What to do when you can not forgive those who have done wrong to you?

Some days ago a young man that looked very burdened came to me and told me that he wanted to discuss something personal, but he was ready to do it only later on. I let to pass the time required by him and yesterday we discussed. Even from the beginning of our discussion his voice began to tremble and then his body too and so he told me his problem. When he was a child, his father was getting drunk and he was beating him a lot, even if he was a child and he learnt well at school. In a day, being  beaten, he ran away from home and didn’t come back for many days. No one looked up for him and when he came home he saw that no one was very bothered that he had gone away from home. Some time passed and in a morning he heard how the father was telling to his mother “We can not be together in the family. Either me or he…” and he was refering to his child. When the young man heard that he went away from home and he came back in 4 years. He was hurt by his father’s words, but he was even more hurt by his mother who didn’t tell him anything, didn’t do any effort to protect him. All that time he spent with other minors like him and among criminals. By the grace of God he was protected from drugs and from prison even if he was cut with the knife for three times and he has many wounds on his body. When he came home the parents didn’t react any way. But he, being grown up, became very abusive and he was beating his father for any reason. Now his parents are not alive but he cannot forgive them and this burdens him awfully. The young man came to ask for help and advice how to escape from this burden and to be able to forgive them. I know that he is not the only one. There are very many people burdened by the fact that they cannot forgive those who have done wrong to them. In this article I want to advise and to teach them from the Word of God how to forgive their debtors.

Realize how great is your sin

Usually people are very “right” with regards to others’ sins and very tolerant towards their own sins. Even in the case described above, the young man is very burdened by the indifference and cruelty that he has experienced from his parents, but he doesn’t realize what great sin he did when he beat his father. The Bible says with regards to this:

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. (Exodus 20:12)(NASB)

In God’s eyes it is a very, very great crime what this young man has done and it is worth death, as it is written immediately in the next chapter of the book of Exodus.

He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. (Exodus 21:15)(NASB)

When you realize your own sinful condition you will be able to understand more easily others and you will be able to forgive them.

Realize the forgiveness of God

The evangelist Matthew relates the following case:

Then Peter came and said to Him (Jesus), “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.(Gospel of Matthew 18:21–35)(NASB)

It is hard to imagine how could the slave from this parable act that way after he had experienced such a great forgiveness. He didn’t show the forgiveness that he had received because he didn’t realize the mercy of the lord. One who didn’t experience mercy can not show mercy for others. But the one who is merciful can forgive.

Receive the love of God who gives power to forgive

When one believes from the whole heart in the Lord Jesus, when he asks for forgiveness of his own sins and enters the covenant with Him, God gives him the Holy Spirit. God comes to dwell in that man in the person of the Holy Spirit. We receive the love of God along with the Holy Spirit, and it makes us capable to forgive whatever people have done to us, as the Bible writes:

And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5)(NASB)

In the moment the man has been born again, he will be led by the Holy Spirit and by this love of God that was poured out in his heart and that will forgive everything.

How grave is your sin towards God and towards other people? If you have to judge yourself the way you judge others, will you be able to forgive? God is ready to forgive you if you come with repentance to Him by faith in Jesus Christ. Receive His forgiveness and forgive your debtors. Forgive them from all your heart.

Translated by Djugostran Felicia