Overcoming the Useless Bondage of Unforgiveness

January 28, 2017

And God desires His children to live forgiven and extend forgiveness. This counter-culture trait is liberating for the believer and one of our most compelling witnesses to a watching world. The miraculous reality of forgiveness is taught from Genesis to Revelation. In fact, you could say the whole Bible is about this glorious theme.

In Matthew, Chapter 18, Jesus tells the familiar story of a king who forgave his servant, and the servant who was unwilling to forgive his debtor. He told us this to prepare us, because everyone will be hurt by others. And there are multiple forgiveness truths in this story that shout to us … truths that we must learn.

We owe an unpayable debt to God. (Matthew 18:23-24)

The servant owed 10,000 talents to the king. A single talent was worth 15 YEARS wages! This means 150,000 years’ wages was owed, illustrating our massive debt because of our sins against the God who made us!

Payment must be paid. (vs. 24)

God will ""by no means clear the guilty"" and somehow this debt must be paid. We know, of course, that our debt was paid through Christ, who took the penalty on the cross for us.

God graciously forgives our debt as we come to Him in faith. (vs. 27)

The king’s mercy forgave the servant. God’s mercy, and the work of the cross, make full forgiveness possible for us.

We will have people who sin against us and hurt us, but it is minor compared to what we have done to God! vs. 28

The servant's debtor owed him one denarius (a day's wage). The servant had owed the king a debt of 10,000 talents (150,000 years wages). No comparison.

We are to forgive as we have been forgiven. vs. 28

This is logical and redemptive. God has done this for us; as his sons and daughters, we must do it for others. “Forgive others, just as God in Christ has forgiven you,” Paul says (Ephesians 4:32)

We CAN forgive anybody. God could not ask us to do something we cannot do. vs. 35

Forgiveness is commanded throughout the Scripture. If God asks us to forgive we can forgive, made possible with His help. There is never a time when we should not forgive. Never.

Forgiveness is not an act of the emotions, but an act of the will made possible by the grace of God. vs. 35

The servant could have chosen, as an act of his will and understanding the grace he had been given, to release his debtor. We must forgive our brothers ""from our heart"" (vs. 35). To say that you cannot is to deny the grace and power of God. It is not that we cannot, but that we will not. It is our choice, to illustrate to others the matchless forgiveness of God. To forgive is to live for a higher purpose.

If we do not forgive, we will find ourselves in unending torment. vs. 34

When we don't forgive, we think we are hurting others, (as we seek revenge). In reality, we are the ones in prison. One man said, that forgiveness is drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

After pastoring people for almost 50 years, I see unforgiveness and bitterness as one of the most common and debilitating sins possible. It puts people in incredible bondage. There are thousands of people who have allowed their entire lives to be defined by bitterness. And, Hebrews 12:15 says, it “always springs up, always causes trouble, and always defiles many.” Bitterness and its effects can be passed to multiple generations because hurting people always hurt people.

Is there any unforgiveness in your heart toward ANYONE? Take a long look at the cross … and forgive!

(If you would like help overcoming unforgiveness, I have written a small booklet that God has graciously used to help thousands. ""Healing the Harbored Hurts of Your Heart"" can be found on my website store at https://www.billelliff.org/store)




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