28Stop being afraid of those who kill the body but can’t kill the soul. Instead, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
Of all the plagues of man the inability to forgive is perhaps the most devastating. Fear not what can harm your body; fear that which can destroy your soul.
Your willingness to forgive is to your soul as blood pressure is to your body. With out forgiveness in your heart the blood of the soul is restricted or can not flow at all. Lack of forgiveness surely causes the festering of hate. It eventually causes your soul to die. Our capacity to forgive also reflects the qualities of a Godly person. Our degree of forgiveness is a measure of Godliness. That is not to say that if we are struggling to forgive that we are unworthy of God’s blessing. Perhaps a healthier approach is to concentrate on spiritual growth of self in place of dwelling on resentful thought. God will not allow the soul of His child to die. Allow God to claim you. He is a God of magnificence even when we play in to the devil’s plan.
36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus said to him, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’, 38This is the greatest and most important commandment. 39The second is like it: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’, 40All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
It’s very clear here what is important to the Lord. Loving your neighbor is second only to loving God. Loving friends and family is fine and dandy. Loving someone who has done you wrong may seem impossible. Our spiritual lives are built on the foundation of love. An unforgiving soul is like a crack in our foundation.
43“You’ve heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you’ll become children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and he lets rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what great thing are you doing? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? 48So be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The inability to forgive is deadly because it is in absolute contradiction to Got second most sacred commandment. Consider the parable in the following passage
21Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 23Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
It is clear that God takes forgiveness very seriously. He forgives us unconditionally for our sins upon our request. When we surrender our lives to His Lordship, we are to forgive those who have done us wrong unconditionally.
In my life forgiveness has been a most worthy adversary. Those who have done me wrong are many. As a child I was scorned. As an adult others stood in front of me masking my accomplishment claiming it their own. To what level are we to forgive? Does it mean never thinking wrongly of those who do us wrong? Or, does it mean simply not thinking any more of those people at all?
Forgiveness starts with a prayer. If we acknowledge the desire to forgive without yet a heart of forgiveness, God will change our hearts in His time. We may always acknowledge inappropriate action against us evoking anger. In my life, I initially strive toward the point where I can forgive the perpetrator if he were to request. It’s important to understand that as in war, our true adversary is not those who have acted against us. Our true adversary in every case is the devil. The sins of others are always orchestrated by the evil one. Those against us are living in darkness. There souls are destined for hell unless we pray for the grace of God to come upon them.
Considering this, it becomes easier to pray for the light of the Lord to overtake the darkness in their lives. If for no other reason, we may be able to prevent them from trespassing against others. In the end we know what God’s promise is for us. We also know what God promises for those who choose to live in darkness.
I believe that seeing our enemies in heaven would be a very positive experience, especially if we had been praying for the darkness to lift from their souls while they were on Earth.
I truly wish those who trespassed against me would simply apologize to me. I would accept their apology. It takes much prayer to get to that point. I am able to pray that the light of God would one day illuminate their hearts. Do I think negative thoughts of those people? Yes, I often do. I’m sorry for that. However, I also sincerely ask the Lord to intervene. Getting to the point where we can pray for our enemies is all that I feel God expects of us. The Holy Spirit will take us from there.
33When they reached the place called The Skull, they crucified him there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34Jesus kept saying, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”