Do I really have to forgive?

Updated: Sep 28


When I was teaching in China, I was alone a lot. I watched a lot of videos in the evenings about people's near-death experiences. One grabbed my attention.

A man died, went to Heaven, and met an angel who gave him a brief tour of Heaven. The man was then taken by the angel to the gates of Hell. It was horrific—beyond your worst nightmare— in every way.

(I am sure this picture is not nearly as ugly as Hell will be...)The angel told the man if the books on his life were closed at that moment, that is where he would spend eternity. The man was horrified. He pleaded—"But I am a Christian. How is this possible?" The angel said, "Because you have not forgiven your wife, God cannot forgive you."

Matthew 6:12-15 says,"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

My brother Laurence told this story at his Bible Study. Imagine a small mud hut village way out in the Kenyan countryside.

A mother is busy preparing lunch. She hasn't noticed that her three-year-old daughter has left her circle of friends and has wandered over to the edge of the village because something has caught her interest. At that moment, some sixth sense causes the mother to look up to see her daughter slowly walking towards a huge black mamba.

The mother screams at her child, "ABSCO! ABSCO! STOP! STOP!" She runs over to her daughter and pulls her away from the snake. "Keep away from that thing", she screams. "It will kill you!" The men of the village hear the screams, come running and deal with the snake.

Does the little girl know she is in mortal danger? (Obviously not) Now in this allegory, you are the little girl. Jesus is the mother, and unforgiveness is the black mamba. You are walking towards unforgiveness: Jesus is stopping you and tearing you away. The little girl doesn't know the danger she is in but the mother knows. The mother saves the life of her darling girl and warns her about the danger of the black mamba so she will not go near it in the future. The mother's words are a severe warning--the most loving thing she can do to protect her child

When you forgive someone you set a person free—you! What if the person who offends you never apologizes? Do you still have to forgive them? Well, where do you want to spend eternity? Blessings, Beloved of God.

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