In the first post of the new year, we talked about leaving the old behind and embracing the new. The topic of offense has been on my heart lately, so I thought I would share a bit about what happens when you don’t forgive. We’ll start by taking a look at Matthew 18:18-35.
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone[i]who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.
But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’
Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time.
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded.
But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened.
Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’
Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
Jesus spoke very directly about the condition of the person who does not forgive: they absolutely will be tortured by unforgiveness.
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Offense is a dangerous tool the enemy wields against people. It robs you of peace, strength, freedom, and a future. It imprisons you, and it cuts you off from fellowship with others. When offense creeps in and overcomes you in one relationship, it soon spills over and begins affecting every other relationship you have. Soon, you begin to view every person suspiciously, as if you’re expecting the person to wrong you before you even get to know them. I have personally met people whose lives have been shipwrecked by offense. They spew bitterness in every word they speak. Don’t be that person who is miserable to be around because of the hatred in your heart.