Topic: Hebrews 12:11-15
Mankind is naturally inclined to sin. Because of this, we're surrounded by opportunities to forgive others. Perhaps we've been unfairly criticized, disappointed by a broken promise, or harmed financially or physically. Whatever the case, the list of wrongdoing in this broken world can be very long.
Peter wondered how often we must pardon a wrong. He asked Jesus if we should forgive "up to seven times." In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus replied, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to 70 times seven." In other words, every single time.
Forgiveness does NOT mean finding reasons to justify someone's wrong behavior. It's not about forgetting what happened or pretending it never occurred. That would amount to suppressing the pain and covering up the issue instead of working through it.
Genuine forgiveness requires deliberate action on our part. We acknowledge a wrong has been committed, but we also choose to release the offender from any obligation toward us. In essence, we say, "I will no longer hold this person's unfair behavior against him." We're extending mercy, just as God did toward us.
We may think we're punishing the wrongdoer. But we're the ones hurt worst by our unforgiving attitude. Resentment is like sludge. It clogs the mind and heart. Untreated anger turns into bitterness. This hinders our relationships and keeps us from experiencing the Father's love.
An unforgiving spirit is like poison in the soul. The only remedy is to forgive.