If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. (Mt 6:14-15)
We are not a people who forgive very easily. As a matter of fact, we are often a people who will not forgive at all. For the vast majority of people, one of the hardest things to do is to forgive someone.
When we do forgive, it is often conditionally, with strings attached. The forgiveness, often, is not complete. At the slightest opportunity, we hold against someone what we had “forgiven” that person.
This is not the kind of people our God wants us to be.
God wants forgiveness to come from us freely, easily, and completely. He tells us the ramifications of not forgiving in today’s Gospel (as Jesus had taught several times throughout the course of His ministry.) In short, if we do not forgive others, we cannot expect forgiveness from God.
Because forgiveness changes the person doing the forgiving. It makes that person meek, open, or, if you will, vulnerable. It that open state, we are able to receive God’s forgiveness.
If we do not forgive, we pass judgment on another. We say that there are things that are unforgivable. Well, if there are things unforgivable in other people, then there are things unforgivable in us. At least that is the way we would look at it. And when we view ourselves that way, we cannot forgive ourselves. If we cannot forgive ourselves, we cannot accept the forgiveness that would come to us from God.
For our own good, we need to be a people who forgives.
FAITH ACTION: Is there someone in your life whom you refuse to forgive? Make a concerted effort to forgive that person from your heart today.