“For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.(NAS, Matthew 6:14-15)
Anger can consume us with hatred and block out the love of God. Whether between parent and child, spouses, friends, or nations, expressions of anger divide us and drive us toward open hostility. More often than not, our angry feelings are based on a misinterpretation of what someone said or did. A grudge clouds our judgment and may lead us to an act of revenge that can never be undone.
The Old Testament law specified equal revenge for equal wrong: “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:23-25, Leviticus 24:19-20.) But this rule was too harsh for the new age of the kingdom of God. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said the right thing to do is to take no revenge at all.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ “But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.(NAS, Matthew 5:38-39)
The need to forgive is not some ideal that we cannot hope to attain. Forgiveness is necessary to free us from the dark cloud of anger and resentment that can literally destroy our own lives. We cannot afford to wait for the other person to repent and apologize. Unless we let go of our anger and the desire to punish or get even, the love of God cannot enter our lives.