Matthew 5 shows us that the real key to murder is not the violence itself, but the underlying reason for the violence—unresolved anger and unforgiveness. The fact is no one will kill if he or she is in the habit of genuinely forgiving the offender.
Because man is a multidimensional being consisting of spirit, soul, and body, it is possible to “murder” an individual without killing the body. For example, we can murder someone’s reputation, character, influence, self-esteem, courage, hopes, and dreams. A person can be emotionally dead and live on for decades in his or her body. It is important to realize that we can commit murder without ever taking someone’s life physically.
Jesus taught that we must actively forgive those that sin against us. Our sin debt remains if we embrace God’s grace and forgiveness but refuse to extend that same grace and forgiveness to others. Consider the story of the unjust servant. He owed his master millions of dollars. Facing imprisonment and the enslavement of his family, the man begged for mercy and the debt was forgiven. This same man went out and found a man who owed him a few dollars and began to demand immediate payment showing him no mercy. Word of his duplicity came to the master and the unjust servant’s debt was reactivated and the man was thrown in jail to be tortured until he repaid the debt.
You might be saying, “Well, I’ve forgiven them, but I can’t forget.” The biblical truth is that if you intentionally remember, you really haven’t forgiven. This practice of remembering and meditating on the offense is proof that we have never really released the person from the offense. God forgives us and his forgiveness includes the forgetting of our sins. Micah 7:19 (NIV) declares, “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” The writer of Hebrews quoting Jeremiah 31:34 wrote, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12, NIV).
The normal reaction here would be to say, “but that’s God.” We can’t be expected to forgive like God does and actually, consciously forget the sin committed against us—or can we? We are called to be imitators of God as dear children (Ephesians 5:1). If God with is omniscience can voluntarily choose not to remember our sins, then we can also choose not to remember what has been done to us (given our lack of omniscience). Like forgiveness and redemption in general, the supernatural power and grace of God through the blood of Jesus is needed to empower us to walk in true forgiveness and forgetfulness with others. In the natural you can’t be forgiven—so how could you possibly forgive and forget in the natural?