Matthew 6:14-15 (New International Version)
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Imagine starting your week out with a clear backpack and a baf of oranges. For each person that you refuse to forgive, you must take an orange and write that person's name, date and what you refuse to forgive onto the orange.
And then you must put that orange into your clear backpack.
How long would it be before your bag filled up with oranges because of your unforgiveness?
But, not only must you fill the bag up with all of the ill will and resentment and bitterness you have, you must also carry that bag with you everywhere you go. It sits next to you in your automobile on the drive to work, sits in your lap as you dine out at your favorite restaurant, and it nestles close to you as you sleep in bed at night.
Everywhere you go, it goes with you.
And my how it begins to stink after a while. Imagine carrying those same oranges (and adding new ones too!) with you day after day, week after week...
...month after month, and year after year. (after all, that's how long some people refuse to forgive others for things they have done!)
After a while those heavy oranges of unforgiveness start weighing you down, don't they? They become hard to bear --- what a weight to carry around spiritually. And they sure do cause a stink --- a stink to yourself and to those around you.
You know, it might be nice if unforgiveness were handled this way. And maybe then Christians would realize how heavy a weight we carry when we choose to not forgive those who offend us. Maybe then we would understand the stench that we create when we harbor ill will and bitterness towards others.
Maybe then we would realize that rotting, stinking oranges (unforgiveness) need to be thrown out into the garbage heap and forgotten about.
What about you this morning? Are you carrying around unforgiveness? Is there someone that you have ill will towards, or resentment, or bitterness, or a bad attitude --- because of something they did in the past, or something they should have done that they did not? Even one orange in your bag is enough to cause a stink and become difficult to carry day after day.
Why not stop lugging around that bag of unforgiveness? Jesus is ready to give you a new bag that is clean and empty of ill will. It starts with asking Him for forgiveness, and then it requires you to forgive others.
Dear Lord we pray today that we would take all the unforgiveness that we are carrying and turn it over to You so that our backpack will be empty. In Jesus’ name, Amen.