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Set Free From Self Righteousness

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14-15).

When we have been wronged, it is natural to feel grieved and even angry. When evil is done to us, we clearly see the brokenness and sickness of this world and we want someone to pay.

The truth is someone did pay. That person is Jesus, and He is returning again to set every wrong right. It’s healthy to mourn over what shouldn’t be, but we should take that emotion to the foot of the cross. There, we find the grace we need to forgive others as we were first forgiven.

One of the biggest barriers to forgiveness comes from the unspoken belief that our enemies do not deserve Christ’s grace. Only we do. The ugly truth is that when we nurse a grudge we minimize our own sinfulness before a holy God, and we minimize the grace Christ poured out on the cross to rescue us from His wrath.

The shocking command to forgive our enemies relentlessly, no matter how heinously they have wronged us—to actually bless them with good—should force us to see that all forgiveness is possible only through the cross. If we harbor unforgiveness, we show that we haven’t first trusted in Christ’s total forgiveness. His forgiveness sets us free from self-righteousness and self-reliance so we can live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

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