“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”
― Charlotte Brontë,
Have you ever held a grudge? Did you ever have someone say or do something to you that you felt that was just unforgivable? Have you had someone do something totally opposite of what you told them to do and it caused them to fall? The “I told you so” syndrome has swept this nation like never before. We find ourselves with our noses in the business of people and yet we really don’t even know their hearts. We give them advice, we tell them how it is, we tell them “I told you so” when they never even asked us for the advice, and sometimes they even ask for the advice that they rejected. We have to find that fine line between distance and unforgiveness. Many of us walk around this world bitter because we don’t get our way in other people’s lives because we think we know it all, or people do things to us that we just can’t explain. Now, you are probably wondering where this is going. I am setting a foundation for the title of this message and I hope that it makes you and I really think. I pose a question for the both of us today that I hope will help you to pause and think before holding a grudge or unforgiveness; where’s the rewind button? You know, when you miss a point in a movie or a story and you can just flip back or rewind the tape and see it again.
When someone does the things that I have mentioned before that cause us to harbor bitterness, where is the rewind button so they can go back and fix that mistake that they had made? Do we continue to throw it in their faces each time they do something we disagree with or do we let it go and move on? In Matthew 18, Jesus told a parable of a master and his servant who owed him a large sum of money. The servant did not have it and begged the master for leniency. The master had mercy on him and set him free. However, the servant went out and found another servant who owed him money and demanded he pays what he owed. The master caught the wind of what was going on and in verse 32 Jesus reveals his response, “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow-servant just as I had on you?’ In anger, his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed.” It is interesting to see that in verse 33 Jesus said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Now, you are probably pondering, “you mean the same God that has the love, grace, and mercy to send His Son to die for me would not forgive me?” The answer is clear. We are so quick to quote the goodie scriptures but when it comes to God’s demands of our lives, we are quick to forget those scriptures. Can you find the rewind button to delete what was just said here? Just kidding. But all jokes aside, we need to let it go. Many would ask, “how many times must I forgive this person for the same thing. I do it over and over and it’s tiring!” Peter asked this question “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus spoke to him and said, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Are you harboring unforgiveness toward your mate or your child? Are you upset because your employer treated you unfairly? Remember, God calls you to forgive them, whether you believe they deserve it or not. It is so easy to harbor that bitterness. It so easy to say, “they haven’t forgiven me, then why should I forgive them?” The enemy loves to use bitterness and unforgiveness to his advantage. It opens the door for strife and anger to enter. It’s so easy to let the situation sit on the back burner and fan the flame. I pose this to you today and to myself, put out the flame, get out of the pot, and move on. Sitting in your world of bitterness and anger is not going to change the person or the situation.
Your bitterness and anger are not going change the situation. There is no way that we can go back and make that person, who did wrong, do right. Bringing it up will not cause it to happen, it only hurts the person and hurts yourself. I want to say this in closing; what would you do if God came up to you and threw everything you ever did in your face? Now I am not saying that you can go sin like no one’s business. I am saying that when you have repented, God has forgiven it as far as the east is to the west. (See Psalm 103:12) Don’t be an instrument of Satan, but be an instrument of God. So, quit trying to hit the rewind button and hit the pause button and pray on this. Be blessed!