“And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any—that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But, if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses.”
To be whole, you must “go under the Knife;” otherwise, there can be no healing.
It’s something we all want; yet, the question is “How badly do we want it?” and “Are we willing to follow the Physician’s Prescription in order to receive it?”
We know we’re “saved by Grace through faith, not of works lest any of us should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 6:23). And, we know Jesus’ death on the Cross was sufficient in-and-of-itself to save us and “cleanse us from all iniquity” (Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:12-28; 10:4-22).
Yet, today’s Manna reminds us that the “new and living way” (Heb. 10:20) that leads to eternal life is by the road of repentance AND faith. This doesn’t mean we’ve got to be perfect before we can be saved; however, it does mean there can be no salvation without “fruits that give evidence of a turning away from sin” (Mt. 3:8; Acts 26:20).
And, Jesus’ words here are truly “sharper than a two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12-13).
Why is that?
Simply because they point to the impossibility of receiving God’s forgiveness if we’re unwilling to forgive others of their “trespasses against us.”
The Greek word “tis” is used here for “ought” and basically means “that which is held anything or anyone.” It may be a word or it might be a deed; but, it’s that which you harbor in your heart against someone for something said or done in the past. And, it becomes a “stronghold of sin,” which affects both our faith and our prayers (Mk. 11:20-26). Likewise, a tiny seed of resentment, when allowed to grow in the “hotbed of the heart,” will soon turn into a “root of bitterness whereby many are defiled” (Heb. 12:15).
Even in this day-and-age of secularism and increasing ignorance of God’s Word, the majority of folks can still recite the Lord’s Prayer (Mt. 6:9-13). Yet, we’d do well to continue on with vv.14-15 which say “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; but, if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
It can’t be put any plainer than that, Pilgrim:
“You can’t be forgiven if you don’t forgive.”
So, the question is “Is there anyone in your life right now that you’re refusing to forgive? Are you hanging on to some hurt from the past and feeling justified in doing so?” If so, repent now—for your eternal destiny depends upon it (according to Jesus’ plain words). Life’s too short and eternity’s too long to ignore this straight, sharp call to forgiveness. And, woe to anyone who thinks otherwise.