“Forgive and you will be forgiven….For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Usually, when I read this verse I consider the negative sense: If I am stingy with my forgiveness toward others, then God will withhold forgiveness from me. If I am meager with my own giving and generosity, then God’s abundance will be withdrawn from me. This is where our minds tend to go in our scarcity-driven society; we operate in a quid-pro-quo mentality.
But what if we flip the script and consider the positive implications of this passage? Because God has already been so lavish, so reckless, and so generous in giving away forgiveness, love, compassion, and mercy, we now have the same opportunity to give it all away to others. We can afford to release our forgiveness into the world, spilling it over the rims, overflowing the edges—because there is always more where that came from. We do not need to live in a scarcity-mentality when it comes to God’s forgiveness, mercy, and grace. God offers enough to go around.
That is not to say forgiveness will be easy; forgiveness is a difficult thing, and it is a choice we must make daily—just as we have to decide each day to take up our cross and follow Christ. But we have the opportunity to forgive with the same measure that we have already been forgiven, which is to say, “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over” and pouring over with abundance.