Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. (Matthew 5:1-2)
When Jesus started teaching, people heard His teaching was different. People gathered around Him, and those who flocked around Him were not powerful nor well-respected from others. They were needy, morning, humble, hunger for justice, and yearning for mercy and peace. Jesus looked around the people in needs, especially spiritually, and spoke to the people about the most precious message of them – the Beatitude, which was full of God’s mercies, comforts and blessings to them around Jesus.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, Hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peace maker, and the persecuted for His name’s sake because a great reward await in Heaven. No other teachers and the religious leaders at that time could give such a comforting and blessed message. Those teachers and religious leaders forcefully demanded the people to follow their rules and traditions. If not, a heavy penalty was imposed to those who did violate the rules and traditions. No leaders gave a comfort and peace that the people were yearning for. The people was in hunger for comfort and peace, but they could not be satisfied. Jesus Christ was different. Jesus made them satisfied. Upon hearing Jesus’ Beatitudes. They were comfort because the message about the Beatitudes was exactly what they wanted to hear for a long time. Finally, the people heard the comforting message from Jesus (Matthew 5:3-10). Jesus brought the much needed peace and comfort in the most merciful way that touches the hearts of those who listened to Him.
JThen Jesus taught how to pray: the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Right after this teaching about prayer, Jesus told “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
I believe nobody (especially we who believe God) intentionally harm others. Unfortunately, the imperfectness of this world and our sinful nature, although we don’t want, we have ended up offending, trespassing and sinning against others. Yes, most of times (if not always), later, we do realize what we did wrong to others – offending, trespassing and sinning against them. That puts us in pain from the deep in our heart. Of course, we, believers, pray to God his forgiveness and search for an opportunity to ask forgiveness from those whom we did wrong to and make up for our wrong doing.
We usually think about the side of offending and doing wrong others. How about the opposite? Suddenly without a reason, people around us (including those whom we really give our love and respect) stop trusting, and oppose, offend, give harm to us as if they try to punish us on something that we did wrong to them although we have never given any harms to them. Then our mind starts analyze why, while searching for a clue why they suddenly act differently. Our hearts are being perplexed, and even saddened by the unfolding sad event. At a same time, our defense mechanism started protecting us from any further damages from them by building up a barrier against them as if they were enemies. As time goes, if the situation does not improve, our heart is getting hardened against them and start to question whether they are impossible or even unforgivable. Our righteous mind slowly kicks in declaring a war against the unrighteous enemies, while forgetting they were our dear friends and family members. Our hearts even starts wanting to see a justice – punishing the offending people, while we are being vindicated before people around us. Jesus taught the opposite -- not to search for a justice to be even (especially in our own eyes), which could lead to another higher escalation of conflicts between us and them – a vicious cycle to a total annihilation of relationship between us and them. This is one of the sweetest temptations that we can get through justification of our mind and heart. However, Jesus teaches us to truly forgive them from our hearts. If not, Our Father will not forgive us either.
Can we truly and unconditionally forgive those who sinned against us and whom we loved and cared for a long time? Countlessly many families are suffering from this unforgiving heart because we loved and cared for so much our family members until getting into a situation of hurting and being hurt. We love them so much. Thus, our pains are so great. This pain is even greater when we are hurt by our heaven-bound eternal family member, such as among members from a same church, a Bible study group, a fellowship group, etc.
We usually say we are loving and open to hear others no matter what happens, but it is very difficult because the other side is stubborn, unreasonable, and even evil. Our heart is so much fixated to us, although we openly say we are humble followers of Jesus Christ. The harder do we try to accept and forgive others according to the word of Jesus although we clearly see their unreasonableness, stubbornness and their obvious sins, the more are we getting into a situation that we cannot control our heart while being deviating from our good intention to follow Jesus on contrary to our human nature. Our eyes are even more acute to see the other’s wrongness and sins, and our minds quickly connect dots and come to a conclusion: they have a pure evil intent, and their motives are truly vicious. Our minds go back and brings out many memories to even secure our conclusion with evidences so that our conclusion can be objectively prove by any persons. Again, this is not true of us, and the byproduct of the sinfulness in us, sadly which we cannot take away as long as we are on earth. What is the solution? The Lord’s pray teaches us, and asks us to pray – deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13b)
What really this means? We cannot win the war against our sinfulness, which is deeply rooted in our heart, and it is a part of our nature. Then how to battle against ourselves? There is only one solution. We must hold on tight our Father Hand, the Almighty and Ever-Loving God’s Hand. Surely we will be defeated again and again if we rely on our own might. If we rely on Him and His power, our victory is sure. It is also true that holding His hand tight also requires our intentional efforts and prayers in Him. It will take time, but staying in Him is much more secure, and without knowing, we will soon realize we are grown in Him while having a deepening relationship with Him.
Please also ask and do what Jesus teaches us:
Do we really want to be forgiven by others for our mistakes or something that we did although we really did not want but we did due to the uncontrollable situation?
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)