Pride is perhaps nowhere more obvious than in our forgiveness of others. Some of us can get mad pretty easily and we can hold grudges for months, years, even decades. It’s easy to say that we don’t deserve what the other person did or that we would never do such a thing. These statements are likely true…but only to a very limited extent.
Ok, let’s say that someone borrowed your car, returned it without filling the tank even for what they used, and dinged the door and bumper pretty badly, but didn’t even offer to pay for it. It’s wrong of them to do that, especially when you were doing them a favor in the first place. Did you do anything to this person to deserve that from them? No. Would you have returned the car to them this way were your positions reversed? No.
But you’ve done things that deserve Hell for all eternity.
It really doesn’t matter what your sin is. What matters is that the root of that sin is choosing yourself over God. You can step on a cockroach and nobody really cares; you spit on someone and people can get very upset. Why? Because a person is regarded as far more valuable than a cockroach. Likewise, what you do to God is infinitely more important than what someone else does to you. And the punishment, whether you think it’s harsh or not, is fair because He’s the Creator, Judge, and King of the Universe.
We should not wonder at God’s penalty for sin, for He did not force us to sin neither does He answer to us. What we should wonder at instead is that He has, at indescribably personal cost, allowed us a way out of our punishment that doesn’t cost us anything.
Read those last five words again. When our pride leads to a grudge, what we’re really saying is that our forgiveness has to be purchased. Yet the last part of Matthew 10:8 tells us, “Freely you have received, freely give.” We have received forgiveness freely, so we must give it freely as well.
The key is to remember how worthless we are of ourselves compared to God. When we hurt each other, we hurt equals. When we do something against Him, it is like a speck of dust defying the sun. We’re totally insignificant and would be doomed if not for Him. If we can remember our desperate need for His sacrifice and how much it cost Him, we can dispense with the pride that tells us how much we deserve justice for what others have done to us.