The Cost of Forgiveness
Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35; Colossians 3:13
One of the quickest ways to grow closer to God is to cultivate intentional forgiveness in our daily lives: it’s like using Miracle-Gro for our spiritual life! The opposite is also true: one of the biggest ways a person can stifle a life of faith is to choose to hold on to anger and bitterness. Harboring unforgiveness is like feeding your soul arsenic: you cannot be spiritually healthy if you allow this poison to remain in your heart.
The value of forgiveness is high. Sometimes the cost is too. If we choose to forgive, we have to invite God into moments we’d often rather forget. The sting of betrayal . . . the grief of someone who should have but didn’t . . maybe the person we need to forgive the most is ourselves. Graciously, our Lord peels back the layers of bandages wound around the damaged parts of our souls. He sees. He knows. He feels the hurt. He’s been there too.
In his kindness, Jesus never minimizes the pain that’s associated with an offense. He doesn’t ask us to brush offenses under the rug and hope things work out or to turn a blind eye to the faults of others. We know this because when humankind turned away from God, God didn’t say, “I know you mess up sometimes, but that’s okay because you’re human and I understand.”
Instead, he faced the pain of the offense head-on . . . and it took him to the cross.
Christ suffered the pain from a broken relationship caused by hurt and betrayal.
Part of our spiritual journey as a follower of Christ is to work through the issues of our heart in light of what Jesus has done for us. We’re not just forgiving for the sake of ourselves or someone else—as followers of Jesus, we recognize that God is requiring us to pass on the forgiveness we’ve received from him.
God, I acknowledge the pain I experienced from ____________, and I am deciding to extend the love of Jesus in this situation because of how deeply I am loved by him. I place on the account of Christ everything that was stolen from me, such as ______________, because I know you love to meet my needs. Thank you, Father, for forgiving my sins and enabling me to forgive the sins of others. Amen.