“For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well.” Matthew 6:14 (HCSB)

While teaching the disciples how to pray Jesus told them to include “forgive as you are forgiven” (Matthew 6:12). What Jesus taught on forgiveness is no mystery. In fact, it is very straight forward and clear. So much so that it is implied in the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus clearly taught that forgiving others impacts God’s forgiveness toward us. Emphatically He said, if we do not forgive, the Father in heaven will not forgive us (Luke 6:37, Matthew 6:14-15)! Jesus even takes it a step further saying that when we don’t forgive, not only does the Father not forgive us, but He hands us over to the torturers until we do forgive (Matthew 18:21-35). Unforgiveness leads to anxiety, fear, and all sort of mental and physical illnesses! It becomes an open door for demonic oppression. In other words, unforgiveness is a very, VERY bad thing!

I realize that this truth is not popular, nor even preached about very much, but it is nonetheless the truth. And as we know it, the truth will set us free, that is, if we know and apply it (John 8:31-32). When we choose to not forgive someone we open ourselves up to all sort of problems. Btw, forgiveness is not forgetting or acting as if the offense had never happened. Forgiveness has more to do with you releasing the person who hurt you into God’s hands and trusting Him to deal with them. We cannot wait to forgive until we feel like it. Forgiveness is a choice of our will. We do so, because it is the right and best thing to do, not because our emotions want to. When we don’t forgive we step into the position of judge. Jesus said “judge not lest you be judged” (Matthew 7:1-2). And Jesus was pretty clear about the fact that there is only one Judge (James 4:12)!

Right now, ask the Lord to show you any and every person whom you have not forgiven. Then choose, by an act of your will to forgive them, one by one! After you forgive them, take time to bless them, asking God to reveal Himself to them as He is, in ways they have never experienced Him before. Ask for peace, joy, truth, righteousness, holiness and more of God’s holy presence in their lives. Thank the Lord for forgiving you and setting you free from the “torturers.”