Complain and Blame, or Forgive & Live
You can either complain and blame, or forgive and live. What a profound statement...and it’s Biblical.
I heard this statement recently on a show talking about forgiveness, where the expert; Dr. Dick Tibbits shared that forgiveness actually has the potential to heal people physically as well as emotionally.
The Bible is filled with forgiveness from Genesis to Revelation. Take for example, God’s forgiveness of Adam and Eve after man’s first sin. God’s forgiveness of Abraham and Sarah for doubting the Lord’s promise of giving them Isaac. Forgiveness can be seen in many of the stories of God’s people in the Old Testament. It is found in the stories of Joseph forgiving his brothers, God forgiving David’s sin with Bathsheba, and especially in the multiple times that God forgave the Israelites!
And it only takes a slight knowledge of the New Testament to know that it contains the most profound story of forgiveness. Christ’s forgiveness and pardon of all our sins, no matter how big or small is absolutely the most beautiful illustration of forgiveness ever recorded.
Romans 5:8, puts it so divinely when it says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” What an unselfish show of forgiveness and LOVE!
Even in the midst of being crucified Jesus prayed for the very hands that were crucifying him; “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
The entire Bible is a call for us to seek forgiveness and more importantly to forgive. In fact, forgiveness or more importantly the lack of forgiveness, can even keep us out of heaven!
Just look at a few verses that speak about not forgiving others their trespasses and what this can mean for our eternal destiny.
Matthew 6: 14-15 says: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
And again in the Gospel of Mark found in chapter 11, verse 26: “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”
What the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant Means to Us
Then Jesus uses the parable of the unforgiving servant to explain exactly what un-forgiveness will result in. He first asks in Matthew 18:33: “Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” The Bible explains what Jesus says will happen to us if we don’t forgive our debtors.
He uses this parable of the servant who was forgiven a great debt by his master, and then turned around and would not forgive his fellow slave a smaller debt to speak to us today. Matthew 18:34 says: “In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.” Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 18:35 that “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
To Forgive or Not to Forgive
Many times we are afraid to forgive for fear that the person who inflicted the pain against us will assume that our forgiveness means acceptance. So, it's important to note that forgiving doesn't always mean forgetting. It is possible to forgive and there still be consequences for the person's actions.
But, plain and simple, un-forgiveness is not a healthy way to live life. The anger and resentment that results from un-forgiveness can elevate your blood pressure, bring back bad feelings continually (thus hurting you again) and will never allow you to have closure with your past—in fact, it forces you to relive it, time and time again.
Why live burdened with past pain or hurt inflicted by someone else? Nelson Mandela put it well when he said: “Resentment is like drinking poison and thinking that it will kill your enemy.”
Holding onto a past pain, and not forgiving your transgressor always results in anger and eventually bitterness. Many times your transgressor doesn’t even know you are hurting, so your resentment and un-forgiveness isn’t affecting their life…but it will affect yours -- and not in a good way.
This is never how Jesus would want for you to live. He wants you to be able to Forgive and LIVE, not to complain and blame!
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.