Matthew 6:12, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Unforgiveness is of one of the most destructive sins one can have; yet it is often times the most hidden. Not forgiving people when they sin against you can be troublesome in the following two ways; first, unforgiveness is dangerous because it is in fact a sin and second, it can build up over time and eventually choke out your spiritual life.

Jesus didn’t suggest we forgive those who sinned against us- He commanded it!

Some people wrongly think that because of the severity of what someone did to them they are justified in not forgiving them, however, Jesus was very clear in describing what would happen to those who don’t forgive others. He said in Matthew 6:15, “If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” It’s that simple- if you don’t forgive those who have sinned against you, God will not forgive your sins.

Unforgiveness is deadly to one’s spiritual life because it can come slowly and build over time. Bitterness first appears like a small weed-like vine. It seems controllable and harmless in the beginning, yet over time as the mind continues to dwell on the hurt, bitterness will continue to grow until it has choked the roots of grace and spoiled the fruit of salvation. God said in Hebrews 12:15, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

Bitterness and unforgiveness can result in you losing your salvation and not having your sins forgiven because it hardens your heart and leads to unbelief. When you stop believing that Jesus can heal your hurts you are in danger of being cut off (Romans 11:20-21).

In the parable of the “Unmerciful Servant” found in Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus gave the example of a man who was forgiven of great debt, yet he was punished severely because he didn’t forgive someone’s smaller debt to him. Jesus’ point was clear; since God has graciously forgiven our “greater debt” against Him, we should be willing to forgive the “smaller debt” people have with us. That is why Jesus taught us to pray in today’s passage, “forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

Consider Paul’s lengthy passage in Romans 12:14-21, “14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 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. 20 On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Consequently, forgiveness is a choice to trust God and allow Him to heal your hurting heart. When you forgive someone you are not saying what he or she did was okay or that they were not wrong. What you are saying is, “If God can forgive me, I can forgive you.” Sometimes people will change and others times they will not. Some people who hurt you will be your friends again, other times you may have to give them the “gift of goodbye.” Either way, I strongly urge you to forgive all of their sins against you and let God deal with them either in this life or the judgment to come.

Do you have unforgiveness in your heart? Pray this out loud, “Father, please forgive me for not forgiving others who have hurt me. Remove all bitterness from my heart and restore what they have taken from my life. Help me to always love and forgive others as you have loved and forgiven me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”


Reflection

Are you free from all bitterness and unforgiveness?


Action

  1. Repent if you have not forgiven those who have sinned against you. Joyce Meyer said, “Unforgivenessis spiritual filthiness, so get washed in the water of God’s Word to forgive and stay clean.”
  2. Ask God to fill you with His love and to heal your broken heart (Isaiah 61:1-3).
  3. Whenever someone hurts you be quick to forgive them and don’t give any room for bitterness to grow- kill it at the root!

One Year Reading Plan

Jeremiah 30:1-31:26, 1 Timothy 2:1-15, Psalm 87:1-7, & Proverbs 25:18-19. Click here to read online.