“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” (Luke 6:31)
It is a remarkable phenomenon that those who want mercy from others can be the very ones who show so little mercy to others. When they fail another in some area they hope for patience and understanding from them; but then they go out and find someone who has failed them, and throw them into a prison of unforgiveness.
Jesus let us know how upset the Father is at this lack of mercy:
“Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:32-35)
Jesus laid out the standard: 1.) Do to others, not what they have done to you; but what you would want them to do to you. 2.) Show others the same kind of love and mercy that God has shown you. 3.) Be as generous, and kind, and as forgiving as God is.
“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:36-38)
The vast majority of people who miss heaven will do so because they would not release someone from the debt they were owed. “You should have loved me! You should have respected me! You should have cared!” Indeed, they should have. But do you want to be released from all the “should haves” in your life, (toward God and man,) that have been left unpaid? In the end, God will apply the same standard toward you that you have applied toward another. Can you afford to be unmerciful? If we justify our unforgiveness toward another, God will justify His unforgiveness toward us.
“For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (James 2:13)