If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. —Matthew 6:14-15

Steve and Annie Chapman sing a song, “Two Children” and it is a true story. The children had an abusive dad. The son lived a life of peace, but the daughter was filled with bitterness and hate until she died. It was that bitterness and hatred that killed her. The son could live in peace because, even though his dad was dead, he forgave him for all that he had done. The daughter did not forgive.

Fellow follower of Jesus, are you and I forgivers or list keepers? The above passage clearly tells us that if we forgive, then our Father will forgive us. But, if we do not forgive then we will not be forgiven by our Father. Do we really grab this? As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been forgiven much. Now we are called to forgive others that we can be in fellowship with God. To not forgive affects our fellowship with God and this is something those following Jesus cannot take lightly or brush off.

These verses above come right at the end of a passage that is probably the most quoted and repeated portion of God’s Word. Yet, how many know them? Really, they should be quoted with the rest of the Lord’s Prayer since it is an application of “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12). This verse is actually a request and is asking our Father to forgive us just as we forgive (or don’t forgive) others. Are we not forgiving someone at this moment? Then we are asking our Father not to forgive us and we are out of fellowship with Him.

Unforgiveness, as this song above clearly explains, affects the one who is not willing to forgive. It affects not only the unforgiver’s emotions, but even their health. But again, the most important part of forgiveness is to stay in fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

There are multitudes that rotely (mechanical repetition of something so that it is remembered, often without real understanding of its meaning or significance) speak the Lord’s prayer and they truly missed the significant meaning of this passage— especially when it comes to forgiveness. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). May we do so!

Dear Father, how can I not forgive others after I have experienced Your forgiveness in the Lord Jesus Christ? May I be quick to forgive, remembering how much You have forgiven me.

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