One powerful reason to forgive

Hey Church Family:  Do you want the Lord to forgive you of your sins?  Then forgive everyone who has sinned against you, says Jesus.
You know when you pray the Lord’s Prayer and you get to the part that says, “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12)?  Have you ever paused for a moment and thought about what you are really asking?  As we pray the prayer that Jesus gave us as an example of how to pray, in Matthew 6, He is showing us the law of forgiveness.  He is calling His disciples to be disciples who forgive continuously.  The Lord wants us to understand that forgiveness of all of our many sins that we have committed against Him will be forgiven in the the exact same way that we forgive others who are sinning against us.  This is His promise to His disciples.  We can summarize Jesus’ point this way, if we do not forgive those who have sinned against us then we will not be forgiven.  Wow!  That law of forgiveness deserves pause for us to consider those in our lives who we are presently withholding forgiveness.  One of my favorite Puritans, Thomas Watson, said it this way, “A man can as well go to hell for not forgiving as for not believing.”  In Luke 6:37, where we will be this Sunday, Jesus simply says it this way, “forgive, and you will be forgiven.” 
Why is Jesus so clear about this law of forgiveness?  Because, He first forgave us while we were still His enemy and doing evil deeds.  Jesus wants His disciples to know that His forgiven disciples forgive.  The grace that we have received from Christ is not to stop with us in unforgiveness but is to flow from us to those who also need to be forgiven.  We forgive because we have been forgiven!
  Jesus wants us to completely understand that when God’s powerful grace has saved us then it will absolutely change us.  If we have been forgiven by the Lord we will also forgive everyone around us.  Jesus urges us to be people who:
1-    Initiate a loving interaction and be quick to forget the injury the person inflicted upon us.
2-    Reject anger, reject bitterness, reject negative interpretations and reject any desire for revenge.
3-    Seek forgiveness quickly.
4-    Ask for forgiveness sincerely.
We must also understand that if we have been sinned against in a grievous way, forgiving someone does not mean that there will not be long term consequences in the relationship.  Being a forgiving person does not mean that we let people walk all over us without consequences in that relationship.  Most likely there will be a need for a prolonged time of trust building and fruit checking to redeem that relationship where you have exercised Biblical forgiveness.  Living out this difficult forgiveness will take powerful discernment and grace from the Lord and much loving counsel from the church family to help navigate.
As you actively forgive, remember, forgiveness will be measured back to you abundantly.  As Jesus promises, forgiveness will come back to you in, “Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” Luke 6:38).
Who do you need to forgive today?  Forgive because you have been forgiven. I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. – Steve

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