Tolerating an angry lifestyle is not an option for believers. We cannot expect to live in our new nature and keep our resentment. To follow in Christ's footsteps, we need a change in priorities. Loving and understanding others must supersede our need to defend ourselves, and preserving relationships must replace safeguarding our rights.
If we've accepted Christ's forgiveness of our sins, we cannot demand that others pay for their transgressions against us. To acquire His peace, we must lay all grudges, personal rights, and hurtful insults on the altar -- and leave them there. Clinging to grievances keeps us imprisoned in emotional turmoil, but letting go unlocks the door and sets us free. God offers the key of forgiveness. Take hold, and walk out of the dungeon into the light.*
Matthew 18 has a story that goes along with this.
21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents (millions of dollars) was brought to him. 25Since 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.
26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii (few dollars). He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.
29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
How many people do we see around us who are clinging to emotional turmoil and grievances done against them? Many seem to hold onto those things as if they give them purpose for living! How sad! When I read this article and the part mentioned above especially, I was reminded how Jesus came to set us free. The verse at the top of my blog reads
"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
Consider when you let go of wrongs done against you, when you let go of insults and hurts that you are holding close to your heart, when you trade what you are clinging to so tightly for what God offers, you can experience that freedom. You can experience that light - lightness of heart, lightness of attitude. You can be free to love and serve others.
Imagine a world full of light hearts and joyful people singing and dancing because their hearts are full of happiness rather than cursing and shouting because their hearts are full of resentment, anger and hatred.
What a different world! A whole new truly wonderful world!
God has forgiven us of so much! How can we, in turn, not forgive others and walk in His light? Holding onto anger, unforgiveness and resentment is its own prison. Don't you want out of there?
*pg. 10 -- In Touch, October 2010