Good Shepherd Lutheran

Just Ask HimMatthew 18:21-35
Christians, although forgiven themselves, sometimes refuse to be forgiving. How often do we see that today? We see people hurting each other. Failing to show mercy and quick to bring suffering to those they think have done them wrong. Sad to say, it’s a very common human reaction. People who are hurting can lash out and end up hurting other people. Those who are suffering can be quick to share the pain.
How many times have we heard friends or family members say: “I’ll never forgive him,” or “You don’t know what they did to me.” But as Christians, God expects more from us. God expects us to forgive.
Our loving God has forgiven us and Christians need to keep in mind the great value of our salvation. We need to remember the price that was paid for our forgiveness. Winning salvation for humanity wasn’t easy and Jesus paid the ultimate price to accomplish it. Marking ‘paid’ to our debt took Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. Our forgiveness cost Him his life.
That sacrifice deserves more than some superficial, perfunctory kind of forgiveness. It deserves real gratitude because we’ve come to Jesus with a debt we couldn’t pay and been forgiven. And it deserves translating our gratitude for the forgiveness we’ve received into forgiveness for others. We need to pay it forward and offer forgiveness to those who have wronged us.
Anger and lack of forgiveness only hurts us. When it comes to resentment, jealousy, and prolonged anger, we make – or fail to make – the decision about whether to let it go. That’s why forgiveness is so important. God who knows us, who made us, who created us, understands that we can’t carry resentment around with us and still maintain our relationships. Either with Him or with others. So, He offers us a way to let it go.
We can forgive because God is in charge. We don’t need to make excuses for it or try to forget it and get over it. We can turn it over to God, confident that He’ll take charge of it and handle it. It’s not easy to forgive, but God in His grace gives us the power to do it if we give it to Him.
I know that some of you are thinking, “How can I let that person who injured me off the hook? They have some responsibility here, too.” I’m not telling you to let them off the hook. I’m telling you to put them on God’s hook instead. Put them in God’s hands, and say, “God, I can’t handle this. You can. I forgive them and I leave it to You.”
Sometimes forgiveness seems bigger than we are. It seems more than we can handle on our own. But we don’t have to handle it on our own. Lay it on the Lord. He’s ready to help. Just ask Him.