Matthew 5:21 (Jesus said) “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
Jesus tells the story of a person who avoids reconciliation, who continues to hold a grudge/anger against someone while at the same time going to the temple to make an offering to God. V.22 tells us doing this will make that person liable to judgment.
While we tend to read things like this metaphorically, there is a literal truth Jesus reveals. Fact is that when we withhold forgiveness from others, despite having been forgiven everything by God through Jesus Christ, we become trapped in a prison of our own making. Unforgiveness produces bitterness in the heart, encourages the remembrance of the wrong done to us, can even impair our ability to be in relationship with people who have nothing to do with the offense in question. We are “thrown into prison” on the inside. Unforgiveness results in death, not life.
Heavenly Father, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Amen.