Can we be forgiven if we do not forgive someone?
The Bible is clear on that. Eph 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” NIV Nothing you do will help you earn heaven, not your offerings, nor your good deeds, nor your forgiveness! Only though grace, only through what God did for you through Jesus Christ, will you be saved if you accept His offer.
The whole essence of the gospel message is forgiveness. If Jesus was willing to die for us so that our enormous debt of sin would be paid off and forgiveness of our sins was made possible, how could we not but forgive the sins of others? This reminds me a true story :
On December 21, 1974, Chris Carrier was in the fifth grade and walking home from school in North Miami Beach, Florida. An older man spotted Chris and tricked him into going into his motor home. The man stabbed Chris with an ice pick and drove him to a desolate spot where he shot the 10-year-old boy in the head from behind. For six days, Chris lay unconscious. He awoke the day after Christmas and was rescued by a farmer. He never regained sight in his left eye. Chris became a Christian and in 1996 he was a youth pastor at Granada Presbyterian Church in North Miami. Chris then heard that the older man who had attacked him, David McAllister, was in a nursing home. When Chris went to visit, and McAllister began to cry when he realized that this young man was the boy he had abandoned. “When he was asked what he did,” Carrier said, “he sort of gasped and said, ‘I left him there,’ and began to cry. He said he was sorry, and I told him I forgave him and that from now on there would be nothing like anger or revenge between us, nothing except a new friendship.” (By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2001, Devotional E-Mail DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW email@example.com)
Only when you have been touched by Jesus’ forgiveness is this possible. Humanly it is impossible to forgive someone who has hurt us, unless we have some love for that person. However, in Christ nothing is impossible (Phil 4:13)!
Let us give now the word to the Scriptures and see what Jesus Himself said about the subject. No commentaries are necessary, as the message is crystal clear!
Matt 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” NIV
Matt 6:12 “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” NIV
P.S. The word for “sin” is the same as the word for “debt” in the Aramaic language that Jesus used.
Luke 11:4 “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” NIV
Matt 18:23-35 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” NIV
Wow! Is this in contradiction to what we said earlier? Not really. Those who can’t forgive have not understood and accepted Jesus’ forgiveness fully and are thus not saved, not because they won’t forgive, but because they have not accepted Jesus fully into their life. Yes, they may be going to church faithfully, even have high positions in the church, even know the Bible quite well, but that doesn’t make them a Christian, a follower of Christ. “What would Jesus do” is not their motto. They know of God, but they don’t know God personally.
This is clearly evident in the following story Jesus gave to us:
Luke 18:9-14 “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” NIV
The Pharisee had a position as high as a pastor or priest today. Pretty high up in the church, don’t you think? Was that Pharisee saved? The text is clear on that: NO. Why not? He had no personal relationship with God. He liked to exalt himself instead.
However was the tax collector saved? (P.S. who would like to be associated with a tax collector!) Absolutely, as he had accepted God fully into his life. He was humble in spirit, just like Jesus is.
The reason to forgive others is clear:
Eph 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” NIV
Col 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” NIV
Case closed! We should be imitators of Christ. If Christ forgives, which He always does, we should do the same!
Eph 5:1-2 “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” NIV
Do you have you trouble forgiving someone? May I encourage you to come to Jesus and hand Him over that burden. He will give you rest and help you experience victory over unforgiveness. Finally you will be freed from that burden. He promised: Matt 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” NIV
Why don’t you accept Jesus into your heart fully now and let Him fill you with divine love? Come to Him and accept Him by answering His call at http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html.
Scripture shows that we need to forgive as HE forgives us. We can’t judge. We need to pull the plank out of our own eyes before trying to get the speck out of our brothers and sisters.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11.29 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6.37
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4.32
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3.13
Matthew 6:9 tells us how we should pray. It states the Lord’s prayer and of course within that prayer is “Forgive Us Our Trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
One cannot be saved if they have hate in their heart, and if one cannot or will not forgive, they are not saved. They may think they are. They may be a wonderful person in all respects, but as scripture points out, it’s easy to be a good person to those that are also good to us. We need to be good to those that are NOT good to us. Of course being human, it isn’t always so easy to forgive things that are afflicted upon us or our loved ones. But that is when we need to pray harder to the Lord. Of course we can’t forgive by ourselves, but we can forgive tenfold with the help of God.
Forgiveness is a form of love, and love is the Lord’s greatest law.
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we say; ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’; In doing this we pray to God to forgive us in the same manner as we forgive others.
This same principle is supported in the bible.
Mark 11:25 “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. “
Mark 11:26 “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
That makes it pretty clear. If we have something against another person and fail to forgive them, then the Father will not forgive us; and if we are unforgiven we cannot enter heaven.
However, before forgiveness comes repentance.
And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (Luke 17:4, KJV)
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: (Matthew 6:14, KJV)
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (Acts 3:19, KJV)
So the deal is that if you wish to receive the promise of salvation, you must repent of your sins and seek forgiveness from Jesus. However if by any chance you have failed to forgive another person who has trespassed against you, you have to put that matter right before forgiveness will be granted.
Go in peace. Lance Wearmouth
No, we cannot. The Bible tells us that unless we forgive, including ourselves, we cannot be forgiven in the KIngdom of Heaven, through Our Heavenly Father.
Forgiving is not to condone someone who has wronged us, but for our own salvation, so that we may be forgiven, saved.
If we do not forgive, we block all the gifts that Our Lord wants to offer us.
We forgive so that we may move on in our lives without encumbrances blocking our path through Jesus Christ.