This is a difficult passage to process. It’s easy enough to understand. It’s just difficult to execute.
Jesus offers here forgiveness of sin. That is an amazing offer. For the price of asking, involving no animal sacrifice whatsoever, Jesus says we can ask God to forgive our sins, and He will. That is a revolutionary idea. But here’s the kicker. You must also be willing to pass along that same extraordinary forgiveness to others. “Freely you have received, freely give.” This is a theme that Jesus repeats in the parable of the unjust servant, who is forgiven a great debt, but cannot forgive a much smaller one from a fellow servant. The unjust servant is punished by the master for failure to forgive.
It turns out this forgiveness comes at a price. It’s no Faustian bargain, but it feels like it. Faust traded his soul for worldly riches and honors. We trade our “right” to be bitter at others sleights against us for eternity in Heaven. We can no longer hold grudges. We can’t keep a record of wrongs. Though we may be angry, we do not sin in our anger. Can we give these things up?
That’s the price of eternal forgiveness. It’s easy to understand, but difficult to carry out. I hope that today, if you are working through anger and resentment, God give you the grace to do so. I’d hate that you missed heaven because you treasured your grudges more.