Forgiveness is a hard word for many people. We are all products of our experiences. And let's face it, unforgiveness is probably one of the biggest issues Christians face. It is the mosttalked about subject in church; we LOVE that Jesus has forgiven us. Yet, time and time again, I've heard it in several churches "I just can't forgive him/her for that." Unforgiveness causes division, and sows the seed of discord in every home and church where God is present...if not dealt with. Forgiveness. Don Henley wrote about it in "The Heart of the Matter": I'm learning to live without you now But I miss you sometimes The more I know, the less I understand, All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again I've been tryin' to get down To the heart of the matter But my will gets weak And my thoughts seem to scatter But I think it's about forgiveness Forgiveness Even if, even if you don't love me anymore
Jesus talked about it in the Lord's Prayer (And the verse after this meditation) "Forgive us our debts, as we forgiver our debtors." Unforgiveness has a price: if we do not forgive, Our heavenly Father will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). It does not matter what someone does to hurt us; we MUST forgive them. Unforgiveness destroys us; it sows within us seeds of bitterness, anger, and hatred. It rules our lives, and holds us hostage from the Joy the Father wishes to lavish on us. It keeps us a prisoner in our own minds, and gives those we don't forgive power over us as often as we think about them.
Forgiveness sets us free. Learning to forgive the debts of those who owe us, who've hurt us, who deserve it makes us like God who, in Christ, forgives us for our many trespasses. You cannot feel love for God and hatred for someone else, It's impossible. Even as God punishes and, someday, judges, it is all done in Love. We do not sit on the judgement seat; even the worst of us is someone for whom Christ has died. C. S. Lewis said it this way: "To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." C.S. Lewis, On Forgiveness in The Weight of Glory Here are some great resources in dealing in forgiveness: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/forgive-us-our-debts-as-we-forgive-our-debtors
Matthew 18:21-35 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.[a] 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.[b]25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant[c] fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii,[d] and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers,[e] until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
b. Matthew 18:24 A talent was a monetary unit worth about twenty years' wages for a laborer
d. Matthew 18:28 A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer
e. Matthew 18:34 Greek torturers