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Forgive to Be Forgiven 
Forgive to Be Forgiven

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. Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV)

The spirit of unforgiveness can adversely affect our relationship with God, not to mention that it can bind us in the chains of bitterness, hostility, and animosity. Left unchecked and unconfessed it cultivates a root system that ultimately affects our personal testimony and relationship with others. "Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble; and by this many become defiled." Hebrews 12:15 (NKJV) Unforgiveness has a first cousin named hatred. When hatred is manifested as a result of our failure to forgive, it is then that we can no longer say that we love God whom we have never seen and then harbor hatred toward our brother whom we interact with on a daily basis. (See First John 4:20)

We must forgive those who have committed "any" trespass against us. In our devotional text "trespasses" are those sins towards another that cause "a lapse or deviation from truth or uprightness", or to put it plainly, a sin or misdeed. If we fail to forgive God will not forgive us. Our confession of other personal sins falls on deaf ears and we can not stand on the truth of First John 1:9 unless we forgive those who have wounded and violated us. This is so critical because we cannot reconcile our relationship with God unless we first reconcile our relationship with our fellowman through the act of forgiveness.

Once we forgive others we must willingly receive God's forgiveness through the shed blood of His son Jesus Christ our Lord. It does not matter what we have done nor how long we have been bound within it, the blood of Jesus has the power to forgive us but we must be willing to receive it. There is no need to continue to rehearse our past mistakes. There is no need to take ourselves to court and prosecute our own case against ourselves and then serve as our own jury and find ourselves guilty. We may be guilty and probably are as charged, but God is willing and able to forgive. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to His grace." Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV)

Most importantly, after we have forgiven our brothers and sisters who have wronged us, and then received God's forgiveness, then we must forgive ourselves. The memories of our past may continue to haunt us and we may "feel" that we are not worthy of a continued relationship with God. We must understand that nothing can be further from the truth. Stop trying to remember what God has already forgiven and forgotten. God wants us to be forgiven and free. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, whom through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:14 (NKJV) When the enemy tries to remind you of your past, remind him of Calvary and his future.

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