Friday, May 14, 2021

Is Forgiveness Canceled?


BySarah Geringer 

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:15 NIV

Is forgiveness canceled? For Christians, of course the answer is no. Yet it is slowly being stomped to death in our cancel culture.

I just read a fascinating, thoughtful article by Timothy Keller called The Fading of Forgiveness (read it in full HERE). He makes a great case for the disappearance of forgiveness in our culture, yet affirms its lasting value based on what the Bible says.

Forgiveness will NEVER be canceled for true followers of Christ. Jesus spoke frequently and openly about the need for us to forgive. Surely he knew we'd try to make excuses and avoid this hard teaching - he often preaches over and over about things we resist applying. Therefore, he gives us the crystal-clear, yet hard-to-swallow, truth in today's verse.

Why do we need to forgive others? When we forgive others, we are acting like Jesus. He even forgave the Roman soldiers while they were nailing him to the cross (Luke 23:34). If he, as the sinless Son of God, forgave this most evil act, surely we can forgive those who have harmed us.

Another reason? God looks closely at our unforgiving heart. One day, each one of us will stand before God and give an account of our lives. He will ask us about who we did not forgive, and there will be nowhere to hide from his scrutiny (Rom. 14:11-13). This truth motivates me to clean my heart out now, when I still have a chance to make things right.

Perhaps in today's culture, one of the most important reasons we need to forgive is to be an example to others. In a culture of blame, criticism and revenge, the act of forgiveness is revolutionary. It may make others curious about how we can forgive when they can't find the strength to do so. Our example of forgiveness may even spark faith in an unbeliever.

I know how hard forgiveness is, but I also know how necessary it is. In my podcast for adult children of divorce, I talk about the importance of letting go of past hurts. If we hold onto grudges and anger, we only weaken ourselves. But when we ask God to help us let go, and rely on his strength to forgive, we can experience the healing and peace we seek. 

I've had to forgive many hurts, but I'm a better person for having done so. I praise God for showing me the value of forgiveness in my own story. 

God will never, ever cancel the need for us to forgive, and that's a wonderful truth. May he empower you to forgive someone this week, and may your testimony of forgiveness shine light into a dark culture.

Check out my Heart in a Drawer podcast for adult children of divorce HERE.

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Have a blessed weekend!

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