Matthew 18:34-35

Heather Bellamy
Heather Bellamy

I'm not sure if I'm qualified to write a Life File on forgiveness. I'm someone who's still on a journey learning what forgiveness is and how to do it; I want to share with you some of my journey though, as I have learned some things along the way that may help you.

Reading the Bible, it's obvious that forgiveness is important to God, but I found that until it became a part of who I was (and that's only just beginning), I could read the words, but they didn't have a very deep impact on me. They weren't part of the fabric of who I was.

Along the way, I have had to forgive certain people in my life and I knew that to move on, I had to turn myself in that direction and pray in that way. I found freedom doing this, but it was a slow process and not something I naturally did.

Part of how I would suffer would be as Matthew 18:34 says:

'In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.'

I don't believe God is a petulant God treating us in this way, it's simply a natural consequence in our lives when we don't forgive; it's part of His discipline of us as a good Father bringing us up correctly according to His ways.

I don't know if you've experienced this, but my emotions and mind would be in torment over the issue, replaying it, having conversations and getting angry in my head and sometimes there would even be a physical expression of the pain, throwing things in frustration and hurt.

God says:

"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." Matthew 18: 35

Forgiving someone from the heart is real freedom from the issue, so it's no longer an issue inside. For me, finding that freedom inside my heart used to be a really slow process, bit by bit, often taking years. Recently the process has been speeding up.

Something I realised, was that I could avoid a lot of the pain in forgiving (removing an arrow from inside of me), if I didn't take offense in the first place (hit the arrow away as it's fired at me). So when someone's attitude or actions wound me, I have a quick thought/prayer then and there to reject/forgive the offense and not allow it to take root in me. The longer I leave the arrow/hurt in me, the more painful forgiveness is. I have determined that walking in forgiveness daily is what God wants and it's a liberating way to live!! My emotions and mind are experiencing a freedom they've not known before, as I'm not being delivered to the torturers!

Every day offenses come, we have to accept that that's part of life, Jesus Himself said:

'For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!' Matthew 18:7

To forgive isn't to deny that something happened and perhaps something that was wrong. To forgive you have to accept the truth that it was real and it did happen, but the way you choose to respond to that is to let it go, to completely release it as if it didn't happen.