We live in a world with many people, personalities and differences. While this is a good thing, making life interesting. Happiness and sorrow come from the encounters that we have with those around us. It is a given that at some time we are going to be hurt. There will be disagreements, accusations, disappointments, and physical harm.

When someone comes against us wrongfully, betrays us, destroys trust, harms us, there is cause for hurt. And the hurt is greater if it is someone that we love and trust.

It is easy to harbor a grudge or wish pain back on that person in punishment for how they made us feel. You want justice for the wrong deed that was committed.

However, there is danger in this. We cannot be found close to God if we don’t forgive them.

What is it to forgive?
to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; stop being angry with; pardonto give up all claim to punish or exact penalty for an offense; overlook
to cancel or remit a debt

Through out the bible there are descriptions of how a Christian is to live.

Ephesians 4:31-32

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

It is interesting that we are first instructed to get rid of the bitterness, wrath, and anger, before we are told to be kind and forgive. It is impossible to forgive with bitterness.

Another place in which we are commanded to forgive is

Colossians 3:12-13

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

The scripture lists that qualities we need to have being apart of God’s people.

In both of these scriptures Christ is pointed out as our example of a forgiving heart.

Forgiveness is an act of the heart, not just in motions, we can’t harbor or hold on to a grudge, allowing bitterness to grow

Often we hear the words “forgive and forget” I think that is impossible. God gave us a memory for a reason; it would be easy to forgive someone if we didn’t remember the hurt that was caused. God wants us to be able to forgive even though we remember.

The children of Israel continued time and time again to go against God, but in his mercy knowing they were human, he forgave then.

Psalms 78:38-39

But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.

God showed compassion just as we are to show compassion, as said before forbearing with each other, understanding the weakness of the human, and forgive.

Side note – this doesn’t give us the liberty to go around heedless of those around us, not being careful to not cause offence. We still need to be faithful to our promise to God, to do our best and not sin, and in this we are to do right to those around us.

If we fail to forgive we can’t reach God and he will hesitate to answer our prayers, in fact, he says he won’t hear our prayer.

Mark 11:24-26

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

God hearing and answering our prayers is contingent upon us forgiving others.

We are also instructed to seek forgiveness of others if we have caused hurt before coming to God.

Matthew 5:23-24

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

We need to be careful to have everything clear between us and others before seeking God. It is best that once we know that there is a problem, to take care of it, thus to not hinder our relationship with God.

Jesus explains forgiveness through a parable in Matthew 18:21-35, Peter questioned Jesus about forgiveness. He was in a predicament, his brother kept bothering him. He would say sorry, and Peter would forgive him, but it kept happening over and over. Peter was tired of it.

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

In Today’s money

1 talent=15 years wages, at minimum wage, yearly is $15,000, 10,000 yearly wages – 2,250,000,000, 2 billion, 250 million dollars

100 pence – $1.56

This story exemplifies the amount that Chirst has forgiven us to anything that we may need to forgive another man. Christ is our example in how we are to live our life.

The seriousness is that if we can’t forgive, that Christ won’t forgive us.

Matthew 6:14-15

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

With out God’s forgiveness, we would still be living in sin.

It takes a humble heart to ask for forgiveness and to forgive, let us be willing to be humble. To clear up anything that we have with others, if you can, call up someone that has heart you and let them know you forgive them. If you can’t, forgive them in your heart. Seek forgiveness of those that you have hurt. When you are able to let the hurt go and forgive, you are able to be in communion with God, and life gets so much better.