Jesus told a parable about a king who forgave a servant who owed a very large sum of money. However, this same servant refused to forgive another a very small amount. In the story, when the king heard about the actions of this unmerciful servant, he was “white hot” with anger and punished the servant severely. Jesus concludes that parable with these words: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35). We are called to forgive each other from the heart.
Forgiveness requires us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31). This passage makes it clear that it is up to us to make this effort. Of course, if we ask God, he will help us in this task. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14).
Jesus does more than just command us to forgive. He gave us the ultimate example. We are told that when he was dying for crimes he did not commit, Jesus looked down at his tormentors and said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34a).
Woodlawn church of Christ