The Hardest Lesson

Hardest Lesson

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.

31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.

35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

-Matthew 18:21-35

How did the last verse convict you? When was the last time you forgive someone with all of your heart?

Why is it hard for us to forgive others despite the fact that we are already forgiven?

We usually say “I’ve forgiven them, but I just can’t forget about what they did.”

Is that possible? No. You are just deceiving yourself that you have forgiven them, but the truth is you haven’t let go of the heartaches. Thus, you still have not forgiven them. It’s easy to count the mistakes of the people around us, but it’s harder to admit that the more we keep an unforgiving heart, the greater the chains of sin will choke us. And worse, it will blind us from the truth that the real prisoner is not them, but us.

I was once a prisoner of sin because of my unforgiving heart. I can’t just let go of their offense so easily. I want to get even all the time. I want them to feel the pain that I felt. Familiar isn’t it? Yes. Because that’s how a carnal mind usually thinks. All converts went thru this most of the time especially when you are a sheep living among wolves. But how are we going to overcome this? It’s hard, right? It’s hard when we do it alone. But with God, everything is possible (Matt 19:26).

I remember an incident that taught me a big lesson about forgiveness. I was just 8 years old when it happened and my only brother was just 2 years old. One day, my brother and his nanny went out to buy cookies. The store was across the street, so my innocent brother has to cross the street for the first time. I couldn’t stand at first the fact that his nanny let him go with her, but she said my brother insisted to go because he wanted to choose the cookies himself. Unfortunately, after they bought the cookies and cross the busy street once more, my brother panicked and his little hands slipped away from her nanny. Guess what happened next? He was accidentally hit by a tricycle. Good thing it was just a tricycle, but imagine how fragile the bones of a two-year-old kid is. Anything can happen especially that his legs were the parts that were seriously injured. Few minutes later, my brother was rushed to the nearest hospital.

Actually, I don’t know the full story of this because I was not around when it happened. I was still on my way home, and bringing with me 2 pieces of pancakes just for him. Sadly, when I arrived at our small compound, our Pastor’s daughter told me what happened. I couldn’t help not to worry. Although we usually fight about small things just like every other siblings, but this thing is just so hard to accept.

Thank God, my brother went home completely well. His skull and leg x-ray show no serious injury. Our neighbors, who are also our church mates, were also there. I never heard a harsh word about the tricycle driver. They were all happy that my brother was safe. But in my mind, I have a question that was left unanswered. What happened to the tricycle driver? Did he spent the night at the prison cell? Did my parents let him pay the medical bills for those further check-ups? I went to bed with those questions.

The next morning, when I was about to eat my breakfast, I asked my mother what happened to the tricycle driver. She told me with a smiling face that they let him go home forgiven, and they didn’t let him pay the bills. I asked further, ‘what if my brother was seriously injured, will you still forgive the tricycle driver?’ My mother smiled once more and answered me with a resounding yes. She told me it wouldn’t change a thing if we keep grudges and let the driver suffer the consequences. A very simple answer, but it’s one of the best thing my mother ever told me. My dad said the same thing. We have to let it go since it was an accident.

You might say now, ‘it’s a very easy thing to do since it was just an accident, but what about those mistakes that were intentionally done?’

The same principle applies. Whatever the situation tells you, you have to forgive the person. It was never stated in the Bible that you will only forgive the mistakes done accidentally and punish those who committed mistakes intentionally. The Old Testament might have some rules about accidental murders, but it will only apply to the Israelites.

The New Agreement that God has given us talks about forgiveness most of the time. Our salvation talks greatly about forgiving the unforgivable:

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. –Acts 2:38

When Jesus Christ was nailed on the Cross, one of the things He said was “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23-34).” He said, ‘They don’t know what they are doing’ although He was really intentionally nailed at the cross. Ponder God’s mercy through that line. It’s indescribable. It’s nothing but pure grace.

How much more us? Can you say the same thing; ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’?

Are you aware how great are the sins that we’ve done? Do those sins convict you so much and leave you with nothing but repentance? We are all helpless, and without God’s grace we are all subjected to punishments. But God wanted to be merciful, so He let His pure Grace came down and saved us from sins.

And since we are already forgiven, what is left for us to do? FORGIVE those who’ve sinned against you. When you forgive, you free yourself from the chains of sin.

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. -Mark 11:25

An unforgiving heart can lead you into so much compromise. You tend to think how to get even, you will easily get angry with them, and worse you will spread gossips about them. Imagine the domino effect of your bitterness. The person that was truly destroyed is not your enemies, but you.

So how are we going to respond the next time someone did something bad on us? Ponder on what Apostle Paul has to say:

17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it  to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. -Romans 12:17-21

Repay them by doing good. Instead of satisfying your flesh through your anger, repay them with goodness. Show them who reigns in your life. If your life is really overwhelmed by God’s goodness and undeserved grace, you cannot help to radiate it to others.

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. –Ephesians 4:31-32

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. -Colossians 3:13

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. -Ephesians 4:26

Talk to that person today. Don’t let the sun go down without even settling your long time dispute. Release forgiveness so that you can hear God say this to you:

“I will remember [your] sins and [your] lawless deeds NO MORE.” -Hebrews 10:17

God bless you, reader. 🙂

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