Am I continuing to forgive others so that God will continue to forgive me?
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
INSIGHT: As with most of the Bible and Christ’s teachings, this is a black or white issue. If you forgive others you are right. If you withhold forgiveness, you are dead wrong. There is no in-between. A person whose sins are not forgiven cannot go to heaven (Luke 13:2-3, 34-35, Acts 26:18, Colossians 1:13-14, Colossians 2:13, Hebrews 3:12-14, Hebrews 10:26, James 5:20, 1 John 3:6-10, Revelation 21:27).
Forgiveness is not good self-help advice or a recommendation; it’s a command. To ask God’s forgiveness of your sins, and then withhold forgiveness from someone HE made, and someone HE will judge, is wickedness on the level of pushing God off His throne and slapping Him in the face (if it were even possible to do so). When we withhold forgiveness, we are playing God. Unforgiveness is an issue of pride, “How dare they treat me that way…don’t they know who I am.” How can a true Christian, who has been bought at a price, and who no longer belongs to himself, turn and demand honor and justice for himself? What is wrong with that picture? Do you see why God will call that person a wicked servant, if they do not forgive? Do you see how a person could fall away from grace, and lose their future inheritance of salvation, by choosing not to forgive their brother or sister? Jesus never said that a person who doesn’t forgive is a false believer, and that they would have fallen away anyhow. He said a believer who doesn’t forgive will not be forgiven themselves. Unforgiveness says to God, “I don’t believe your word; and I don’t trust you to bring justice so I will create my own.” When we don’t forgive others, we are not continuing in God’s kindness, and we are in danger of being cut off (Rom 11:22)!
Who would you still like to see punished for what they did to you? Who do you want restitution from? Those are people you MUST forgive, if you are wise and expect to have eternal life. Forgiveness does not mean that what they did to you wasn’t wrong. It means you trust God to right the wrong, and it means that you will not miss heaven as a wicked servant, because you did God’s will. – Mat 7:21