Matthew 6:15, 18:21-22 NIV 2011
“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Jesus, having just spoken to the crowd about prayer, states clearly forgiveness is given when believers forgive. Peter heard the words Jesus spoke during the Sermon on the Mount and yet he questioned Jesus. The amount of times one must forgive is more than Peter needed to count. After offering the parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus again answered Peter’s question. Matthew 18:35, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brothers or sister from your heart.” God desires His people to have forgiving hearts and spirits.
Forgiveness is not a part of the ways of the world because the world says you need to get even. It is the benchmark for me as a follower of Jesus. Forgiveness needs to be at the heart of who we are as Christians. Jesus repeatedly called the disciples and the crowds to forgive others as we have been forgiven. When I’m daily consumed with how I’ve been hurt, my life is out of whack. I must forgive from my heart because He forgives sinners like me.
How does God change hearts to forgive others?