How to Forgive the Unforgivable
Have you heard of “ the ball and chain” used for punishment?
In order to keep criminals from escaping, one ancient method was to attach a heavy iron ball to thick metal chains and latch it on a prisoner’s ankle.
It didn’t matter if the prisoner was alone, for as long as that heavy burden was locked and clamped on his ankle, there was no way for him to easily escape or run towards freedom.
Somehow, unforgiveness is like having a ball & chain clamped around your heart.
When a person does you wrong, it may be a challenge to forgive. But if we stay in an attitude of unforgiveness in our heart, just like that prisoner, we will never experience true freedom or live a healthy life.
Can you think of a time a person did you wrong? Maybe it was a recent argument and there was a heated exchange of words. Or maybe, it was a serious betrayal from someone you trusted.
David, in the Bible, also wrestled with injustice and unforgiveness. King Saul, who was his father-in-law, attempted to kill him several times, though David was innocent of any crime.
Let’s hear his words in Psalm 54:
1Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might. 3Arrogant foes are attacking me; ruthless people are trying to kill me — people without regard for God.
So how do we set ourselves free from the chains of bitterness?
1. Pour out your burdens to the Lord.
Just like David, you can come to God and tell him the wrong done to you.
Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.” Psalm 54:4
Give God your soul and emotions for His safekeeping.
2. Be confident that God is a just God.
“ . . . fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19
How do these verses apply to your situation?
3. Choose to forgive even if you don’t feel like it.
“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” – Corrie Ten Boom
If there was anyone who was ever unjustly punished, accused and maltreated, it was Jesus. Yet, despite the agony of his soul and the torture of his body, Jesus chose to forgive us.
We, ourselves, are in daily need of forgiveness. Only the mercies of God can set us free from our own prison of guilt.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
In turn, how does Jesus want us to respond based on the verse below?
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
I pour out to you the hurt I feel. Give me the power to forgive. You are my avenger and righteous Judge. At the same time, remind me of your great mercy towards me.
When I am tempted to wallow in my hurt and unforgiveness, help me to remember how much You have forgiven me. Only You have the power to set me free from the prison of unforgiveness.
Help me to remember that Jesus paid the painful price for the cost of what was done to me as well as the cost of my own wrongdoing.
I repent of my own anger and bitterness even as I put my whole situation into Your capable hands. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen.