Posts Tagged 'letting go of resentment'

The Depths of Forgiveness

JESUS SPEAKING

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in Heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11: 25) In Matthew 18: 21 – 25, we read, ‘Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'”

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Peter asks Jesus what the limits of forgiveness are; initially expressing his belief in the sufficiency of seven times per day. However, the Lord quickly corrects him. Jesus uses an exaggerated number of 70 times 7, to emphasize the inexhaustible nature of forgiveness, as it pertains to repentant souls. By implication, Christ also vilifies the harboring of any resentments. Resentment is defined as, any persisting anger or indignation experienced as the result of another individual’s harmful, unfair, or detrimental treatment. Resentment is a destructive, selfish emotion that causes harm to those who refuse to forgive others absolutely.

As the story goes, on a prominent boulevard in Chicago there once stood for many years a fence eighteen feet high; erected by a woman who imagined her neighbor was peering into her windows. While it effectively cut off the in-look, it shut the sunshine out of her own yard, ruined the lawn, and cast a shadow upon the house. In a similar fashion, spite and resentment cast the heaviest shadows over the hearts that harbor them; shutting out the sunshine of life and the fullness of God’s peace.

Harboring hatred and resentment toward others separates us from God and produces destruction in our hearts and minds. If we have received God’s forgiveness, then entertaining spite and unforgiveness against others is unjust, hypocritical, and quite dangerous. Grace has been given, and grace, through us, must continue. As a practical matter, praying daily for those who have harmed us is extremely beneficial. By means of this mechanism, we are able to see our enemies as fallen individuals, in desperate need of a savior. We can then love them with God’s heart. There is nothing so freeing to the soul than the death of resentment.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we come before you as broken people; individuals who, aside from your grace, would be imprisoned in sin. If we are currently harboring any resentment toward others, make it known to us; and give us the strength, the courage, and the will to let go of our anger. Through forgiveness, may we continue to reach our enemies with the gospel message and serve our fellows without prideful intent and selfish ambition. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.” God bless all of you!

Forgiving

JESUS SPEAKING

        “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17: 3-4.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        Withholding forgiveness from others is dangerous; for the Lord has said, “if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.” Jesus used a ‘seven’ to describe the number of times a disciple is obligated to forgive others. In the Hebrew culture, numbers carried very profound symbolic significance; the number seven represents completion; in turn, the obligation to forgive is limitless, infinite, or complete. Since the fall of creation, until the present day, men and women have fervently sought God’s forgiveness; none whose hearts were sincere have ever been denied (for God is merciful above all things.) We are called to be like God; and so we must forgive without exception.
        One day a group of missionaries and local Christians gathered together in New Guinea to share communion and to fellowship. As they sat down, one of the older missionaries noticed another man’s momentary expression of horror and disgust; which was quickly replaced with an expression of peace. The missionary whispered to his friend, “What was it that troubled you?” He replied, “The man who just came in to share communion, murdered my Father; for a moment I didn’t think that I could handle it. But then I realized that he has been washed and forgiven by the same precious blood.” The men then shared communion together in love.
        To what extent should we forgive others? Jesus has taught us to forgive without stipulation or condition. We, who have been forgiven so much, have no right to withhold forgiveness from others. Search your heart; if you find hatred discard it; if you discover resentment let it go. Forgive those who have harmed you; bless them and pray for them. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you, and your anger will ‘give way’ to peace, and your bitterness will turn to joy.
        “Lord Heavenly Father, forgive us of our sins. May we be like You; may we sincerely forgive others. If we have refused to forgive anyone, please reveal it to us now. If we harbor anger or resentment of any kind, expose it; fill our hearts with mercy, that we might better serve You, and worthily magnify Your Holy name. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you.

Forgiveness

JESUS SPEAKING

                “Take heed to yourselves.  If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.  And if he sins against you seven times in a day and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17: 3-4.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Withholding forgiveness from others is dangerous; for the Lord has said, “if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.”  Jesus used a ‘seven’ to describe the number of times a disciple is obligated to forgive others.  In the Hebrew culture, numbers carried very profound symbolic significance; the number seven represents completion; in turn, the obligation to forgive is limitless, infinite, or complete.  Since the fall of creation until the present day, men and women have fervently sought God’s forgiveness; none whose hearts were sincere have ever been denied (for God is merciful above all things.)  We are called to be like God; and so we must forgive without exception [Note:  Even if a person doesn’t repent and request our forgiveness, we are still obligated to forgive them completely; we see Jesus exercising such mercy during his crucifixion; as the people mocked him, and the religious leaders teased him, they were not repentant.  They did not ask for forgiveness, and yet Jesus said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”  We have our example in Christ.]

                One day a group of missionaries and local Christians gathered together in New Guinea to share communion and to fellowship.  As they sat down, one of the older missionaries noticed another man’s momentary expression of horror and disgust; which was quickly replaced with an expression of peace.  The missionary whispered to his friend, “What was it that troubled you?”  He replied, “The man who just came in to share communion murdered my Father.  For a moment I didn’t think that I could handle it.  But then I realized that he has been washed and forgiven by the same precious blood.”

       To what extent should we forgive others?  Jesus has taught us to forgive without stipulation or condition.  We, who have been forgiven so much, have no right to withhold forgiveness from others.  Search your heart; if you find hatred discard it; if you discover resentment let it go.  Forgive those who have harmed you; bless them and pray for them.  Allow the Holy Spirit to help you, and your anger will ‘give way’ to peace, and your bitterness will turn to joy.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, forgive us of our sins.  May we be like You; may we sincerely forgive others.  If we have refused to forgive anyone, please reveal it to us now.  If we harbor anger or resentment of any kind, expose it; fill our hearts with mercy that we might better serve You, and worthily magnify Your Holy name.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.


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