Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 18 May 2023. Today’s topic: Heart-Thing

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

Here’s why Jesus taught us His Lord’s Prayer.  It’s a heart-thing.   What good does it do to pray to the Father if we have unrepentant, hard hearts?   Think about it by considering this situation.   Let’s say you have kids.   One does something to wrong another, so you tell the one, “say you’re sorry.”   The kid crosses their arms and pouts until, finally, they reluctantly say, “sorry.”   It’s a half-hearted, disingenuous “sorry;” they’ve said the words but don’t really mean them.   Are they truly repentant?   What about the kid who was wronged?   Same drill, and they give a similar reaction:  have they really forgiven?

So, if we pray this holy prayer, taught to us by God Himself, and we haven’t forgiven the people who have wronged us – who have sinned against us – then why would we expect the Father to forgive what we utter?

It’s true:   Jesus died and rose to forgive ALL our sins.   There’s nothing conditional in that:  He did it all, leaving nothing for us to do to make that forgiveness complete.  What about the new sins we do (meaning every one of them)?  Are they forgiven if we don’t forgive others when they hurt us?   Yes…and no.   Yes, all the redemption work is complete and Jesus forgave every one of them all at once.   No, if we harden our hearts and reject that forgiveness by demonstrating our refusal to forgive others.   Nothing can TAKE away our salvation or force Jesus to reject forgiving us, but we can refuse to accept it or repudiate what we once believed.   Worse, we can say we believe yet not do things that demonstrate we actually do.

All of those go back to that heart-thing.   Do we truly forgive and mean it?   When our spouse cheats, when our company loses faith with us, when someone slams into our new car, when that person online really torques us off, when when when:  the list of “when’s” is unending…as are our likely sinful responses.  

The better way is to forgive.   To call to mind whatever wronged us, then immediately forgive them.   Specifically forgive whatever was done wrong.   Do it out loud; say “I’m letting Jesus take this.”  Beat back the feeling, whenever it bubbles up, by reminding yourself that you turned it over to Christ.

Know what happens then?   The Father smiles.   The Son smiles.   The Spirit works well through you.   And forgiveness flows because that thing called your ‘heart’ has been changed by Him to make forgiveness your go-to reaction.  That grows peace.   That spreads love.   That is the work of the Lord growing fruit in the world.

For more reading:  Mark 11:25-26,  Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13, Matthew 6:16

Lord, I forgive all who wronged me.   Help me to always forgive.

Published by aspiringwriterdt

It's about's about the life He gives's about going day by's about you. It's not about me.

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