“How can I forgive those who sin against me?”Everyone has been wronged, offended, and sinned against at some point. How are Christians to respond when such offenses occur? According to the Bible, we are to forgive.

Ephesians 4:32Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Colossians 3:13

Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.The key in both Scriptures is that we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us. Why do we forgive? Because we have been forgiven! Those who are not Christians, however, have not been forgiven by God and have neither the power nor the desire to forgive others. Forgiveness would be simple if we only had to grant it to those who come asking for it in sorrow and repentance. The Bible tells us that we are to forgive, without condition, those who sin against us. Refusing to truly forgive a person demonstrates resentment, bitterness, and anger, none of which are the traits of a true Christian. In the Lord’s Prayer, we ask God to forgive us our sins, just as we forgive those who sin against us

Matthew 6:12

and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.Matthew 6:14-15

"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

In light of other Scriptures that speak of God's forgiveness, Matthew 6:14-15is best understood to be saying that people who refuse to forgive others have not truly experienced God's forgiveness themselves.Whenever we disobey one of God’s commands, we sin against Him. Whenever we wrong another person, we not only sin against that person, but also against God. When we consider the extent to which God forgives all our transgressions, we realize that we do not have the right to withhold this grace from others. We have sinned against God infinitely more than any person can sin against us.

If God forgives us of so much, how can we refuse to forgive others of so little? Jesus' next parable is a powerful illustration of this truth.

Matthew 18:23-35"Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions rands.

(Greek 10,000 talents or375 tons or 340 metric tons of silver) He couldn't pay, so his master ordered that he be sold-along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned-to pay the debt. "But the man fell down before his master and begged him, 'Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.'Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. "But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars (Greek 100 denarii. A denarius was equivalent to a laborer's full day's wage.)He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment."His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. 'Be patient with me, and I will pay it,' he pleaded.30 But his creditor wouldn't wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full."When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened.Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, 'You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me.Shouldn't you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?'Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

"That's what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart."

God promises that when we come to Him asking for forgiveness, He freely grants it

1 John 1:9

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.The forgiveness we extend should know no limits, in the same way that God’s forgiveness is limitless.Luke 17:3-4So watch yourselves! "If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive."

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