How to Find Peace in Forgiveness

One of the most difficult things you’ll ever try to do in life is forgive someone.

  • When someone hurts you and you don’t forgive them, it robs you of joy and peace.
  • A relationship with Jesus is one that is characterized by forgiveness.
  • God’s path is paved with forgiving people. The world’s path is paved with retaliation.

When someone hurts you, they have essentially taken something away from you.

  • Your reputation, your dignity, your trust, your childhood.
  • A debt was acquired and now you feel they owe you something.
  • We think the remedy for pain is payback.
  • Hurt turns into anger, and eventually into bitterness.
  • Unresolved bitterness is like poison that infects your leadership and all of your relationships. 

Jesus teaches that we must always be willing to forgive, and we must continually forgive.  

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant” (Matthew 18:21-35).

  • To forgive, you have to have mercy on others.
  • You will be tempted to focus on how much better you are than the person who hurt you.
  • You must move from wanting to get back at them to having compassion on them.
  • You’ll never feel like forgiving. Like the master, you must decide to cancel the debt.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what happened to you is ok, it means that you’re done allowing the pain to traumatize you.
  • Jesus asks, “Should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (v33)
  • Jesus says, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (v35)

The master represents God, the servant who was shown mercy represents anyone who has had their sin cancelled by God, and the servant who was not shown mercy represents those who have wronged us who we have not forgiven.

  • If you’re holding onto bitterness and waiting to be paid back, you’re the one who’s suffers because you will never have peace.
  • If you cancel the debts owed to you, you will be set free.
  • Jesus calls us to forgive just like He has forgiven us. 

The process of cancelling the debt:

  1. Admit that you’ve been hurt.
  2. Identify the person who hurt you.
  3. Determine what they owe you.
  4. Cancel the debt – release them. 

Practically, how is the debt paid?

  • Every time you think about taking revenge... every time you want to speak badly about them... every time you think about the event and start to get angry... take the thought captive, tell yourself you release them, and ask God to give you the grace to forgive them.
  • You pay down the debt little by little until one day you are free.
  • Forgiveness isn’t letting them off the hook, it’s letting yourself off the hook by modeling the grace and love that Jesus has shown to you. 

Prayer: “Lord, they owe me, but I owed you and you were willing to cancel my debt, so I cancel their debt. I forgive _____ for taking _______.” 

On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished” which means, it is paid. Jesus paid our debt with His sacrifice.