If ye forgive men - He who shows mercy to men receives mercy from God. For a king to forgive his subjects a hundred millions of treasons against his person and authority, on this one condition, that they wilt henceforth live peaceably with him and with each other, is what we shall never see; and yet this is but the shadow of that which Christ promises on his Father's part to all true penitents. A man can have little regard for his salvation, who refuses to have it on such advantageous terms. See Quesnel.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses - If ye forgive others when they offend or injure you.
Your heavenly Father will also forgive you - This is constantly required in the Bible. See the notes at Matthew 6:12. Our Saviour says we should forgive even if the offence be committed seventy times seven times, Matthew 18:22. By this is meant, that when a man asks forgiveness, we are cordially and forever to pardon the offence; we are to declare our willingness to forgive him. If he does not ask forgiveness, yet we are still to treat him kindly; not to harbor malice, not to speak ill of him, to be ready to do him good, and be always prepared to declare him forgiven when he asks it, and if we are not ready and willing to forgive him; we are assured that God will not forgive us.
I saw that my husband had been too exacting toward those who were wrong and had injured him. He indulged dissatisfied feelings, which could be of no benefit to the erring and could but make his own heart very unhappy, unfitting it for the peace of God to dwell there, which would lead him in everything to give thanks. The Lord permitted his mind to be desponding in regard to his own errors and mistakes, and to nearly despair of forgiveness, not because his sins were of such magnitude, but that he might know by experience how painful and agonizing it would be to be without the forgiveness of God, and that he might understand the scripture: “If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” I saw that if God should be as exacting as we are, and should deal with us as we deal with one another, we might all be thrown into a state of hopeless despair. 1T 614.1
I was shown that God had suffered this affliction to come upon us to teach us much that we could not otherwise have learned in so short a time. It was His will that we should go to ——, for our experience could not have been thorough without it. He would have us see, and more fully understand, that it is impossible for those who obey the truth and are keeping His commandments, to live up to their convictions of duty and unite with the leaders at ——; so far as serving God is concerned, their principles can unite no better than oil and water. It is only those of the purest principles and the greatest independence of mind, who think and act for themselves, having the fear of God before them and trusting in Him, who can safely remain any length of time in ——. Those who are not thus qualified should not be advised to go to that institution, for their minds will become bewildered by the smooth words of its conductors and poisoned by their sophistry, which originates with Satan. 1T 614.2
Their influence and teachings in regard to the service of God and a religious life are in direct opposition to the teachings of our Saviour and His disciples. By precept and example they lower the standard of piety and say that they need not sorrow for their sins or separate from the world in order to be followers of Christ, but can mingle with the world and participate in its pleasures. These leaders would not encourage their adherents to imitate the life of Christ in prayerfulness, sobriety, and dependence upon God. Persons of conscientious minds and firm trust in God cannot receive one half as much benefit at —— as those can who have confidence in the religious principles of the leaders of that institution. The former have to stand braced against much of their teachings, so far as religious principles are concerned, sifting everything they hear lest they should be deceived and Satan obtain advantage over them. 1T 615.1Read in context »
The fact that we are under so great obligation to Christ places us under the most sacred obligation to those whom He died to redeem. We are to manifest toward them the same sympathy, the same tender compassion and unselfish love, which Christ has manifested toward us. Selfish ambition, desire for supremacy, will die when Christ takes possession of the affections. 5T 170.1
Our Saviour taught His disciples to pray: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” A great blessing is here asked upon conditions. We ourselves state these conditions. We ask that the mercy of God toward us may be measured by the mercy which we extend to others. Christ declares that this is the rule by which the Lord will deal with us. “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Wonderful terms! but how little are they understood or heeded. One of the most common sins, and one that is attended with most pernicious results, is the indulgence of an unforgiving spirit. How many will cherish animosity or revenge and then bow before God and ask to be forgiven as they forgive. Surely they can have no true sense of the import of this prayer or they would not dare to take it upon their lips. We are dependent upon the pardoning mercy of God every day and every hour; how then can we cherish bitterness and malice toward our fellow sinners! If, in all their daily intercourse, Christians would carry out the principles of this prayer, what a blessed change would be wrought in the church and in the world! This would be the most convincing testimony that could be given to the reality of Bible religion. 5T 170.2
God requires more of His followers than many realize. If we would not build our hopes of heaven upon a false foundation we must accept the Bible as it reads and believe that the Lord means what He says. He requires nothing of us that He will not give us grace to perform. We shall have no excuse to offer in the day of God if we fail to reach the standard set before us in His word. 5T 171.1Read in context »
The Lord Jesus has given special directions as to what each of His “little children” is to do. When we pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us,” do we do our part to answer this prayer? ...If our brother has ought against us, we are to leave on the altar the gift we have brought to God, and be reconciled to our brother. Then we are to come and offer our gift. This is the only way in which we can keep in our hearts the peace of God.—Letter 12, January 11, 1903, , to Edson White. TDG 19.5Read in context »