Matthew 18:33 – “Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’”
Someone asked me yesterday, “Are you still angry at him?” A simple single question that sent my mind on different associations. I could say, no not anymore, and act as If I have already mastered perfection and holiness. Or I could say, yes I’m still very angry that I don’t want to see nor speak to him anymore or ever again; just to emphasized that he has done a great wrong towards me. Instead of saying yes or no to the inquirer, I said that I am no longer angry all the time, only occasionally. I’m trying to leave everything behind and move on to a better and brighter future ahead.
When Peter asked Jesus about how often must we forgive someone who have sinned against us; Jesus did not only give him a number of times we must forgive but also a parable to help his listeners understand that it’s not a matter of numbers but of our attitude, our willingness and the condition of our heart. It is in the heart where our feelings, emotions and will reside. That’s why Jesus ask us to forgive from our heart. To pardon someone (by word of mouth) is easy enough, but it takes longer time to eradicate the hurt feelings, memories, pain and all other negative feelings that was created by the “sin” that was done against us. That’s where our “will” comes to play a big role. I have to “will” to be forgiving and merciful, regardless of how I feel.
Here are some of the things or what I call “truths” that helped me to be willing to forgive:
- All of us are humans; fallen, broken and victims of the sins of our ancestors.
- I too am a sinner (maybe a much greater sinner)
- I have been forgiven by God; and in doing so, He gave me that gift of forgiveness to share to others as well
- God has shown me mercy by not giving me what I deserve – the punishment of my sins; instead love and acceptance.
- I don’t want to be judged severely, that’s why I have to be merciful. “Mercy triumphs over judgment” – James 2:13
- It’s a call to all of us. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” – Luke 6:36
Others might have a different or addition to this list of ways of how to be able to forgive. But I am one hundred percent certain that by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, there will come a time when I will be completely healed and made whole again; and be able to be truly forgive from my heart.