Forgiveness: The Key to Letting Go

40 Minute Study

40 Minute Study

Have you ever been wronged by someone and you just couldn’t let go what they did?

As I write these words I am struggling to forgive. It’s not the first time I have been here and I know it won’t be the last. Forgiveness is often difficult to extend. Often I think if I hold on to it, then my pain will be justified. Unfortunately, the result is often anger and bitterness.

Yet, in Matthew 18: 21-35, Jesus reminds me to forgive through the parable of the king reckoning his debts. The king calls in a slave who owes him a great debt. When he begs for more time to repay, the king has compassion and releases him from his debt. The slave then goes out and finds a fellow slave who owes him a significantly smaller debt. The slave refuses to show mercy and throws his fellow slave into jail until the debt can be repaid. When the king hears about what has happened, he brings the slave in and says, “You wicked slave, I forgave you all the debt because you pleaded with me. Should you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?”

Pierced Heart

This story pierces my own unforgiving heart. I realized that I am that slave. I had a great debt that my heavenly King forgave, yet, many times I refuse to show mercy on others. In those moments, I am that wicked slave. The debt was covered by Jesus’ death on the cross.

Colossians 2:13-14 says,

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

God, in His rich mercy, cancels out the debt of my sin. He canceled out the certificate of debt that I owed. For me to refuse to forgive anyone who wrongs me is to be that wicked slave!

Repent! Forgive! Let Loose!

What is my response in all of this? It starts with repentance. To repent means to do a mental “U-turn”. It means I stop walking in my bitterness, turn around, and walk in forgiveness. The definition of “forgive” is “to let loose, let go, give up a debt.” For me to walk in forgiveness means I let go or let loose the other person from any sin done to me.

Forgiveness is a Picture of the Gospel

God is only beginning to open my eyes to this truth. My obedience to forgive others shows a larger picture of the gospel. In the same way that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, forgiving of others is a picture of what God has already done on my behalf. This blows me away. Forgiveness is not about me. Forgiveness is not about someone else getting away with what they did to me. Forgiveness is about the gospel! Spiros Zodiates deals with this idea in the Complete Word Study Dictionary. He states, “To forgive on part of the Christian in regard to another is never to allow the sinner to continue in his sinful condition. Forgiveness is not condoning sin, but doing everything possible to see that the particular sins of the sinner are removed from him by God who is the only one who can deliver and cleanse him.” Forgiveness not only shows the gospel, but speaks the gospel into the life of others in such a way that hopefully brings them to repentance and closer to Jesus.

No Sin is Too Great

If forgiveness is about the gospel, then I must realize that no sin is too great to receive forgiveness. It does not matter what happened, how someone has harmed me, or what someone said. Nothing is beyond forgiveness. That might be hard to handle, but it is the truth. Matthew 18:21-35 is the Scripture that gives us great understanding of this truth.

So, how about you? How is your heart? Are you holding on to anger towards someone? Are you allowing that anger to fester into bitterness? Or, is your heart repentant, ready to forgive, and letting loose? I pray that God would encourage you to find freedom in this process!

 

Ashlee is a native New Mexican. She is the wife of a College Minister, a student ministry leader, and has been involved with Transform Student Ministries for 14 years. She seeks to be a disciple of God and His Word as well as a disciple-maker. She is striving to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel and to seek the favor of God not men.

 

 Buy Forgiveness: Breaking the Power of the Past 

40 Minute Study

40 Minute Study

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