For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses. Matthew 6:14-15
Wow! The words spoken by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount leave no room for ambiguity. He boldly reveals the undeniable connection between giving forgiveness to others and receiving forgiveness from God. Forgiveness is not a matter of personal preference. It is a command by Jesus to His followers, and it plays a vital role in experiencing the fullness of God’s mercy. Paul echoes this truth in Colossians 3:13, where he urges believers to embody His forgiveness by extending it to others. Embracing this call requires patience, understanding, and a genuine willingness to release the offenses committed against us in response to the gracious forgiveness God has shown us. As recipients of His immeasurable forgiveness, Christians reflect His character, show others His grace, and extend forgiveness to those around us.
However, releasing offense and choosing to forgive is not always easy. Sometimes it may even seem impossible. Here are some helpful practices to remember when the opportunity for offense presents itself:
Take time daily to reflect on the profound forgiveness given to you by Jesus. Remind yourself of the depth of your own forgiveness, allowing it to fuel your ability to extend grace and mercy to others.
Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a choice. Waiting until you feel like forgiving may hinder the process indefinitely. Remember, delayed obedience is the first step toward disobedience.
Cultivate the practice of pre-forgiveness. As you start your day, even before your feet touch the ground, acknowledge that someone might offend you. Make a conscious decision to forgive them in advance. Make this commitment out loud by saying, “I choose right now to forgive anyone and everyone for any hurt or offense they may cause me today.”
Make it a personal goal to live an unoffendable life. Ultimately, the responsibility for being offended and living in a state of offense rests on us, not the offender. We have control over our attitudes and actions, and choosing not to be offended is a powerful testament to spiritual maturity and faith in Jesus.
Missed Pastor David’s message on Freedom in Forgiveness? Watch Here