When you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
Has anyone ever wronged you? Have you forgiven them? If not, then you need to read this in its entirety. Your very life may depend on it!
Unforgiveness is a bitter poison. Left alone, it will eat at the very root of your heart and soul. And if you let it suppurate and fester, it can ultimately destroy your very spirit and terminate in eternal death.
If there was ever anyone who had a right to hold the wrongs committed against Him, against His offenders, it was Jesus. Yet instead, He said to Father “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He even called the one who betrayed Him “my friend”.
Therefore He is our example for us to follow in His footsteps and forgive all who have ever wronged us in any way and all who will wrong us in the future immediately when they do.
“But you don’t understand what this person has done to me!”
Really? Did they have you falsely arrested and imprisoned? Did they stick a crown of thorns so deep into your head, pressed down into your skull that the blood came gushing out running down your face? Did they publicly strip you practically naked, tie you to a whipping post and torture you within an inch of your life? Did they tear the skin off of your back with a cat-of-nine-tails so much so that it ripped all the flesh off of you and left you completely exposed? And in this condition, did they make you carry your own cross to exhaustion until you collapsed several times and needed someone to be commandeered to help you carry it the rest of the way? Did they then drive huge spikes through your hands and your feet causing you excruciating pain to nail you to a rough wooden cross? Did they then lift you up on that cross and plop it into a hole with a thud so hard that it made you writhe in pain and agony? Did they then leave you in this condition for 6 hours to suffer so much that every single breath you took was a self inflicting act of torture?
I don’t think so. If Jesus forgave all of this and more that was done to Him, then so can we forgive the much lesser things that have been done to us. No, perhaps not in our flesh by our own strength, but certainly by His strength by His Spirit within us.
It is called surrender. It is casting our cares upon Him. It is exchanging them for His burden which is easy and His yoke which is light. It is giving it up to Him and letting Him deal with it, so that we no longer have to.
Speaking naturally, if we hold a grudge against anyone for something that they intentionally did to offend us, we are the ones who suffer, not them. They most likely have no clue that we are even doing this and if they did, they would probably be elated that we are suffering at all about this. Thus our unforgiveness does nothing for the other person, but it does everything to help us destroy ourselves. What a clever design by the enemy, isn’t it?
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Corinthians 2:11
Perhaps it is not outright resentment, but because of what this person did, you are now cautiously and purposely withholding your love from them. Perhaps you don’t want to get too close to them anymore because you are afraid that if you do, they may hurt you again. So you disguise your heart, feigning to like them when really you resent them in your heart. You speak carefully chosen words with double meanings or construct sentences that could be taken both ways, seeking to confuse them by saying A but really meaning B in your heart. And now you have even given in to gossiping about them to others about how they have wronged you so, drawing them into your own guile and causing them to stumble in their walk just to satisfy your own need to justify yourself. “Of course I forgive them but let me tell you what they did to me!”
When did Jesus discover that Judas was a thief who would help himself to the moneybag, stealing the money that belonged to Jesus’ ministry? When did Jesus ever publicly expose him when he ranted that the alabaster jar of ointment should have been sold and the money given to the poor when he really just wanted to pilfer it for himself? When did Jesus ever warn the other disciples about Judas’ treachery? When did He find out that Judas would ultimately betray Him and send Him to His crucifixion? It was well before Jesus’ arrest and even then He called Judas “my friend” in the midst of his act of betrayal with no less than a kiss. Did Jesus distance Himself from Judas at any time? No, not even at the last supper when Jesus sat right next to Judas and first appealed to his conscious by saying “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.” Then he appealed to his heart when he dipped the sop and handed it to him which was considered as a mark of honor to whom it was extended. But Judas’ heart was too hard by this time to receive it.
When did Jesus ever gossip to Father about you? Did He not forgive you of all of your sins and separate you from them as far as east is from the west and remembered them no more? It is the accuser of the brethren that slanders you to Father and it is Jesus who defends you as your advocate no matter what lies and accusations the enemy brings against you. The word advocate here is “parakletos” or helper along side and it is the same word and name used for the Holy Spirit. Instead, He has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. The word blessed here is the same word we use for eulogy which indicates that He has said every good thing He can possibly say about you in heaven. He is actually bragging about you to everyone that can hear Him!
Jesus loved Judas. He gave Judas every opportunity to repent, reconsider and stop from proceeding with his evil scheme. Jesus never displayed even one hint of animosity towards Judas that he could have used as an excuse to develop a root of bitterness and blame Jesus for causing his own resentment. Judas finally came to the realization of the truth after the fact and confessed “l have betrayed innocent blood!” But it was too much for him to confront and bear and he went and hung himself. If he would have repented and sought forgiveness, Jesus, who is no respecter of persons, would have forgiven him just like He forgave Peter who also betrayed Him not once, but 3 times. But Judas did not seek to be restored and judged himself unworthy of forgiveness and sealed his own fate, all of which was foretold by the prophets that would happen. It did not happen because it was foretold, it was foretold because this is what would happen.
Can you say the same about how you have treated all your relationships? Or could they possibly say something like this “Well, yes, I offended them but they did not have to get so resentful about it and start acting so arrogant! Holier than thou hypocrites, pretending that they love everyone unconditionally! I don’t want to have anything to do with them anymore or with their Jesus and their phony religion!”
They may have never said anything like this to your face but could they have said this in their heart? Paul summed it up perfectly when He said “Would you not rather be wronged?”
What if they said this in their heart instead: “I don’t get it! I know I offended them but they don’t even get upset. Instead they just seem to love me somehow no matter what I do. Now I am starting to feel really bad. I feel so mean for acting the way I did and treating them like this. I have treated them wrong! They really do have something different I wish I had. It must be this Jesus they keep talking about that I ridiculed them so terribly about. I feel ashamed. I am going to apologize to them. I just love the way they love me, without any strings attached. I want this kind of love in my life. If it is because of this Jesus they talk about, then I want to find out more about Him. I was so wrong!”
People love people who love them. It’s the resulting fruit of living the golden rule.
Being wronged hurts. Unforgiveness causes constant resentment and bitterness which also hurts and never ends but only builds by cutting deeper and causing more scars and increased pain. Forgiveness brings release and stops the pain immediately. It sets you free.
You have the power to forgive. Jesus gave you this power when he said “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” He also said that whosoever’s sins you forgive, they are forgiven them, but whosoever’s sins you hold on to, will be held.
Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. John 20:23
Unforgiveness grieves the Holy Spirit. The children’s version of the bible reads “Do not make the Holy Spirit sad.” It must really make Him sad so see us participate in such foolishness when we have been forgiven so much and yet refuse to forgive others so little.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:30-32
We are actually required to forgive others their sins against us or else we are not forgiven.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Mat 6:14-15
Jesus even tells us that when we are praying, to first forgive others so that Father can forgive us.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Mark 11:25-26
Even Peter did not quite understand just what Jesus was saying about forgiveness. So he asked Jesus “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” Jesus answered and said to him “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” That is 490 times! Has anyone ever wronged you 490 times?
Right after this Jesus tells the parable of the servant who owed the king 10,000 talents or about one hundred million dollars and forgave him his debt because he pleaded with the king and the king took pity on him. But that same servant went out and found someone who owed him 100 pence or about a day’s wages and had him thrown into prison until he would pay him what he owed. When word got back to the king, he was wroth and told this servant “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?” Jesus concluded the parable with a stern warning for all of us: “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
While we were dead in our sins, Jesus made us alive with Him and forgave us all of our sins and erased all of the law that was against us.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Colossians 2:13-14
Because He did all of this for us, we can certainly forgive others of their much lesser trespasses against us, can we not?
The time to forgive is right here and right now. Don’t carry this burden by yourself one more minute but surrender it now to Jesus and be free of it.
You can pray something like this. Just be sure to use your own words from your heart.
Lord, right here and now, I forgive ____________________ for what he/she did to me. I loose them of their sin and ask You to forgive them as well. Please do not hold this against them. They have enough to deal with even without this. You have freely forgiven me of all of my sins, so how can I possibly continue to hold this sin against them. Right here and right now, I bless them and set them free in Jesus name. Now, I ask you to heal my heart and rule it with your peace which passes all understanding. Thank you.
Franciscus M. Dartee
Grow in Faith | Walk in Power
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