It is Required – Part I
Scripture Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
Key Verse: Matthew 6:15
“But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”.
Every January, many people think about joining a gym hoping to lose weight and get fit. There is nothing wrong with that, but I want to make a case for first getting fit in our spiritual lives.
To paraphrase Matthew 16:26, what good would it be to gain fitness and get to the perfect weight but then lose your soul? I encourage “Kingdom Fitness” over Planet Fitness!
Last week I painted the picture of changing our mental habit of how we look at the problems that come into our lives. Problems are always part of our life, even when we give ourselves over to Christ. To deal with our problems, we always need to practice proper mental habits, often daily.
In the same way, we always need to practice forgiveness in our lives. Practicing forgiveness is critical if we want to be in “Kingdom Fitness”. Our Key Verse quotes Jesus when He made forgiveness a non-negotiable element.
When someone says that they will never forgive someone, it dooms them to a life without Christ and an eternity of darkness and pain. Most people who struggle to forgive someone that has deeply hurt them have a poor understanding of what Biblical forgiveness is all about.
If someone abuses you, God wants you to forgive them but that does not necessarily mean you have to stay in relationship with them. Do not make staying in a relationship a part of your definition of forgiveness.
Also, do not make forgiveness an emotion, something for you to feel. Biblical forgiveness is an action, something you do rather than something you feel. It is possible to forgive someone and still feel hurt or anger.
When you decide to forgive someone, God is willing to help you eventually to grow beyond your feelings. Pray “With Your help, God, I will forgive that person”. That is God’s “green light” to go to work in your heart and mind!
Father, I want to be a forgiving person. Please help me to continually practice forgiveness. I ask this in Jesus’s Name, amen.