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The Prison of Unforgiveness

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

C.S. Lewis

Many people who confess Christ and say they are believers in Him live joyless lives. Let's admit it, many of us (I include myself) have lived such joyless existences. Why? We look at the world, and we focus on what is wrong with it. We have not moved past that point, yet, and it is stunting our spiritual growth. What is the solution? Well, it's simple, but it's not at the same time. We have to see the world for what it is: a broken and lawless place where broken and lawless people do broken and lawless things to one another. We idealize this world, but because of Adam's sin, the ground is cursed (read Genesis 3, it has a lot to say on this subject!). All of us have wounds because of what other broken and lawless people have done to us, and we tend to bleed all over the place if we don't give this brokenness over to Jesus Christ. Peace comes through following Jesus, not on our terms, but on His. And this joy comes from letting things go. Forgiveness is the tool by which Jesus teaches us to let things go. Forgiveness doesn't excuse behavior or debt, it lets God be in His rightful place: the judgement seat. We no longer are playing judge, jury, and executioner over the people in our lives; forgiveness loosens the shackles and chains of the hurts that have been done for us. When we forgive, we no longer worry about what is owed to us, and, instead, we look to the One who forgave us our debts, who, as they were murdering Him, cried out "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." Broken people will always act brokenly, even when they think they are doing good (it's usually for their own benefit, or to give them a feeling that they are contributing to the world). Forgiven people forgive, because the debt we owe to God through our actions of rebellion is a price even greater than what is owed to us by others. Consider this story Jesus told His followers (below), and let Jesus' words sink in. I hope, then, you will forgive, and have the freedom and peace of Christ.

(Matthew 18:23-35) “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 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. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 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.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 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. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 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.”

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