Before we start discussing the topic of forgiveness, I want you to first sincerely consider the following instructions given by Jesus:
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25, NIV)
So often, I have found myself saying this to one of my children, “If you would look in the mirror when you are speaking with this attitude, you would surely see how intimidating you would be to the one you are talking to.”
The plank in our own eyes, do we see it? We perceive and hear and feel how the other person wronged us, but how often do we take a moment to review ourselves and how we act and speak in the very same conflict? Let me ask you a question. Has God given us His commandments so that we can judge others, or so that we can use them to measure ourselves and realize how much we have fallen short of His holiness?
In chaper 8 of the book of John, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. (verses 1-11) What does Jesus want us to learn from this account? He offers everyone there the right to be the judge of the woman, as long as the person who judges is without sin himself. (Verse 7) He then offers forgiveness to the woman who sinned along with a command - go now and leave your life of sin. (verse 11) Jesus did not look at the speck of sawdust in her eye. Instead, He made the decision to forgive. “Has no one condemned you? ...Then neither do I condemn you.” (verses 10, 11)
Jesus receives no pleasure in bringing condemnation, but He does in giving forgiveness. He expects the same for all who follow Him. We must pay attention to the parable about the unmerciful servant. Jesus used this parable to teach Peter how we are to forgive continuously (Matthew 18:21-35). Make sure you take serious note of the end of this passage:
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
“…unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Our Father does not desire to see us simply being a peacekeeper or hear us give a verbal apology, He looks at our heart.
My dear friends, pay attention to the plank in your own eye. We can know that we are forgiven when we stop condemning those who sin against us.