“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
“How many times should we forgive someone who wrong us?” Peter asked Jesus. “As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “Not seven times, but as many as seventy-seven times (My paraphrase of Matthew 18:21-22).” In other words, Jesus is saying that we’re to continually forgive others, even those who let us down repeatedly.
Jesus teaches that when it comes to our sin, there’s no amount of being “good” enough or “religious” enough that can ever come close to covering the costs of our sin. It’s just an impossible debt to repay. That’s why God sent Jesus to willingly pay that sin debt in our place through His death on the cross. In doing so, Jesus chose to offer us forgiveness that we could never earn or deserve. It’s a forgiveness unlike anything the world has ever known – and it’s available for all who put their faith in Him.
And that’s where the story ends as we all live happily and forgiven-ever after. Right? Not quite. Jesus clearly teaches that once we’ve accepted God’s forgiveness, our sins are wiped clean. We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). But Jesus doesn’t stop there. Jesus clearly teaches that we are to forgive others who sin against us.
But certainly, that doesn’t mean forgiving EVERYONE, does it? What about those who simply show no remorse? Forgiving when the other person is sorry is one thing, but what about those who truly don’t care?
Take a look at Matthew 6:14-15. Jesus doesn’t say anything about forgiving only those who are sorry. There’s nothing about only forgiving those who are trying to make amends. The forgiveness that Jesus is talking about here is a decision of the will – no matter the injury. After all, even the biggest “sins” others commit against us are nothing compared to how we’ve sinned against God – sending Jesus to the cross for our sins. So, the question for Jesus followers is this: Are you willing to obey Jesus and forgive others – even when there’s no remorse? If we don’t, then our Heavenly Father will not forgive us.