The price of unforgiveness can be a perilous one for a Christian. There is a reason why God wants us to forgive our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Simply put, we (Christians) are supposed to forgive one another of any and all wrongs, otherwise, consequences will occur. Let’s look at the parable of the unforgiving servant, so we can start the new year off right, taken from the passage found in Matthew 18:21-35.
Peter poses the question to Jesus, “how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” This was a just question and Peter wanted to know what God – Jesus – had to say on the matter. “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”, which meant that we are to be in continuous forgiveness of each other. From there, Jesus went on to tell the parable of the unforgiving servant.
We know that a servant owed a lot of money to The King (in this instance, the “King” meant God) and he couldn’t pay it (Matthew 18:24,26). The King had compassion and canceled the debt (verse 27), but when this forgiven servant found another servant (servants meant to represent Christians) that owed him substantially less, he beat him (verses 28-30). The King got ticked off and handed him over to the “tormentors” (verses 32-34).
Forgiveness is vastly important, so much so that Jesus put it in the model that we use for prayer (…and forgive us our debts (sins, trespasses) AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS (those that sin/trespass against us). We are to forgive our brothers and sisters in Christ if they wrong (sin) us, no matter the degree of times…..
…..for there is a consequence for unforgiveness, and it’s no joke.
“And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.” (verse 34).
The point of a parable is to deliver a single idea about the Kingdom, which, in this case, was talking about forgiveness AND the consequence of unforgiveness, as Jesus delivered in verse 35 – closing out this particular teaching in which He said, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
In other words, if you don’t forgive, He – God – will hand you over to “tormentors”.
So, what are tormentors?
The Greek word is used only once – the Matthew passage – and reads as such:
G930 – βασανιστής (tormentors) means an inquisitor, torturer also used of a jailer doubtless because the business of torturing was also assigned to him, which has its root in G928 – βασανίζω which means to torture, to vex with grievous pains (of body or mind), to torment, to be harassed, distressed. The G928 word is used in passages such as Matthew 8:6; 8:29; 14:24, Mark 5:7; 6:48, Luke 8:28, 2 Peter 2:8, and Revelation 9:5; 11:10; 12:2; 14:10; 20:10.
In other words, “tormentors” means demons, even Satan himself. If you don’t forgive your brother or sister in Christ, God Himself will hand you over to demons until you “find it in your heart” to forgive others.
In aiding someone in the area of deliverance, specifically a Christian, I’ll often ask if they have anyone in their lives that they have not forgiven. This unforgiveness gives license for demons to rule in aspects of their lives. Everything from sickness, pain, anxiety, loss of job, family, and friends can be attributed – in part or in whole – to this license being given by God for unforgiveness (…and delivered him to the tormentors…) that a Christian holds against a fellow servant. If this area of unforgiveness is not resolved, demons will not leave, because God is still giving them license to rule in an unforgiving Christian’s life.
God doesn’t play around. He won’t forgive you until you forgive others (Matthew 5:22-26, 6:12). If you don’t forgive others and still wish to hold a grudge because YOU CHOOSE to be stubborn, you WILL BE handed over to demons, and I’ve seen their handiwork up close and personal.