Matthew 6:12 KJV
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
Supposing you have a friend, someone you’re very close to and comfortable with. You share a rather shameful secret with that friend. Then someone finds out that secret, and in turn judges you to your face. All the shame and fallout you are trying to avoid come crashing down on you.
So you become angry because you think that your friend has exposed your secret. In a fit righteous fury, you march up to her and accuse her of such. She denies it vehemently, but you refuse to believe her. In the spur of the moment, you break off your friendship with her, and march away, certain that you have done the only right thing by you.
Then, a few days later, you find out that she is not the one who exposed your secret after all. Rather, it is you yourself who has done that during a moment of carelessness and pure distraction.
You realize your mistake. You have unjustly accused a person, even worse your friend, without concrete proof. To add insult to injury, you threw that friend away.
Remorsefully, you go to her and explain the situation. Tearfully, you ask for forgiveness. Hopefully, you seek a reconciliation and renewed friendship. Realistically, you think it might not be that easy to fix this whole mess.
But wonder of wonders, your friend smiles sweetly and says, “It’s alright, I forgive you. Of course, we can be friends again. In fact, I never stopped thinking of you as my friend!”
Cue more tearful words and hugs, and all is right in your world again.
Now I ask you, could it be that easy? Are there really people like that friend who forgives easily and sincerely?
Apparently, it could be and there are.
Now, imagine the situation being reversed, and you’re that friend. You’re the one being unjustly accused and cast away. You’re branded untrustworthy and traitorous. Would you have found it so easy to forgive and forget? Could you do it with a sweet smile on your face and an honest desire to let bygones be bygones?
I actually have asked these questions in a group discussion. The general consensus was: everyone wants and needs forgiveness, but not everyone feels that they could give forgiveness.
Why are we like this though? When we’re the ones who make mistakes or crimes, we want others to forgive us. We hope and even beg for their forgiveness. We depend on their grace to spare us from a harsh judgement. When they do forgive, we are rightfully thankful and relieved. But then, when others ask or beg for our forgiveness, we hesitate to give it. We don’t think that they deserve it, at least not immediately. We judge them.
Matthew 6:14-15 KJV
“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.”
We use forgiveness as a weapon to manipulate others, emotionally and mentally. We lord it over them and they become our ‘slave’. In time, we become those self-righteous people we despise. And in the end, in God’s eyes, we are the one in danger of judgement. We would need His grace and forgiveness then. Would we get them? Would we deserve them?
So the question ‘to forgive or not to forgive’ is actually very important, simply because the answer will determine our own end.
I say though, forgive and be forgiven.