Words from the Heart for Wednesday February 10th, 2021
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT)
Forgiving and Forgiven
Three activists for a Christian peace group held hostage in Iraq for 118 days in 2005, said they had forgiven their captors and didn’t want to see them face the death penalty. “We unconditionally forgive our captors for abducting and holding us,” Canadians Harmeet Singh Sooden and James Loney, and Briton Norman Kember told a news conference that marked their first reunion since they were freed in March 2006. They released a joint statement read to reporters at the St. Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation in central London.
Forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian faith. As King David notes in Psalm 51, ultimately all sin is against God, the holy One. So, our greatest need is to be forgiven and to have our relationship with our Creator God restored. Jesus died so that our sin is atoned for and we can be forgiven. This is offered by grace – and comes with no strings attached. Which makes what Jesus teaches us to pray interesting. In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Those of us who have experienced God’s forgiveness are called to forgive others who have done us wrong. Jesus was so serious about this that in Matthew 18 he tells his followers a parable about the unforgiving servant. The King has already forgiven the servant, but he in turn refuses to forgive someone who owes him much less. It doesn’t go well for him. Nor will it go well for us. If you have experienced Jesus’ forgiveness, you must forgive those who sin against you.
These have been words from the heart.