Don Henley, the famed Eagles band member, wrote a song called “The Heart of the Matter.”
The chorus goes:
I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand,
All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore
To be human is to experience a multitude of feelings. One cannot walk through this world and avoid getting hurt at times or feeling they have been wronged. For some those wounds are so deep that they altered the course of their lives.
Bitterness eats away at a person and branches out to not only negatively impact those around you whom you may care a great deal for but blocks you from achieving your full potential as a human being. For those who hold faith, that bitterness harbored impedes growth in your spiritual experience and relationship with God. For those who lack faith, not forgiving one’s self and others keeps them stuck as well, in their relationships and journey of self-discovery. The feeling of resentment, guilt, revenge, and being wronged…hinders loving ones self and accepting and sharing love with others. This imbalance cannot be sustained without devastating physical, mental, and life-quality consequences.
The targets of those unforgiven in one’s life often are family members, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and sometimes those strangers you collide with in tragic circumstances. However, one can also cling to resentment even hate towards a greater collective target.
Today, our country is acutely divided by religion, class, race, gender, and political ideology just to name a few. At every level of our lifestyles, we are encouraged to be against those who do not align with our values and further seek to see them as inferior – unworthy of forgiveness. This Sunday Thoughts’ article falls on a weekend where for the first time in our nation’s history this collective gaslighted division has reached a fever pitch.
I refer to the reports that the former President may be arrested in a politically motivated prosecution essentially destroying the Constitutional principles that bind our country and its citizens in good faith in this experiment of self-governing and liberty. Those of faith may be conflicted and feel anger and resentment towards those they view are destroying the fabric of our country. I think the GOP 2024 candidate Vivek Ramaswamy cuts through the noise on this issue best:
This is about principle, not a person. This is about our country, not one man. The silence from the rest of the GOP field is deafening. pic.twitter.com/Jqi9o2d0wR
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) March 18, 2023
Yes, we can forgive those we fear are ending our Republic while still fighting to defend it.
The act of forgiveness is unshackling those who manipulate you through agendas and diminish your capacity to accept both your sovereign stewardship over your life and most importantly allow you to have a relationship with God.
- 1 Corinthians 13: “Faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love”
What lessons can we glean from Matthew 18:21-35 -The Parable of the Unforgiving or Unmerciful Servant?
The Apostle Peter had a question for Jesus about forgiveness, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” And Jesus answered, “Not seven times but seventy times seven” Jesus then told the parable to illustrate some important points about forgiveness.
- The first servant owed his master an enormous sum of money. Ten thousand was the largest Greek number and a talent was the largest coin. This would be the equivalent of millions of pounds today. This debt could never be repaid, yet his master forgave him. We should always forgive, even if the debt is huge.
- The master in the story is like God. If a person is genuinely sorry for wrong doing and asks for God’s forgiveness, it is freely given.
- The second servant’s debt was very small, yet the first servant would not let him off. This is the wrong attitude. Jesus taught that God is willing to let us off a debt we cannot repay, so we should be ready to forgive others.
- The servant who did not forgive was tortured. Perhaps Jesus is referring to the way a person feels when they cannot forgive. They remain bitter and resentful and end up suffering the most.
For those of faith healing in forgiveness is the act of loving and honoring God. The parable illustrates the debt we all have owed and the Good Master has forgiven all that are born again. The parable helps us understand that this was not the original debt for it was too great to pay in full by the debtor. What was to be paid in full was the debt of the brother, but it is our debt now to forgive our brother his debt. Until we can forgive our brother their little debt we are tormented until we are able by the Spirit of conviction. It is written that when any member of the body lacks the whole body suffers.
- Ephesians 4:32: “And be ye kind to one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you…”
- Romans 5:8: “but lGod shows his love for us in that mwhile we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Therefore, because we have received much grace, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us and we are commanded to give that same grace to others.
- Luke 23:34: “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”]* They divided his garments by casting lots…”
We need to understand three things about forgiveness. First, we can not earn it. Second, it is not for sale. And third, if we accept Christ, we already have it. Remember what is written that when job repented and prayed for his friends that all his losses were restored and he also was healed.
- Job 42:10: ” After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before…”
Jesus on the cross said” forgive them Father they no not what they do.” The sooner we can restore a brother that has done something against us the sooner the healing process can take place. In like manner are we to forgive our brethren even before they ask in love, forgiven them will weigh heavily on their hearts and cause them to be moved in their heart to truly ask and return to fellowship with the one they have offended and restore the well being of the body, in which there are many members for the benefit of all.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
I give glory and thanks to Jesus for paying the debt I could not possibly pay – a great debt could not possibly be paid back.
Christians know the power of forgiveness unleashes miracles. Only through God’s miracle can the healing and salvation of our Republic be restored. Harboring feelings of revenge against one who sins against you will multiply greater sin. This in turn empowers evil against us all. Put on the full armor of God and defend truth and freedom but from a loving and forgiving heart. Remember in battle all hearts beat and, the aftermath often requires those who prevail to tend to the wounded.
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