Forgive Always

“Therefore, you should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
[For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.]

“For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.
-Matthew 6:9-15

For me, there is no unforgivable sin or thing that another person can do, that I can take offense over.  When I do not forgive, I am stepping out of the kingdom, where I am forgiven and God offers forgiveness to others.  When I am sinned against or get offended by another's action, the challenge for me is this: Am I going to step in or step out?

This thing that happened presents a choice, like a fork in the road.  Will I choose not to forgive, showing my lack of forgiveness by complaining and being offended and making a case against the ones who hurt me?  Or will I forgive them and step into the kingdom, into God and into Christ?

When the event happens, I can not avoid making the choice to either step in to God's kingdom or step out of it.  By not forgiving, I am making a choice to step out of the kingdom of God and live in my little kingdom, where I judge and punish and make the rules, because I am king.  The free gift of forgiveness that I have received carries with it the responsibility to give personal forgiveness to others, generously mirroring what God has done for me and reflecting God's desire to forgive.

When I do not forgive, I am acting like or making a judgement that this particular sin or offense is unforgivable. I am standing over that person and saying that their sin is not forgivable, because I am not forgiving it.  And, in so doing, I have ceased to be a forgiven one, who wants forgiveness for everyone, and instead have become a person living out a belief that some sins are not forgivable, at least not without some punishment.

When I do not forgive, I place myself outside forgiveness; because a person is either forgiven who forgives or unforgiven who is unforgiving.  There is no category available called 'forgiven but not forgiving'.  Does this mean that if I do not forgive, that I lose my salvation?  Salvation is a process and you fall out or drop out of the salvation process when you do not forgive.  Unforgiving people are out of the kingdom of God

When I forgive you, I make room for Christ between us.  When I forgive, I see those I forgive as people to whom Christ comes and is given to.  When I forgive, I am remembering who I am and what it is all about.

When we do not forgive, we may think we have good reasons not to, because what was done to us was wrong, was offensive or was unjust: "that just was not right".  So, we step into unforgiveness.  A misconception is that some things are unforgivable, so we pick and choose and evaluate and judge who we will forgive.

But Jesus is clear that we are to forgive everyone.  When I won't forgive, I have forgotten how much I have been forgiven.  And forgiving breaks me in good way, out of and from pride.

Forgiving others who hurt me or offend me or have been unjust to me, causes me to die to my self, my selfishness, and to live into Christ.  Forgiving others makes me believe in the gospel to the core of my being.  I am very simply not allowed to hold others in contempt.

When I am hurt, offended, falsely accused, misunderstood or ripped off; I want to forgive.  I want to forgive because I want to be obedient to Jesus.  I want to and I will forgive, because I want the kingdom of God in my life.  I want to see all the offenders and sinners, myself and all others, as persons to whom God comes to in Jesus Christ.