Bible Reading: 1 John 2:9-11
Whereas love is the fulfilling of the law, resulting in our living “in the light” and not “stumbling,” hate “blinds” our “eyes” and leaves us stumbling around in our lives in the “darkness.” According to the Apostle Paul, if we get “angry” and “let the sun go down on our wrath,” we will “give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). In other words, if we go to bed mad at someone, we will wake up with resentment toward them.
In Matthew 18:23-35, our Lord presents us with a most intriguing parable. The parable tells of a pauper who owes a fortune to his king. However, when the pauper pleads for mercy, the king forgives his unpayable debt. Immediately afterward, the forgiven pauper goes out and demands payment on a dollar debt owed to him by one of his fellows. In spite of his debtor’s plea for mercy, the forgiven pauper unmercifully has him imprisoned over his failure to pay. When the king hears of this, he has his pitiless forgiven debtor “delivered to the tormentors” over his pitilessness.
Obviously, the forgiven pauper in our Lord’s parable represents us. We owe our God (King) an unpayable sin debt. We can’t possibly pay it, being spiritually impoverished paupers. However, if we will plead for God’s mercy, our unpayable sin debt can be forgiven, since Christ paid it for us on the cross of Calvary. Afterward, what right do we have to refuse to forgive others their little debts against us when God has forgiven us our unpayable debt against Him? If we refuse to show pity toward others, after receiving God’s mercy ourselves, our God will “deliver us to the tormentors” over our pitilessness.
Who are the tormentors? Are they not the demons of Hell? There is no surer or shorter way to demonization than resentment. To be unforgiving toward others is a sure trek to torment. Just ask yourself this question: “Have I ever met anyone with a grudge or an axe to grind that was not a tormented soul?” Make no mistake about it; resentment is like an acid that does more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than it does to the object upon which it is poured.
If you’re resentful toward someone, you’re not hurting them, you’re only hurting yourself. Furthermore, if you’re unforgiving toward others, you’ve not been forgiven by God. To live with a grudge is to live without God. Regardless of your Christian profession, If you carry grudges and have axes to grind, you’re no Christian; you’re a hypocrite!