“For if you forgive men their trespasses, you're heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
- NIV Matthew 6:15
The greatest need of all people is forgiveness. Every person knows what it is like to lie, steal, hate, lust, be jealous, desire evil towards others, and the list goes on. When we are the guilty party, we are quick to ask for mercy and understanding. “I didn’t mean it” (when we know we did). “It was a mistake” (when we planned it beforehand). And when someone commits one of the above mentioned mistakes (sins) against us, we are quick to condemn. When Jesus taught on prayer in the previous verses, he mentions an important principle two times. The second time He mentions it (v. 15), it seems like it doesn’t belong. I believe Jesus is pointing out an answer to an age-old question, “Why does it seem like God isn’t answering my prayers?” Jesus let’s us know that the main reason why prayer is hindered, is directly related to our willingness to forgive others who have wronged us. When we, Christ followers, who have been forgiven, fail to forgive others, we take the place of God. We are actually saying, “I will NOT forgive you,” while all along God is saying, I WILL forgive you,” to that same person. Who are we, who have been forgiven for so much, to now put ourselves in a place of judgment and pride declaring, “You are not worthy of forgiveness and grace.” Jesus loved and paid for the sins of the “whole world.” He loves and died for the very person we are holding unforgiveness against, and for that reason, God will not forgive our trespasses (will not respond to our prayers). James 4:6 says, "God opposes the proud (Those who think they are faultless) and gives grace to the humble" (those who acknowledge their own sin first). The truth is, when we are prideful, we are actually resisting God, and not walking in humility and grace. God wants to answer our prayers, but He will not let us walk in willful disobedience and blessing at the same time. Who makes your stomach turn when you think about them? That is a clear sign of unforgiveness. Ask the LORD to forgive you for being prideful and judgmental; and pray for and forgive the individual you are judging. God wants you to live like Jesus and wants to answer your prayers.