Forgiveness from the Heart:
Bible reading… Matthew 18:21-35: 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? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
We know we are to forgive, but what does it look like to forgive from the furthest recesses of the heart? We know we are called to love, but what does it look like to have sincere love for one another and to love each other deeply from the heart?
Bible reading… 1Peter 1:22: Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.
Saying, “I forgive them” is one thing, but going to the level of allowing your heart to also feel love towards them is another. If your heart does not feel love towards them, is there complete forgiveness in those deep places? What would it take to completely release them? Blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy. What if you asked God to show them mercy for that which they have done against you? That’s a little deeper isn’t it? It’s not something that a hurting heart wants to do, show mercy. But what if fully releasing others also fully released you to forgive & love? Powerful stuff. Want to go even deeper? Who really does? Not the wounded cries of the heart. What if also, you asked God to not hold the sin they sinned against you against them & instead bless them? Our pain says, “Ouch, no, no, no, we must allow God to take vengeance, after all He said that He would!” Did Jesus come to Earth to seek vengeance on His enemies or did He come to seek & to save the lost? Was Jesus looking for vengeance on the cross or trying to help the human race? God is rich in mercy & abounding in love, and we are called to follow Him, and do the things which He does. What if we prayed for them instead, believed the best for them, let them off the hook, and really wanted to see good things come to them? Well then, you would be advancing in love, operating in true forgiveness, truly from the depth of the heart.
Child of God, one thing is for sure… bitterness is not your address, love is always your path, your destination, your God.
John Anthony, Minister of God