In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18: 34-35
I know it is very hard to forgive someone who betrayed you, who lied on you, who stole something or someone from you and spread malicious rumours about you. However, God does not want us to have unforgiveness in our heart otherwise we become toxic. Toxic in the sense that we will be full of anger, hatred and bitterness in our hearts.
Sometimes we wonder why our prayers are unanswered. Perhaps it is because of unforgiveness in our hearts. Some of us say we forgive but every time we see that individual that hurts us, our attitude changes and we want to go in a different direction. I am not suggesting you become bosom buddies with that person, just do not hold them in your heart for the wrong they have done. Forgive them and move on so you can be free from the torture of sleepless nights, bitterness and anger.
In the book of Mathew 18 part of the story is about a servant who owed his master so much debt. He begged his master for time and patience. His master had pity on him and cancelled his debt. This same servant however, had a coworker who owed him money and he began to choke his coworker and demanded he repay his debt. His co worker asked him for time and patience but he refused and sent his coworker to go to prison. The King heard about this and was furious and in turn put the servant in prison the debt was repaid. The point is the master had forgiven his servant but yet the servant turned around and did not forgive his coworker. What a hypocrite?
How many times should you forgive?
The Bible clearly tells us we must forgive as many times as possible and therefore it is limitless on how many times you should forgive.
There are some people who hurt you over and over again. Husbands and wives cheating over and over again on each other. I am not suggesting you stay with your spouse because the Bible gives you grounds for divorce for marital unfaithfulness. However, you must learn to forgive and move on.
Christians have unforgiveness toward others and it may just be a simple misunderstanding. Politicians and supporters have unforgiveness towards others especially if you criticized them. Brothers and sisters have unforgiveness toward each other. You do not have to be friends but do the right thing and forgive one another.
Why should you forgive?
- God wants us to forgive one another. It is even part of the Lord’s prayer in Luke 11:2-4.
- To be at peace.
- To remove any stumbling blocks from your prayer life.
- To have a healthy spiritual and physical life.
- God will forgive us too. The Bible says if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us.
How should you forgive?
One of the hardest things in the forgiveness process is the initial approach to that individual. Build up the courage and strength to approach the individual and let them know you forgive them. They may reject you but you would have done your part. Whenever you see them, say good morning or good evening even if they do not respond.
If you find it hard to approach them, then invite third party such as your pastor to join you when you plan to approach the individual for forgiveness.
Perhaps a single phone call is just what you need to do. The other person may be also waiting to do the same thing but because of pride, he or she does not want to be the first. If you are afraid of the phone call, then send a message by text or so and follow up with a phone call.
It is going to be very difficult for you to forget about the situation that cause the unforgiveness. You may never forget about it but you can always forgive.
Emphasize with the other person from their point of view. If it was you that had done the wrong, wouldn’t you want them to forgive you? Emphasize also with the other person from God’s point of view.
I know some of you are saying He or she who feels it, knows it. Some people have done some mean things to you. Some people have molested and raped your family members. Some people have murdered some of your family members and they cannot bring them back to life. Some of these individuals have no remorse for their actions and so it is very challenging for some of you to even consider forgiving them for their actions.
It is not easy and it will not happen overnight because we have emotions and we feel hurt. I believe in order to forgive some of individuals, it will require the intervention and guidance of God. Therefore, ask God to help you and direct you in this process and I know he will.