For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)
The Unmerciful Servant
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
“The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”(Matthew 18:21-35)
What is forgiveness?
- Forgiveness is required of all Christians.
- Forgiveness is often misunderstood by many Christians.
- Forgiveness is not saying or pretending that it didn’t matter.
During the past decade or so, Christian psychologists have studied forgiveness from both theological and psychological perspectives. Most would agree that forgiveness is not only a theological decision, but also a psychological process with a number of distinct stages that have been compared to stages of the grieving process.
What does it mean to forgive “from your heart”?
Forgiveness is really hard work because it involves acknowledging the wrong and experiencing the natural mix of emotions that result, such as:
An eye for an eye? Forgiveness is giving up the right to punish the other person.
One of the reasons it’s so difficult to forgive one another is because the trauma continues.
Listen to one another, understand, and change your behavior.
In many cases, forgiveness does not require reconciliation. However, if you are going to stay married, it must. Reconciliation requires repentance and the rebuilding of trust and safety in the relationship.�