Unforgiveness is truly of one of the most hidden and disastrous sins one can have. First, unforgiveness is very dangerous because it is in fact a sin. Many people think that because 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 is that simple- if you don’t forgive others you will not be forgiven.
Second, unforgiveness is deadly to one’s spiritual life because many times it comes slowly and builds over time. Bitterness first appears like a small weed-like vine. It seems controllable and harmless at first, however, 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.
Ephesians 2:8-10, “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
GRACE (charis) DEFINED
- Particularly that which causes joy, pleasure, gratification, favor, acceptance, for a kindness granted or desired, a benefit, thanks, gratitude. A favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver (CWSB Dictionary).
- Unearned and unmerited favor.
- G.R.A.C.E: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense!
Matthew 6:9-15, “9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
- DON’T FALL SHORT OF GOD’S GRACE: God said in Hebrews 12:14, “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.” Therefore, bitterness and unforgiveness can lead to losing your salvation and not having your sins forgiven.
- REMEMBER YOUR GREAT DEBT: In the parable of the “Unmerciful Servant” found in Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus gave the example of a man who himself was forgiven of great debt, yet he was punished severely because he couldn’t forgive someone’s small debt to him. In turn, we should always see our sins against God as the “greater debt” that He was willing to forgive and thus be able to forgive the “smaller debt” others owe us.
- OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD: Paul said 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.”
- TRUST GOD: Consequently, forgiveness is a choice to trust God and allow Him to heal your hurting heart. Matthew 18:21-22, “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.” 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.”
Matthew 6:12, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”