Those of us who attended Sunday school learned about forgiveness. We learned that we had to do it and that it was a good thing. I’m pretty sure my Sunday school teachers told me the following verse, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” NIV Matthew 6:15 and repeated in Mark 11:26.
• Psalm 66:18, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
• Proverbs 1:28-29, “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me, 29) because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord.” KJV
• YET!!! 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” KJV
Remember having to face your friend as a little child and forgiving them when they asked you to? Let alone how hard it was to be wrong and ask forgiveness for yourself! That was so painful for me (I was seeped in pride, but God did major eradicating later in my life). I began to change somewhere when I was about 12 years old. But it wasn’t until my teen years reading the Word of God on my own did I hear the full story of forgiveness deep in my heart so that it was easy to forgive and ask for it.
It is a very serious thing to not go to heaven if you do not forgive someone. What is also very disturbing all the people around walking with unforgiveness in their hearts and they don’t even know it. Remember, satan roams the earth seeking whom he may devour as well as destroy, lie to, kill, and steal from. My friends, your salvation must never be stolen.
In a book I’m currently working on I share the importance of what love really is. It just isn’t a feeling. I don’t think I need to go into all of the Greek and Hebrew words for love, for there are three main ones, but I’m just sticking to the love God speaks about when He says in I John 4:20, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” NIV
Okay, let’s talk about hate. It’s that thing that if you have it in you, then you will not see the Kingdom of God when you die. The Hebrew (Old Testament) and the Greek (New Testament) say this in their original: (OT) “enemy, foe.” (NT) “To detest (especially to persecute), or to love less.” Detest has an array of synonyms, like, “loathe, despise, abhor, and to dislike intensely.”
Hatred is also an action. You can feel love, you can feel hate. Still, it is an action just like love. It isn’t feeling. Okay, I said that already, but you really need to get it. It is what you do and how you treat someone. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you ever have to be around them again (and often shouldn’t be) but if they are in your space, you need to treat them with love and kindness. That is love.
The truth of the matter is, you don’t have to be fond of them, but you do have to love them. You can avoid them, but if they are in your space, be nice (I Corinthians 13:4-8). It’s that simple and that freeing!
But you have to forgive them first!
Ever walk around and find that some people just hit you the wrong way? Sometimes you aren’t friendly with them like most of the other people you associate with. You feel animosity, because negative thoughts come to you and you just feel natural about it all. You don’t think about the why’s (why you feel deeply about it) deeply enough to make a difference. You just accept it. Accepting those negative thoughts is agreeing with them. Red flag time.
So, where does hate come from? First of all, it comes from a wound. Someone offends you and you are hurt. Eventually, as you get older, the more you hurt and do not deal with the wounds, you feel angry first instead of feeling the hurt that happened first. You’ve graduated! Now you’re a mess! Sorry…
I’m amazed at the parents who do not understand that to have their child cry has a deeper river running behind it. To say that again without a metaphor explaining it is that it’s a big deal when your child cries. It isn’t to be thought of, well, children cry, so they will get over it. Being out of touch with such things produces bad things. Before long the child starts reacting in anger and rebellion. That stage should never be instigated. But if it has, there is some good news coming.
Here is a chain of feelings and the spirits behind them, when not checked with real forgiveness (which only comes from a humble heart and prayer): pain (hurt and woundedness), frustration, anger, bitterness, despair, resentment, stubbornness, and rebellion. It is a documented fact that the majority of illnesses come from the toxicity from reactions to difficulties in life. Because true forgiveness rids the body of such toxins, it is reasonable to understand how some people’s bodies have totally healed up from walking through forgiveness that had been held back for years, etc. That is another great reason why God (Who created us and knows how our bodies work as well as our souls) wants us to forgive, so that the toxins in body don’t build up and cause all kinds of sickness, etc. Furthermore, unforgiveness is more our enemy than the person (or enemy) who hurt us.
Knowing we don’t fight flesh and blood as described in Ephesians 6:12, it will help us understand what we really are dealing with in the first place.
Beware less any root of bitterness spring up within you. Hebrews 12:14-15 (KJV)
14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”
Bitterness is such a spray bottle. You cannot live with bitterness and not spray that spirit over others. It will spring up even when you do not want it to. Bitterness and resentment come from lack of forgiveness. Let me ask you this:
When someone has hurt you, and it hasn’t been properly resolved, don’t you notice that you get hurt more easily by that person? Or rather, don’t you feel offended more easily in general? Of course you do! It is something one needs to be in touch with. When we are healed and all is well, we can take things a lot easier and often without offense. It’s a fact of life. So, forgiving we go; to get rid of strife, anger, bitterness, resentment, and a critical attitude. Ephesians 5:2-5 pretty much tells us to let go of all these things to be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Even better: Galatians 5:19-21 (NASB)
19 “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Let me expound on a critical attitude for a moment.
Being critical over someone is another word for knit-picking. Sometimes when forgiveness hasn’t been dealt with, we want (conscientiously or sub conscientiously) that other person to suffer, so we pick on something that has no value or solid ground. It makes the other person feel bad, and we feel justified oddly enough. Ring a bell? It’s ugly, but it happens.
Usually, with unforgiveness, we instantly become a criticizer. What wouldn’t upset us when we are happy and resolved hits us the wrong way. We become touchy and our responses can be harsh or sharp. Some people call it an egg shell. There are varying degrees. Only forgiveness can heal that completely. We quit being a badger and become loving human beings again.
But we who know the truth must never let it happen. God says people who are angry and cause strife do not go to heaven. That’s stark. Bitterness and envying go in there also.
Now we can share about receiving that inner healing on all of the hurts ever put upon you. This takes time, but will make you a brand new person!!! Doing this will make you a better parent, spouse, child in His Kingdom, and friend.
When I did this a few decades ago (and practice diligently) I asked Holy Spirit to take me back to the time I was conceived and bring His light on any offense I felt, remembered or not remembered. I spent an hour or more the first two nights each. Then less each night. I thought for sure this would be taken care of within the hour the very first time. Holy Spirit does a thorough job, I assure you. I worked on this for months, not hours a night, but simply where I felt pain (hurt still) in a memory, I went through the whole (each step) forgiveness procedure. I would be dusting the house when all of a sudden, Holy Spirit would remind me of an incident, and right then and there, I would walk through the steps of forgiveness.
When you take time in your prayer time to pray the following, please make sure that you have put yourself into a place of no interruptions. Life isn’t perfect, but do your best.
The procedure will bring healing, put you in obedience to His Word, and bring refreshing restoration to you. Soon it will be natural for you to do. Each step is of great value.
1) Father, I forgive (name the person) for (name the specific offense).
2) Father, please forgive them for doing (name that offense).
3) Father, forgive me for judging that person (naming him/her) and calling them a (jerk, stupid, idiot, or anything else you classified them to be that was negative).
4) Father, forgive me for playing any part of that offense that I was aware of or not aware of. (If you can think of how, repent of that.)
5) Thank You Father for forgiving us!!! In Jesus’ name, amen!
Then I start blessing them. This is what I cover in praying for them after I forgive them for their sins… I plead the blood of Jesus through them, over them… then ask God to bless them with mighty blessings.
After all, when God blesses someone, His intent is to change them and make them more like Him. It’s a win-win situation at that point.
If you hate someone, ask God to forgive you for hating them. Let God guide you in praying to completely clear you.
Let me end this teaching on a personal testimony.
One night some decades ago, I lay awake knowing I needed to forgive someone. I just couldn’t. This person had been cruel and evil to me in so many ways and quite regularly, and I didn’t have the choice to be away from this person a lot. Time and time I was required to forgive this person and they didn’t ask for forgiveness. Hard hearts are like that. They don’t care and repress most issues. When they do let it out, it comes out too strongly and unreasonably. I’m putting it nicely.
I lay there clutching my Bible like it was the dearest friend on the face of the earth. Naturally, it was an extension of my heart clutching to God Almighty. I cried and cried. I wasn’t thinking of freeing myself. I wasn’t thinking of the toxins building in me for the awfulness I felt. I didn’t care about anything but the pain I felt and the cruelty of the person, on top of knowing I needed to forgive the person.
I did know that God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle, for He has already equipped me to become a victorious person in any given situation. However, my feelings were especially raw that night and all I could do is cry while telling God I could not forgive this person.
Deep down, the Father’s hand reached in and asked me the following question which has strengthened me and given me utter victory all my life from that point out ~ in all forgiveness and other situations. “Do you love me more?”
That’s all it took. Rattling in my spirit and soul like a locomotive, yet gentle as the down of a bird, I heard the answer I sought for. My focus needed to be on Christ and Christ alone.
I took the challenge of love seriously and told the Father I loved Him more. I wish I could tell you it was easy to forgive at that moment. It wasn’t. It has been since then when needed in dire circumstances, but then, that very black night the battle was giving its last blasts. But I clung to the question before me.
It is just as God says in His Word; “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” I knew I loved God more, and I knew it was Him speaking to me and that He gave me what I needed to stay in His will and walk in strength, love, joy, peace, and all of the other goodies.
I forgave the person. I was set free. You know what? In your dark, dark hours, God will always give you a key to keep from having to be there again. If you seek Him with your whole heart . . . He is more than eager to give you light, and life, and love.
If you run into a situation that riles you, still act in love, but take the matter to your prayer closet. In my case, I can drop about 85% or more offenses and glad I did not react. If I don’t get to my prayer closet within the day, then it turns into repressing. Keep clear at all times! If you want to be like Jesus, you need to keep clear and the blood of Jesus flowing through your spirit, body, and soul.
This isn’t dealing with your personal sins from day to day that you need to quickly repent of, this is dealing with having to forgive others.
Pass it on and let God create a safe and strong environment of peace and understanding about you as you cleave to Him and make Him the Lord of your life. Like the song goes, “If Jesus isn’t Lord of everything, He isn’t Lord at all.”