Authority to Forgive (Matthew 9:1-8)

Matthew 9:1-8

And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed.  And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”  And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”  But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?  For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”  And he rose and went home.  When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (ESV)

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In this section of scripture we read about Jesus healing the paralytic and we also learn more about the mission of Jesus.

Jesus has the authority to forgive sins.  That means Jesus has the ability and the power to forgive our sins, to cancel out debts, and to pardon us for our transgressions.  We are released from the prison of sin.  We are set free by Jesus.

Forgiving is Difficult

According to the Oxford Dictionary:  forgive means to “stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense or mistake.”

What if the offense caused a lifetime of pain?  What if the trauma was so horrible you are left suffering with PTSD and depression for the rest of your life?  Do you still forgive the offender?

I spent most of my life refusing to forgive a pedophile that tormented me and my brother.  I wanted revenge.  I used to daydream about finding this man, so I could hurt him as much as he hurt me.  To be honest, I even thought about killing him from time to time.

Even though my mind was constantly dwelling on what happened to us, I refused to talk about it.  Two years ago, I was finally able to tell my story to a therapist.  I told the therapist everything that happened to us and was able to deal with the emotions that were festering (like a nasty infection) all those years.

I still think about that sadistic SOB that abused us, and I just can’t bring myself to say I forgive him.  He caused so much pain that our lives would forever be affected by his actions.  However, I am willing to let go of my anger (which is basically the same thing, but it’s easier to say).  I am ready to move on with my life.