Parenting has its problems. With seven kids of all different ages and stages in life make our home either a place of order or chaos. As a parent, I loath saying things twice. Three times and your out. Karen and I both hate to the repeat things over and over again. By the time we get to the second time, kids are running. I don’t know where they run to but they know they have to get out of our way.
Jesus said some things repeatedly in order to enforce the significance of a matter. We have read them often yet to our mind we ask ourselves did He really mean it. Was He really talking about us? Was he serious when He said this or that? The answer is simply yes.
We read in the Scriptures where Jesus tagged our eternal destination of heaven to a simple act – a simple yet profound act which may the hardest thing anyone ever does – the art and obedient act of forgiving.
Jesus said the following:
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. Mark 11:24–26.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14–15
Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37
Again in the Lord’s Prayer we read: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12
These simple instances show how important it is for one to forgive and release the debt owed to us by another person. Jesus said it over and over again. Do we treat these words of Jesus as if He has no authority? Do we treat these words as if He didn’t really mean it?
We have heard parents say, “If you do that again, you’ll get a spanking.” Time and time again a parent will say this but what happens if the child does it again? Do they recieve discipline? What if the parent never disciplines the child after they have ‘done it again?’
All authority is lost.
Lack of following through sends a message to the child you don’t mean what you say or what you say isn’t true. The child learns to think not everything authority figures say is true. A child becomes confused about when or if he should take authority figures seriously.
Yet, Jesus said a profound thing:
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Mark 11:26, Matthew 6:15)
There is an eternal consequence to our temporal unforgiving situation. Our Father’s forgiveness of our own sin is contengent on us forgiving the sins, trespasses, acts, etc. done against us. Hell and heaven awaits our action or lack of action of forgiveness. Yet, we treat forgiveness as an option. It is not an option. It is life and we must embrace the life-giving act of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is simply the act of letting go – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – the offense of someone else. Today, who do you need to let go? Whose actions, hurt, abuse, pain, or neglect do you need to let go of today in order to be forgiven by your Heavenly Father? Who debt of unforgiveable actions need to be forgiven because you will be obedient to the Jesus’ words?