Forgive Others Because You Need Forgiveness To

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

Forgiveness is a two-way street. You can’t expect others to forgive you if you are unwilling to forgive them.

Jesus says it like this: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).

It’s a basic biblical truth. You reap what you sow. 

One time, a man came to John Wesley and said, “I could never forgive that person.” Wesley said, “Then I hope you never sin. When you are unforgiving, you’re burning the very bridge you need to walk across.” When you’re not forgiving of others, you’re setting yourself up to not be forgiven yourself. Because God says you’re going to need forgiveness in the future.

When I hear somebody say that they can’t forgive someone, I realize that person doesn’t understand forgiveness. If you understood forgiveness, you probably would be more able to do it. Many myths get in the way of our readiness to forgive. For example, here are three of the biggest misconceptions about forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not:

  1. Minimizing the seriousness of the offense. Forgiveness is a big deal. To forgive someone doesn’t mean the wrong against you doesn’t hurt. 
  2. The instant restoration of trust. Trust must be rebuilt over a period of time. If people hurt you over and over again, the Bible says you’re obligated to forgive them, but you are not obligated to instantly trust them. 
  3. Resuming the relationship without any changes. Forgiveness is not the same as a reunion of a relationship. Forgiveness is what you do if you’re offended. If the relationship is going to be restored, the offender has to do three things: repent, offer restitution where possible, and rebuild trust over a period of time. 

It’s time to forgive those who have hurt you. You’ll need the forgiveness of others later. Don’t withhold what you’ll depend upon soon.

Try Writing Down Your Prayers

“The LORD gave me this answer: ‘Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance.'”Habakkuk 2:2

If you want to hear God speak, do this: Withdraw to a quiet place, wait patiently and expectantly, and ask God to give you a picture of what he wants to say to you. Then write down God’s responses to your questions.

In the book of Habakkuk, the Lord commands the author to “write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance” (Habakkuk 2:2).

That’s how we got the book of Habakkuk. In chapter one, Habakkuk wrote down what he said to God. And in chapter two, he wrote down what God said back to him.

That’s also how we got the book of Psalms; many of those psalms came directly from David’s quiet time. David meditated on the first five books of the Bible, the Torah, and then he wrote down his thoughts, and they’re called psalms. In many of the psalms, he starts out with what he’s feeling and then ends up writing down what God says.

If your prayer life is stuck in a rut, and you tend to pray the same things over and over “God, be with this person” or “Bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies” then here’s what you need to do: Start writing down your prayers.

“What? You mean I don’t have to say them?” That’s right! Writing them down is a prayer. God can hear it in your thoughts. Just write it down.

Is it okay to write out a prayer and then read it? Of course it is. When you’re writing it, you’re praying. When you’re reading it, you’re praying.

This is called the spiritual habit of journaling, and it’s one that all Christians should understand and practice.

A journal is not a diary. A diary is about the things you did. A journal is about the lessons you learned the mistakes you made and what God has taught you.

Start your spiritual journal today. It will help you to hear and to remember what God is telling you.

Open Your Eyes To God’s Vision

“Open my eyes, so that I may see the wonderful truths in your law.”Psalm 119:18

The Bible is filled with countless examples of people getting God’s vision, including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Miriam, Esther, Daniel, Jonah, Ruth, Micah, and Mary. Seeing God’s vision for your life is a wonderful thing! God often uses a mental picture to clarify the next step he wants you to take.

I don’t have to explain this to people who are visual thinkers. Maybe that’s you. When you read a story in the Bible, you can see it in 3D and vivid color. When you read a book, you can picture the story in your mind.

But for the rest of us, it’s a little harder. I am not a visual thinker. I tend to think in words, not pictures.

So how do you get God’s vision if you’re not a visual thinker?

First, ask God a specific question.

In your quiet time, after you’ve read the Bible and prayed, just be quiet and wait before God. You could ask, “God, is there anything you want to say to me?” And then you wait. Then ask, “God, is there anything I need to know that I’m not thinking about?” And then you wait.

James 1:5 says, “If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking” God wants you to ask him for advice, and he wants you to be specific. He’s waiting for you to ask!

Second, read God’s Word to discover what God wants to say to you.

Psalm 119:18 is a great verse to memorize: “Open my eyes, so that I may see the wonderful truths in your law”. It’s also a perfect verse to pray as you open God’s Word. Every answer to every problem you have is in that book. But you’ve got to read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it as you seek God’s vision for your life or even just for today.

Make Time To Be Quiet

“Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” Matthew 6:6

God isn’t going to speak to you if your life is filled with noise. You’ve got to get alone, and you’ve got to get quiet. We call this a quiet time with God.

Jesus says it like this in Matthew 6:6: “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace”.

Here’s the key to hearing God speak and getting his vision for your life: God wants to meet with you.

You need to realize you’re not waiting on God; he’s waiting on you. God made you to have a relationship with him. He wants you to spend time with him daily. He wants you to schedule a date with him every day. God is waiting.

Getting alone in a quiet place can be difficult today. I don’t know if you realize how much noise there is in your life. Maybe you’ve always got the radio on in the car, or you’ve got earbuds in or Bluetooth turned on. Every waiting room, grocery store, and elevator has music. There’s very little time or space in your life that’s absolutely quiet.

If you’ve got kids at home, it’s even more difficult! But let me give you some hope. Susanna Wesley, one of the great women of history, had 18 children. One of her sons, John, founded the Methodist church and helped spread Christianity across America; another, Charles, wrote more than 6,000 hymns.

How do you find time alone when you have 18 children? In her biography, it says that Susanna Wesley would sit in her favorite rocker every afternoon, and she would throw her apron over her head for an hour. Her kids knew that Mom with an apron over her head meant, “No child bothers Mom, or you face the consequences!”

Wesley said the prayers of his mom shaped his life.

Susanna Wesley found space every day to spend time with God, and you can too. Do what you need to do to make time to be quiet and meet with the Lord.

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