June 27th

Unforgiveness & Pride

 

3Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you">

June 27th

Unforgiveness & Pride

 

3Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, "I repent,' you shall forgive him." Luke 17:3-4

 

14"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Matthew 6:14-15

 

"For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:2 NASB

 

"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:25 NASB

 

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 NASB

 

Unforgiveness is something that can really hold us back from becoming the new person in Christ God has made us to be.  In fact, the above verses show that our unforgiveness toward others will block God’s forgiveness of our sins.  Additionally, when we harbor unforgiveness, it can start a “root of bitterness” in our lives that can cause destruction in a variety of ways (e.g. ruins the fruit of the Holy Spirit, stunts spiritual growth, contributes to physical illness).  Like an acid can destroy the vessel that holds it, so can unforgiveness destroy us when we harbor it. 

 

The reason unforgiveness is so serious is that it is a form of pride.  God, the holy Creator of the universe, humbled himself through Jesus and made the ultimate self-sacrifice to pay the death penalty for our sin.  If God, who is perfect, could forgive us, it is arrogant for us (who are sinful) not to forgive others.  By not forgiving them we are basically judging them for their sin and trying to punish them.  Since only God is qualified to judge people, holding unforgiveness is like trying to act in God’s place.   

 

People have committed many horrible acts against each other since the time of Cain and Abel.  When we’ve been wronged by someone, we have a natural desire to see justice done.  That desire reflects our God-given nature.  God instructs us to trust in him for the execution of justice. The scripture says, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19 NKJV).  He is judge and will carry out perfect justice in his time.  As his followers, we must submit our desire for justice to him and trust it in his hand. 

 

This can be very hard to do, especially if someone has spitefully mistreated us or someone we love.  Forgiving someone is not condoning what they have done, but rather, it is laying the case before God’s throne and asking him to deal with it according to his will.  We have to remember that God saw the evil that was done.  He knows how deeply we’ve been hurt.   If we can come to the place where we’re willing to forgive the person through Christ’s power, we will be able to move forward and leave unnecessary burden in his hands. 

 

Questions for further thought:

  • How does pride affect our relationship with God? (James 4:6)
  • Why can releasing the right of vengeance to God be so challenging?
  • As you think back on your life, are there any people that you have not forgiven? (siblings, parents, peers, co-workers, bosses, former church friends, etc.)
  • Are you ready to forgive those people through Christ and repent of your unforgiveness?  If not, please ask God to help you come to the point of being able to do so.

 

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, you are holy and righteous.  You are perfect in justice.  I confess that I have not forgiven as you have commanded me to.   Through Jesus Christ, I now forgive these people: _________________ (list names and what they did to you).   I confess my pride and judgment of those people.  Please forgive me Lord and cleanse me from my sin.  Please help me to thoroughly entrust these people and the wrongs they caused me into your hands.  I pray that your will be done in my life and their lives.  Please help me to think on these wrongs no longer, but instead to focus my thoughts on you.  Thank you, Father!   In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.”