Forgiving from the Heart
February 27, 2009
“And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the
torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. So shall
my heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive
his brother from your heart.” – Matthew 18:34-35
Have you ever watched this scene played out? Two children are
quarreling. One hits the other. The parent scolds them, and says, “Now,
Johnny, say you’re sorry.” And little Johnny grimaces,
and says reluctantly, “I’m sorry.” The parent
turns to the other child expectantly. Little Jimmy also grimaces,
and says, “It’s okay.” But there’s a look
in Jimmy’s eye that tells you clearly that little Johnny
had better watch out!
How often do we, as adults, do the same thing? Instead of truly
forgiving “from the heart,” we tell the offending party
that it’s okay … but inside, we harbor anger and resentment,
making careful note of the infraction so that we can pull it out
at a later date and use it as ammunition.
God forbids this attitude. He commands us to forgive “from
the heart.” He warns us, “Forgiveness isn’t about
lip service. It has to be real. Otherwise, I’m not accepting
The fruits of true forgiveness are a restored relationship with
the other person, a willingness to bury the incident and never
bring it up again, and a sincere desire for the good of the other
individual. That, after all, is what it means when God forgives
- Are you harboring anger, resentment, or grudges against
anyone right now? If so, why? What steps do you need to take
to resolve this situation?
- Do you currently need to ask anyone’s
forgiveness for an offense? If so, why haven’t you done
so yet? What steps do you need to take to resolve this situation?