Proverbs 25:21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink.
Years ago when I was ministering in Australia an elderly missionary said to me, “Think of the person you love the least and that is the most amount of love you have for the Lord.” How do we know if the love of Christ has really changed our hearts? When we start praying and blessing our enemies and the people who have abused us. Matt. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
Many of us can think of people who have hurt us, impacting our hearts and attitudes, with negative choices or positive ones depending on how we process the hurt. My father was a brutal man and hurt me severely, but one day God asked me to forgive him. This took a lot of time and heartfelt growing; however, with the help of the Holy Spirit, eventually I was free from all the memories and affects of my father’s abuse toward me.
Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. I was honestly able to pray for my dad’s salvation and restoration toward all our family members. Did this erase the evil actions toward me that were done? No, but by faith, I chose to cancel the debt that was owed me because the Lord Jesus cancelled my debt owed God.
Free at last from all past sins and hurts. It is the only way to be set free from all the horrors that were unjustly inflicted on us who have been victimised by the bullies in life. Did Jesus deserve what happened to Him at the cross? I am sure you can answer that yourselves.
Many of us want the forgiveness of God for ourselves and the judgement of God for those who have harmed us. The truth is that we have all fallen short of God’s perfection, but by His grace and forgiveness He loves and will heal us. Rom. 5:8 But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
We were saved by grace, (God’s unmerited favour) then we were filled with His grace, (God’s ability in us) so that we would extend grace, (unmerited favour) to others. That is how we are going to be able to forgive those who have trespassed against us.
There is a story of a wicked servant who had been forgiven a great debt owed a king. The debt became impossible for the servant to pay it back in full, but the king out of his mercy forgave the debt that was owed him. However, when the wicked servant found someone who owed him a small amount he would not extend the same mercy that was given to himself. Matt. 18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desired me: 33 Should not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
This is how the kingdom of God works when it comes to forgiveness, and if we are in His kingdom then that is how we must extend forgiveness. The wicked servant owed a debt he could not pay, but the king forgave his debt. The wicked servant was owed a debt that could be eventually paid, but would not extend the same mercy freely offered to himself.
In the same way, we owed God an eternal debt that we could not pay, but God in His mercy and grace forgave our debt completely; therefore, we should also forgive the debts owed us by the people who also have access to the same forgiveness that was freely given to us.
Is it easy to extend a merciful heart to someone who has violated our lives? No, it is not easy, but it is necessary in order for us to move forward and be an overcomer in Christ. This is something we will have to bring to the Lord in prayer and work throughout our Christian lives, but it will be worth it in the end. Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.