Matthew 6:14-15, "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Have you ever seen the cartoon The Road Runner? Episode after episode, Wile E. Coyote devises all kinds of schemes to catch a speedy roadrunner. In one attempt, he uses a hot air balloon to hold an anvil in hopes of dropping it on the roadrunner's head! However, due to a hole in the balloon, the unfortunate coyote is the one who finds himself under the anvil! Oops!
In a way, that's what happens when we harbor unforgiveness. Whatever bitterness and resentment we hold in our hearts - and over our offender's head - only cause us further pain and hinders our walk with God.
As Christ-followers, we did nothing to deserve God's mercy and grace - yet He forgave us anyway. But what if God had decided to hold a grudge? What if, out of anger and hurt over our disobedience, He'd decided against sending Jesus to pay the ultimate price for our sins? What a scary and unimaginable thought! Why, then, if we seek to do life His way, do we sometimes refuse to forgive those who've wronged us?
In the immediate aftermath of hurt or betrayal, we may find ourselves scheming up acts of revenge. We may even feel hatred in our hearts. But, nonetheless, because God so graciously forgave us, we must do the same. And here's the thing: forgiveness is more for us than it is our offender. When we unleash it, a huge weight lifts from our hearts and unblocks the barriers hindering our walk with God.
When we forgive, we give up the right to seek revenge! So, drop the anvil of unforgiveness at the feet of Jesus today. You'll be amazed at how much lighter you'll feel!
Think of the last time you carried a heavy box or hauled an arm full of groceries. Do you remember the relief you felt when you set everything down? Now, picture the excess weight of unforgiveness and lay it down before God today.
Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your unmerited grace and for paving the way of reconciliation with the Father through Your death on the cross. Search my heart and show me any unforgiveness or bitterness that I'm carrying with me - either knowingly or not. Help me to forgive others as You have so fully forgiven me. Amen.