Week 41 Word: Forgive Others
Week 41 Text: Matthew 6:12-15
Written By: Andrea Ferrell
“and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
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 6:12-15 NLT)
Jesus states it so simply. Forgive and be forgiven; don’t forgive and don’t be forgiven. Period. No ifs, ands or buts to it.
Yet, not easy.
I know right now some of you are considering just closing down this blog. You are thinking, “sure, easy for her to say, she doesn’t know what ____________ did to me.” I get it. And you are right, I don’t know what ___________ did to you. So, let’s take a step back and look at our text and remember these are the words of Jesus, our Savior, our Redeemer–the one who literally loved you to death.
I was teaching my first graders in Sunday School recently about the crucifixion. As I told them the story, keeping it simple, about how Jesus was crucified even though he did nothing wrong, tears welled up in my eyes. Their eyes fixed upon me and I had their undivided attention (a rare event with 7-year-olds). I asked, “ How does that make you feel?” I could see it was sinking in deep as they responded, “Sad.” Then I told them that when Jesus was hanging on that cross, He was thinking about each one of them and how much He loves them. I named them each out loud. I let the weight of it all sit on them for just a moment before asking the next question: “But did Jesus stay dead?” Their sadness turned to joy! They knew He didn’t. I gave them each a little scrap of fabric to represent the veil that was torn in the temple when Jesus died. They each ripped their scrap in in two. I told them that we now have access to God because of what Jesus did. And then we celebrated with a dance party.
Simple. First graders get it.
Jesus took on all MY sin, all YOUR sin, on that cross. He not only felt the pain of the nails in His hands and the rough wood digging into His wounded and bloody back, He felt the weight of all the sin of the entire world crushing Him.
He did that so our sins could be forgiven. You have claimed that, right? You declare that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. You are a Christian, a little Christ. Here’s the gut punch: when we claim Jesus’ death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, we better be willing to dish that out to the world. Jesus made it crystal clear. Unforgiveness is a sin.
If you are still unsure you can forgive ___________ for _________ , first, pray. That may be all it takes. If it’s deep, buried down under piles and piles of life, too deep for a quick blog post to help you through, let me encourage you to take the next step to healing. Talk to your pastor, find a Christian counselor, unload on God (remember there is nothing you are hiding from Him, so go ahead and tell Him). He would take no greater pleasure than to walk you gently through the process of forgiveness.
1. Listen to “Forgiveness” by Matthew West.
2. Imagine Jesus on the cross. Close your eyes and imagine His eyes locking eyes with yours. Imagine His pain. Imagine His love.
3. Pray. You don’t need me to tell you to go ahead and forgive that person. Let the Holy Spirit be your helper. Follow His lead.