Verse for the Day – Matthew 6:14
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Daily Scripture ReadingEphesians 4

Devotional Thoughts
Matthew 6:14 – For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Jesus has already said “amen” at the end of His model prayer and yet He continues to teach the crowd and us about heart attitudes and motives. In verses 14 and 15 He actually amplifies His teaching from the prayer. He has just taught us to forgive as we are forgiven (vs. 12). Of all that He said in His model prayer, only this verse gets amplified here. Why? The single greatest need that we have as sinful human beings is the need to be forgiven. Without forgiveness we can never rid ourselves of our sin! Therefore, we can never please God, exercise faith, love, kindness, or joy out of a pure heart, we can never talk with God and have Him hear and respond! Without the penalty or price of our sin being paid, we are indeed fearfully and dreadfully lost!

Jesus reiterates this fact by focusing now on the topic of forgiveness, or lack thereof as we will see tomorrow. He takes the time to amplify the part of His prayer to which we must pay the most attention. If we understand our need for forgiveness, then we can understand the cost of our sin. Then we can see the grace of God. Then we experience His holiness and unconditional love. All that He taught in the prayer comes flooding into our lives by supernatural progression when we first see Him for who He is, then see ourselves for who we are, and as a result become painfully aware of our great need to be forgiven of all our sin!

As we learn about forgiveness we also learn about who and what we are to forgive. According to Jesus here we are expected and commanded to forgive any trespass against us. Let’s take a look at the words Jesus uses. First He mentions the word forgive. To forgive literally means to “leave behind” or “hurl away.” Then He teaches us to forgive trespasses. The word trespass speaks of “missing the mark” or more specifically, any deviation from truth.

In plain English, Jesus is teaching us that we are to leave behind and hurl away from us any action, attitude, or word from anyone that on their part deviates from obedience to the Truth of God’s Word. Basically, anything sinful that a person can do to us or tell about us is to be instantly put away. It may take time for the hurt feelings to subside, but in our hearts we must forgive as soon as we are sinned against! We have all heard the phrase, “I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget” haven’t we? That is a lie! To forgive is to forget – to hurl away and leave behind. If we hurl someone’s sin away and then continually run back and pick it up we see that in our hearts we have NOT forgiven!

The reason for forgiving instantly will be covered tomorrow from verse 15. The fact, though, that we should forgive instantly is plain in Scripture. We are enabled to forgive even when the offender doesn’t admit wrong or express sorrow! The offender only works into the equation when we are told to forgive them unconditionally! Their attitude is not a factor in our response. We are also learning here that we forgive because God expects it. In order for Him to forgive us our attitude must at all times be an attitude of humble love and service to God and our neighbors.

Otherwise we aren’t repentant and therefore aren’t forgiven. When we see ourselves as salt and light and when we understand that when people sin against us it’s only because they are being disobedient, then we understand God’s plan. If someone sins against us, we must realize that we don’t matter. If we are center stage, then we are proud and sinning ourselves. It’s not about us, remember?! If, on the other hand, we have a proper view of God and a proper view of ourselves, then we understand that even if we are hurt, it is the offender who needs love and compassion. It is the offender who needs Christ. And if the offender is a not Christian, then we are more certain that they need to be ministered to, not condemned!

We must learn to look beyond ourselves. If someone sins against us, we must not ask from pride, “Why they would do such a thing to me?”! We must have the courage to set self aside and put that other person first. Tend to his or her needs as best we can. They may need a soft answer or an understanding spirit. They may just need to be prayed for. Maybe our loving response of being gracious and kind and forgiving is all God needs to break their hardened heart and lead them out of their sin! Today – no matter what happens – forgive instantly!

Bible Reading For Further Study
Psalm 103:12-14
Proverbs 15:1
Psalm 22
Luke 23:34

Recommended Songs for Worship
Take Time to Be Holy
I Lay My Sins on Jesus