Forgiving Others Is A Prerequisite For Our Own Forgiveness
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses . This is a difficult verse to process. God stands ready and willing to forgive us, but asks that we extend the same forgiveness to others first. If we have resentment and bitterness in our hearts, its time to give it over to God. Let Him heal us and give us the ability to forgive. Our eternity is dependent on it.
You Gossip About Them
Its natural to want to return the hurt to those who have hurt us.
One of the primary ways we do this is through gossip. We may divulge their secrets or spread untruths about them behind their backs.
If you intend to cause harm with the tongue, youd be wise to heed the proverb:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits .
When you gossip, youre not only doing further harm to your broken relationship , but you also endanger your relationships with the very people you gossip with.
While your gossiping may start off as a bonding experience, sooner or later people will learn that you cannot be trusted to hold their confidence. Soon enough, youll have fewer people who whom you can gossip and even fewer real friends.
What to do instead: When tempted to say something unkind about your offender, say something you genuinely admire about them. If there is nothing you admire, refrain from speaking.
How forgiving are you? Take the forgiveness quiz to see where you stand.
Dont Let Unforgiveness Destroy You
Are you ready to let go of past hurts so you can move on with your life?
Then its time to begin letting go of unforgiveness.
Know that learning to forgive is a lifelong process. Just like love, forgiveness is a decision we make each day.
Yes, its hard, but dont be discouraged.
Your fresh start can begin today.
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Getting Free From The Prison Of Unforgiveness
Living in a fallen world, we all experience the pain of being sinned against to one degree or another. How we respond when this happens will have major implications on our spiritual life.
When we harbor bitterness, anger and unforgiveness in our hearts, we end up like the man in the parable: imprisoned and tormented. Unforgiveness places us in a spiritual prison, and gives the devil permission to torment us. It does not hurt the person who sinned against us, it hurts us. We receive tremendous healing and breakthrough when we forgive the people who have sinned against us.
Forgiving others is a choice not a feeling. If we wait until we feel like forgiving, it will probably never come. When we choose to forgive, it is not condoning the hurtful behavior of others it is not making what they did to us okay. But it is releasing the bitterness and resentment that we have in our hearts toward them. When we do this, we are setting ourselves free from a spiritual prison.
Is there anyone that you need to forgive? You dont necessarily need to speak to them in person, but between you and God, forgive them from your heart. Say a prayer like this:
God, because you have forgiven me I choose to forgive others. Specifically, I forgive _____________________. I lay down all bitterness, anger and resentment. I command any evil spirits that are tormenting me because of unforgiveness to go now in Jesus name!
Receive Gods love and set yourself free from the prison of unforgiveness!
We Owe Forgiveness To Others Even When They Dont Ask For It
How often do we blame someone when they have not apologized? When we get hurt, we expect someone to come up to us and say, Im sorry. Yes, that is the right thing to do, however, the Bible does not put that requirement on Gods forgiveness.
God commands us to be the initiators of the transaction. We should go to our brother or sister and talk about it. It is not an easy thing to do, but it is essential to move forward. We can see this in the next word verse:
- If your brother sins against you, go tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother .
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We Owe Forgiveness To Those Who Dont Deserve It
And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. And when he had said this, he fell asleep . There are numerous examples that charge us to forgive others, even when they dont deserve it. In addition to this example of Stephen, I think about Jesus on the cross in the midst of his executioners: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do . Every time I find myself having trouble extending forgiveness to someone Ive deemed undeserving, I think about how unworthy I am of forgiveness. Yet, God saw fit to love me and forgive me. When considering the magnitude of that, every situation in my life where I was reluctant to forgive seems trivial.
Lesson : A Disease Called Unforgiveness
When I asked Christine how she felt about her parents, her attractive face seemed to lose all expression. She reflected for a moment, then matter-of-factly stated, “I get along fine with my parents. I just haven’t seen them in a while. Why?”
I studied her, noticing that her large, blue eyes weren’t looking into mine. They were fixed, instead, upon her slender fingers.
Christine had already told me that her father and mother had been rather cruel to her during her childhood. They had locked her in a closet when she didn’t please them and had slapped her across the face repeatedly if she questioned their authority. Unfortunately, they were very active in their church and felt that they were disciplining her in a godly way. “If I break your will,” her father had once told her, “then God won’t have to.”
Christine had moved out of the house at sixteen and had quickly created a life of her own. For many years, she’d wanted nothing to do with her father, mother, or their religion. More recently, however, her personal failures had reminded her that she needed a Savior. Grateful to learn that He wasn’t the terrible God of her childhood, she had trusted Christ.
In response to her “Why?” question, I explained, “Well, you say you’ve got a short fuse and that you lose your temper more often than you’d like to. I was just wondering if you’re still angry with your parents.”
Human Nature Does Not Like To Forgive
Many just want revenge. “I don’t get mad, I just get even”. People mistakenly believe that their bitterness and refusal to forgive will make the other person suffer.
But, the Bible says…..
Prov. 24:28-29 Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause and deceive not with thy lips.
29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
Rom. 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
What in fact happens is that the bitter person becomes his own worst enemy destroying himself.
He who cannot forgive others burns the bridge over which he himself must pass.
Bitterness and unforgiveness is often a hidden sin, nobody may notice at first but the poison is doing it’s hidden work. Some Christians are like the golfer I heard about……
Golfer No. 1: “That’s what I like about you, when your golf ball goes into the rough you
Golfer No. 2: “‘That may be but where I spit, the grass dies!”
Unforgiveness does not yield the right of vengeance to the Lord.
Rom. 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine I will repay, saith the Lord.
Unforgiveness is often a result of pride.
Unforgiveness is a sin that is often committed against those who should be the closest and dearest to us. You’ve heard the saying “Familiarity breeds contempt” & “Why do we always hurt the ones we love.”
We Owe Forgiveness To Those Who Do Not Deserve It
There are numerous examples that require us to forgive others, even when they dont deserve it. In addition to this example of Stephen, I think of Jesus on the cross in the midst of his executioners: Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing .
Whenever I find myself having trouble extending forgiveness to someone I consider unworthy, I think about how unworthy I am to be forgiven. However, God saw fit to love and forgive me. Considering the magnitude of that, all the situations in my life where I was reluctant to forgive seem trivial.
- And while they stoned Stephen, he cried out: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And falling to his knees, he cried out with a loud voice: Lord, do not impute this sin to them. And having said this, he fell asleep .
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There Are Consequences For Choosing Not To Forgive
And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart . God takes forgiveness seriously, and this parable is proof. If we dont forgive others, there are consequences eternal consequences! Thats a scary thing, and it challenges me to evaluate my own heart. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! . If forgiveness is needed, today is the day to make it right.
Bible Scriptures About Unforgiveness
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Ephesians 4:32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Proverbs 24:17Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.
1 John 4:20If anyone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 Peter 5:7Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
2 Peter 1:9For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
Acts 2:38And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 3:19Repent, therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.
Colossians 3:13Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Daniel 9:9To the Lord, our God belongs mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him.
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Jesus Our Ultimate Example Practiced Forgiveness
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her . Now, I dont know what Jesus was writing in the dirt. Maybe it was a list of the Pharisees sins. What I do know is this: Jesus calls us to examine our own lives first instead of focusing on the actions of another. Its easier to forgive others when we have a understanding of our own shortcomings. Jesus forgives the woman, and lovingly encourages her to change her ways: Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more . Our challenge is to follow Jesuss example and do the same.
What Does The Bible Say About Unforgiveness And The Demonic
There is a theme in the Bible, it often speaks about unforgiveness and the demonic together. For instance, in the book James, he says, that what bitter people do is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.
26 Be angry but do not sin do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil.
Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving servant. Its the story about a guy who was forgiven a huge debt but he was not willing to forgive a small debt. the last part of that parable says that he was thrown into a dungeon and tortured until he repaid the last penny he owed.
Many Bible scholars believe that Jesus was saying that when we choose not to forgive that we invite demonic torment into our lives through the prison of unforgiveness.
Then we have that same idea again when Paul says that he forgives so that he will not be outwitted by Satan.
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Gods Word Commands Us To Forgive
Gods word states we MUST forgive but this also doesnt mean, however, that we can not put boundaries in place.
For instance, in my case in order for me to not get drawn into painful memories of abuse, I must separate myself from a situation where I feel emotions of rage or anger may take place.
For those of us who have been abused by anotherits so important that we realize that we are talking about FORGIVENESS, not JUSTIFYING our abusers behaviors, and not allowing that person to keep hurting us.
We can place our boundaries. But we MUST forgive them. In not doing so it is against the word of God first and foremost, and its also allowing them to live rent-free in our minds.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
You Replay The Scene Over And Overand Over
If you find yourself lying awake in bed at 2 a.m. replaying events that happened weeks, months, or years ago, this one may resonate with you. And you know that with each replay, your feelings of stuckness and resentment grows.
Sometimes, you find yourself fixating so much on the past that youve allowed it to define everything you do. For instance, if your heart was broken in a past relationship, you may have consciously decided to let people in only so far, even someone you may have grown to love deeply.
What to do instead: To address this problem try meditation :
- Begin noticing your breath and allow yourself to relax for a few minutes.
- Notice all the feelings that are arising within you as you relax, welcoming both pleasant and unpleasant sensations.
- Once youve reached a state of deeper relaxation, bring to mind the scene you have been replaying over and over.
- As you replay the scene, imagine an ending you would have preferred. For instance, if you regret reacting in anger to an offensive remark, imagine yourself responding to the person and yourself with compassion.
- Imagine yourself in a future encounter with the person or another person. Imagine yourself responding to similar situation with greater compassion.
- Rest in these images before slowly bringing yourself out of meditation by gently bringing your awareness back to your body in this space and time.
Resolve to begin practicing this in your everyday life. Choose to be responsive rather than reactive going forward.
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Loss Of A Walk With God
If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. – 1 John 4:20-21
The great news is, even if you don’t forgive, you still have the gift of eternal life with our Lord Jesus Christ. You are still Gods child, so praise God for that. But, your unforgiving spirit separates you from fellowship with God. It separates you from enjoying the benefits of dependence on His wisdom, and separates you from growing more of the Fruit of the Spirit in your life.
Jesus Our Greatest Example Practiced Forgiveness
Now, we dont know what Jesus was writing on earth about Gods forgiveness. Perhaps it was a list of the sins of the Pharisees. What I do know is this: Jesus calls us to examine our own lives first instead of focusing on the actions of others. It is easier to forgive others when we understand our own shortcomings. Jesus forgives the woman and lovingly encourages her to change her behavior:
- Neither do I condemn you go, and sin no more . Our challenge is to follow Jesus example and do the same.
- And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them: He who gives among you is free from sin, be the first to throw a stone at him .
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