Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church

Forgive others and receive forgiveness

The disciples wanted Jesus to teach them to pray. One of the parts of the prayer Jesus taught says:

Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

After the prayer, Jesus added this comment: "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."

Wow! It's really important to forgive and not hold grudges! Jesus says if you hold a grudge, you won't be forgiven for the things you do wrong. That's not worth it!

This wasn't the only time Jesus emphasized the importance of forgiveness.

In Matthew 18:21, Peter asked how many times he should forgive. Seven times? Jesus replies, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times." In other words, an unlimited number of times.

The kind of unconditional forgiveness Jesus had in mind he modeled on the cross. "Father, forgive them," he said. "They know not what they do."

When Jesus was resurrected, he reminded the disciples about what the prophets had written, saying, "Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in [the Messiah's] name to all nations."

We are to forgive as completely as we have been forgiven. And the message of repentance and forgiveness through Jesus is to be told to all the nations.

Almost everyone needs to know God has forgiven them for the things they are ashamed of. Who will you tell?

God, thank you that you forgive us. We forgive everyone who has sinned against us. We praise you. Amen.