First, we will become bitter. Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” When we are sinned against or offended, it is important that we quickly forgive the offender. When someone sins against us, we will either forgive or become bitter. Secondly, we will be tormented. Look up Matthew 18:33-35. Tormentors were like modern-day debt collectors; there were relentless. They followed and tormented those who owed a debt until it was paid. When we refuse to forgive, we will be tormented by anger and bitterness. Lastly, we surrender control to the Devil. Look up Ephesians 4:26-27. 2 Corinthians 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us…” If our anger is provoked because someone has sinned against us, we must take care of it before the sun goes down. Failure to do so will allow the Devil to have a place in our life.
First, we need to remember that justice is God’s business. Look up Romans 12:17 and 19. We should never attempt to pay back the wrong done to us when God clearly says He will repay. Secondly, forgiveness is an act of the will. Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” God Made a conscious decision to be merciful to our sins. Likewise, we should will ourselves to forgive those who have wronged us. We can decide to forgive those who have wronged us. We can decide to forgive even when we do not feel like we can forgive. Obedience will produce the right feelings.
Go ahead and reread Matthew 18:23-35.
The third step in forgiving those who have wronged us is to have compassion on the offender, as Christ did when He forgave us. Matthew 18: 27 “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.” The king chose to show compassion on the one who owed him a large debt. Likewise, we should have compassion on those who hurt us or sin against us. Lastly, we need to release the offender from all wrong. Look up Matthew 18:27. The Lord of the servant released him from a debt he could not repay. (The debt was millions of dollars.) In the same fashion, we are to release those who have sinned against us or hurt us. True forgiveness will result in no longer having negative feelings against our offender.
In preparation for this section, read Matthew 18:23-35.
In order for us to forgive, we must make a decision to settle our accounts. Like the king in Matthew 18:23, we must make a decision to settle the accounts with those who have hurt us. Secondly, we need to realize that Jesus Christ settled our account. Look up 1 John 2:2 and 12; and Luke 23:34. In Matthew 18:32-33, the king who forgave the servant of his account expected the servant to likewise forgive others. When we accept God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ, we are enabled to forgive those who hurt us. Jesus Christ chose to suffer for our sin, so we can choose to forgive those who hurt us.
It is impossible to go through life without being hurt. To be hurt, wronged, or treated unjustly is common. The Biblical response is forgiveness. Understanding God’s forgiveness helps us know how we can forgive others. As believers, we must prepare our hearts and minds to offer forgiveness. We should learn to forgive like Christ forgave us. One reason that we should forgive is because we have been forgiven. 1 John 2:12 “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” Look up Psalm 86:5 and 1 John 1:9. Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross demonstrates how far God went to forgive. In comparison, there is no offense done to us that we are not able to forgive. The second reason that we should forgive is because God commands us to forgive. Look up Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13.