“…and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12 ESV)
“Refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
“Without entrusting oneself to the God who judges justly, it will hardly be possible to follow the crucified Messiah and refuse to retaliate when abused. The certainty of God’s just judgment at the end of history is the presupposition for the renunciation of violence in the middle of it.” (Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace (Nashville, 1996), page 302.)
The biblical message of God’s final judgment is our reason for gentleness now.
“But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore…” (Romans 14:10,12,13a NASB)
“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19 NASB)
“…and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.” (1 Peter 2:23 NASB)
John Piper wrote the following about “revenge”…
“Who is a better candidate to take vengeance – you or God?
Consider God for a minute. No wrong ever committed against you, not in the darkest hour of any night, has ever been missed. It is written in a book in heaven. He knows every wrong committed against you. He sees the evil of the wrong far better than you see it. He hates the evil of the wrong 10,000 times more purely and righteously than you hate the evil of the wrong. He claims the right to settle accounts for you. And the big issue then is, do you believe he will?”
“When you are wronged, God is saying to you: I saw it. You’re right. They’re wrong. I hate what they did to you. You give me that anger. I’m going to settle this for you, and I will settle it better than you could ever settle it. Justice will prevail. Do you trust me?”
Four ways to battle the unbelief of bitterness
1. Believe that what the Good Physician prescribes for you is good! (Colossians 3:8)
2. Cherish being forgiven by God! (Ephesians 4:32)
3. Trust that God’s justice will prevail! (1 Peter 2:23)
a. We must leave room for God’s wrath.
b. God hates evil far more righteously than you ever could.
c. Though absurd, Jesus entrusted himself to the Righteous Judge.
d. If you hold a grudge, you slight the Judge.
4. Trust God’s purpose to turn the cause of your anger for your good! (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Here’s C. S. Lewis, ‘On Forgiveness’…
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single person great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life – to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son – how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say our prayers each night ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves.”
Are you carrying the overwhelming, massively heavy burden of “unforgiveness” on your back (in your heart)? Isn’t it time to “let it go?” Isn’t it time to extend the forgiveness that God has given to you to the person(s) that offended you?
Life is too short and eternity is too long…to carry any unnecessary baggage as we journey through this sin-filled world.
“Be kind to one another,
forgiving each other,
just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
(Ephesians 4:32 NASB)