Jesus said that the measure in which we are forgiving is the same standard God will use in forgiving us.
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.
Perhaps you consider yourself a forgiving person, but you are now facing someone whom you cannot forgive. Whenever you struggle to forgive, you need to revisit what you were like when God first forgave you. Ephesians 2 indicates you were a “foreigner” and a “child of wrath.” Yet God forgave your most grievous sin and rebellion against Him. While you were still rejecting God, Christ died for you (Rom. 5–8). This being so, how can you refuse to forgive those who sin against you? Forgiveness is not a spiritual gift, a skill, or an inherited trait. Forgiveness is a choice. Jesus looked down on those who had ruthlessly and mockingly nailed Him to a cross, yet He cried out: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). How, then, can we refuse to forgive those who have committed offenses against us?
Jesus said that the measure in which we are forgiving is the same standard God will use in forgiving us. God’s ways are very different from ours. God’s forgiveness is not based on standards we determine, but on the standards He established in His Word. God allows for no exceptions when it comes to forgiveness.
As we truly understand God’s gracious forgiveness in our lives, we will naturally want to express this same forgiveness to others (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13). Before you ask God for His forgiveness, take a moment to examine the condition of your relationships. Would you want God to forgive you in the same way you are presently forgiving others?
Excerpts republished with permission from Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby c. 1997 B&H Publishing Group.