Gospel Relevance

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Unforgiveness is Unproductive

The year was 2016. I was taking a quiz for a seminary class. This assignment was hard enough, but there was something that made it harder. As I sat there taking the quiz, I had a hard time concentrating because of the unforgiveness in my heart. This taught me a valuable lesson about the correlation between productivity and unforgiveness: Unforgiveness is unproductive.

Unforgiveness is Unproductive

Unforgiveness is a serious issue. Scripture does not speak lightly about the consequences for Christians who don’t forgive others. Because Christ has forgiven you for your sins, you must forgive others. No doubt, you likely have experienced injustice, trauma, or personal attack on some level. It’s understandable if these events have left you battered and confused. Sometimes, wise counsel, and even professional counseling, is required to survive the blows of life. But at some point, preferably sooner than later, you’ve got to forgive. Withholding forgiveness may give you a sense of control in the short run, but only hurts you in the long run.

So we extend forgiveness because:

  • God commands it.
  • Your ability to forgive others reveals how much you understand the gospel.
  • God won’t forgive your sins if you don’t forgive those who sin against you (Matthew 6:15).

And so on. There are hundreds of more spiritual reasons to include.

Forgive those who sin against you for all the spiritual reasons mentioned above, and for any other spiritual reasons that come to mind. But what I’m trying to say in this post is that in addition to the spiritual reasons we must forgive, there are also practical reasons to forgive as well. Personal productivity is one of them.

Why is unforgiveness unproductive? Because it drains your emotional energy, thereby causing you to get less done. Instead of being fired up to do good works, your mind and heart are still fixated on something that happened a year ago or maybe last week. As a result, bitterness kicks in. And we spend more time coping with our inward emotional turmoil than actually getting things done. In the end, unforgiveness makes you less fruitful for the kingdom of God.

It sounds strange, but the fact that unforgiveness can hurt my productivity is yet another incentive for me to quickly forgive. Life is short, and I don’t want to spend it emotionally drained because I don’t know how to apply the gospel. I want to be as fruitful and faithful as I possibly can for the glory of God, and I know that a spirit of unforgiveness is one of the biggest derailments toward this aim.

So, Christian, I urge you: forgive. You’ll feel much lighter after you do. And you just might find yourself getting more tasks done.


 

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and two children. Learn more.