“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” – Mark 11:25
We must forgive others because God has forgiven so much of us already. Forgiveness is also necessary because holding on to bitterness, anger, and resentment is among the causes of physical and emotional health issues like high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. But there is another reason God created and commands forgiveness for our own good. We must forgive because we will always need His forgiveness.
A close look at Jesus’ teaching on prayer in Matthew 6:9-15 includes a very challenging lesson on forgiveness. “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” – Matthew 6:12 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14-15
In His teaching, Jesus is telling us that when we pray, we are to ask God to use our forgiveness of others as the standard for His forgiveness toward us (6:12).
Is that what we really want?
Then He explains why in (6:14-15). Jesus is known for his “hard sayings”. For me this is surely one of them because forgiving others requires us to make a sacrifice.
Forgiveness is the basis of our salvation, the closing of our separation from God. It’s so important that Jesus died to provide it in obedience to God because God loved us and made a plan to save us even before we were born. And the point of our salvation has always been for us to become like Jesus. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” – Romans 8:29
We are supposed to become Like Jesus… Jesus forgives… We must also forgive. Forgiving others is one of the things we can control as Christians because He lives in us and lives His life through us.