September 23, 2023
2 Timothy 3:16-17, New Living Translation
“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true, and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are gone and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
When God speaks, it’s not out of coincidence. When God speaks, he has something important to say, and we should be listening. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT) says, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true, and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
I felt the Lord brought to my attention forgiveness. The scripture comes from Matthew 18:21-35 (NLT). “Then Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sings against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!’ ‘Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king, who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his Denters was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold— along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned— to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master, and begged him, “please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.” Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him, and forgave his death. But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him in bed for a little more time. “Be patient with me, and I will pay it,” he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had a man arrested and put in prison until the deck could be paid in full. When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, “You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn't you have mercy on your own fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.’”
Unforgiveness can do damage to an individual in so many ways. It can cause physical health issues, emotional health issues, relationship issues, and even affect us spiritually. Proverbs 17:22 (NLT) says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength.” Proverbs 17:9 (NLT) says, “Love prospers, when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT), “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your father will not forgive your sins.”
When you take all these things into consideration, you are hurting you more than anyone else. When you are focusing on the faults and sins of others, you get too busy to reflect on yourself. The Bible tells us to “… work out your own salvation, with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13, NKJV)
Jesus set the prime example for us. He was filled with compassion and forgiveness. Even to the point of death on a cross. He looked down with compassion upon the people, and he said, Father forgives them, for they know not what they are doing. Are we willing to put our pride aside and give forgiveness to the person that hurt us, even if that person is ourselves?
As we reflect on the consequences of unforgiveness vs forgiveness, my prayer is that you will forgive… Whatever you have held onto, surrender it to the Lord, and forgive. He took all our sins and iniquities to the cross, so that we would not have to carry these burdens and live in sin. He came to set the captives free. That includes you, and that includes me. You will experience freedom in Christ and a joy that fills the soul. Live your life in freedom, and not bondage!