Updated: Aug 23, 2021
On the road of life, we all need to be given forgiveness and we all need to give forgiveness. If you are going to have a happy life then you need to embrace forgiveness as both a giver and a receiver. There are many examples I could give you on when I needed forgiveness and when I gave forgiveness. But as my walk with the Lord has grown I have had to visit some situations where I said I had forgiven but was still harboring some type of ill will against someone. That isn't forgiveness and it certainly isn't the forgiveness that God has bestowed upon me.
Matthew 18 tells the story of a slave who owed his master a large sum of money and couldn't repay it so the master forgave him his debt and sent him on his way only to learn that the slave had then gone to another slave who owed him a minor amount of money and when it couldn't be repaid he had him thrown into prison. The master then found the slave who owed him and told him that because he didn't forgive the debt the way he was forgiven that he would be put in prison and tortured until his large debt was repaid.
It is my experience that when I don't truly forgive someone that it is truly like being imprisoned. My thoughts are on that person and their actions, my peace, and joy are shattered, and my life revolves around the situation in which I have no control nor can I change. As the saying goes, holding a grudge against someone is like you drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. There is no point in lying to yourself or the other party. God knows and sees all so who exactly do we think we are fooling. Not only does it make you unhappy but it makes you, ME, a liar.
When I am not living and acting in the way God directs me it seems that I not only fall down in one area but a snowfall effect ensues and I have to dig out from under the chaos that is created by not simply following God's example. When I read Matthew 8:35 - the end of the story regarding the slave - I realized that I best get my act together because it clearly states "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you do not forgive his brother from your heart". Keywords to me are "from your heart"! Words are cheap and can be so untrue but when something is from the heart it is pure and real. When it comes from the heart, sometimes words are not even required. The person you are forgiving may never know that they even required your forgiveness.
Imagine being able to just forgive without making an ordeal of it prior to your gracious act of forgiveness. Yes, there is sarcasm in that sentence. Imagine forgiving without having to tell your friends your version of the story. This is the type of forgiveness I am in the process of learning to give to others. I am well aware that we are all fighting battles and most of the time the slight or my view of the situation is skewed and my offense is not required or healthy.
I am so glad that God didn't berate me over all my shortcomings or discuss my faults and sins with others before he decided I was worthy of his forgiveness. This is the type of person I am striving to be. It is a work in progress but I have healed so much over the past year that I am positive that I can and will become this person.
All things are possible with God!