Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church

Forgive others and receive forgiveness

Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. One of the things Jesus encouraged them to ask was, "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."

In case anyone missed the point of how that tightly these two were connected, he added a comment right after the prayer ended: "If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

This concept was so important, Jesus also told a memorable story so people would not forget.

In the story, a man who owed 200,000 year's wages was forgiven everything, but he refused to forgive someone who owed him 100 days wages.

The people who saw this were justifiably incensed and made sure that he was found out.

Jesus concludes, “In anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt.”

Then Jesus adds a warning. “So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Jesus says that holding a grudge is never a trivial matter. Not forgiving someone results in our not receiving forgiveness for the wrongs we have done.

Forgiveness is not about justice. People who have wounded you may actually deserve punishment. You may have been deeply hurt.

But when you forgive, you give them mercy instead of what they deserve. You let God handle how they are dealt with for what they have done.

As I John 4:19 says, “We love because [God] first loved us.”

If you have someone you haven’t yet forgiven, now is the time to forgive them, so you yourself can be forgiven the wrongs you have done.

God, we here and now forgive anyone who has ever offended us, anyone who has ever harmed us. Thank you for forgiving us. We praise you. Amen.