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God’s Guidance for Forgiveness

Our forgiveness of others should look like Jesus' forgiveness of us.

Matthew 18:21-35

When someone repeatedly wrongs us, we often try to draw a line at the number of times we’ll accept apologies. In other situations, we may attempt to categorize which offenses we’ll pardon. But Jesus drew no such lines at the cross. God’s unconditional pardon of our sins means that our forgiveness toward others should likewise have no limitations—even when certain behaviors can’t be allowed to continue.

Another issue is the temptation to hang on to resentment for a time instead of forgiving instantly. But when we cling to unforgiveness—even for a short period—Satan can gain a foothold. If the Father’s will is that we forgive, why should we wait?

Forgiveness is painful and costly—Jesus felt every nail, every thorn. But a truly forgiving spirit knows that good can come from the unfortunate situation. For instance, “good” could take the form of God developing our character or perhaps exposing our weakness to drive us closer to Him.

Realizing God is sovereign makes us more ready to forgive. Let’s trust Jesus to remove any desire for retaliation—and to provide us with the wisdom and strength necessary to act in ways that please Him. And when it comes to forgiveness, let’s approach our offender with the intent of reconciling. That means doing whatever God directs in order to get our relationship right—just as Jesus did for us.

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