I was listening to the Christian radio station, and the announcer said that he was going to share the memory verse for the week. It was Matthew 6:14-15, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” After reading the passage, the announcer said, “Isn’t that a wonderful verse to live by?” I about came out of my skin as I screamed at the radio, “NO! THAT IS A HORRIBLE VERSE TO LIVE BY! WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD WANT TO LIVE UNDER THAT VERSE?”
Fortunately, we do not have to live under that verse, isn’t that great news? Now, someone might say, “But Jesus taught that verse, so isn’t it binding on us today?” Yes, Jesus did teach it but he taught it pre-cross, before He died and was resurrected. In other words, He taught that verse under the Old Covenant economy! That means of course, that we are no longer under that economy because Jesus has instituted a new and better covenant!
I am so thankful that because of the New Covenant, I do not have to rack my brain every night trying to see if there is someone I have failed to forgive. That I can get some semblance of sleep without being terrified by the fear that there might be someone I have failed to forgive.
Now again, someone might ask, “But aren’t we supposed to forgive?” Yes, we are, but our responsibility to forgive comes with an entirely different motivation in the New Covenant.
In Ephesians 4:32, Paul states that we are to “Forgive one another, even as God for Christ’s sake, has forgiven us.” Did you see it? In the New Covenant economy, we are not forgiving others so that we will be forgiven, we are forgiving others BECAUSE we have already been forgiven. Now, that is a verse to live by!