Forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
In my drug addiction, I was lost spiritually, so I tried to read and pray, but I kept using. I was out of shape and overweight, so I tried to go to the gym and eat right, but I kept using. My closest relationships suffered, so I tried to reconnect, but I kept using. I was depressed, so I went to my doctor, but in secret, I kept using. As it turns out, all my efforts to fix what I considered to be my life problems were futile as long as I refused to address my drug use. As long as I clung to my pills, avoiding obedience to God, nothing else was fixable.
We often do this. We try to address what we think to be the cause of our misery, only to address the wrong problem. The man who struggles with overeating suffers from poor self-image, so he might attempt to lose weight, thereby earning affirmation from others. He may find some affirmation, but he’s still going to be miserable because hasn’t addressed the primary problem: that he’s finding his joy, purpose and meaning either in food or appearance, when he should be finding those things in God alone.
In today’s passage on letting go of resentment, Jesus said that we must forgive others if we want to be forgiven. Jesus isn’t saying that we become unsaved if we find ourselves holding on to resentments, but he is saying that we can’t live in a relationship with the father as long as we refuse to forgive.
When we forgive, we let go of the debt that we feel another owes us. When we refuse to forgive, we hold that debt over another’s head. That weight doesn’t crush the other person though. It crushes us. We cling to it and we suffer.
If we find ourselves struggling spiritually then, we may try to seek God, but if we’re hanging on to some resentment, we’re seeking in vain. Like me, trying to get in shape spiritually, while using drugs, we’re pursuing futility as long as we refuse to forgive. If we want to bask in God’s grace and forgiveness, then we must allow that grace and forgiveness to flow through us into the lives of those around us.