietly in My Presence, allowing My Light to soak into you and drive out any darkness lodged within you. Accept each day just as it comes to you, remembering that I am sovereign over your life. Rejoice in this day that I have made, trusting that I am abundantly present in it. Instead of regretting or resenting the way things are, thank Me in all circumstances. Trust Me and don’t be fearful; thank Me and rest
in My sovereignty. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 PETER 5 : 6 – 7
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
PSALM 118 : 24
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 THESSALONIANS 5 : 18
God’s Provision: Faithful Giving
There is a universal law called the principle of sowing and reaping. If I sow generosity, it’s going to come back to me, and I’m going to reap generosity.
Every farmer knows this. A farmer has four sacks of seed in his barn and he looks at his empty field. He doesn’t complain, “There’s no crop! I wish there was a crop!” He just goes out and starts planting seed. When you have a need, plant a seed.
It seems illogical that when I have a need, I should give.
Why did God set it up that way? Because God is a giver. He is the most generous giver in the universe, and God wants you to learn to be like him. He wants to build character in you.
The Bible says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.” (Proverbs 3:9 NLT) This is the principle of tithing. It’s the principle that says every time I make $100 — the first $10 goes back to God.
Tithing is an act of worship. We’re giving to God. We’re saying, “All of it came from you anyway.” God says, “Put me first in your life and watch what I do.” You may think you can’t afford to tithe, but the reality is, you can’t afford not to.