As I continue to study our text for next Sunday, Matthew 6:14-15, I have come across yet another interesting treatment of what Jesus meant. Trevin Wax uses the following illustration to illustrate that one who has been forgiven should forgive:
A crucial part of Jesus’ Kingdom message was the announcement of forgiveness. Many times, before Jesus would heal someone, He would announce their sins forgiven. He called His disciples to forgive others no matter how many times they had been wronged. He demanded His followers forgive not only the personal offences of their neighbors, but also their outstanding financial and social debts. Within this ministry of forgiveness, Jesus states that one cannot refuse to forgive others and still hope to bask in God’s forgiveness.
It does not help you to have one artery clear for blood to come rushing to your heart if the artery going out from your heart is blocked. A heart attack is still inevitable. You cannot stay alive by simply taking in one big breath of air and refusing to exhale. You cannot climb a tree and expect to remain up high if you cut off the branch you are sitting on.
Forgiveness works the same way. You cannot expect to receive God’s forgiveness unless you are an open vessel through which His mercy can flow on out to others. A blocked artery that refuses to allow blood to be pumped through will only cause heart failure. If we think we have accepted God’s forgiveness but are not forgiving others their debts, spiritually, we are as good as dead.
He is right. Unless we are willing to forgive, we should consider ourselves forgiven.
Wax - Why an Unforgiving "Christian" is Unforgiven