Part V: Forgiveness and Un-forgiveness
The subject of this fifth blog in the series on forgiveness is un-forgiveness. I address some of the reasons a believer may fail to forgive. In the next blog I will address consequences of this failure. I have alluded to several reasons as to why a believer may fail to forgive. Consider these. One such reason may simply be a failure to realize he has sinned against a brother. This failure may be understandable and even excusable. I will cover this issue in our last blog under the heading: Cover and Confront: When?
Another reason may be a lack of understanding of what forgiveness is and a failure of the forgiver and forgivee to understand their own status and identity as forgiven people. Such was the case with Simon (Luke 7:36-50) and the first servant (Matthew 18:21-35). Forgiveness is relational: God to you, you to God, and you to others. Being forgiven places the believer in a position of understanding how important relationships are and functioning accordingly (Matt. 22:37-40). This fact is highlighted by the simple truth that this is God’s world and not yours or mine. We live in it His way for His glory and we are blessed exponentially. When relationships are God-honoring, there is joy, peace, and contentment. Building and holding onto biblically strong relationships is facilitated by forgiveness. Such is the impetus of Matthew 5:23-24 and Luke 17:3-10.
Another reason for failing to forgive is simply that the person does not want to give up control. Failing to forgive and grudge holding go hand-in-hand. The un-forgiver perceives the sin against him as so heinous that he has a right to hold a grudge. He has no willingness to forgive as nurse his own hurts. Being sinned against justifies his grudge holding. Failing to forgive or at least failing to be at peace as far as it is possible is an attack on God, His power, goodness, and wisdom (Rom. 12:17-21 especially v.17). The grudge holder functions as a troublemaker. Prideful, he functions as if relationships are not important; as if he carries the power and control of the situation by holding the offense over the other person; as if God’s forgiveness of him at the cross is “no big deal.” The cross does not motivate him to forgive as he has been forgiven.
1. Where are you in your relationships – at home, church, work, socially?
2. Which ones do you need to reevaluate according to the biblical principles that we have been discussing?
3. Prioritize your answers and seek to think, desire, and act as a forgiven person.
4. Record the results.