We must take Jesus at his word. If we do not forgive others, we will not be forgiven by our heavenly Father.
In our culture, people do not mean what they say. A person’s word is not taken seriously. We have been dulled, acclimated, and accept as normal that people lie when they are talking. But now we must work against this tendency to not speak the truth. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
Mark 11:24-26 New King James Version (NKJV)
24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Jesus meant what he said. When Jesus speaks, he wants us to take him seriously. He says this many times.
Matthew 6:14-15 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Luke 6:3 7 New King James Version (NKJV)
37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Matthew 6:12 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
There are consequences to our unforgiveness. We don’t want to take Jesus word seriously. But the way we forgive — the way we release and restore another person is the way we will be forgiven.
We cannot forgive in our own strength. The flesh is not strong enough. The flesh is weak according to the scripture. But through Christ all things are possible. All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me. So we know that when we receive Christ . . . When we allow him to work through us. . . When we receive him and allow him and give it to him — When we lay it down at the foot of the altar, at the foot of the cross — When we lay it down at the cross — When we exchange ashes for beauty, sorrow for joy, then we can receive the strength to forgive.