Forgiveness

Rev. Ciara Cunningham   -  

Have you ever noticed you couldn’t spell the word forgiveness without “give”? Forgiveness, as God intends for us and all people, cannot be bought or bartered or even won. Forgiveness, in its purest form, is a gift.

Jesus brought forgiveness to a whole other level when He died in our place without ever doing anything to deserve death, especially the kind of death He experienced. But before He took on the sins of the world and showed us the ultimate example of forgiveness, He talked about it. In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us how to pray. The Lord’s prayer is recited all over the world, but how many of us mean what we say? I want to focus today on the part that talks about forgiveness. “Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us,” Matthew 6:12. Do we mean that? “As” we forgive? Would “as” in this case be like in the same fashion or way that we forgive others? Or is “as” more of an action, like, while we forgive others? I think Jesus intended the former explanation. If you look at verses 14 and 15, you’ll see why I have concluded this. Jesus says this,

“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

So, if then, we are to forgive always, how are we doing? How can we live life to fullest with God if we are holding on to unforgiveness in our hearts? If unforgiveness lives inside of us, Jesus says, plain as day, no parable needed for this lesson, that the Father will not forgive us. Who are we to accept His gift that we couldn’t possibly deserve and withhold that same gift from another?

So today, right now, let go. Release the gift that was given to you and share it with another. Live now in the freedom that comes with forgiveness. Not just your freedom but freedom to all those who have bound you up and kept you from fully receiving the gift that no one deserves but is available to all.