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“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your father in heaven may forgive your sins.” Mark 11:25
Some people think Jesus told us we cannot receive forgiveness unless we give forgiveness because some grand bartering is being struck between us and God. They think that God is saying He will not forgive unless we forgive.
Forgiving others is not bartering with God. When we forgive we participate in and bear the life of God. It is a law of life. We cannot hold to opposites at the same time. We cannot receive the new unless we let go of the old.
Forgiveness is not a feeling. Forgiveness is a decision we make. We are deciding that we will not let a broken relationship, a betrayal, an injury or an evil determine how we will live. It is a simple a fact that when we cannot make the decision to forgive someone that we are captive to the sin they perpetuated against us. We are bound to the moment of the transgression instead of living for new and more inspired moments.
Indeed, to ask for forgiveness and to give forgiveness takes a great deal of determination and courage. Yet, it is a maxim that we are better off if we clear our conscience and forgive others. Forgiveness is the way we stay free to pursue life and enjoy its benefits. It is the way we keep a living relationship with God our Father.