Matthew 18:21-22 New International Version (NIV)
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
If you look close at the interaction between Peter and Jesus, you can almost read Peter’s mind. At what point am I released to be able to harbor unforgiveness? At what point does the other person really deserve my wrath? When does the rule no longer apply to me?
The act of releasing another person from an offense, or a number of offenses, can feel like the other person is off the hook. And for your heart, that’s exactly what it is. It’s an act of faith to release a person of an offense. When you forgive what seems to be unforgiveable, what you’re doing is turning that other person over to God and releasing yourself of a burden you were never meant to bear. And that’s not easy. Letting a person who has wronged you off the hook in your heart can feel like injustice. But not forgiving shows something much deeper. At best it shows that might not trust that God will really do what He says in Romans 12:19 …Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. At worst it says that while you might trust God for some things, in matters of justice you’re a far better judge than He is.
The enemy of our souls seeks to bog you down in bitterness and unforgiveness. He knows that harboring an offense creates a separation between the Father and His child. It’s such a critical thing that Jesus tied it to the forgiveness from God for our own sins.
Matthew 6:15 King James Version (KJV)
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
There are a lot of offenses that we are bombarded with today. Perhaps more is being thrown at the Christian in these last days than any other generation before. It can be overwhelming to process, especially when the godlessness is rampant and coming at us so rapidly. But the reality is that our defense against the attacks is just as potent today as it ever was, and we can deploy that defense just as quickly as the attack can be dished out.
Make the decision today to forgive someone that has wronged you. It is one of the most powerful weapons in the arsenal of the Christian and it has the power to stop the enemy in his tracks. The more you learn to trust God to be the righteous judge He is, the easier it will be to release others and yourself from any offense and live in true freedom.
This is so true. Pastor Brendel gave me the same advice once. Bonds of hurt and pain are broken and you are set free from so much when you forgive. Forgiving may be for a while something you have to do daily as aspects of the offense surfaces and you have to face them. Crying out to the Lord and giving it to Him each time will bring the healing you need. The other person may be won to the Lord through your actions. Victory in Jesus!