The rebellion of unforgiveness
Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:32
10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
14 If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
“In life, we can hold on to a lot of anger and resentment. These grievances only offer a lifetime of hurt and should be dealt with. Despite the enormity of suffering a person may have faced, it is possible to let this pain go and forgive” (PositivePsychology.com, Jeremy Sutton).
“Pain in life is inevitable. Suffering, on the other hand, is optional” (Shauna Shapiro).
Forgiveness is defined as “giving up resentment against someone and surrendering one’s right to retaliate – no matter what the other person did” (Stanley).
Unforgiveness is “a deliberate, willful refusal to give up resentment or an insistence that someone pays for a wrong that was committed” (Stanley).
“Forgiveness can be difficult because we think wrongdoers should not get away with their offenses. But when we accepted Christ as our Savior, we surrendered the right to take matters into our own hands. Our only responsibility is to forgive and let the Lord take care of the rest” (Stanley).
REFLECT & PRAY
“Not only is forgiveness good for the soul, but it also has positive benefits on our mental and even physical wellbeing” (Luskin).
Father, You forgave me and forgive me daily. Help me to forgive others as You have forgiven me.
Children of the King are the recipients of the Father’s love and forgiveness. As we have received forgiveness, we are to pay it forward. How high has the Father set the bar for forgiveness?
Ephesians 4:32 Forgive just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
The Father asks every child of the King to do the impossible. That is, impossible for us alone.
Mark 10:27 With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Paul strings together an amazing list of qualities from which forgiveness overflows.
They are perhaps remarkable and rare attributes not only in the ancient world but our own.
Paul begins with oiktirmos which connotes tenderhearted mercy, a heart of pity, a sensitivity to those in need or who are suffering. To this, he adds chrestotes which suggests not just kindness, but a sweet disposition, thoughtfulness, which places the good of others as important as their own.
Next comes tapeinophrosune which is humility on steroids, an accurate self-appraisal, unworthiness without cringing, lowliness without servility.
Paul includes praotes,that is, even-tempered, self-controlled, having the strength and the sweetness of true gentleness. Finally, Paul stipulates makrothumia, that is patience, long-suffering, self-restraint, tolerant endurance of pain and unhappiness.
We are to forgive as we have been forgiven. This is not a suggestion. This is a command. It is a sign of the Father’s love that everyone can recognize, but sadly few manifest.
One of the most beautiful examples of a forgiving spirit is found in genesis. Despite being the victim of jealousy, evil intentions, malicious plotting, and selfish disregard, Joseph had an attitude of forgiveness that is uncommon and hard for many of us to imagine. By responding in this way to new hurts, he demonstrated that he was a godly man who understood how to let go of resentment and grab hold of forgiveness (Stanley).
15 But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.
19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you?”
20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”
21 “No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.
We are commanded to forgive! If we choose not to forgive, dire and painful consequences await. The wrong done to us is never fully released and we relive the pain and sorrow. Eventually, the seeds of resentment and even hatred take root in our hearts and minds, and bitterness thrives. A negative spirit characterizes our lives and colors our relationships, attitudes, and emotions. “The good news is that this downward spiral can be stopped at any point along the way by choosing to forgive” (Stanley).
Choosing to open your heart to forgive is difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible. But it is the right choice, the only choice for children of the King.
Unforgiveness is rebellion. There is no ambiguity here, no shades of gray. It is what it is, rebellion against the Father. The Father’s standard is as high as it can be, but it is a standard which each child of the King must strive for.