"If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you." Matthew 6:14
This verse is prefaced by what is commonly known as the Lord's Prayer, or the Our Father. I have always thought it should be called the Disciples' Prayer or the Apostles' Prayer, since He was teaching it to them. But that's beside the point.
As we are praying: acknowledging God's holiness, that we want His Kingdom to come, and that we need our daily provision, Jesus stuck in that one little thing that requires something of us. We ask God to forgive us, as we forgive others. Not: Help me to forgive others, just as You forgive me. That would be so much more easily accomplished, wouldn't it? But Jesus said, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." That was followed by, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." (Some translations add another part to the prayer, but that is not pertinent to this post.) Maybe because we are tempted to NOT forgive? Hmm.
And the following verse is our verse for today, to which I will also add verse 15: "...but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Ouch! That's tough, Lord! Why can't we just accept Your forgiveness, and do our best to forgive others? Wouldn't that be a bit more sensible? Wouldn't that still basically accomplish the same thing? No, it wouldn't.
It's this simple: We must forgive to be forgiven. Otherwise, we are harboring something in our hearts. Something for which we are not truly sorry. Something which cannot be forgiven unless we take care of it. Tough? Certainly. Impossible? Not at all. Whew. This Lent stuff isn't easy, is it?
My offering to God: I will make peace with a friend or family member who has hurt me.