Listen to today’s devo!

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matt. 6:14)

Expanded Passage: Matthew 6:12-15

I stopped at a parishioner’s home on my way back from a hospital visit. I had no particular reason to see her, except that she had missed the past few weeks of church. When I rapped on her screen door, seeing her standing in the adjacent room, I was not prepared for the volley of stinging darts that she hurled from her mouth. “Get out of here, Reverend! I don’t want you around here anymore! You sinned against me!” My mind raced, but I could not think of anything that I had done that would have warranted her indictment. Unable to get the specifics, I left hearing her say, “You know, you know …” But I didn’t, even though I apologized profusely.

For a large part of Christian history, sin was thought to be a victimless crime. When we are caught sinning, we generally couch it in personal morality: “I committed this sin,” or “I broke this law.” But the Lord’s Prayer reminds us that often people’s sins impact other people as well. Forgiving other people’s sins is not something we do with a magic wand; it requires us to let go of our own hurt and sense of vengeance, even if we are right.

God wants us to practice this kind of forgiving because when we do, we are more like God than at any other time.

Forgive someone today for something they did against you.

Rich Eckley is professor emeritus of theology at Houghton College (NY). He is an ordained Wesleyan minister and enjoys—with his wife Lynn—entertaining four active grandchildren.

© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.