The Choice to Forgive

14For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,15but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. —Matthew 6:14-15

Let's start with this most obvious lesson in our verses today: we must choose to forgive. Forgiveness is a decision I'm making. In Matthew 6:14–15 Jesus said, "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But, (don’t miss this) if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Now, sometimes a passage of scripture seems complicated as soon as you read it.  That's not the case when we realize what Matthew 6:14–15 says. Jesus’ words are stunningly clear. Read them again above.

Do you get it? I mean, those are pretty serious verses, right? Not hard to understand—just hard to undertake. You read them and think, that’s gonna leave a mark! I’m going to have to look again at how forgiving I am. That's nothing you want to be messing around about, or sort-of getting it right. The verses aren’t complicated—but they will definitely complicate your life if you are an un-forgiving person!

And it's not saying that you get saved by forgiving. It is saying that people who are really are saved are forgiving people, increasingly so. Not perfectly, not entirely, but increasingly we are more and more forgiving. As the love of Christ penetrates our hearts more and more deeply and more and more genuinely, we just become more forgiving people. Forgiveness is one of the expected bi-products of genuine salvation.

You ought to be the most forgiving person that you work with. Out of all the people, when they talk about you, they're like, "Man, he's not a guy who holds grudges. He's just not someone who finds fault." "She doesn't try to make people pay, she just lets it go. She just moves on. She's not petty." "He's not a scorekeeper. He's just not like that. He's forgiving, that's what he is."  That's what people ought to be saying about you.  The more you get to know Jesus, the more it ought to be true in your life that you choose forgiveness.


  • How has Matthew 6:14-15 clarified or “complicated” my life when it comes to the issue of forgiveness?
  • Why is it important to realize I am not saved by forgiving?

Prayer: Dear Father, You are forgiving in ways that go beyond my understanding. Thank You for showing me that we cant’ begin to appreciate Your forgiveness until I practice it in a much smaller way myself. It is Your forgiveness that makes mine possible! Show me today where I can practice forgiveness more fully. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God 

5 CD Series Set - $35.00

What if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? 

Just how would believing God’s promises change your life?  

Ask the greatest Christian you’ll ever meet if they hold on to God’s promises and they’ll all say yes. Believing that God will do what He promises leads to a great life. The greatest Christian you’ll every meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

So what exactly does God promise?  In this topical study of what will always be true, Pastor James MacDonald will explore five great and precious promises that God keeps. Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true... always true.