John 3:16 is a beautiful verse that speaks of the immeasurable gift that the Father gave of His Son for our forgiveness of sins. Even so, John 3:17 completes this thought; Jesus came not to condemn the world, but to save the world. One of the greatest things about redemption is that we are forgiven by God. He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. The point is east and west never meet. He castes our sins into the oceans, which is a type of death. They are forgotten and never seen again. The irony is that when we fail to forgive others, we are robbing ourselves of health, joy, and happiness. What is called the Lord’s Prayer says that we are to ask for our trespasses to be forgiven as (just the same as) we are to forgive others there trespasses. Trespasses are an old English word for sin.
If Jesus came into the world not to condemn the world, then why do so many Christians condemn others when they don’t know what’s inside the person. Only God can see what’s in a persons heart but humans, even Christians, tend to judge a book by its cover. We ask for forgiveness but often we are not ready to forgive others. There is something wrong about this picture.
There are times when we even get made at ourselves and can not forgive ourselves for mistakes. We are told to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves but we sometimes don’t forgive our neighbor or ourselves.
Many people don’t want to go to church because they say its full of hypocrites. I can tell them that there’s always room for one more, and if you find a perfect church don’t join it! There is no perfect church and Christians are far from perfect; just forgiven. So why do we quickly judge others and often harbor grudges? When we harbor grudges, we set mines in our own harbors where people fear to come.
If you choose to forgive others and they choose to not forgive you, you at least have met your obligation. However, only you can control your decision to forgive. Not forgiving is an issue of pride and God is known to resist the proud but to give grace to the humble. You can not be humble and unforgiving at the same time.
Two members of another church saw the new pastor walk unsteadily into the first floor of a building housing a bar. When he came back, he was in no apparent better shape than when he left. We wobbled back to his car and drove off. The two church members could not believe that the new pastor of the church down the street was drunk and had to tell some of the members of that church what they had seen. Only then did they find out that the new pastor had cerebral palsy and had difficulty walking. When it looked like he was going into the bar, he had actually been visiting a prospective member who lived in an apartment upstairs, above the bar.
For more on the subject of forgiveness, read What is the Unforgivable Sin? A Biblical Analysis