Summary: Here is a seed thought on forgiveness. Take it and develope it. This is an article I wrote for a newsletter that goes into several prisons in the U.S.
Must I Forgive?
MAT 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 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:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
LUKE 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
PSA 103:3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all they diseases;
MAT 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
MAT 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
The lesson this month is from the standpoint of a pastor. I see so many of God’s people who are defeated in their lives and don’t understand why. When you talk to them, you quickly see that they are full of bitterness and unforgiveness. When you ask them about it, they try to justify it. I hear, “you just don’t understand what they did to me.” They allow the emotion (hurt) of the offense to overrule what they know as true from the word of God. James talks about the man who hears the word and doesn’t do it as self- deceived. These people know that they should forgive, choose not to, and then go on like its ok with God. But it is not ok with God.
We need to realize the sins that God forgave us of when we want to hold our neighbors’ sin against him. Read the passage above and take it to heart. Ask yourself this question. Who do I hurt when I refuse to forgive? You are the one who suffers because you cannot be forgiven your sins when you refuse to forgive your neighbor of his sin.
Consider this story. Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: “Today my best friend slapped me in the face.” They kept walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: “Today my best friend saved my life.” The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone. Why?” The other friend replied: “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”
Learn to write your hurts in the sand and carve your benefits in stone.