Do you feel Unforgiven?
Do you feel Unforgiven?
In the parable of the unforgiving servant Matthew 18:21-35, there is another conclusion that we can draw. When we refuse to forgive, we cannot experience God’s love and forgiveness. Matthew 18:35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” We have heard this quoted many times and even in the petition of the Lord’s prayer in: Matthew 6:12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. The words in the Lord’s prayer should lead each of us to ask ourselves: What if God only forgave me to the extent that I’m willing to forgive those who sinned against me? Pause for a minute and think about that sobering question. That is a question that we cannot ignore. And even as we continue in Matthew 6 at the end of the Lord’s prayer we hear the Lord saying: Matthew 6:14–15 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
The Lord here is challenging each of us to examine our hearts to see if we have ever truly been forgiven. As John Piper stated, “If we hold fast to an unforgiving spirit, we will not be forgiven by God. If we continue on in that way, then we will not go to heaven, because heaven is the dwelling place of forgiven people.” The point here that Mr. Piper is making is not that a forgiven spirit causes us to merit God’s forgiveness, but simply that forgiven people forgive others, and that those who persistently refuse to forgive others have no basis to claim to have been forgiven by God.
Each of us at some point may struggle to forgive others. Unforgiveness always affects our relationship with God. We must never forget that nagging point. Each of us at some point in time have come across an individual who finds it difficult to accept and experience God’s love and forgiveness. The biggest reason for this is their refusal to forgive others. The words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:14-15 is so direct that it is difficult for us to misunderstand this statement. As He has experienced and knows how deep our hurt goes. We may ask the question is this what, He expects of me? There is no place for us to hide. Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. The implication here is that those of us who are not merciful towards others shouldn’t expect to find ourselves on the receiving end of mercy from God. This also implies that when we refuse to forgive others our relationship with God is severed. This also affirms a connection between our willingness to extend forgiveness to others and our ability to appropriate and experience God’s forgiveness of our sins.
Take a moment to consider those that have sinned against you. Now ask yourself the question; what is your desire for each of them? This may give you an indication as to whether you have truly forgiven them.