Jesus then reminds the disciples of what is prayed in the LORD’S Prayer ever day, all around the world: If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven; if you don't forgive them, they aren't forgiven.
We cannot mistake the words of Jesus as if he were saying “forgiveness is an option.”
“Will I forgive, or will I not?” - forgiveness is never an option in the Kingdom of God. To forgive is divine; to fail to forgive is death.
Forgiveness IS the story.
Forgiveness IS the life and work of Jesus.
Forgiveness IS the heart and soul of the gospel.
Forgiveness IS the power of peace.
Peace with God.
Peace with one another.
Peace among the nations.
God did not fail in the work of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not an option for God.
As if God ponders the question:
Shall I forgive them or not?
Shall I release them from their sin, or shall I hold them accountable?
Shall I forget what they’ve done, so that we can all move on from here … or shall I wallow in my hurt and my pain, and constantly throw it in their face?
God doesn’t play games with forgiveness.
And neither must we.
But forgiveness always comes through the cross.
The New Testament is full of the language of the cross … our cross, our crucifixion, our death with Christ.
With Christ, our old instincts of violence and war are crucified, dead and buried.
The spirit of vengeance and grudge-holding that lurks in our heart …
Bitter memories that take up endless time and dominate our emotions …
We die with Christ on the cross.
So that the old can pass away, and we’re raised up with Christ, with something new at the center of our life, something new to give away, a better way to live and a better way to love.