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.
Now that's pretty straightforward.
It's one of those either / or situations in which Jesus leaves very little wiggle room.
is one of those passages that our white, upper middle class,
Protestant, smorgasbord-pick-&-choose-what-suits-me Christianity is
not really comfortable with.
How many of us have someone(s) in our lives we just can't forgive?
So, who is harmed the most by our unforgiveness?
the person we won't forgive?
think not - most of the time they go blithely along, completely unaware
of it, & if they were aware of it, they wouldn't care.
We who refuse to forgive are the ones who are harmed the most,
dumping all that bile of resentment, hurt, frustration, &/or anger into our conscious mind & heart.
And Jesus is pretty plain about what happens if we're unforgiving...
...we don't get forgiven.
I don't know about you, but considering the amount of sinning I do,
I'm gonna need to receive as much forgiveness on God's part as can be mustered!
Part of this I'm sure was Jesus trying to emphasize "what goes around, comes around".
(Sounds like a Justin Timberlake song!)
At the same time, I think Jesus knew what unforgiveness does to the unforgiver.
Now, I'm not suggesting that we forgive people & then make ourselves vulnerable & allow them to hurt us again.
I'm simply suggesting that we let go of the offense & forgive.
And trust me, considering who & what has been leveled at me over the years, that's as a tall order for me.
But I've lived too long, & I've seen too much.
Unforgiveness is like a poison allowed to live in our psyche.
Unforgiveness is like a cancer left uncheck that eventually consumes us.
I've seen what it's done to far too many people's lives.
I've seen what it's done to me.
Forgive, let it go, & move on - life's too short to carry bitterness around inside us.