Matthew 18:33-34:Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
Ephesians 4:31-32:Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.
Forgiving others is tough. At the root of un-forgiveness is fear and anger. Those two emotions are poison to our mind, our heart, and our bodies. It is clear from scripture that bitterness, rage, and anger are all the fruit of un-forgiveness. When we get bogged down with the load of hurt, anger, and fear in our hearts, we make others a target of our wrath. We seek to unload that on them. We see them as the accused who must pay for our hurt. What scripture shows us in Matthew is that we have all fallen short and have been forgiven a huge debt of our own. One we have no means to pay for. That cost was paid for us at the cross through Jesus. That debt is so massive that any debt, any wrong, anything that could happen to us in this life, pales in comparison to that which we have been forgiven for. When we go around holding on to our forgiveness toward others, scripture says that we are sent to prison and we are tortured until we find a way to pay our debt!
That is scary stuff. The prison that Jesus is talking about is the prison in our own minds. We will continue day in and day out torturing ourselves with hate, anger, hurt, and frustration. What happens is that grace is of no use to us because we so desperately want the punishment of the law on others while we ourselves need grace.
Is it easy to just forgive others even if what they did to us is incomprehensible? No, it is not easy until we remember and comprehend our own debt that has been paid.
The Lord will not throw us in prison, it is ourselves who reject grace who are subject to our own righteousness. When we get caught up in our own righteousness judging others we become trapped and desperate to live right, to the point of trying to work our way to heaven. Why? Because when we reject grace toward others, it is because we are focused on the law we are said to have fallen from grace (Ephesians 5:4-You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.) This is the real prison filled with torture.
When we bring our perspective of forgiveness from Jesus' point of view we can agree that nothing in this life is beyond forgiving and so we must with Jesus' eyes see others forgiven before they sin against us. We are the debtors as well as the ones who are owed, and yet we have the means through Jesus to be liberated from all of it.
Do we have to become door mats to accomplish this? No way, and in fact it takes real strength to have a forgiving heart. It takes the mind of Christ ( which we have 1Cor.2:16) to have a forgiving heart and it takes a desire to receive grace and peace to have a forgiving heart. You see we have been afforded all of these things through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Receive the truth of forgiveness and let Jesus restore the wrongs. Revenge is mine says the Lord (Rom. 12:19). We don’t have to concern ourselves with restoration, or revenge. We have to see Jesus in all things and know that regardless of what happens, He first forgave us brothers and sisters. Forgive even yourselves and others. We have been liberated from the cell of the law. There is no need to jump back in it for anyone else's mistakes.Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org