"But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." -Matthew 6:15
Have you ever had a hard time forgiving someone? We all experience things in our lives that can cause us to hold unforgiveness against someone else. It is especially difficult if the person who has hurt us continues to do the same things over and over again. So, how do we respond? What can we do?
Let's imagine for a moment you owned a convenience store. A family member keeps on coming in and taking candy from your store. They don't think it's wrong to steal from you... after all, you're family! It's all free for family, right? But it's making you upset. After all, you have a business to run! Don't they see their actions are causing you to lose money? Don't they want you to be successful?
Eventually, you tell your family member they're not welcome in your store anymore unless their willing to pay for the merchandise they stole. They don't like it, and they don't come back. Phew! Problem solved, kind of. But, what are you going to do about all the money you lost? Thinking about it still makes you upset. You're not likely to be glad to see the family member at a family gathering any time soon -- they didn't even realize the fault of their actions!
At the end of the night, you're about to close up shop, and a man walks through the door. He buys a coffee, hands you a $1000 bill, and tells you to keep the change. "What?" you say. "I can't take this, it's way more than the coffee you just bought!"
"I know," says the man. "But I want you to have it. It's my gift to you."
Overjoyed, you're not sure what to think. This man just made up more than the difference!
Whenever we're faced with situations where we need to forgive, there is a great temptation to hold a grudge. But we need to remember that like the man in the story gave the $1000 bill, Jesus has already paid the price for the other person's sin. We have to give it over to God. When we do, it isn't our problem anymore. But it involves our forgiveness, our letting go -- and our trust that God will make up the difference.
Jesus already paid the price. Will you allow Him to take any hurts you may be experiencing off of your shoulders?