October 22
Obstacles to Forgiveness 

Matthew 18:21-35

Forgiveness can be defined as giving up resentment toward someone and letting go of the right to hurt him back. On the other hand, unforgiveness demands that
the guilty one pay for the wrong he did.

According to these definitions, unfor-giveness looks very much like justice, and forgiveness seems unfair. That's why we have such a hard time with it. Forgiveness goes against our God-given sense of what is just. Yet God calls us to forgive those who don't deserve it! 

To avoid offering a pardon, we rehearse the wrong suffered until our desire for retaliation and pain seems totally justified. Convinced of our right to be angry, we
demand repayment, thinking, Releasing a person from deserved punishment is unfair!

The Father faced the same dilemma. All humanity had sinned and was deserving of eternal separation from Him. He couldn't simply forgive sin arbitrarily, because He would then cease being just. Our forgiveness is possible only because divine justice was satisfied by the Son's payment for our sins. Now God is free to righteously forgive us.

When we accepted the Lord's forgiveness, we gave up all rights to hold anything against anyone else. An unforgiving heart is miserable because it is far from God, who is the source of all peace and joy.

Does the thought or sight of someone arouse harsh feelings within you? Holding onto a grievance will keep you imprisoned in emotional turmoil, but letting go will set you free. Christ has provided the key of forgiveness. Take hold of it, unlock the dungeon door, and walk out into the light.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

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Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.