Saturday, December 19, 2009

Matthew 6:14

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: (KJV)

(NIV) For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Our youngest Sunday School class at Mayberry has been working on learning The Lord’s Prayer. In yesterday’s devotion reading, part of the scripture included the special prayer that our Lord taught the disciples. I didn’t realize in the next two verses following the prayer, that Jesus emphasized one particular portion from this prayer.

The verse for this week is the first verse that follows The Lord’s Prayer, and forgiveness is the theme of this verse. At Christmastime we celebrate the birth of Jesus – the coming of God in the flesh. Why? Because God desired for us to be with him in eternity, he had to provide a perfect sacrifice for us to be forgiven of our sins. God loves us so much, but our sin separates us from fellowship with him. Because of Jesus’ coming to die in our place, we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God.

Forgiveness is a big deal. Our Lord says in his model prayer: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Our verse for this week that follows just two verses later again says, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:” and the next verse adds even more emphasis, “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” We are to be in the practice of forgiving others when they sin against us.

My Bible commentary says that this is a warning to us. If we refuse to forgive others, then God will not forgive us. If we don’t forgive others, it is like we are saying we are more worthy of God’s forgiveness than the one we won’t forgive. But God does not show partiality, we are all sinners in need of forgiveness. There are no greater or lesser sinners in God’s eyes – we are all sinners. The murderer is no worse than someone who gossips. Though the consequences may be greater in one case than the other, both are still sin and both will separate us from God and keep us from heaven if we don’t claim the forgiveness that Jesus paid for us on the cross.

This Christmas become like the wise men who visited the Christ child and seek God for yourself. Accept the gift of forgiveness that Jesus purchased for us and begin to practice the forgiveness of others in order to experience peace on earth for yourself this year.

I hope you have a blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with peace and happiness!

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