by Rick Warren — August 9, 2020
“If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.”
Matthew 6:15 (GNT)
If you want someone else to be punished but you expect forgiveness for the bad things you’ve done, you’ll just make yourself miserable. You’re not hurting them; you’re only hurting yourself.
Jesus said, “If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done” (Matthew 6:15 GNT).
Forgiveness involves your past, present, and future:
- God has forgiven you multiple times in the past
- Lack of forgiveness will make you miserable today
- You will need God’s forgiveness in the future
Consider Jonah. After he warned the people of Nineveh about God’s judgment, they repented and so God forgave them and didn’t punish them. This disappointed Jonah and made him bitter.
But remember how Jonah originally turned away from God? He wanted God’s forgiveness for his own sin of disobeying. Yet he didn’t want God to forgive the Ninevites.
So Jonah prayed, “I knew that you are a loving and merciful God, always patient, always kind, and always ready to change your mind and not punish. Now then, Lord, let me die. I am better off dead than alive” (Jonah 4:2-3 GNT).
Jonah’s resentment was only hurting himself. Here were the Ninevites enjoying the grace of God while Jonah was wallowing in self-pity.
It’s critical that you forgive anyone from your past who has hurt you. And that you forgive anyone who wrongs you today because God has forgiven you for your past sins, and he has promised to forgive you in the future.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV).