Read: Matthew 18:21-35
It is not easy to forgive a person who has done harm to you. To follow Christ, we must have the ability to forgive those who have wronged us in any manner. The model prayer which Jesus taught says, “Forgive those who have sinned against us” (Matt. 6:12). Although you pray it, you might find it difficult to execute forgiveness. From our heart if we forgive others, our Heavenly Father will also forgive our sins and if we refuse to forgive, our Heavenly Father will also refuse to forgive us (Matt. 6:14-15). Paul the apostle admonished various churches in Corinth, Colossae, and Ephesus to be tender-hearted to one another and to forgive one another as Christ had forgiven them (2 Cor. 2:10; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13).
Joseph chose to forgive his brothers who tried to kill him. Joseph said to his brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20). Joseph’s act of forgiveness helped save his brothers and their descendants from severe famine. They were allowed to stay in Egypt, due to their brother Joseph.
When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother, Jesus in fact told him to forgive his brother seventy times seven. By that, Jesus meant that we should forgive over and over, just as God forgives us over and over. He set us an example of forgiving those who wronged Him. He was innocent and blameless, yet His enemies crucified Him. He was crucified among two criminals, naked, beaten and whipped beyond recognition and faced abandonment from His disciples and followers at the time of need. Yet Jesus chose to forgive everyone. Later, after His resurrection, He visited His disciples and strengthened them to spread the gospel.
Bless and pray for those who persecute you (Luke 6:28, Rom. 12:14). Although it may be hard, it is worth it. If we have an unforgiving spirit, God will not hear our prayers. Mark 11:25 says, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” If God can forgive us, let us take a step to forgive others.