We can say we are justified to stay angry with others but we're not. We can even use scripture to accommodate us, to twist the gospel to suit us, and spin God's teachings in order to make our case and remain a victim... but that doesn't come from God. Forgiveness comes from God. Mercy comes from God. Love comes from God. Revenge Never comes from God. Holding onto anger Never comes from God. A desire to punish others, to give them what you think they deserve Never ever comes from God. These things are contrary to the gospel by their very nature.
We are human, we make mistakes, we sin, we fail, we hurt others and you and I are no exceptions. It's a dangerous scenario to think we are so Christian that these teachings are meant for someone else. No, they're meant for us, they are meant for the whole world. Jesus was not speaking to only those in front of Him at the time. He was speaking to all, a universal and everlasting Truth. God is Love. God is Mercy. And we are called to be loving and merciful.We are called to follow Jesus, not to use Him. Too often, we use Christ as a tool to build our own case, to justify our own opinions, to correct everyone else, to point out other's faults rather than to look at our own and obey His command. "Forgive." It's plain, it's simple and it's powerful. Love is more powerful than fear, Forgiveness is more powerful than anger. The devil would have us think otherwise. He's a liar. Jesus is the Truth. If we have in our hearts a desire to punish others for the injustices they have imposed on us or the injustices we think they have imposed on us, we are NOT followers of Christ, we are followers of ourselves. We are making the rules, and making them based on how we feel as opposed to what Jesus has taught, commanded, us to do.
I fail at following Jesus every day, we all do. God knows our humanity, He created it. He knows our weaknesses and our wounds. He knows all the things that have shaped us over the course of our lives making us the person we are today. He knows all the hurts, rejections, indifference and punishment we've received at the hands of others and He knows why we behave the way we do. He also knows this about the person/persons we're angry with and all that has shaped them as well. Their hurts, wounds, rejections, indifference and punishments they've received from others. It's complicated, so Jesus makes it simple. "Forgive." Let it go completely - no matter what it is. If someone did something wrong, forgive the wrong. If you do something wrong, seek forgiveness.It's easier to look at what others do than to look at what you do. It's easier to criticize what others say than to evaluate what you say. Maybe you have hurt others deeply but for some reason you don't think that matters as much as how they have hurt you. We like to think that when something happens to us it's more significant than when it happens to others. It's not. Your feelings are not more important than somebody else's. These are the sorts of things that leave relationships broken. This may be just fine with you. But it's not fine with God.
Unforgiveness tears down, destroys, damages and breaks. Christ builds, repairs, restores and heals. The two cannot co-exist. They are opposites. Unforgiveness is the opposite of Jesus. Whether we agree with forgiveness in all circumstances is irrelevant. We are hypocrites as Christians if we don't. That's not to say it doesn't take time, or work itself out fully in steps, but it's required of us, right now, in this moment. Let's not forget the amount of forgiveness Christ extends to us, how much we need to be forgiven for by God. Jesus forgives us, so we are not justified in being unforgiving. We are in need of God's Mercy. And other's are too.Let's pray for the grace to let go of our pride which holds us back from forgiving. Let's ask God for the grace to say those three little words "I was wrong". We are not responsible for the actions of others but we are responsible for our own. We are responsible for living in anger and unforgiveness for so long and we are responsible for living in it for another minute. We are responsible for not trying to make things better.
Let's ask God to show us areas of our lives that need healing. Let's clean out our hearts today, giving Jesus all of our intentions and so called "justifications" for remaining angry. Let Him have them. We trust Jesus with everything right? Trust Him with this. Allow His Light to shine on this darkness, allow His Truth to reveal the lies and resolve to do something about it. Communicate, heal, restore, build up, uplift, forgive, forget and Live the Life God wants. Be free from anger, brokenness and darkness. Live what is Light and Bright, Clean and Clear, Fresh and New, Right and True! Start living a New Way, Today.