One of the darkest movies I have ever seen is Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven". In case you haved missed it, it is the story of a reformed gun fighter (Will Munny) who had married a decent woman. Through her influence, he tried to reform himself. But in the 1800's hog farmers in W. Texas didn't fare so well. A young "wannabe" gunfighter came through with a poster offering $1,000 reward to any who would kill a couple of cowboys in Wyoming. They had cut up the face of a local prostitute and the girls wanted revenge. The story winds on and on with mayem on every side and ultimately Will Munny is riding out of town toward home. Lives had been lost and there was no joy. Vengeance ruled and no one was forgiven. All were unforgiven.
Are you unforgiven? Oh, I'm not talking about your salvation. If indeed that is your situation, please stop reading and honestly repent of your sins and ask Christ to control you life and minister the forgiveness of God to you.
But you may be a follower of Christ and there are those who will not forgive you. Or maybe you have not forgiven others. Forgiveness is both received and released.
Matthew 18 begins with disciples wanting to know who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus illustrated conversion evidenced in the humility of a child. He said "whoever receives one little child like this in My name received Me." (18:5)
Matthew 18 ends with the parable of the unforgiving servant. The Master is going to settle accounts with his servants. He calls one who owed an enormous debt that he cannot possibly pay. The servant asks for mercy, and in pity, the Master forgives the debt. He releases the servant to freedom.
What happens? That servant who had received forgiveness intentionally went out and found one of his own servants who owed him far less than he had formerly owed. The similarity was that neither could pay the debt. Both owed more than they could possibly pay.
The Master hears of this and calls the first servant in. He calls him "wicked" and turns him over to the "torturers". Some believe these are demonic in nature. Paul encouraged giving one unrepentant person over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1 Cor. 5:5) that the soul might be saved in the Day of Christ. Whatever giving one over to the torturers means, it isn't pleasant.
Here is a point to consider. An unforgiving servant means there is at least one unforgiven servant!
Unless there is forgiveness from the heart, neither can walk in freedom. One is imprisoned because of a debt that cannot be repaid, and another is imprisoned in his or her own sin. It seems the sin of the unforgiving servant is consisent with the original question of the disciples regarding who would be the greatest. And neither can experience the full blessing of God!
Has it occured to you that your unforgiveness - regardless of the offense, real or perceived - not only hinders the flow of the Spirit of God in your life but also in the life of the one you will not release? The cycle of hurt continues. Often it even takes the form of "blackballing" another, thus stopping what God may have planned to do through you and the one unforgiven.
I've been on both sides of this. Life in ministry means you will be hurt by some. Today I spoke with a pastor whose children were fearful they would be forced to move because of unresolved issues. How tragic!! Children! No wonder Jesus spoke so harshly in 18:6-9!
We have all been hurt, and in order to experience freedom, we must humble ourselves and forgive. We must release all offenders and offenses. And sometimes we have to pray our way through to that place of release. But set your heart in that direction today.
Many of us know the pain of unforgiveness - people who hold offense, real or perceived, and will not let go. Of course in church life, you often know you are unforgiven by some, but you do not know by whom nor what you have done. Unforgivenss can hinder the flow of God through your life to others.
We are all servants of the Most High God. I believe the essence of servanthood is a lifestyle of receiving and releasing the forgiveness of God. In that release one finds freedom, even revival!