For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15

This may be the most direct, easily understood and often taught saying of Jesus. So, why is the church so divided over the trespasses of others? How many Christian friendships have been broken and how many churches split apart over unforgiveness?

It is tragically ironic that such a saying – and the consequences of not doing it – has had so little response in the church. We have become too much like the world: quickly offended and slow to forgive.

Perhaps the easy “once saved, always saved” gospel has turned this saying of Jesus into an option. Ongoing forgiveness from our heavenly Father is no longer a matter of concern for many church leaders and their congregants, so why worry about forgiving others (or seeking another’s forgiveness).

So, let me ask you: What does it mean if the Father does not forgive someone’s trespasses? Will He allow such a person into His presence? Does the blood of Jesus somehow make this saying of His null and void? If so, then we would have to surmise that this saying is only for the lost. That is the only way it would make sense, but it doesn’t. The bad fruit is readily apparent.

Pride is not the only sin that our enemies leverage to divide the body of Christ. Unforgiveness has been used to drive wedges between and within fellowships for millennia. What seems like a slight offense often metastasizes into a deadly cancer: division in the church.

And let’s not deceive ourselves regarding the importance of this matter to our Lord. His bride must make herself ready, and she will not be dismembered. We must become more aware of the threat of unforgiveness and more aggressive in its eradication. The Son has been praying to the Father for our unity for over 2000 years now. It is high time we responded to His encouragement. Why not begin with the forgiveness of others?

Whatever your opinion on the conditions for salvation, certainly we can agree that the consequences of even one unforgiven trespass will be tragic. Perhaps we should take some time for a heart examination. Let’s not be so naïve to think that we are free in this area, and let’s not underestimate the consequences.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

God bless you with courage and faith to pursue forgiveness with all who have wronged you in some way.

Humbly yours and forever His,