For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14, 15 (NIV)
There is a cycle to grace. It could be a rhythm. It could be a dance. Whatever metaphor you want to use can almost apply.
The only non-negotiable part of grace is who shows grace first.
You could say it’s the same argument as the chicken or the egg as to which comes first.
Some might argue that you can’t receive grace until you extend grace.
I , however, see it as the chicken came first. And no, I’m not calling Jesus a chicken.
Because Jesus came first and gave his life, He made the first step in the dance of grace. Because we are now recipients of grace, we love by another law. The law of grace. This law requires us to forgive as we have been forgiven.
When we forgive, we are walking in the freedom of grace. When we let people go and absorb the consequence of their wrong, we give what we have freely received.
To not forgive is to forget we have been forgiven. To not forgive can be a signal to God that our trust isn’t really in what He did for us.
Forgiveness is the same as prayer. In that prayer is not not about our reputation with others but about our relationship with God.
Forgiving others is less about your relationship with other—this does not diminish how important our horizontal relationships are—and more about your relationship with your Heavenly Father.
It will always be hard to forgive others and forgive yourself without seeing that your relationship with God would not have been possible unless He had forgiven you.
Once we realize that we are forgiven because of God’s grace, we will be able to operate under a new law, one that extends forgiveness to others.
My Next Step
Extend forgiveness because I have been forgiven.