There is a lot of anger in the world today, and a lot of reasons to justify our anger and certainly Kelly Saenz had a reason.
While working in Colombia sharing the Gospel, Kelly and Pabel Saenz met and were married in 2008 and continued to work together, sharing their faith in the South American country.
But things took a dramatic turn in November 2014, when Pabel, who was working as a motorcycle taxi driver, disappeared after going into a dangerous region in Colombia.
Kelly spent the next couple of days frantically searching for her husband, but three days later she received word from the regional police that her husband was dead having been choked to death by two men in the area that Pabel had travelled to.
When she found out where her husband had died, Kelly went to the village and met with the chief to discuss her husband’s murder.
It was then she discovered that two of the chief’s nephews were the ones’ responsible.
In a meeting with the village council, she confronted the two men who refused to explain why they murdered Pablo, but Kelly suspected it was because he was sharing his faith.
During the meeting, the Holy Spirit began to speak to Kelly about how she needed to be a testimony of God’s love to the people of this village. But in order to do this, Kelly could no longer continue pointing an accusatory finger at these two men. She needed to forgive them.
Kelly chose to forgive and love the two men responsible for her husband’s murder. This decision opened the door for her to preach the gospel to the villagers attending the council meeting and to later return with Bibles for the villagers and the men who murdered her husband.
Kelly had a right to be angry, but because of God forgiveness she did not have the right to stay angry.
Anger is a normal human emotion and the Bible tells us that it is not a sin to get angry. Paul writes, “Be angry and do not sin;” but then the Apostle adds this important qualifier, “do not let the sun go down on your anger“(Ephesians 4:26 ESV).
While anger is not a sin, it can turn into one if we don’t quickly forgive those who caused the offence.
And if we refuse to forgive there are three consequences as seen in the story that Jesus shared when a King called for an accounting from the slaves that were managing his kingdom.
This audit discovered that one slave was about $10 million short.
As the king was preparing to sell the man’s family into slavery, the slave pleaded for mercy and forgiveness and the King completely forgave the man what he owed.
But you don’t lose the equivalent of $10 million without a lot of things going wrong.
It seems while in charge of the King’s wealth, the slave had been using the money on the side. It appears he was lending out the money possibly with the intent of pocketing the interest and perhaps the slave was investing it in some sure fire investments and even a bridge or two in Brooklyn.
Whatever the case, the money was gone because people had not paid it back.
First, unforgiveness results in deep-rooted anger
Released from his personal debt by the king, the slave began to hunt down those who owed money and found a fellow slave who had borrowed a hundred denarii, or about three months wages.
As we read this account, we see that the slave was actually choking him around the neck. When he couldn’t repay the money, the slave ordered the man turned over to the debtor’s prison (Matthew 28:28-30).
A person who doesn’t quickly forgive, let’s anger settle in his spirit and begins to develop a root of bitterness (Hebrews 12:15). This becomes the source of the anger.
This slave wasn’t choking the man over the pittance he owed, but over the millions that others had not paid back.
The rage over the millions lost was being poured onto this one man who only owed 100 denarii.
Secondly, unforgiveness results in us not being forgiven
When the King found that the slave had ordered the man thrown into prison over 100 denarii, the King was outraged because it was a slap in the face to the great mercy the King had shown the slave.
The King retracted his forgiveness and ordered the slave thrown into prison until he repaid the millions of dollars he owed, an impossible feat.
Thirdly, unforgiveness opens us up to satanic torment
But the King’s prison was different from the debtors’ prison the slave used for the man who owed 100 denarii. The King ordered the slave turned over to the jailers (literally in the Greek, torturers). The slave was going to be relentlessly tortured and tormented for a debt he could never repay (Matthew 18:34).
By refusing to forgive we similarly open ourselves up to satanic torment and deception.
Referring to a situation that had taken place in the Corinthian church, Paul said that he needed to forgive as the church had done for fear that Satan would gain an advantage over the apostle through his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Probably the best description of these devices is ‘mind games.’ When we don’t forgive, Satan has the legal right to attack and torment your thought life. He has the legal right to twist minor incidents into major offences in your mind. He has the right to relentlessly accuse you.
We need to forgive, as we have been forgiven.