Jesus said, If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15).
Picture a courtroom. The jury is in place, the lawyers are ready, and the judge sits on the bench. The person who wronged you is brought into the room. You scream, jump to your feet, and hit the person over and over again. The bailiff and lawyers try to restrain you, but you can’t be contained because that person does not deserve forgiveness.
The judge bangs his gavel and pronounces his verdict – “as you have spoken, so it will be done to you. If that person doesn’t deserve forgiveness, neither do you.”
Our choices are limited. We can forgive others and be forgiven. Or, we can keep a tally of their sins. The problem is, our sins also continue to be tallied.
Which sins would you want remaining on your record?
The person most hurt by not forgiving … is you.
When God tells us to forgive, He is not questioning the reality of your wounds, or the level of your pain, or that you have been sinned against. Forgiveness is not what you do for them; it is a gift to yourself. And with that gift comes, freedom, peace of mind, and right fellowship and relationship with God.
Forgiveness does not release their debt. Forgiveness of others releases our debt.
If you don’t forgive, you remain chained to your offender, continually offended by that offense, and that experience. When you refuse to forgive, when you continue to wallow in the wrongs committed against you, you are refusing the blood of the lamb—the blood that is deep enough, red enough, cleansing enough, to heal and erase the hurt, the anger, and the frustrations.
I know a person who is still angry at someone who has been dead for decades. Anger has done nothing but stagnate growth—causing bitterness, illness, and a lack of connection with those around them. I’ve seen people turn into a version of the very person they hated, because that is what consumed them — that is who they thought about, and that is what they became. An unforgiving spirit fouls up everything—including attitudes, and relationships with others and with God. The garbage of unforgiveness is heavy, depressing, smelly, stinky, and rots from the inside out.
Through Christ, we find the power to forgive, and through Him we receive our healing. Release your burden to Him. Not part, not just a little, but all. You can be chained to your heartache and your unforgiving spirit or you can be released today.
Let’s replay the courtroom scenario. The date arrives and the person who wronged you appears before the judge. You forgive—not because the person deserves forgiveness—you forgive because Christ has forgiven you. The judge listens quietly and pronounces his verdict. The person who wronged you is convicted. With a righteous Judge, the punishment always fits the crime. Forgiveness unlocks the chains that chained you.
Jesus reaches out with compassion, mercy, and grace. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Justice is served and you walk free.
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