You see, Christian, how terrible it is not to forgive your neighbor’s trespasses! If you forgive a man his trespasses, then God will also forgive you. If you do not forgive, then God will also not forgive you. How, then do you stand before God? And how much, then is your prayer worth? Almost nothing. When you become angry with your neighbor, you yourself will also be found in wrath before God. But this great calamity of yours comes from you yourself, since you are angry and will not forgive your neighbor his transgressions.
True, he has sinned against you, but you have sinned and yet still sin against God. He is your debtor, but you are God’s debtor. He begs forgiveness of you, but you beg forgiveness of God, you pray to God, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matt 6:12). If you forgive your neighbor from your heart, then you will pray from the heart and you will say these words to God truly and un-hypocritically. If you do not forgive your neighbor from your heart, then you will pray only with words and with your lips, and therefore hypocritically, and so your prayer will not only not benefit you, but it becomes sin. Do you see where wrath and enmity lead a man? Then conquer yourself, beloved, set aside your anger and forgive your neighbor everything, then you will pray sincerely and un-hypocritically, Father, forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matt 6:12), and you will be granted forgiveness of your debts. For the word of God is faithful, true and not false; whatever it says, it is just as it says, and what it promises it fulfils, and what it threatens us comes to pass if we do not repent. (to be continued)