Forgiveness is indeed essential to Christian life. If we want to be forgiven by God (and, indeed, we NEED to be forgiven by God), we NEED to forgive those who have wronged us. Sometimes grudges can hide quietly in the base of our gut when we decide to simply, “move on” or “let it go.” These pragmatic attitudes are actually not very Christian. We should not try to ignore our feelings, or bury them, but to face the fact that we have been wronged, we have suffered, we have been hurt, we have been treated unjustly. Whoever has done these this to us has become by definition our enemy. The first move as a Christian is not to excuse the wrong, but to forgive it. This is the work of God’s love in our hearts. Christian forgiveness is not given because it is deserved, or merited, or earned. Christian forgiveness is an attitude of heart that we accept because we receive the commandment of forgiveness from Christ in our heart. We allow our heart to be moved by His divine Word from brokenness, anger, frustration, bitterness, etc. to healing and peace.
It is generally easy to be generous with people we love. In fact, since generosity is not strictly speaking an obligation it would only make sense that we reserve our generosity for certain people and certain circumstances. When Ahab comes asking Naboth for his vineyard, pretty much none of the requisite conditions for generosity are met: King Ahab is not poor and does not need the vineyard, there is no friendship between him and Naboth, and Ahab has blatant disregard for the divine significance of ancestral heritage. Indeed, it is for that last reason that Naboth refuses to give up his land to the king. It is Naboth’s piece of the land promised by God to Israel. Naboth has a strong sense of satisfaction with what the Lord has provided him, he needs nothing further. The soil of Naboth’s vineyard nourished vines that produced delicious grapes because Naboth treated it as a special gift from God passed on to him from his ancestors. Ahab wanted the soil and disregarded what God’s intended purpose was for that soil. Ahab forgot that it is God who gives the growth and causes fruit to ripen for the harvest.