Do I Have to Forgive Others?

I wanted to post this blog because what the Lord has taught me through the Gospel is that if God can forgive me, a wretched sinner, who am I to not forgive someone else?  We tend to think that the other person’s sin is worse than our own, when in reality my sin is just as bad, if not worse!  And to withhold forgiveness would be very self-righteous.

Jesus Christ has shown me mercy and grace while I was still a sinner, He died for me when I lived in rebellion and pride.  His kindness toward me compels me to love and forgive, and when I do, I experience real freedom.  Holding a grudge never brings joy or freedom.

I can’t love and forgive in my own strength, but as I yield to the Spirit of Christ, He lives in and through me to help me extend grace, mercy, and the Gospel to anyone who mistreated me or offends me.

Every time I refuse to forgive I am forgetting about the cross.  The next time you are bitter, think about the cross.  Place the cross between you and that person who has hurt you.  By looking at that cross where Christ died for an undeserving sinner like you, will you still refuse to forgive, or will you humble yourself and forgive “as God in Christ forgave you?”

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Matthew 6:14 says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Here’s Tim Chaffey who explains further why we must forgive others:

Tim writes, “Although frequently neglected, the words of this verse are straightforward. Immediately after giving His disciples an example of how to pray, Jesus told them how important it is to forgive others.  If we refuse to forgive others, then we will not be forgiven.  Failure to obey this requirement brings severe consequences.

Forgiving others is contrary to our sinful flesh, which tempts us to focus on ourselves.  Our
society promotes the lie that we need to love ourselves and look out for number one.  It is so easy and natural (in a sin-cursed world) to fall into the trap of self-centeredness.

Christians are not immune to failure in this area.  Rather than having a heart of forgiveness,
believers often complain about and insult those who have slighted them.  Instead of making things right, we make situations worse by failing to forgive.

There was a time when a fellow believer and close friend did something that led to a great deal of difficulty for my family and me.  For a while I harbored bitterness toward him and did not forgive him for what he had done.

Then, for several nights in succession, I continued to wake up in the middle of the night, and all I could think about was praying for him.  So that’s what I did.  I started praying for him, and within a few days, all of that bitterness dissipated.

God taught me an important lesson about forgiveness:  It is very hard to hold a grudge against
someone you are praying for.

I had to forgive my friend whether he asked for it or not.  Jesus did not tell His disciples to
consider forgiving others.  He didn’t say we should forgive them only after they ask for it.

Nor did He tell us that we need to focus on ourselves before we consider how we should treat others.  Essentially, He taught that if we expect to be forgiven by God for our many sins then we will forgive others.

For the Christian, forgiveness is not an option.  We have been commanded by the Creator to
forgive (Matt. 18:35, Mark 11:25).  The key is to remember how much God has forgiven us.

Our sin led to the Crucifixion of the Son of God, and yet God forgives all who turn to Him in faith and repentance.  How can we fail to forgive those who have done far less against us?

Today’s big idea:  Just as Christ forgave us, we must forgive others.

What to pray for:  Pray for those who have treated you poorly and ask God to help you forgive them.”

About Pastor Douglas Graham

Dr. Douglas Graham started MadeToFish in 2007. MadeToFish is about "Growing and helping others grow in the Gospel." Doug is the Pastor of Cedarville Nazarene Church. Our church website is:
This entry was posted in forgiveness, Grace, Humility, Jesus Christ, Pride, The Cross, The Gospel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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