"Unforgiveness" Isn't Even a Real Word
The Spanish tell a story of a father and his estranged son Paco. The tensions between father and son became so drastic, that Paco ran away from home. The father immediately felt the desperation of losing his son, so he began to diligently search for him. After exhausting all efforts of finding his son, the father attempted a final act of desperation by placing an ad in the newspaper of Madrid that read, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.” What was the result? 800 men named Paco were waiting at the newspaper office to be reunited with their father.
This story is emphasizing the amount of forgiveness that is needed in the world and our culture confirms the same thing. Don’t believe me? Take an hour and flip through the channels of daytime television and note the families that have gone fist-to-cuff. Or, notice the families that are taking one another to court over money borrowed or promises not kept. If you think that daytime tv is contrived, then read the local newspaper and see the domestic disputes or even murder cases that stem from family fights.
Forgiveness is too steep an obstacle for many. Could it be that our pride simply will not allow us to take the hit when we’ve been wronged? Or maybe that our love for self outweighs our love for the one we’re at odds with? Most people don’t begin an argument intending to draw battle lines that will result in estrangement, but they happen far too often.
Jesus tells a story of two men who were in debt. One man owed the king an incredible amount of money. The second man owed an insignificant amount but he owed it to the man that was in debt to the king. In an act of extreme graciousness, the king forgives the man that owes him. Instead of passing this gracious attitude along, the man who had been forgiven of his debt seeks out the man that owes him and demands payment. When the debt cannot be paid, the forgiven man throws his debtor in prison.
Jesus’ point is crystal clear. For those of us that have experienced the unearned forgiveness of God, we have no other option but to forgive. In fact, the word “unforgiveness” is not actually an English word. Maybe it’s time to live life by the expectations of Jesus and the guidelines of Webster.