“Should not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?”
Nothing is imprinted in our memory bank any stronger then when someone offends us. When someone has done us wrong, we tend to hold on to it tightly. The grip of ungraceful has sobering consequences. That is why Jesus wanted his followers to understand the need to forgive and release one another from offenses. Forgiveness is not quite easy; it is one of the most difficult things to accomplish in the universe. Ghandi said “The weak can never forgive; forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” It is not only the attribute of the strong it is also a requirement for God’s people. We are called to be forgiving people.
In Matthew 6:14-15, our Lord Jesus said if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. When Peter asked Jesus how often he should forgive a brother who sinned against him, the Lord surprised everyone with His answer of ‘seventy times seven’. Then He told a story about a servant in Verse 23-35 about a servant who had received forgiveness and failed to pass it on. As God freely forgives us so He requires that we extend what we have received to others.
Un-forgiveness is a serious matter in the eyes of God. Forgiveness can be difficult; at times forgiveness does not make sense. It is just not fair for the victim choosing to let the offender off the hook. No revenge, no retribution, it just seems unfair, yet God offers this unfairness to us and commands us to pass it on to others.
Resolve not to let the offense cause you to sin, do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Refuse to harden your heart toward the offender, when we are offended, it is easy for the mental walls to go up and we say things like; I will never speak to them again or I will never go to that Church with them again. A hardened heart leads to bitterness.
Remind yourself everyone is fallible and capable of making mistakes, forgiveness is much easier when we give up the false notion that people will always live up to your expectations. It is unrealistic to expect people will always act decently and respectively toward you. Realize resentment carries a high price, holding a grudge takes mental, emotional and physical energy. It makes you obsessive, angry and depressed.
True forgiveness requires God’s help, with God’s love and power, forgiveness is always possible. If you have not forgiven someone today you must make it a point to forgive him or her. Until you do, you will be in a prison and it is a prison without bars but believe me it is a prison nonetheless. Forgiveness is Christianity in action.
Garment of Praise
Monthly Insights for Spiritual Growth, Encouragement and Personal Victory.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.
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