Have you ever said to yourself “I am never going to forgive them!” what about, “I’ll forgive them, but I’ll never forget”. Many times, out of hurt feelings and anger, we choose to hold onto pain instead of forgiving, letting go, and yes, forgetting.
In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus tells a parable that describes the majority of us today. A man who owed millions begs for his enormous debt to be forgiven because he did not have the means to pay it off. He is granted his request by a forgiving king, the man then leaves and sees a man in the street who owes him a small amount of money (incomparable to what he had owed the king) and demands that that man be sentenced to prison until he pays him back in full.
Jesus paid the highest price to our King so that we may live free and forgiven. Just as the man who was in debt millions of dollars did not deserve his freedom, we did nothing to earn or deserve ours. We don’t want to admit it but in the past, we too, have acted just as this man in the parable. Jesus mercifully forgives us but then we live with unforgiveness and bitterness in our hearts towards coworkers, old friends, and even strangers.
The Bible says that the Lord will not forgive us unless we forgive one another (Matthew 6:15). You may have experienced deep hurt or betrayal, but is it worth it to have something hindering yours and your Heavenly Father’s relationship? Holding onto a grudge does not only limit your fellowship with God, it can consume your mind, cause anxiety, depression, and a hardened heart.
The Cross is another perfect example that we can learn from. After being beaten beyond recognition, betrayed by His disciples, mocked, and nailed to the cross, Jesus looked up to Heaven and said, “Father forgive them..” You may have experienced real hurt and betrayal, my point is not to make light of those times, but if our Savior can be forgiving in the most gruesome and horrific of circumstances, we can certainly walk in love towards those around us.
Forgiveness does not always come easy, it is a choice and can take time. If you’ve been holding onto painful experiences of the past for months, or even years, you may be able to choose to finally forgive, but forgetting could take more effort. Rely on the Lord, ask for His help in letting go of what was said or done to you.
Even when we’ve messed up 100 times, God still willingly, without hesitation, forgives us. Choose to be like our Heavenly Father today.