This one is going to be similar to the one about praying, but I really hope this hits closer to home than that one, because this Christian concept should be taken a lot more seriously than anything else.
Why? Because there are even more serious consequences to not following this than there is for any other Christian teaching.
We all know (or should know) the teaching of Jesus that we should love our enemies and pray for those who hurt us and persecute us (Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-36).
And that’s all well and good. We should do those things. It is commanded by Jesus and endorsed by the apostles. We should definitely do that.
But, what about forgiveness? Are you forgiving?
I have to admit, this is a difficult concept for me. I have a hard time forgiving people, and sometimes for the dumbest reasons. For instance, I have hard time forgiving the guy who cut me off in traffic because he didn’t see me. Or forgiving the person who didn’t put their trash bag in the dumpster. Or forgiving the guest that didn’t take their glass to the sink before they left.
Like I said, stupid reasons. And in today’s world, we have a lot to forgive. We have ISIS, we have Westboro Baptist Church, we have murderers, rapists, school shooters, suicide bombers, irresponsible politicians, abusive parents…the list goes on.
And here’s the kicker: we have to forgive them.
Why? Because Jesus said so:
“‘For if you forgive others their trespasses (sins), your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.'” (Matthew 6:14-15)