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Forgiveness: The missing balm – Part 1


Austen C. Ukachi

In Jeremiah 8:22, the prophet asked a penetrating question. “Is there no balm in Gilead, Is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery. For the health of the daughter of my people?”

Forgiveness is the missing balm we need to bring healing to wounded hearts in the home, in the Church and in the nation. One of the greatest challenges we face as Christians is the issue of unforgiveness. We all, without exception, bear grudges against those who hurt us.

The Examples Of Jesus Christ
Like we said in our earlier write-ups, Jesus demonstrated what true forgiveness is on three occasions. First, the way He prayed for His persecutors, second, the way He handled the woman caught in adultery and thirdly, the way He treated the woman who anointed His feet in the house of Simon (Lk.23:34; John 8:1-8; Lk.7).

In Lk.11:4, He further taught His disciples to pray thus: “And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us…”


Then, in Mk.11:25-26 He said, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (See Lk.17:1-4)

Paul on the other hand, said, “Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Col.3:13)

The implications of the above passages are that our horizontal relationships with one another matter because they affect our vertical relationship with God. Similarly, our vertical relationship with God must of necessity extend to our horizontal relationships with our neighbours.

Have you tried to imagine how the world would be without forgiveness? How would life be if we don’t forget and forgive those who hurt us? In order to have a healthy society there must be forgiveness in the house of God, between spouses in the home, between parents and children. There is the need for forgiveness in the workplace between bosses and their subordinates; between colleagues and partners. To have a healthy nation there must be forgiveness between the component parts of the nation. There must be forgiveness along cultural lines. David summarised the joy and blessings of forgiveness in these words: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

Bitter Hearts
Many of us have allowed our hearts to harbour bitterness, anger, hatred and jealousy. See what bitterness did between siblings like Cain and Abel and between Jacob and Esau. Also, see what lust and anger did in the house of David between Amnon and Tamar and between Absalom and Amnon. Jeremiah was right when he said that the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, (Jer.17:9). We need to ask God to cleanse our hearts of all unforgiveness.

Practical Steps To Take
David asked, “Is there no one left in the house of Saul that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Sam.9:1). Not minding the persecutions he suffered in the hand of Saul, David forgave because of his covenant with Jonathan. The main reason we must forgive our opponents is because of what Jesus did for us.

One step towards forgiveness is to approach our opponents, discuss our differences and then pray with them (Mt.18:15-17). Healing would start from there.

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Austen C. Ukachi
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