It is time to forgive.

 

Unwanted pain is part of the human experience in this fallen world. We are all born with a sin nature that despises God and hates others. We are able to love God and love others only because He first loved us and caused us to be born again. The new creature that we become in Christ is able by the grace of God to love Him and love others.
 

Still, we struggle. The pain that we inflict on one another is real. I have known many men who were driven to the brink of insanity by a wife who has left. I have seen the pain in the eyes of a child who has been abused. I have experienced the pain of being betrayed by friends. In too many of these situations, pain shortly gives way to anger, and anger gives way to sin.

 

All of us probably have some wrong that has been done to us that occasionally stirs our anger. When that righteous indignation kindles and starts to grow warm, that is the time we must forgive. Here are a few reasons why:

 
1. You have been forgiven much more than you will ever be asked to forgive. In Matthew 18, Jesus tells the story of a king who decided to call on his debtors to pay what they owed. One debtor owed an exorbitant amount, ten thousand talents (a talent was equivalent to a labor’s wage for twenty years). The debtor could not pay, so he begged the king to give him more time to pay back what he owed. His pleas moved the king to totally cancel the debt. That same servant then went and found a fellow servant that owed him a much smaller amount, (less than three months wages), seized him, and began to choke him telling him to pay what he owed.
 
The king heard what happened. He was indignant with the unforgiving debtor and threw him in prison until he could pay back every talent he owed. Jesus concluded the story with this statement, “So also my heavenly father will do to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
 
Christian, do you need to be reminded how much you have been forgiven? Is it right to hold your debtors to what they owe, whose debt is nothing in comparison to the debt you owed the Father? It is time to forgive.
 
2. You cannot be forgiven until you forgive. After teaching His disciples to pray, “forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors,” Jesus said, “if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
 
What if God only forgave you in the same measure that you forgive others? It is a terrifying question to consider. Even more terrifying is the fact that this is not a hypothetical question. This is indeed what the Savior has said. Do not expect to be forgiven if you will not forgive.
 
Christian, how much do you want God to forgive you? Do you want to be completely absolved of the guilt of sin? Do you want Him to show you mercy? Then you must be willing to show others mercy. It is time to forgive.
 
3. Unchecked anger gives way to all kinds of evil. The Holy Spirit inspired the author of Hebrews to write, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled” (12:15). Bitterness gives way to jealousy and selfish ambition. James says that these behaviors are “earthly, unspiritual, and demonic” (3:13-18).
 
No one sets out to be captured by the devil to do his work, but they become quickly ensnared, who allow bitterness to grow unrestrained. Christian, do you want to follow Christ or the devil? Do you want to produce a harvest of righteousness, or leave death and destruction in the wake of your life? It is time to forgive.
 

It is time to let go. I do not mean to minimize your pain. It is there and it is real. What is also real, however, is the pain you are inflicting on yourself, on others, and on God by your unforgiveness. Please, it is time to forgive.