A widow came to a king and asked that her son be allowed to live. Her son had killed his brother in a field when they were fighting. The widow had no other children, and her remaining son was the only chance for her late husband’s name to remain. The king was moved by the widow’s situation. He granted the widow her request regarding her son, but the widow had one more thing to tell the king.
The king had essentially banished his son from the kingdom. The king’s son had killed his brother, who was the heir to the throne, for defiling his half-sister. As angry as the king was about the defiling of his daughter, he was furious and depressed over the death of the heir to the throne. The widow points out that the king can forgive the widow’s son, but can’t forgive his own son. That king’s name was David, and his banished son was Absalom.
Forgiveness. Jesus said to forgive that we might be forgiven, but is that all there is to forgiveness? It’s not hard for any of us to recall a situation where we had to forgive someone. The hard part is often the act of forgiving. It’s easy to be on the outside looking in like David was in the case of the widow. As Christians it’s easy for us to tell someone that they should forgive wrongdoing, but it becomes harder when it’s us having to forgive.
Forgive is described as a cessation from the feeling of anger and resentment. Unforgiveness, then, leads to a greater feeling of anger and resentment, which is called bitterness. David could have spent his entire life being bitter about Absalom’s actions, but the widow told David in 2 Samuel 14;
The widow tells David that life is too short to spend it in bitterness, and if the king is truly a man after God’s own heart that he must receive Absalom as God receives his banished. I personally think these two scriptures are some of the most beautiful in the Bible, and there is so much power inside the wisdom of them.
Bitterness is mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 4 and tells the Ephesians to put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking. Bitterness creates disunity between people, and we know that is one of Satan’s goals.
We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices. His main goal is to kill, steal, and to destroy. If he can get the people of God at odds with one another, he can lead them into a life of bitterness and unfruitfulness. The best defense against Satan then? Forgiveness. Learn to forgive others. Learn to lead a life that reflect’s God’s forgiveness and mercy toward His people because life is too short to live it in bitterness and resentment.
You may never get an “I’m sorry.” Forgive. You may never see the person again. Forgive. Because it’s about releasing yourself from the pain of the past. Paul said that he was reaching forward to those things which were ahead and forgetting those things which were behind. We cannot live our lives in bitterness and unforgiveness as children of God.
We are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Once our lives are gone, they’re gone. Do we want to spend our lives in resentment and look back with regret? Forgiveness acts as a defense against Satan by releasing us to do the will of God wholeheartedly. It opens the door to being forgiven.
Bitterness binds us. It can make us unfruitful. Satan can lead us into a life of depression and regret, but the best defense against this device is to forgive others. If Jesus said, “Forgive others that your Father in Heaven may forgive you,” doesn’t that mean that the bitterness of unforgiveness can also lead us into Hell?
Satan comes to steal, kill, and to destroy. If we live our lives in unforgiveness and bitterness, and he will steal our salvation. Satan wants to kill our ministries. He wants to destroy relationships, our walk with God, and anything he can get his hands on through our bitterness and unforgiveness.