Forgiveness seems to be one of the hardest things for Christians to do. We are Christians because we believed in Jesus and God forgave our sins. He still forgives us our day to day infractions but we do not forgive so easily.
Last night at Bible Study, we discussed hindrances to prayer and we learnt that unforgiveness hinders our prayer. Of course we looked at the parable of the wicked servant which Jesus used in His response to Peter's question about how many times we should forgive. Matthew 18:21-35. Jesus responded that we should forgive seventy times seven times, in other words, we should always forgive. Then He used the parable to illustrate how God feels about unforgiveness. In summary, one of the king's servant owed him ten thousand talents (millions of dollars), when he could not pay the king ruled that he be jailed with his whole family till he could pay the debt. The servant pleaded for mercy, the king listened, forgave the whole debt and rescinded the punishment. The forgiven servant found a fellow servant who owed him a comparatively paltry sum. He seized the latter by the throat, demanded, his money and when his fellow servant pleaded for mercy, the forgiven servant refused to listen and threw him in jail till he could pay the debt. (This is a good place to say "really?")
We all shake our heads and roll our eyes at this ingrate of a servant. We chafe at His merciless attitude, we cannot believe anyone who has been forgiven such a huge debt will turn around and behave in such an abominable manner. But if we take off our judgemental glasses, we will see ourselves in this servant. We have been forgiven so much, yet we find is so hard to forgive so little. Many friendships and wonderful relationships have gone awry, several marriages on the rocks, because someone failed to forgive another; because one has decided to harbor offenses, some extremely trivial.
It does not matter how many times your sister or brother has wronged you, it does not matter if you feel he/does not deserve your forgiveness (really, really?).
Ours is to forgive countless times.
It has been said that forgiveness is for the forgiver's benefit more than the forgiven's. It is true.
A Christian who cannot forgive cannot stand before the Lord.
As a matter of fact a Christian who is truly saved cannot harbor unforgiveness in his or her heart. He/she will do whatever it takes to let it go.
Unforgiveness is a serious sin. Though the sin of unforgiveness or the sin of harboring offenses will not lead to the loss of your salvation, it damages your relationship with God. You lose fellowship with your Father when you have sin in your heart. God cannot relate with you and your prayers will not be heard. Simple.
Jesus, in the midst of excruciating, torturous pain, flogged into a bloody pulp, his body numbed by pain, hanging on a cross with every vein pulsing with indescribable pain, looked on his torturers and said "...“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”..."Luke 23:34. What really is your excuse for refusing to forgive?
So he gossiped about you, stole your fiancee, cheated on you, talked to you in a manner you did not like, embarrassed you, scolded you in public, took your money, refused to take care of you as his/her child, etc. Whatever the wrong, if you are a Christian-washed in the blood of Jesus and saved by grace, you MUST forgive. There is nothing you and I can say to justify unforgiveness and harboring offenses.
Free yourself so your worship will be acceptable to God and your prayers will be heard. I hope your relationship with God is important enough for you to let go of offenses. It is not that serious and it is really not worth it.