“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Verses 14 and 15 are an addendum to and explanation of verses 12 and 13.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
God does not base forgiveness of sin on our forgiveness of others. There is a link between God’s forgiveness and our reciprocal forgiveness towards others. There is direct correspondence between the way God forgives and the way we forgive. Our forgiveness of others takes incentive from God’s forgiveness.
The word “trespass” means to cross over a line. The idea is intentional violation of God’s standard. We step over a clear line drawn by God.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Non-forgiveness does not imply that the death of Christ for our sins has no effect if we do not forgive others; however, non-forgiveness does affect our fellowship with God on a daily basis.
Our view of forgiving others is an indication of our view of God’s forgiveness.
The idea of forgiveness is to release other people from their obligation towards us. We grant them freedom from their wrong towards us. Forgiveness is costly.
If we retaliate against someone for an offense against us, that is the opposite of forgiveness. It is a tit-for-tat mentality. This makes us judges who dispense whatever judgment we deem necessary.