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The Opposite of Revenge (1 of 6)
''To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and to discover that the prisoner is you!''
INTRODUCTION: Most people dealing with unforgiveness base their grudge/offense on ''what someone did or said to them,'' or ''what you did.''
Forgiveness is the act of setting someone free from an obligation to you that is a result of a wrong done against you. All of us, at one time or another, have been forgiven, or granted forgiveness. (I've owed and I've been owed.) However, there is a temptation to bear injury in your life and, as a result, hold a grudge, allow bitterness to set in, and to become unforgiving.
Unforgiveness is a bondage that stifles our ability to love and accept those that we know in our hearts most deserve our love. It is a bondage that chokes out the abundant life Christ promised to those who would believe.
To understand what God in Christ did for us, and then to refuse to forgive those who have wronged us is to be like the wicked, ungrateful slave of this text.
Forgiveness involves 3 elements:
1. Injury (what was said or done)
2. Debt (resulting from the injury) - ''He'll pay for this''
3. Cancellation of the debt
When we refuse to forgive others, there is a sense in which we hold them hostage. When a person is taken hostage on the international scene, the abductors usually want something. It may be money, weapons, or the release of prisoners. Their message is, ''If you give us what we want, we will give you back what we have taken.''
There is always some type of condition; a ransom of some sort.
When we refuse to forgive others for a wrong done by them, we are saying the same thing. But instead of holding people hostage until we get our demands, we withhold love, acceptance, respect, service, kindness, patience, etc.
Matthew 18:21-35 describes quite a contrast of terms:
Anger - Compassion
Prison - Release
Choking - Forgivene ...
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