6/28/11

Does Jesus Always Forgive?

It seems strange to ask this question. Of course Jesus always forgives. It's what He does. It's who He is. Who is Jesus without forgiveness? This is what we're taught as children - that when we sin, we can ask Jesus to forgive us, and He will separate us from our sins.

It's hard to think about how many times Jesus has forgiven humans. It's like thinking about God having no beginning. But as many times as he has forgiven our sins, the question remains: does he always forgive? Always?

Honestly, I wish I had not found the following verse, but it's there, in probably the most famous sermon ever preached - the sermon on the mount.

"But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matt. 6:15)

Read that verse again. Let it invade the way you think of your relationship with Jesus.

Now ask yourself another question: who have you not forgiven?

This post is probably as much fun to read as it was for me to write. One of the most amplified parts of my sin nature is my unwillingness to forgive others. And now I'm told that the longer I hold onto their sins, the longer Jesus withholds his forgiveness of mine.

This doesn't sound right. Your internal reader may be disturbed by the sentence above. But is that not what Jesus is saying in Matthew 6:15? That if I don't truly forgive others, He will not forgive me of my sins? I can read it no other way.

Father, give us the strength and humility to forgive, because you have commanded this of us, and so that you will forgive our sins.

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