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The High Cost of Unforgiveness
The Freedom of Forgiving & Being Forgiven
Written by: John Siefker
Have you ever had someone hurt you so badly from something that they have said or done, that you thought that you would never forgive them? Have you ever felt that if you did forgive them, that it would be like letting them 'off the hook' for what they did? You thought that this person did not deserve to be forgiven because of all that happened; the pain that you felt and had to endure, or even the trouble it has caused you.
At one time or another, we all have experienced hurt to one degree or another. And, it seems that the deeper the hurt, the harder it seems to forgive. Some people actually think that by not forgiving they are hurting or paying back those who have wronged them. This is simply farther from the truth because they are really the ones who pay dearly and suffer for it.
"Unforgiveness" is the poison that you wish to give to the offender (one who has hurt you)
but on the other hand, you are the one that takes it, in not realizing the consequences of doing so, hoping that the other person(s) who has hurt you will pay dearly for, but in the long run it is YOU that does. When unforgiveness is not dealt with, it will take root and begin to grow into bitterness and hatred that will eat you up from the inside out. And it will destroy you like a growing cancer (a slow death)
that consumes an individual's life.
Did you know that God requires each one of us, as true believers, to forgive others in order for each one of us to receive His forgiveness? To say that you are a Christian, but you still hold resentment and unforgiveness in your heart toward others puts you in an extremely dangerous place in your relationship with the Lord, according to what God has said in His Word. Look at what Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15:
"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."
This is a very important subject to everyone, though many people do not want to know, think or talk about it; and it destroys many people's lives, including Christians and sinners alike. There are many consequences that are connected to it, which you will see in reading this article.
To fully understand, one needs to know and/or refresh their memory of the meaning of the words "unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness".
First off, let's look at the meaning of the word 'unforgivness' (not to forgive; unforgiving):
Reluctant or refusing to forgive; not willing to forgive or show mercy; unmerciful; to hold something against some one; to be resentful.
Where one is in the state of turmoil or stress: a mixture of bitterness, anger, hostility, hatred, resentment and fear (of being hurt or humiliated again).
The Biblical definition of 'not forgiving/unforgiveness' is:
Having or holding a grudge against someone who has offended, slandered or hurt you. Not having the compassion or mercy to forgive.
Unforgiveness is a sin that causes us to think and do evil (ungodly) things against those that have offended or hurt us.
The definition of 'resentment' is to:
Be bitter about, dislike, object to, grudge, begrudge, take exception to, be offended by, be angry about, take offence at, take umbrage at, harbour a grudge against, take as an insult, bear a grudge about, be in a huff about, take amiss to, have hard feelings about.
To feel indignantly aggrieved at, to have or feel a dislike or distaste for, to bear or hold a grudge, to harbor ill feelings towards, to wish ill or allow unwillingly.
The definition of 'bitterness' is:
Resentment, hurt, anger, hostility, indignation, animosity, venom, acrimony, pique, rancour, ill feeling, bad blood, ill will, umbrage, vexation, asperity.
A feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will, a resentment strong enough to justify retaliation; holding a grudge; distasteful or distressing to the mind; an ill-tempered and offensive disposition (of a person or thing).
So now we can see how unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness are all connected and tied together. And none of these things are good or helpful to one's emotional, physical and spiritual being. It drains one's attention and energy because they get so caught up with it and entangled in it that it becomes their primary focus. You know what I'm talking about, as many of us have been there at some point, if not more, in our lives. We know what it does to us, how it makes you feel and the effect that it has on you.
Unforgiveness is chains of bondage - spiritual bondage, a heavy weight or burden that one carries around with them that affects their emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. It chokes the life out of our spirit and soul making us slaves of bitterness, resentment and anger.
In short, unforgiveness is a silent, deadly killer - just like cancer. It starts off very small, almost unnoticeable at the first, and it continues to grow and spread throughout one's being. It just eats and eats away at you... until you are totally consumed by it. Many people's lives have been destroyed, including marriages, relationships and such because of it.
It is the single most popular poison that the devil uses against both sinners and God's people alike, and it is one of the deadliest poisons a person can take spiritually. It kills slowly at first and then it accelerates so quickly into a whole full blown fiasco. It becomes so painfully that it is almost unbearable. This is a very disastrous place for one to been in.
Self - flesh wants to retaliate... to make them pay for the hurt and pain that you are feeling and going through. But as a Christians, a follower of Jesus Christ and a doer of His Word; is this the way we are to be and to act? Not according to what God has said in His Word; in which will be covered in more detail in this article as we continue on.
Unforgiveness, including bitterness and resentment, is a deadly spiritual poison to one's spirit and soul; and it can affects one's eternity (Mat. 6:14-15). It also manifests itself in one's being (physical body & emotions) with having: "no joy, no happiness, no peace, anger and rage, hating others, loss of friendships, discouragement, depression and such to name a few." On the other side, in regards to one's physical health, it opens a door to which can come all types of sickness, disease and other health problems.
Now look at the word 'disease'. In short, it is really 'dis-ease' (being in a state of unease) according to the medical and mental health community. The term 'dis-ease' is used and associated with mental disorders, physical disorders, genetic disorders, emotional and behavioral disorders, and functional disorders.
The definition of the word 'disease' is:
A disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment. Any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition, as of or pertaining to the mind.
So you may ask; "where does sickness and disease come from?" The answer to that is "sin". It came when sin came into the perfect world that God had created. This came because Adam and Eve sinned against God as recorded in Genesis.
There are many Scriptures in God's Word that record what God has said concerning sin and being under the curse of the law, when one chooses not to be obedient to Him or live according to what He had commanded. But for the sake of making it brief and not listing them all, we will just look at the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. You will want to further read and search them out, as they are very important to you!
When people in the Old Testament disobeyed God and in not keeping His commandments, it opened them up to curses, as stated in Deuteronomy 27:26. Even so today, the same still applies to all people who disobey God in not keeping His Word.
In Leviticus 26:14-46 and Deuteronomy 27:14-26; 28:15-68, sickness and disease, besides many other things pertaining to life, are part of the curse of the Law. The dreadful sickness, diseases and such are curses caused by disobedience to God and they are part of the punishment for breaking God's Law.
In fact, every sickness and every disease is part of the curse according to what God Almighty said in Deuteronomy 28:60-61, which says:
"Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed."
So with what God has just said in the verses of Scripture above, not just the sicknesses, diseases or plagues that was listed or recorded in His Word but also EVERY sickness and plague that was not listed or recorded in His Word would come upon you. This includes all of the sickness and disease known in the world today and yet to be known in the future by man.
The Lord says, 4 different times, in Leviticus chapter 26 that if they don't listen to Him and obey His Word that He would punish seven (7) times more for your sins. Read it as follows:
"And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins." Leviticus 26:18
Now let's look at just a few of the diseases and sickness that come about because of the curse by disobedience to the Law listed in Deuteronomy chapter 28, for your reference (Hebrew words and other meanings followed in italics):
(vs. 14) "And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
(vs. 15) But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
(vs. 16) Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
(vs. 17) Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store (one's finances & resources, prosperity; results poverty & lack).
(vs. 18) Cursed shall be the fruit (offspring, children) of thy body, and the fruit (crops) of thy land, the increase of thy kine (cows, cattle), and the flocks of thy sheep.
(vs. 19) Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
(vs. 20) The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
(vs. 21) The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
(vs. 22) The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption (wasting disease, disease of the lungs, tuberculosis), and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting (blight of crops), and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
(vs. 23) And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. (This speaks of unanswered prayers)
(vs. 24) The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
(vs. 25) The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.
(vs. 26) And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.
(vs. 27) The LORD will smite thee with the botch (skin ulcers and boils, leprosy) of Egypt, and with the emerods (hemorrhoids, tumours, piles), and with the scab (scurvy, all skin disease), and with the itch (an eruptive disease), whereof thou canst not be healed.
(vs. 28) The LORD shall smite thee with madness (insane, crazy, schizophrenia), and blindness, and astonishment of heart (terror, amazement):
(vs. 29) And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.
(vs. 30) Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.
(vs. 31) Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them.
(vs. 32) Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand.
(vs. 33) The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:
(vs. 34) So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. (emotional distress & problems)
(vs. 35) The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.
(vs. 36) The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.
(vs. 37) And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.
(vs. 38) Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.
(vs. 39) Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.
(vs. 40) Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.
(vs. 41) Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity.
(vs. 42) All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.
(vs. 43) The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. (Loss of or no favour)
(vs. 44) He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. (Be in debt financially to others)
(vs. 45) Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:
(vs. 46) And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.
(vs. 47) Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;
(vs. 48) Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.
(vs. 49) The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;
(vs. 50) A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:
(vs. 51) And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.
(vs. 52) And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.
(vs. 53) And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:
(vs. 54) So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave:
(vs. 55) So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates.
(vs. 56) The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter,
(vs. 57) And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.
(vs. 58) If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;
(vs. 59) Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
(vs. 60) Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
(vs. 61) Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
(vs. 62) And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.
(vs. 63) And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.
(vs. 64) And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
(vs. 65) And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
(vs. 66) And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:
(vs. 67) In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
(vs. 68) And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you. (Be enslaved to others, working as a slave or servant for wages.)
After reading about all of this concerning the curses that come from disobedience to God's Word, one can see the consequences of it. No one would want to be under the curse as it cost them tremendously! But also, like God said in Deuteronomy 28:60-61, that there are many other sicknesses and diseases that are not mentioned in that chapter which are known in the world today and yet to be known in the future by man. Knowing this, it opens one's eyes to further understanding.
A few other Scripture references in regards to other physical health problems:
- "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick..." (Proverbs 13:12) This results in: 'depression of all kinds, self-pity, heart problems, anxiety & stress, Parkinson's disease and such'.
- "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." (Proverbs 17:22) This results in: 'brittle bones, arthritis (of all kinds) and such'.
- "...Envy the rottenness of the bones." (Proverbs 14:30) This results in 'a bone disease'.
- "Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse (critical) lips put far from thee." (Proverbs 4:24) This results in 'bitterness, resentment and such'.
- "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." (Proverbs 18:21) Your words do matter and bring many different results - no matter what you might think or know; it can cause others to feel good or to feel terrible. What we think in our heart and mind, we eventually say to others. What damage or good can be done, at that moment of time, with the words that we say to others and speak over them in talking about them with other people.
There are many more verses of Scripture through the Bible about sin and disobedience that opens the door and allows these things to happen and affect you. For your reference, you will also want to read Leviticus 26:14-46 and Deuteronomy 27:14-26, besides many others Scriptures in the Bible and search them out for yourself, as they are very important to you!
So in short, ALL sickness and disease came about because of sin, which took place when Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden. This has been passed down from generation to generation until Jesus returns to this earth. Before Adam and Eve sinned, when God created every thing - there was no sin and every thing that He created was perfect.
But this is very important to remember... there is only one remedy to be free from the curse of sin and that is Jesus! When He died upon the Cross, Jesus paid the price in FULL for all sins for each one of us. What Jesus did and died for - is without price and even words! Jesus is 'The Great Physician' who forgives all things and heals every sickness and disease - and He still forgives and heals TODAY!
Jesus Christ hath redeemed us (each one of us) from the curse of the law when Jesus took all sin upon Himself when He died on the Cross.
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." Galatians 3:13
In order for each one of us to be free from sin and the curse, we must confess our sins and Jesus will forgive and cleanse us from them all.
"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
This is the ONLY solution... period.
Major Causes of Unforgiveness
The major causes of unforgiveness are "uncontrolled emotions, resentment and bitterness". We will cover each one of these in greater detail and how they are connected with unforgiveness, in this section.
Emotions are Powerful
What are emotions? They are your feelings... they are connected to your thoughts, mind, spirit and soul.
The definition of the word 'emotion' is:
- A natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.
- Any of the particular feelings that characterize such a state of mind, such as joy, anger, love, hate, horror, etc.
- The part of the consciousness that involves feeling; sensibility.
Emotions affect the way you think and act. They can motivate you to say and do things that are either good or bad. At times, they may even seem to overwhelm you, if you let them have free rein... they become like a runaway train.
So controlling one's emotions is absolutely so key in not letting them get the best of you and not losing control of oneself.
Now for further reference, let's look at how God created man. He made man who is composed of three (3) parts which they are a spirit, soul and body (ref: Genesis 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
A person's soul has three major parts - our mind, will and emotions. Our mind has a conscious part and a subconscious part. The conscious mind is where we do our thinking and reasoning. The sub-conscious mind is where we hold our deep beliefs. It's also where we have our emotions (feelings) and retain our memories. Our will is what gives us the ability to make choices. Through a very complex way, our mind, our will and our emotions are all connected to the body.
Your emotions can hinder you from releasing the resentment that you are holding on to. Your emotions can make something that is really insignificant seem larger than life. So you should watch your emotions and not let them to totally take control of you in what you say and do.
A person can express their emotions without taking offense or causing others to be hurt or offended. If someone says or does something to you that you don't like, don't agree with or you sense causes offense, then you have the right to talk to them about it so there are no hard feelings.
Realize that your emotions are influenced by many things such as chemical imbalances in the body, what happened at home or work, what others say and do to you and many other things. Don't let your emotions move you into the realm of unforgiveness and bitterness.
Keys to controlling your emotions
First off, look at how words, feelings and actions are intertwined:
- Words produce thoughts
- Thoughts produce emotions
- Emotions produce decisions
- Decisions produce an action
It is truly amazing how this works, but it does!
God says in His Word that He made (created) man with a 'free will' and because of it you have the right and responsibility to choose - to make important choices for yourself; to choose things of life or death (Deut. 30:19; Joshua 24:15). With this said, you have the ability to control your emotions thus controlling what you are thinking.
One important key to controlling your emotions is learning to control your thoughts in what you allow yourself to think about. The positive or negative thoughts that you think effect your emotions and in turn, they can lead you to act upon them with two completely different outcomes and the consequences that result from the choice you make.
Another important key is to refuse to dwell on negative things that make you feel depressed or insecure. By choosing to follow the advice that God has given in His Word in focusing on things that are "wholesome, righteous and of Him", you can replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Here are just a few things one is to think on, in the following verses:
"...Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." Philippians 4:8-9
Now look at some of the other things (keys) God says in His Word in which one is to do, in regards to being in control of your thoughts:
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23
"Set your affection (mind) on things above, not on things on the earth." Colossians 3:2
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26:3
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5
"...Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
Over and over again in God's Word, He tells us that we are in control of our minds and what we think. And our thoughts affect our emotions which in turn affect our actions.
'Self control' is restraining self and in the Bible it is referred to as 'temperance'.
The dictionary defines 'self-control' as "control of one's emotions, desires, or actions by one's own will; the ability to exercise restraint or control over one's feelings, emotions, reactions, etc.
'Temperance' is mentioned 4 times in the KJV New Testament and each time it is the Greek word 'egkrateia (#1466)' which means "self-control; the virtue of one who masters his desires, passions, and especially his sensual appetites". The word 'temperate' used in Titus 1:8 comes from the Greek word 'egkrates (#1468)' and it means "having power over, possessed of (a thing); mastering, controlling, curbing, restraining; controlling one's self, temperate, continent."
'Temperance' is defined in the dictionary as "moderation and self-restraint in behavior or expression, in action, thought, or feeling; restraint, self-control."
From all that has been said, we can see that self-control is required by one being in constant vigilance or aware of their thoughts and emotions. Look at what Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:27:
"But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
Paul took control of his body - his thoughts and emotions; he subdued the fleshly and ungodly desires so that he might not sin in doing any of those things. Just like Paul, we too must keep our thoughts, emotions and desires in check and on pure and holy things so that we do not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
There is a constant conflict going on all the time between the spiritual mind and the flesh. We read about this in Galatians 5:16-17:
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
In Galatians 5:22-23, it lists the nine (9) fruit of the Spirit and the last two that are listed is "meekness and temperance". How important are all of these things - the fruits of the Spirit in a person's life.
Over the years, doctors and the medical field of studies have found that most all sickness and disease today are connected to mental (emotional) disorders (as they are called) from what they can find. It just goes along to prove what God has said in His Word is true.
Resentment - Identifying the Source
The first question one should ask themselves is "Why were you offended in the first place?"
Try to figure out and understand where the resentment came from. Think about it and look back to what was done or said to you to cause you to feel the resent you have. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show and reveal it to you. You may discover that your resentment may be from something completely silly, and if not, it usually comes from hurtful words or actions.
First of all, you should realize that resentment is a fruit of the sinful nature and not from God. But once you have identified where the resentment came from, it is up to you to deal with it or just let it fester into something more dangerous to you.
There are many reasons why you may become resentful to others. Some of them are listed below.
You simply misunderstood what someone was saying or did and then you became offended. This is why it is very important to completely understand what was said or done and not just jumping to a conclusion of what you think it was or pertained to. By simply asking them to explain to you exactly what their actions or words meant it can usually clear the whole thing up.
When someone criticizes you for what you said or done, appears to challenge your intelligence or makes light of what your suggestions or ideas it makes you feel inferior, cut down or even stupid which in turn brings on resentment.
Others try to tell you what to do, how to live your life, what you need to do, what they think is best for you. You feel like your being controlled by others.
Phrases that people use like "being shot down, being thrown under the bus, having the chair kicked out from under you and other ones" is some times one remarks after being criticized which show that they were hurt.
Others tell you what they think you should do, how they think you should feel and how they think you should act.
Others feel and act superior to you.
Others act in hypocritical ways.
Others deprive you of your needs.
You see those in power abusing their power and hurting others who are less powerful.
You feel falsely accused, judged, discriminated against, labeled, ignored, insulted, attacked (verbally or physically), persecuted, or underestimated.
You feel lied to or lied about.
Being cheated or feel like you have been.
Any one or a combination of the things listed above can and usually brings anger, hurt and resentment.
Identifying the source is the first step in dealing with resentment and unforgiveness. Also understanding these root causes will help you identify when you are about to be offended or in the process of such; and it will enable us to guard against resentment and unforgiveness because we can "see it coming."
Satan wants you to live and stay in past resentment and regrets. He knows what will happen to you and what God said would happen to you. You are robbed of your joy, peace, happiness and many other things, and then sickness and disease follows.
Bitterness - What it is & Where it Comes From
First off, we need to look at the subject about the heart to get a better understanding the role it plays or has with unforgiveness and bitterness.
About the Heart
The heart is one of the most important organs in the entire human body and on the spiritual side the same is also true. Many things that are both in and come from the heart have either a positive or negative affect on everything in our lives. Look at what God commands us to do in regards to our heart:
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues (source) of life." Proverbs 4:23
The word 'keep' used in the verse of Scripture above is the Hebrew word 'natsar (#5341)' which means:
1. to guard, watch, watch over, keep
a) to watch, guard, keep
b) to preserve, guard from dangers
c) to keep, observe, guard with fidelity
d) to guard, keep secret
e) to be kept close, be blockaded
f) watchman (participle)
In understanding what God said in Proverbs 4:23, we see that He is telling us to constantly guard our heart and watch it closely with what we allow to enter into it, because it is the source of life for one's being, both physically and spiritually. The heart is the place - the spiritual soil in which a seed or seeds are planted in. They then sprout and grow until they produce fruit, whether it is good or bad. This is very important to remember!
For a moment, really think about what God said in Proverbs 23:7:
"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..."
There are many things that God is saying to us in that verse of Scripture... it is has so much meaning and depth.
Now look at what God says come from the heart and those things that defile a person:
"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man..." Matthew 15:18-20
"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." Mark 7:21-23
All of the different things, which are listed in the verses above, come from the heart and make a person corrupt or unclean. The other thing is, those things are sin; and sin puts you out of right alignment with God.
Other definitions of the word 'defile' means "to contaminate, to make filthy or dirty; pollute; unclean or unfit; desecrate: defile a temple."
In short, all of the things that were touched on concerning the heart, one can understand the importance of guarding one's heart... in watching what we allow to enter into it.
What Bitterness is
The word 'bitterness' in the Bible is defined as:
a) extreme wickedness;
b) a bitter root, and so producing a bitter fruit;
c) bitter hatred
The dictionary defines 'bitterness' as:
Resentment: a feeling of deep and bitter anger, and ill-will.
a) Having a sharp, pungent taste or smell; not sweet.
b) Causing pain or unhappiness.
c) Feeling anger, hurt, and resentment.
d) (of a conflict) harsh and acrimonious - which means having ill feelings.
e) (of wind or weather) intensely cold.
So you can see that 'hard feelings' towards some one is really bitterness.
The Root of Bitterness
God warns each one of us in His Word about bitterness:
"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." Hebrews 12:15
Each one of us must be constantly watching that we do not allow any wound or hurt and anything else to cause a seed of bitterness to be planted in our hearts. And in doing so, we don't give it a chance or a place to grow to create many physical and spiritual problems in our lives.
This is how it all starts... it is with a seed.
What is a seed? It is a flowering plant's unit of reproduction, capable of developing into another such plant. On the spiritual side, the seed of bitterness is a hurt or wound that is planted by someone's words or actions. It may be intentional or unintentional. When it is unintentional, with what someone does or says and they did not mean to harm or hurt you, but you were hurt; then this is a seed that you allowed the enemy to plant because you misunderstood or imagined it to be so.
What is a root? It is part of a plant's growing system. A root is the part of a plant that attaches it to the ground or to a support, conveying water and nourishment to the rest of the plant. In the spiritual realm, there are spiritual roots and they do the same thing, as natural roots do, in supporting the growth of spiritual things whether it be good or bad, like love or hate.
Where does the root live and grow? It is under the surface of the soil and thus it is hidden from view. Like natural roots, spiritual roots live and grow in soil, which is the heart, and they too are hidden (to some degree) from view other than to God that sees and knows all things, in the open or that are hidden.
The same is true with the root of bitterness in a person's soul. It is a hidden or masked problem that lies under the surface, and out of it springs up anger, other negative emotions against others and against the circumstances around them, beside many other things. People who have a root of bitterness in their heart find it very easy to get upset over things that others say or are doing around them. It's like a brewing pot that lies beneath the surface, waiting for something to fuel or trigger it.
Bitterness is a root! It is just like a plant or tree which has roots. Once the seed sprouts, roots spring forth and they begin to grow - getting bigger, going deeper into the soil and spread out all over. This is the same with bitterness… once a seed (from resentment & unforgiveness) sprouts; the root(s) of bitterness takes hold and grows like wildfire. And the longer it grows and has a place to grow - the harder it is to get rid of. You know how hard it is to get rid of weeds and briers when they are very big - they are so tough to pull up... this too is exactly how hard it is to get rid or be free from bitterness. One reason why it is so hard to get rid of it is because of flesh, which is self (pride).
Then fruit comes... and how unpleasant it can be
When plants and trees have went through their cycle of budding and blooming then comes the bearing of fruit (eatable & uneatable) that is ready to be harvested. The same is true in the spiritual realm. The results or fruits of bitterness are: "unhappiness, anger, wrath, slander, unforgiveness, hate or hatred, malice (a desire to see another suffer or be hurt), spiritual & physical chaos or distress, disobedience to God and His Word" to name just a few.
The Progressive Stages of Bitterness
- Oversensitive to a verbal remark, action, or lack of action.
- Hurt feelings and wounds.
- Repulsive feeling toward a person at the thought, hearing about or sight of them.
- Retaining hurts and wounds, and frequently talking about them.
- Alienation of the person who had done the wrong.
- Verbal slander against the person.
- Lack of obedience to God (ref: Matthew 5:44-45; John 13:34).
- End up becoming like the one you despise and have bitterness towards.
- Mental and physical health issues and problems occur.
Now continuing on...
With all that has been covered so far in regards to bitterness, one may have a better understanding of bitterness and how it all works.
Bitterness is known in the Bible as a spiritual, deadly poison by which many people fall into sin from their actions. In not stopping it from happening right from the start or once they are convicted of bitterness in their heart and then not dealing with it to get rid of it; thus putting themselves in bad relations with others and with God, as according to His Word (Mat. 6:14-15).
Countless people who have been wounded and hurt develop an awful emotional and spiritual bondage. This happens because they allowed the trauma that they have encountered or are going through get to them. The reason why many people are in bondage today is because they became bitter or allowed bitterness into their hearts because of what was done to them and in most cases it was from an offense that happened many years ago.
This opens a door to the enemy and this is how demonic spirits gain access into a person's life through these open wounds and hurt that is not dealt with. The access that they (evil spirits & demons) are allowed to have is because a person has allowed bitterness and bad feelings to have a place in their heart. These feelings build up within them and cause them to explode on those that hurt them or others around them. And then they are the ones who have been taken advantage of by the enemy with so much more to follow. Demons thrive on bitterness, unforgiveness or any other open door, and to them it is a wide open door (invitation & right to be there) for them to move right in on a person and then they cause many different spiritual, mental and even physical bondages, including sickness and disease which are listed in God's Word.
Now many of these people, who have been hurt, don't always express it openly (for fear of shame, rejection by others - in being looked down upon & such) but try to hide it inside and cover it up; they then hold the hurt and bitter feelings inside where they fester and grow, even to what we would call a time-bomb. Just because they don't appear to be angry or outrageous individuals, does not mean they are free from the root of bitterness. As stated earlier, bitterness is a root, and roots are not always visible on the surface. A person may see ungodly anger and other emotions on the outside but bitterness itself works under the surface.
Because bitterness is a root, it makes it harder for one (other than the Holy Spirit) to identify and expose then many other spiritual issues, but none the less it's a deadly poison that needs to be released and gotten rid of. It is always so much harder for one to examine or look at them selves - to see if they are the problem or have done anything that might have caused it. If bitterness is left alone, it will grow and fester, and it has the ability to spring up many other issues, of which can be mental, physical and spiritual.
People who have a root of bitterness in their heart will often find it very easy to become upset or irritated over little things that go on around them. It is easy for them to look at the different circumstances around them as the source of their problems, rather than seeing why they are being bothered by those things and if they have any sin or bitterness in their hearts. Instead of searching their hearts and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to them any thing hidden in their hearts; and then dealing with what is exposed or made known to them by forgiving and letting it go, they let it get to them and devour them. This is a very common way by which demons affect and/or enter people today. All because of sin - in not forgiving others as Jesus has forgiven each one of us, as He said in Matthew 6:14-15.
Whether bitterness is manifested (shown) on the outside (publicly) or not, it does not matter or prove that you don't have any bitterness or unforgiveness. Due to the nature of 'bottled up' feelings and emotions, they are not always made noticeable on the outside because one may try to hid them, but that does not mean that they are not there, in your heart. If there is a root of bitterness in your heart, it needs to be cut off at the root (completely removed); with forgiveness being given to those from which it came from and repenting of holding on to it or allowing it to be there. You need to make a choice - to set others and yourself free from it or you can just hold on to it and suffer the terrible consequences.
The Results of Bitterness
- Unrest & turmoil - no peace
- Causes depression & makes one discouraged
- Unhappiness - loss of joy
- Causes anger & rage
- Causes hatred
- Makes one cold, bitter and hard towards others & God
- Causes a desire to see others to suffer or be hurt; vindictiveness
- Causes one to say & do harmful and ungodly things to others
- Damages friendships
- Destroys family & other relationships, including marital issues & even divorce
- Hinders one's relationship with God
- Causes one to sin
- Opens the door to the enemy, so he can afflict you
- Can cause physical & mental illnesses, sickness and disease
- Can destroy a person spiritually
- Disobedience to God & His Word
Bitterness is very devastating. A bitter person is his own worst enemy because of all the results it produces and the effects that it has on their lives. Bitterness will affect you physically, emotionally, and spiritually because the fruit of bitterness is like an acid that destroys its container or cancer that destroys the body.
Seldom do you find anyone who will admit that they are a bitter person. They will either deny it or try to disguise it. A bitter person is hypersensitive, ungrateful, insincere, holds grudges and has mood swings.
A root of bitterness can grow up in a person because of unforgiveness. This root can be buried deep inside your heart and it can block the flow of God's love from penetrating deep within your heart. It also blocks the flow of God through you, in doing what He tells you and making it difficult to experience God's love for others. Many people who have unforgiveness may not be aware of it because it is buried so deep inside. People do and say things that hurt us very deeply. Sometimes we are hurt by the ones that are closest to us. Many people are hurt in childhood, at the most vulnerable time of their life, leaving wounds that we think are healed but they have left scars that still remind us of the wound at different times in the course of our lives.
Remember that roots are the source - not the symptoms! Symptoms are the fruit or by-product.
Bitterness always produces fruit! And many people are affected by it including the person who has it in their heart. The bitterness is kept alive and given fuel to grow by rehearsing the details over and over in our minds, reviewing the hurt and building a case for our own self-righteousness or self-justification. Hurts turn to resentment and then to destructive bitterness. It becomes obvious to those around them through their countenance, attitudes and responsiveness (words & actions) to others.
Bitter people are, in fact, miserable people - and it is not pleasant to be around them. You know what I am talking about; because most people have been around them at different times in their lives.
Many people who are bitter and hold unforgiveness in their hearts, they put forth an effort or seek revenge to hurt the one(s) who first hurt them, not realizing that they are the ones who suffer the most!
The only cure for bitterness is "forgiving those that have hurt or wounded you, and then repenting of any sin and asking Jesus to forgive you."
On a final note, look at what God said in His Word that each one of us is to do:
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." Ephesians 4:31
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 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." Hebrews 12:14-15
If we do what the Lord says in His Word, than we will not have to deal with any bitterness and go through its dramatic consequences. Being obedient to God and living like He says in His Word is so much easier than what disobedience and sin brings.
Unforgiveness... The Effects & Signs
Unforgiveness is nothing new. It began in the Garden of Eden. Cain was unable to forgive his brother, Abel because Abel's sacrifice was acceptable before God and his was not (Gen. 4). This led to the first murder ever. How many murders have there been since, because of unforgiveness?
Unforgiveness leads to hatred. Hatred is like a festering sore or scab that bothers you, and the more you pick at it, the worse it becomes until it consumes your whole thinking process and you being focused on it. This is exactly how one feels or thinks in 'getting even' with the person(s) that has either hurt you in what they have said or done to you - it becomes your only thought.
Truth be told; all people, no matter what, at one time or another (if not more), have been through this kind of situation of where they have these feelings of being put down and betrayed. And this goes along with what Cain felt and then did to his brother, Abel in seeking revenge, as recorded in Genesis chapter 4.
People who have been hurt and have unforgiveness in their heart like to have a 'pity party' self-justification) to take revenge - to get even, and tell others why they have been cruelly hurt and offended; not realizing that if they would listen to what they are saying, they would realize that they are the ones making a complete 'goof' of themselves and wanting others have pity for them in agreeing with them.
No matter what, it always comes back to self - flesh which is corrupt and sinful. People make mistakes and they are not perfect in this sinful world - but Jesus forgives if they/we repent. Why do we think we are 'perfect' and then the 'judge'? There is only one righteous Judge - who is Jesus by whom all people will be judged for all they have done at the end of time (Rev. 20:12-13). So who are you to judge others?
The Terrible Effects & Fruit of Unforgiveness
Unforgiveness opens the door for mental, physical and spiritual harm of which are listed in no order:
- Have no energy - feeling drained (from the spiritual warfare)
- Sense of hopelessness
- Loss of joy
- Loss of happiness & discontentment
- Extreme anger & rage
- Bitterness & resentment
- Loss of peace - no peace of mind
- Spiritual turmoil
- Unrest, sleeplessness & loss of energy (feeling like you have gone through a wringer)
- Emotional distress & torment
- Judgmental or critical of others
- Harmful retaliation to others
- Loss of friendships
- Damages & hinders relationships with others (feel edgy or uncomfortable around others in what they might think of you)
- Unhappy homes and broken marriages; and even divorce
- Loss of favour
- Can lead to murder
- Opens the door for the enemy to torment you (Matthew 18:32-35)
- Depression (of all kinds), anxiety & fear
- Is detrimental to the health of your physical body; causing many health problems - sickness & disease, of which it can eventually cause death or kill you.
- Mental & spiritual roadblock to receiving restoration, divine healing (emotional, physical & spiritual) and forgiveness from God (Matthew 6:14-15)
- It hinders your relationship with God and actually separates you from Him because God will not forgive you of trespasses & sin because you don't forgive others as He commanded in His Word (Matthew 6:14-15; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23)
Of all the things listed above, of which there are more, so few people seem to realize the terrible effects and consequences of unforgiveness but in studying God's Word it is clearly stated. So in truth, the person who has unforgiveness in their heart is THE ONE WHO IS REALLY PAYING THE PRICE. They are the ones who suffer the most!
Unforgiveness has the power to destroy you completely, if you let it by not dealing with it. It is such a terrible weight and burden that will bring you down and it could even kill you. Satan uses unforgiveness to gain entrance first into our souls and then our lives. Unforgiveness can poison our whole being. It can cause spiritual death.
The truth is that people choose to be unforgiving - it is a deliberate decision of oneself that creates self-inflicted pain. They carry the illusion or thought that other people have caused our misery, but in reality, they are the one's who have chose to take on self-imposed bondage and torment. It is a spiritual "acid" that eats through the spirit within us.
When unforgiveness has had time to take root, it begins to grow into bitterness and hatred, to the point that even love that you once had has become cold and distant to both others and even towards God. This becomes a hardness of heart. Actions and words that were once tender, caring and loving now have become filled with negativity and hurtful. This poison - unforgiveness does affect both believers and non-believers alike. We need to realize that our own insensitivity or choice to not forgive can keep the healing work of the Holy Spirit from impacting our lives and being free from this burden.
Here are Some Signs of Unforgiveness
You will know, at least to some degree, when you are or even another person is struggling with unforgiveness when he/she says or does some of the following things:
- You don't understand… It is so hard for me to forgive him/her for what has been said or has done to me.
- You find yourself thinking about an offense or hurt and it makes you get so upset.
- Repeatedly tells others of the hurt or injustice done to them that "justifies" his/her refusal to forgive.
- Takes every opportunity to insert his/her wounds into any conversation concerning that person(s).
- Has allowed his/her painful emotional situation to become his/her identity (as they are so consumed by it; that it is all they want to talk about to their friends and others).
- Sees everything through their own eyes of 'self-justification' in regards to their hurt and then they even put it on others that they do not know because they perceive others to be that way, even though they have not done any or said any thing to them.
Even though this is just a few of the many examples, unforgiveness takes on many disguises, forms or actions besides those listed above; and they can be difficult for one or others to detect it, though not always. Because when you are the one hurting, you don't look always look at what is hurting you but instead to something or some one else from which it may have come from.
This is the other thing that the enemy likes to do to get your attention off of yourself and on to some thing else or others to take the blame for what is happening or been done to you. Distraction is a great tactic of the enemy. It is to get one's focus off the problem (root of the problem) and on to the symptom. It is like the saying "passing the buck" - instead of taking the blame or 'owning up'. This has always been what the devil (enemy) has done, even with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Saying that Satan made them to do it, but once they realize that they were wrong and caught - then they tried to pass the blame on to him. How many times have you done this? More than you want to say, I am sure. But if you have dealt with this (between them & God), then it is no longer an issue and forgiven.
What Forgiveness is Not
Just remember this - forgiving someone of their wrong is not doing one of the following things:
- A feeling of relief, that after a while - a period of time (in trying to put it out of one's mind or separating oneself from them), in wanting to forget that painful moment and bury it.
- Not agreeing with what was done to you and what you said in return to them…but passing on the blame (even if not wronged) - this is a big stumbling block to you.
- "But they deserve it" - you don't understand what has happened.
- A rushed decision - to alleviate the hurt and pain. And this can also be done in a 'forced to' kind-of-way situation where there is something for you to gain or receive that benefits you with position, favor, financial gain or such. This is only being half-hearted - the forced "I'm sorry" and truly not forgiving them. This is not genuine forgiveness.
- Don't want to see or speak to them nor be around them again. Because when you are around them, you think about and feel the hurt all over again; and you are so bothered by it.
- In conversation with others, you rehash over and over again about what was done to you by those that have hurt you. This means that you truly have not forgiven them. If it was dealt with this would not happen or be on your mind. It would be like 'water under the bridge'.
Forgiveness is not denying that the one who has caused the hurt is not responsible for their actions. It is just setting you free from the from the pain and hurt, and releasing them from what they did to you; thus not allowing the enemy to have access or right to torment you, even though he may try to from time to time.
*Important Note: Maybe at some point of time, you have forgiven and forgotten about the whole ordeal; but at some point, Satan likes to bring it back to your memory and tries to see if he can to get you to become irritated and than you pick it back up again. Satan loves to tempt people with this... as it is one of his tricks and tactics that he uses. Don't fall for it, otherwise you can open the door again for him to wreck havoc in your life! It is just a trap, to imprison and entangle you all over again!
Look at what Apostle Paul said in the Philippians 3:13-14, Paul says, "...Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus".
Does this mean that Paul was putting out of his mind all that has gone before? Not necessarily, the Biblical word "forget" in this context does not necessarily mean to "put out of one's mind" though it can be. It has the meaning of "letting go"; letting go of past hurts and experiences. It means that we are not going to allow the hurts and experiences of the past to dominate us now and in our future, and not allowing them to prevent us from becoming all that God has planned we are to become. There may be memories that we are unable to completely put out of our mind, but we choose not to allow them to control our attitude and behavior, even toward those who may be responsible for those memories.
Biblical Accounts of Unforgiveness
Cain had unforgiveness besides many others things in his heart against his brother Abel. Cain was angry and unable to forgive his brother because Abel's sacrifice was acceptable before God and his was not. This led to the first murder ever.
You can read the whole account of this in further detail in Genesis chapter 4.
In Genesis 27:41, tells us how Esau hated and held unforgiveness to his brother, Jacob:
"And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob."
You can read the whole account of this, in further detail, in Genesis chapter 27 or references these verses to what was stated in Genesis 25:27-34; 27:41-45.
Both Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because they did not agree with him because Moses had married an Ethiopian woman. And because of what Miriam had done she was struck with leprosy.
You can read the whole account of this, in further detail, in Numbers chapter 12.
The Unmerciful Servant
"Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, 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?  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."
He was one of Jesus' disciples that betrayed Him. Judas condemned himself for his betrayal of Jesus and went out and hung himself.
You can read the whole account of this, in further detail, in Matthew 26:14-16, 20-25, 46-49; 27:3-5. It is also referenced in Mark 14:10-11, 17-21, 43-45 and Luke 22:3-6, 21-23, 47-49.
There other accounts in the Bible of people dealing with unforgiveness and such, which were not listed, but in reading and studying God's Word, you will come across them; you begin to see and understand what they went through and were dealing with.
On a Final Note, in Regards to Unforgiveness
Enough cannot be said about unforgiveness because many people 'don't get it'. They don't really understand or they refuse and don't want to believe it is so as God said in His Word, that the effects of unforgiveness are extremely dangerous to you both physically and mentally (emotionally) and spiritually. So many people carry this burden of unforgiveness and suffer the consequences for years and years, and some times to their grave. Never being free from it... how extremely costly it is for them. This is so sad for them, words don't begin to describe all that takes place and happens. One of the important things that they don't seem to realize is that by not forgiving others of their wrong doings, in return they are not being forgiven by the Lord as He said in Matthew 6:14-15.
Despite what God has said and His clear instructions in His Word that one is to do and to live by, many believers' friendships, marriages and lives are being broken up at an alarming rate because of their refusal to do so. They are turning to divorce, drugs, alcohol, violence and such, trying almost anything to stop their personal pain instead of simply doing what God has said and forgiving.
Unforgiveness will continually eat away at you, slowly destroying you until you die, both physically and spiritually. To stop all of this, you must deal with it and forgive others. Be free from the burden and bondage of unforgivness. Do not let it bring you down and destroy you!
Remember what Jesus said in Romans 12:21:
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Satan wants you to live and stay in past with all the resentment, regrets and unforgiveness, so that way he can afflict you and have his way with you; to make you miserable, fall into sin and not live a victorious life as Jesus has for you and wants you to have. Don't allow any door to be open to the enemy to give him a chance, otherwise if you do, he is going to mess up your life and wreck so much havoc.
Another thing to remember is what Jesus said in John 8:32:
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
The truth is Jesus! Also, another thing is, by knowing the truth of the matter by which one may have misunderstood or taken the wrong way by another person's words or actions that led to them to be hurt and have unforgiveness towards them in their heart, clears it all up. It always goes back to knowing the truth.
The Freedom of Forgiving & Being Forgiven
When we forgive others, then Jesus too will forgive us. This is tremendous and this is His promise to us!
"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." Matthew 6:14
Satan is such a liar and he wants to make you feel as though you will lose something by forgiving others, but really you have everything to gain and very little to lose. You gain back the peace and joy, but you lose the constant torture of the hurt and pain that you were experiencing from remembering the offense. You gain the love and forgiveness of your heavenly Father. You lose the chains of bondage of resentment and bitterness, and you also lose the agonizing penalty of living in the cozy, little prison cell of your past.
You will know the work of forgiveness is complete when you experience the freedom that comes as a result. We are the ones who suffer most when we choose not to forgive. When we do forgive, the Lord sets our hearts free from the hurt, anger, bitterness, and resentment that previously imprisoned us.
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
What powerful words did Jesus speak in the verse above! Did you catch it? If you know the truth - the truth will set you free. And that truth is Jesus as He said in John 14:6, but also this can be applied to knowing the truth of any matter then one is free from any misunderstanding, of which can cause many other things.
First off, to fully understand forgiving, one needs to know and/or refresh their memory of the meaning of the words "forgive, forgiveness and being forgiven" of which follows.
First, let's look at the definition of the word 'forgive, forgiving and forgiveness':
- To excuse for a fault or an offense; to pardon.
- To renounce anger or resentment against.
- To absolve from payment of (a debt, for example).
The Webster's Dictionary defines "forgive" with the following:
- To give up resentment of or claim to requital for (forgive an insult)
- To grant relief from payment of (forgive a debt)
- To cease to feel resentment against (an offender)
- To pardon (forgive one's enemies)
The Biblical definition of 'forgive, forgiving and forgiveness' in Strong's Concordance (aphiemi, Greek 863) as to:
Cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.
The Hebrew word, in short, for 'forgive' means to "take away, pardon or spare; to be forgiven".
The Greek word for 'forgive' means to "give up, keep no longer, send forth, lay aside, let go, give up a debt, omit, put (send) away, or abandon".
So with all the different meanings and definitions of 'forgiving', we understand that it is: "to give up of resentment or claim to requital of for an offense". Forgiveness is conditioned on repentance and the willingness to make reparations, or atonement for. In general, we can say that to 'forgive', it is to release the resentment caused by an offense. The effect of forgiveness is "the restoration of both parties to the former state of relationship".
So when we truly forgive, we do not punish a person(s) for something wrong he or she has done to us, in holding any resentment or bitterness in our hearts towards them, it is as if nothing has ever happened. The great Gospel message of hope of the Bible is that God forgives us because His Son, Jesus took the punishment for ALL sin, the things we have done wrong or in disobedience against God, upon Himself when Jesus died upon the Cross and rose again.
Forgiveness is one of the characteristics of the love of God. Our Heavenly Father loved us so very much that He gave His only Son, Jesus to die for our sins that we might be set free from it all (John 3:16-17). This God kind of love, which we as believers should have, forgives, has mercy and compassion for the transgressor. This love is pure, unselfish and given freely.
Jesus Christ Forgave You
You're Heavenly Father, God Almighty wants for you to be freed from sin, including the wounds and disappointments of your past. God wants you to be free to move on in Him and to fulfill His Will and your destiny in Him.
If we could look at our hearts, so to speak, it is like a medieval castle or walled city; we can see that the gate to that city and that gate is forgiveness. Forgiveness is a powerful tool we can use to protect our hearts against the enemy's attack. That is why Satan is always eager to get us caught up into offenses that cause us to become resentful, bitter and to fall into sin.
Forgiveness is the very pinnacle of our faith in Jesus Christ. And it is only through forgiveness that we can be truly free, free to move forward, unchained from our past and sin. Forgiveness is a gift to us through His Son, Jesus, but it is also a gift by which we too must be equally willing to give to others as according to what Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15.
God's love for us is unconditional (see Lamentations 3:22-23, listed below), but His forgiveness is conditional (see Matthew 6:14-15, listed below). There are no exceptions to God's rule, period. We can say that the offense or hurt that you feel in your heart is too great for you to forgive and let go of; but if you do not forgive, you will be tormented by that misdeed or offense for the rest of your life, and even for eternity. The person that wounded you continues to cause you pain each time you remember it, until you release that person and forgive them. This is exactly what Jesus Christ did for you and me, and this is what He expects of each one of us.
"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23
"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." Matthew 6:14-15
You need to really think about this, in what Jesus said. It is so very important and has tremendous consequences that will affect you.
Jesus Expects the Same from You
As Jesus Christ hung on the Cross dying, Jesus knew that He was being brutally crucified (dying) for ALL the sin of mankind for eternity. The hatred that enemy (Satan) through the soldiers felt towards Him was indeed a great offense. They not only killed Him, but while Jesus was hanging on the Cross, beaten and humiliated, they continued to mock and insult Him (Matthew 27:39). Jesus Christ was innocent but they were guilty because of sin. Jesus was dying for them, and yet they mocked Him. Though He was enduring their torture and torment, at the moment, Jesus reached out to them in His weakened condition to speak in their defense on their behalf to God. Jesus said:
"...Father, forgive them; for they know not what they are do." Luke 23:34
The Roman soldiers and oppressors offense was very great towards Jesus, but His forgiveness was even much greater. And Jesus expects nothing less from us, you and me. Jesus knew that the people who were hurting Him were not His real enemies but Satan and sin itself. He saw them as innocent victims who had been manipulated and used by the enemy, Satan. We need to see that behind every offense that we encounter is usually nothing more than our adversary, the devil. And he (Satan - the devil) "is seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
Satan's target is not the person who offended you, but his target is actually YOU. Satan's plan is to get you to hold onto the hurt - the offense and in doing so; it opens the doors of unforgiveness and all that follows. When you do this, Satan can than bring in a multitude of demons or evil spirits to torment and torture you with it, including sickness and disease because of sin, until you deal with it. Your past is allowed to take hold of your present, and the sinful behavior that you have been forgiven of and delivered from suddenly returns and tries to take root in your heart.
Look at what Jesus said in Matthew 18:23-35, the account given tells of "a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants." He realized that one of his servants owed him ten thousand talents, so he had the man brought to him. He ordered that the man and his entire household should be sold to make payment for the debt.
And then the servant did this:
"The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt." Matthew 18:26-27
The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt, in forgiving him and letting him go free of all debt owed to him.
As soon as the servant left his master, he found the person who owed him money and demanded payment of the debt that was owed to him. When the person could not pay and asked for mercy, the servant had him thrown into prison until the debt could be paid in full.
When seeing the entire situation played out before the other servants of the lord, they, the other servants in the household, went to their lord and told him what their fellow servant had done. Read what Jesus said that the lord said:
"Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, 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?  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." Matthew 18:32-35
This parable or example of what Jesus said applies both to you and me today. You do not want to be like the unmerciful servant, of whom the lord forgave; as Jesus died for all of your sin and forgave you, you too are suppose to forgive others. Otherwise you too will be held accountable and delivered up to the tormentors as Jesus has said in His Word.
The 'ONLY' Solution for Unforgiveness & Being Set Free
There is ONLY ONE solution and remedy for this horrible, self-destructive thing called 'unforgiveness', period. And that solution is "FORGIVING and being forgiven"!
For those who are Christians, it is commanded of us in God's Word. Many people ask the question, "What if I do not feel like it?" or "I don't want to because of the hurt?" God did not say in His Word that is was up to you and how you feel or think, Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15 that you are to make a choice - of your own 'free will' to do so or not with the results or consequences thereof, either good or bad, to follow one's decision.
Many people, at times, unknowingly hold on to their hurt and pain from the past for many years, even until they die. They have chosen to forget rather than to forgive, and there is a difference. Forgetting does not take the poison away, it just buries it for a time but it is still working in them like cancer or other disease that is hidden from view; but on the other hand, forgiving gets rid of it all completely and what freedom it brings.
Forgiveness is the vital action of true love, seeking to restore the harmony that has once been shattered. Forgiveness is the miracle of a new beginning - a clean slate for you and the other people involved. It is a new start to where you are now, not where you once were or the other person was. It is to hold out a hand or invitation to want to renew the friendship with the "husband, wife, father, mother, daughter, son, brother, sister, or friend".
It may not take away the hurt that you have felt but it does forgive the past hurt or injury you have received but in time the hurt will go away. Forgiveness means that you are being willing (your 'free will') to take the initiative - the first step in dealing with any barriers that may be there (in one's conscious) towards a restored relationship. It means that you are willing to have a relationship with the other person(s) no matter what; though it is based on Christian love according to obedience to God's Word and not on what has happened in the past to you. If the response of the other person(s) makes that possible or not in regards to what they feel, that is their own thing in what they have to deal with and/or stand before the Lord with. It sets you free!
You Have the 'Key'
Did you know that right now - at this very moment that you hold the key and power to setting yourself and others free from guilt, resentment and bitterness that comes from unforgiveness or continuing to be a prisoner thereof?
It is not a secret, though you might not have known or remembered; as it is recorded in God's Word, over and over again. It is so powerful! This key that you have cannot be bought for any amount of money or other monetary value and such; though people have tried to, over and over again. One must remember that neither we nor anyone else can buy Jesus' forgiveness for sin, as it is a gift from God; to receive Jesus' forgiveness one must repent of their sin.
On the other side of it, Satan does not want you to hear about it, to know of it, or to remember it. He wants you to completely forget about it. Because he knows what will happen when you know and understand what you possess in having the 'key'. This key has the power to set you and others free but it has the power to close the door or right-of-way for Satan to no longer wreck havoc in your heart and life. What a thief... that Satan is! Jesus said in John 10:10 and in other Scriptures in His Word that it is who Satan is and what he does.
And what is this key and power that you have?
It is your 'free will' - the power and right to choose to forgive or not to forgive. Forgiveness" is the ONLY key to the doorway of healing and freedom. Forgiveness unlocks the chains of all unforgiveness and everything else that is connected with it that binds you.
'To forgive' is to set a prisoner free - and you will discover the prisoner was you and not the other person.
When we forgive, the other person is released from the bondage of condemnation that you may have placed on him or her (Acts 7:60).
Look at what Jesus said:
"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:19
"...Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 18:18
As stated above, Jesus gave us the keys of the kingdom of heaven by which you can bind or loose things. Keys are a symbol of authority or right for the one who possess them to unlock or lock a door or any other thing (ref: Isaiah 22:22; Rev. 3:7-8). But also in the verses of Scripture above, they mean the authority and power of Christ Jesus to bind and loose things in both the natural and spiritual realm.
This is not the only thing about this that God said in His Word. Look at the following verse:
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Proverbs 18:21
Our words have power in what we speak that will either bring life or death. They set things into motion. There is so much that God said, in regards to this verse but we will not get into to it. Think about it though, for a moment. We should be aware of what we speak to others and even over ourselves because we could be either placing a curse or blessing upon them or our self.
"Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing..." James 3:10 (You will want to read all of James chapter 3.)
"Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not." Romans 12:14
"Recompense to no man evil for evil... Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:17, 21
"Not rendering evil for evil, or railing (to speak reproachful) for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing." 1 Peter 3:9
"As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighteth not in blessing, so let it be far from him." Psalm 109:17
Again, God said it so clearly in His Word in regards to what comes forth out of our mouth and how each one of us has control in what we say to others. We have a choice in what say, be it a blessing or a curse that either brings life or death.
Now look at what else Jesus said and something that we need to take seriously to heart:
"Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." John 20:23
Let's look at the meaning of the words "remit and retain":
Remit (aphiemi, Greek 863, Strong's): forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.
Retain (krateo, Greek 2902, Strong's): to use strength, i.e. seize or retain (literal or figurative): - hold (by, fast), keep, lay hand (hold) on, obtain, retain, take (by).
What Jesus said in John 20:23 is as straight forward as it can be. You, as the person who was wounded or offended have the authority and power to bind or loose the offender from the things said or done to you. It is like having a key and there are two (2) ways that you can use it:
- One way - it unlocks the chains of bondage of those bound & sets them free.
- The other way - it locks the chains of bondage and keeps them bound.
The main thing, of the many different things, that the 'chains of bondage' can be; is unforgiveness. You can choose to forgive others, which sets them free and releases them from the wrong that was done but it also releases you and sets you free as well. Or you can choose not to forgive others which then keep you bound to the offense and wrong that they have done to you. The other thing with 'not forgiving' others, you keep yourself also locked up in the offense and you suffer the consequences thereof in which we have been covering in this article. This is extremely important for you to remember!
When you choose to let go of the bitterness and resentment that you have in your heart towards the person from which it came by forgiving them, then God will be free to work with the person towards whom you held these feelings. And you will feel and experience the release, the freedom and joy that will come to you. You will feel the weight lift off of you!!
Just like what was mentioned above, until each one of us repents of our sins and ask Jesus to forgive us, we too are locked in chains of bondage of sin. It is after we repent, that Jesus forgives us and sets us free from it all.
What Jesus said in John 8:36, is so amazing and wonderful:
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
God wants you to be free from sin and from those things that bind and destroy you - but the choice is yours. What are you going to do? Are you going to forgive others as He has and will forgive you so they too can be free?
This is like putting on a fake front or acting like we forgave and now nothing is wrong but in reality it was not really meant truthfully from the heart.
First off, do you remember when you were a child and you were forced by your parents or some adult to forgive someone in saying "I'm sorry" to them?
At times, it was really embarrassing to you and even made you angry. You only said that you were sorry because you got caught and was made to say it. But you know in your heart that you did not really mean it. You only did it so that way you were no longer in trouble for what you did and getting yelled or getting punished even further. You knew the ritual, and by just saying that you were sorry even though you did not mean it - you knew that it was the 'easy way out' from what you did. We all have been there and through this.
Is this really true forgiveness by the child? Well, perhaps so and only would they know and not the parent.
As parents, let us be honest with ourselves and know that this 'kind of charade' that we force our children to do, is more often than not, a temporary reprieve of hostilities for our sake; and the child having the full intent to do something more later (in not trying to get caught doing so) to retaliate against the other for getting into trouble when the parent's watchful eye is not looking.
Though the intentions are good, we know that parents do this in trying to teach their children to forgive but in some ways, this is really planting a seed in the children so that when they are older and adults, they continue to half-heartedly say "I'm sorry" for wrong they have caused but they don't usually mean it. This is 'play acting' or going through the motions. This happens because the children either were not taught in depth of true forgiveness or the children never fully understood it.
This ritual that our parents have ingrained in us when we were a child can mislead us in thinking that we truly forgave someone when we really didn't. That is why you still feel the hurt, pain, resentment and even bitterness towards those individuals though you remembering saying "I'm sorry" to them. It is because you were not really sorry for what you had done or they have done to wrong you. The difference in this is that true forgiveness would not allow you to feel that way or have those kinds of feelings.
See, the thing that is different from what parents sometimes do, is that God teaches us through His Word that He does not force us to forgive but rather that He has given to each one of us a 'free will' to choose and make our own decisions. God let us know in His Word what the consequences will be, whether they be good (life) or bad (death) in what decision that we make; and this includes forgiving and not forgiving others.
God sees and knows ALL things, and this includes what is in your heart though you might be able to hide it from others. You might say those mere words to others to 'coat over' the issue for a temporary reprieve but you did not truly mean what you said. God is not into play-acting or pretending with this or anything else that He said in His Word, but He only wants the truth that comes from within your heart and the meaning to be so, as a result of it.
Look at what Jesus said in Mark 7:6:
"...Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." (ref: Matthew 15:7-9; Isaiah 29:13)
Generally, when we say "I'm sorry or I forgive you" it is usually fake - not genuine and not from the heart. Just God said in His Word, that people honor Him with their words but not from their heart.
As parents and Christians, we are to practice what we believe and preach (say) to others. We are both an example to our children and others because they can see if we are doing what we tell them to do or not. Remember, Jesus is our example and we are to follow and be like Him in everything.
How many of us, as adults, still continue to do this in saying "I'm sorry" to others to give a 'quick fix' and 'easy way of escape' out of the unpleasant situation that we are in? Or did you truly ask for forgiveness and mean it from the heart? Now be truly honest with yourself. To know if you have really forgiven others, then you will no longer have any hard feeling or resentment towards them, period.
'Forgetting' is Not Forgiving
There is a big difference between forgiving and forgetting. They are not the same thing and their meanings are completely different. Many people get this confused and don't properly understand it.
A person's inability to really forgive is often due to a false concept of thinking that "forgetting is forgiving". But forgetting is NOT forgiving. For certain, if we truly forgive we will forget as a result. Forgetting is a form of denial or excuse in trying to take the 'easy way' out instead putting the pride of self down and fixing the issue.
When a person thinks and says that they have forgiven the offender because they said a quick "I'm sorry" though they didn't really mean it and knowing in their heart that it was not so, and then they deliberately try to put the offense out of their mind; they are only fooling themselves. They still have all of the hurt and emotions are still there in their heart. It is only 'bottled up' as to put it in the closet for the time being.
Then at a later date and time, they think of or see the person again who has wronged them and suddenly all of the pain, resentment and bitterness rises back up within them making them angry. This shows the person that the "I'm sorry" you said was not truly forgiveness but a mere delusion. Genuine forgiveness is real and from the heart; thus one would not experience any resentment or bitterness towards them when they see and are around them.
Forgiving comes first, than forgetting follows
Not only when God forgives us of our sin, but He also does not remember them anymore. It is as if you never had done any wrong or have sinned against Him. Look at what God has said in His Word:
"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12
"...Thou hast in love to my soul delievered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back." Isaiah 38:17
"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." Isaiah 43:25
"...For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:34
"...He will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." Micah 7:19
"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." Hebrews 8:12
"And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Hebrews 10:17
God is merciful, forgives and forgets our sins and iniquities. This is tremendous, our slate (record in Heaven) is wiped clean and we start over afresh and new. All of this is because Jesus paid the price for our sins with His precious blood when He died on the Cross.
Another thing to be aware of in the above verses of Scriptures; did you notice the order in how God forgives sin? This is essential and you will want to reread them again. Forgiveness came first than it was followed by forgetting.
Until real forgiveness takes place, the offense or wrong is "in our faces" as regards that person, and it is the same way with God. The offense comes between us and it cannot be "forgotten" until it has been dealt with. When we truly forgive them, we can then regard the person without the "offense" looming between us.
Don't you think that we too are supposed to do the same, in following the examples of what God has said in His Word?
What Forgiveness is
Forgiveness is a soul-cleansing act; it is a 'choice'. It is one that each person has to make, as they each have a 'free will' to make their own decisions. And those choices have great effects on you, either for things of life or death.
Forgiveness is a gift that is to be given to others, even if they don't deserve it. But it is like Jesus forgiving us of our sin - it was a gift to us and one that cannot be earned; as sinners, we didn't deserve His forgiveness but in His love for us He did so and paid the price in full for sin for each one of us.
Forgiving someone of their wrong is:
- An act of your own 'free will'.
- Truly a gift of compassion, mercy and love; no matter if it is deserved or not. A gift is some thing given willingly to someone without payment.
- A decision you make to set the offender(s) free from their wrong, in so doing sets you free too.
- Surrendering your right to hurt the other person(s) back.
- Not a half-hearted or forced "I'm sorry"… but truly from one's heart.
- Not holding anything against or over someone.
- Extending to someone else what God has freely given to you.
Another thing to remember is that forgiveness is like "getting rid of the sting of the bee once the stinger is pulled out". The hurt and pain goes away; the same applies to Jesus forgiving and paying the price for our sins, thus we don't have to pay for them and be separated from God for eternity.
Forgiveness takes place when we who have been hurt release the one who has hurt us from guilt, shame and obligation of revenge. It is what happens when we determine to hold no hard feelings against the one who has hurt us.
If you say that you truly have forgiven someone of the wrong and hurt they have done to you, you will not say or think any of the following:
- I forgive them, but I don't want to see or talk to them again.
- I forgive them, but I don't want to be friends with them no more.
- I forgive them, but I hold a grudge or something against them.
- I have to heal first - then I'll be able to forgive. The Bible shows that forgiveness brings healing, not the other way around.
If you feel, think or say any of the things above then you have not truly forgiven them and you have only went through the motion or ritual of saying 'I'm sorry' and you were not saying so from your heart and not true otherwise this would not be an issue.
True Love is Forgiveness
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful demonstrations of genuine love. It has the power to mend broken hearts and set the offenders free. It also has the power to bring healing and restoration to relationships that has once been shattered by an offense or wrong. Forgiveness is the ultimate expression of grace. It sets you free to love again.
To start with, look at what the word 'love' means. The definition of 'love' in the Webster dictionary is:
- unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as
- 1) the fatherly concern of God for humankind
- 2) brotherly concern for others
- a): a person's adoration of God
- a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
No one can truly love someone when they have any unforgiveness in their heart towards them. There is this bit of resentment and bitterness that one holds over them, and in doing so, they treat them badly, don't want to communicate with them and even avoid being around them. This is not true love, as to love someone is to forgive and having nothing against the other. By doing so, it allows for a strong and good relationship and friendship.
Think about how much God loves each one of us. This is genuine and true love. Because of God's love for us, God sent only His Son, Jesus to give His life for us that we may be restored back to Him and as the result eternal life with Him.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:16-17
What love God has for each one of us! This is simply beyond words.
Now, for a brief but very important review of some of the things to remember that God has said in His Word concerning what He commanded each one of us to do and live by.
2 Commandments Given to Us by God
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:36-40
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31
First and foremost, each one of us is to love the Lord our God, who created us, with every part of our being - "all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with your entire mind". This means "completely all of you", as a person.
Love your neighbor as yourself
"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Matthew 22:39
"And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:31
Love one another
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:34-35 (ref: John 15:12)
Just as Jesus loves each one of us, we too are to love others. The other important thing that Jesus said in loving others is that, it is a sign to other people that you are His disciple in truly following and being obedient to His Word.
Love your enemies
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Matthew 5:44
"But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,  Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." Luke 6:27-28
So who is your enemy? It is the person who has wronged or harmed you, but they are also anyone that you have any hard feelings, resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness towards.
On the Other Side of This - Not Being Obedient to God's Word
Very important food for thought! One needs to really think about what Jesus said in the following verses:
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15
"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." John 14:21
"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:23
"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." 1 John 5:1-3
We know and Jesus knows if we truly love Him. Because Jesus said that if we love Him - than we will do what He said in His Word, and these things are His commandments.
On the opposite side of that, Jesus tells us:
"He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." John 14:24
We know and Jesus knows that we do not truly love Him. Because, we don't do what He said in His Word. And one of those things is "to forgive others as He has forgiven you as made mentioned in Colossians 3:13.
Now this is really revealing to one's heart and made very clear with what Jesus in the following Scriptures:
"He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now." 1 John 2:9
"But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes." 1 John 2:11
"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.  Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God." 1 John 3:14-16, 18-21
"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" 1 John 4:20
If you think in your heart and even telling others that you have forgiven someone of the resentment and unforgiveness that you have towards them but it still remains in your heart, it is because you truly did not forgive them. Jesus said that you are spiritually blind to what you see in your heart and have deceived yourself.
This is very serious and you need to think about it and take this to heart. This is not about being "fake" - in acting like that everything is 'okay' to others and even thinking that it is so to yourself. You will know that you are free from any unforgiveness that you had towards anyone because you love them and that there is absolutely nothing any more that stands between you and the other person. If it is not so, then God's Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit will show and reveal to you where you truly stand otherwise. Because God sees and knows what is in your heart. Don't think that it does not apply to you because it does; and no matter what, you will one day stand before the Lord.
Look at what Jesus said concerning why people don't like to have their actions and sin exposed and revealed to them:
"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." John 3:19-20
The sinful man, the flesh, wants to hide the wrong and evil things that one has done from both others and the Lord so that way they don't have to be confronted with it and have to deal with it. This is the pride of flesh; it doesn't want to take the blame or suffer the consequences of it. Pride and self want to pass the blame on to something or someone else.
You receive back what you do and give to others
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31 (ref: Matthew 7:12)
"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:37-38 (ref: Mat. 7:1-2)
Just as God has said in His Word, what you do or give to others, you too will receive the same in return. If you forgive others, you too will be forgiven. This is a true Biblical principle that will always happen and it still does today.
Pointing out another's fault or wrong - when you have the same
This is like the old saying "passing the buck on" to get the focus and attention off of you and on to someone or something else. We seem to think that it is so much easier to point out someone else's faults and problems instead of dealing with issues in our lives. But it is not so because they still remain and only make things worse off in the long run. Now look at Jesus said:
"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye." Luke 6:41-42 (ref: Matthew 7:3-5)
How can a person see a tooth pick or what have you when it is hidden behind a telephone pole?
To many people, forgiving others or admitting that they are wrong is not as easy as it seems because the flesh (our pride) must die. We cannot deny that we have not done this, as we all have been there at different time in our lives.
When we know (convicted) that we need to go to those that we have done wrong against and ask them for forgiveness, our flesh (our will, pride) will kick and scream saying 'no' it makes us look bad and that it was our fault & not them. Our pride - we want to be always right and to never have done anything wrong.
One thing to remember is: "When pointing to someone else with one finger - there are 4 other fingers pointing back at us."
That is why Jesus spoke to us in His written Word in Luke 6:37: "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven." This is so plain and simply for one to do.
Jesus is willing to forgive us... but we must also be willing to forgive others of all those things they have done against us.
Jesus also said in Mathew 6:14-15: "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."
So why not just deal with whatever the issue is. Admit it - "fess up" and ask for forgiveness and/or forgive them. That way it is resolved and there is no longer any conflict to have wrecking havoc in your life; to rob you and them of the many blessings, that comes from loving each other.
"To love" is the exact opposite of "not to love" - just like to 'forgive' is the opposite of 'not forgiving'.
You can't truly love somebody and hold bitterness or unforgiveness against them at the same time; and we all know that to be true, besides what God has said in His Word. Jesus said in John 15:12:
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
Besides this commandment that Jesus gave to us, as well as all the other commandments and everything else that God has said in His Word; we are to obey in keeping them or we are disobedient in not doing them and that means we fall into sin with God because of disobedience.
What is love? Love is having "compassion, mercy, forgiveness, grace, longsuffering, and even correction" to name a few, without getting into too much details concerning the subject of love.
Love releases the power of healing to others. Love is the vehicle for things to take place. In Matthew 15:32, 20:34; Mark 1:41, 6:34; and Luke 7:13, we see how Jesus moved with compassion for those who were either hurting or sick; and He healed them. There are many other Scriptures in God's Word that show over and over the things that God has done because of His Love.
Now, looking at another thing that God said that love does, we read this in His Word:
"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8
"Hatred stirreth up strife: but love covereth all sins." Proverbs 10:12
From those verses of Scripture, we see that love covers a multitude of sins and wrongs. The word 'charity' that is used 1 Peter 4:8 means "love". So we see that to love - is to forgive. So if you have any unforgiveness against anyone, than you don't love them because - LOVE ALWAYS FORGIVES.
Jesus said in Luke 7:47:
"Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little."
What Jesus said in the verse above speaks volumes and is very important. This is something that we should stop for a moment, to really think about it and to ponder this.
Now to continue on further with other things about love that God has said in His Word, we read the following:
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. " Romans 13:8-10
In understanding what God has said, we see that in loving one another the law is fulfilled. The other thing we also see is that love "works no ill towards anyone" and this means that one does not seek to harm or to cause any hurt to those that they love.
Love is Mercy & Being Merciful
To be merciful to others means more than being "nice" It means "compassion, compassionate; to have compassion on, have pity on; show love and kindness towards."
Here are a couple of things that Jesus said:
"Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." Luke 6:36
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7
Throughout the Bible, we see that mercy (one of God's attributes) is connected to forgiveness. Love is expressed in actions of mercy. A person that is merciful "easily forgets wrongs and offenses, always forgives even without being asked to, and continues to do good unto others in spite of ingratitude."
Charity is Love
With all that has been stated about "love", let's look at charity, which is love, and all the things that pertain to it.
"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." 1 Corinthians 13:3-8
Paul say in 1 Corinthians 1-2, that with out charity (love) which also is compassion, mercy and forgiveness that we are NOTHING, though one may do good things or works and think so.
The meaning of the word "charity" (agape; Greek 26, Strong's) is: "affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love." This is speaking of spontaneous and divine love; the God 'kind of love'.
From 1 Corinthians 13:3-13, we find all of these things concerning true, divine love:
Love is long suffering; is patient, has patience (vs. 4, 7): "in no hurry; suffers long; bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things."
Even when you feel like expressing yourself but don't. Love bears hurt and pain without complaint; it shows forbearance under provocation or strain, and it is steadfast despite the opposition, difficulty, or adversity.
Love is being kind; kindness - love in action (vs. 4): "never acts rashly or insolently; not inconsistent, puffed up, or proud."
Even when you want to retaliate physically; to hurt another person with your words or actions. Love is sympathetic, merciful, considerate, gentle and agreeable.
Love envieth not; is not jealous; but has generosity (vs. 4): "not envious or jealous of others or what they have."
Especially when you are aware that others are being noticed more than you. Love does not participate in rivalry or competition, is not hostile towards the person believed to be enjoying an advantage, and is not suspicious. Love works for the welfare and good of the other(s).
Love is humble; humility - vaunteth not itself; does not brag; prideful, arrogant (is not puffed up) (vs. 4): "love in hiding: no parade; no airing or saying of one's doings."
Even when you want to tell everyone about what you did or your accomplishments. Love does not flaunt itself boastfully and does not engage in self-glorification. Instead, love lifts and builds up others.
Even when you think you are right and others are wrong. Love does not assert itself or become overbearing in dealing with others.
Love is courtesy (vs. 5): "does not behave unseemly; always polite: at peace with all people; never rude or discourteous to others."
Not being boastful, rude or overbearing to get your own way. Love conforms to what is right, fitting and appropriate to the situation in order to honor the Lord in all things.
Love is unselfish - does not seek its own (vs. 5): "never selfish, sour, or bitter; seeks only the good of others; does not retaliate or seek revenge."
Biblical love is not selfish and self seeking. True love does not try to fulfill its own desires, does not ask for its own way, and does not try to acquire gain for itself. Love, is an act of the will which seeks to serve and not be served.
Love is not easily provoked - not easily upset; calm, good temper (vs. 5): "never irritated; never resentful."
Even when others attempt to provoke you; you are not tempted to strike out at something or someone. Love is not aroused or incited to outbursts of anger. Love continues faithfully and gently to train and show others in the way of righteousness, even when they fail.
Love thinketh no evil; does not wish or want revenge for a wrong suffered (vs. 5):
Even when everyone seems to be against you or when people openly attack you. Love does not hold a grudge against someone. Love forgives, chooses not to bring up past wrongs in accusation or retaliation, does not return evil for evil, and does not indulge in self pity. Love covers a multitude of sins.
Love does not rejoice in iniquity: not happy or glad for wrong or sin (vs. 6): "hates sin; never glad when others do the wrong thing or fall, even into sin."
Even when it seems like a misfortune but one thinks that it was exactly what another person deserved. Love mourns over sin, its effects and the pain which results from living in a fallen world. Love seeks to reconcile others with the Lord and others.
Love rejoices with the truth (vs. 6): "always happy by the goodness of others; always eager to believe the best; always hopeful for them."
Love is joyful when truth is known, even when it may lead to adverse circumstances, reviling and persecution for us but even for the offender. For it all is exposed and it is than dealt with and no longer a problem or issue.
Love bears ALL things (vs. 7): "Even when the hurt and disappointments seem too overwhelming."
Love is tolerant, endures with what others have done to you; who are difficult to understand or deal with, but you have an eternal perspective in the difficulties. Love remembers that God develops spiritual maturity through difficult circumstances.
Love believes all things (vs. 7): "Even when other's actions are ambiguous and you feel like not trusting anyone.
Love accepts trustfully; does not judge people's motives, and believes others until facts prove otherwise. Even when facts prove that the other person is untrustworthy, love seeks to help restore the other to trustworthiness.
Love is hopeful of all things (vs. 7): "Even when nothing appears to be going right."
Love expects fulfillment of God's plan and anticipates the best for the other person. Love confidently entrusts others to the Lord to do His sovereign and perfect will in their lives.
Love endures all things; it is strong and capable to take all things in stride (vs. 7): "this truly will test you; this will reveal to you where you stand and who you truly say that you are."
This is one of the hardest to practice and to live accordingly to God's Word. Especially when you think you just can't endure the people or circumstances in your life. Love remains steadfast under suffering or hardship without yielding and returns good while undergoing trials.
Love NEVER FAILS; it is always true and sincere (vs. 8): "never boastful and conceited; not hypocritical or judgmental; always honest; leaves no wrong impression but only that which is strictly true; never self-assertive; does not explode in anger, nor broods over wrongs but forgives; always just, joyful, and truthful; knows how to be silent; full of trust; always present. Love always remains, even in the depth of your heart though you might not seem to know that it is there because of all the stuff going on that tries to hid or cover it."
Even when you feel so overwhelmed and the situation seems so hopeless, love will not crumble under the pressure or difficulties. Love remains selflessly faithful even to the point of death. This is undying love, in short.
From what God has said in His Word, the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, this covers so very much about love; what it is and what it does. This kind of love is completely different from the sensual love that one has for another person; "the madly-over-heels in love with you, want to spend my life with you and be married to."
"A friend loveth at all times..." Proverbs 17:17
Love is forgiving at all times... this is something that we all must remember! Love is superior and it is an attribute of God (1 John 4:8); love is even listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.
Forbearing One Another
To start with, let's look at the definition the word 'forbearing' and what it means is as follows:
- To hold back; to refrain from; resist. To desist from; cease. To avoid or shun.
- To be tolerant or patient in the face of provocation.
- Showing patience: unruffled self-control and restraint under adversity; slow to retaliate or express resentment.
Now looking at what God said in His Word in regards to forbearing:
"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love." Ephesians 4:2
"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." Colossians 3:13
Forbearing goes hand-in-hand (is connected) with forgiving, though they both have different meanings. We see that 'forbearing' means "ceasing from all acts and thoughts of revenge". In other words it means: "To hold back from taking matters into your own hands and leave it alone; but rather to endure the hurt and pain."
So we can understand that God is telling us in His Word "to be tolerant of one another, to resist or refrain from taking revenge in hurting those back that have harmed us and to always forgive."
In the Bible, we see at several times in David's life the powerful examples of David forbearing others:
- In 1 Samuel chapter 24, David had an opportunity for easy revenge in killing King Saul while he asleep in a cave; in which David himself and his men were hiding. David's men urged him that this was God's doing in that God had delivered Saul into his hands; that David should kill Saul now and avenge himself. But David forbore in doing so but instead he cut off a piece of Saul's garment, so he could later prove to Saul that he could have killed him. David was not going to be disobedient in touching or killing God's anointed.
- In 1 Samuel chapter 26, once again, David had another easy opportunity for killing King Saul while he slept in a trench. But David was obedient to God in not killing King Saul, God's anointed.
- In 1 Samuel chapter 25, we see that David was going to take revenge on a wicked man named Nabal because Nabal refused to help him when he needed help. But instead of doing so, David obeyed God's counsel in not avenging himself but rather David let the Lord fight his battle.
Remember just as David did, we too are not to retaliate or take revenge for any hurt or harm that others have done to us but rather let the Lord do so, as He is the righteous Judge.
"... Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people." Hebrews 10:30 (ref: Deut. 32:35)
Now looking into this a bit further in what God has said in His Word that we are to do and live by, we read the following:
"Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work." Proverbs 24:29
"Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:17, 21
"See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men." 1 Thessalonians 5:15
"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:  Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." 1 Peter 3:8-12
"Use hospitality one to another without grudging." 1 Peter 4:9
"Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door." James 5:9
"Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." Leviticus 19:17-18
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted (compassionate), forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32
God clearly said in His Word, in the verses listed above, of what we are to do and what we are not to do. If we do what God has said then we are obedient, but if we choose not to do what God has said then we are disobedient to Him.
Even though, with all that has been said in God's Word; many people still want things on their own terms because of flesh, instead of on God's terms. And it cannot be that way. It can only be according to what God has said in His Word. If one does not accept that than they will not be in a right relationship with Him and in disobedience.
Remember, being stubborn, rebellious or disobedient to God's Word is sinning against God:
"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD…" 1 Samuel 15:23
With what God has said in His Word, no one can dispute that disobedience is not sin, but it is sin.
You Must Take the First Step
If you know or remember that there is something between you and another person then you are required to take the first step to make amends in dealing with this issue.
Look at what God has said in His Word, in regards to this:
"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Matthew 5:23-24
God said that before you bring your gift or anything else to Him and you remember that there is something between you and another person, you first must fix the problem before you give God what you were going to give to Him.
Remember, it's not the "going-through-the-motion" ritual that you had been taught in saying to them "I'm sorry!" and quickly getting away from them because you feel uncomfortable, but rather genuine forgiveness from one's heart. Your only goal is to be reconciled with that person in apologizing for any hard feelings, hurt or pain that may have been caused by a misunderstanding, one's words or actions.
It's seems to be a lot easier to forgive somebody when they come to us and ask us for forgiveness. When you go to somebody and ask for their forgiveness, what you are doing is helping them to break down and remove the obstacle that the enemy has tried to setup between you and them.
Generally, a person will never forgive someone of the wrong that they either have done or that has been done to them; if they wait until they feel like it or they wait for the other person who has offended them to come first to them. It usually does not work that way and generally that might not ever happen. That is why God has said what He said in Matthew 5:23-24.
We also need to remember these other things that God has said that goes along with what has just been said above.
"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." Mark 11:25
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31 (ref: Matthew 7:12)
How Often is a Person Suppose to Forgive Another?
Though this is a valid question, there is a simply answer to it. Look at what Jesus said:
"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21-22
"Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.  And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him." Luke 17:3-4
Jesus' reply to Peter in Matthew 18 about forgiving his brother was seventy times seven; that is a lot times that one is to forgive a single person. The total sum of 7 x 70 equals 490.
Think about this for a moment, if you take a 24 hour day and multiply it by 60 minutes to the hour, you get 1,440 minutes in one day. You than divide that total by 490 and you get 2.94 roughly. So if a person was up for 24 hours, they would be forgiving that single person about 3 times a minute or every 20 seconds.
But most people are not up and awake for that period or length of time, so the number of times one would be forgiving would increase dramatically.
So in short, what Jesus was saying in His Word is that we are to forgive others always - as often and as many times as it is needed.
Some Signs to Know That We Have Forgiven Others Are:
- First of all, when we truly forgive someone, the wrong that they have done will not dominate our thoughts or actions anymore. When it comes to our thoughts or mind (the enemy will try to do this), we will be able to identify and dismiss it promptly. We will not keep reliving it and talking about it to others.
At times, some people say that they have forgiven the offender of their wrong, but they continue to still talk about it to those around them. They want to keep rehearsing or rehashing the awful thing(s) that was done to them. Their inability to stop thinking about it and talking about it exposes their lack of forgiveness both to themselves and to others.
- Secondly, the offense won't hurt anymore. Why? The flesh will be dead to it as if it never has happened. The fact that it happen might still be there, but the deep emotions of hurt and pain will be gone. We can think of it without any bitterness and resentment, without feeling the pain and hurt all over again.
- And thirdly, we will be able to treat the offender when we are around them or talk about them as though the offense has never happened. We will not pretend or act like it never happened. It did happen, and we need to be honest about that, but we will treat them as though it never happened. If we forgive as God forgives and keep no record of the wrong, then it cannot possibly affect our actions. We will be free to reach out with warmth, kindness, openness and trust to restore and continue the relationship.
The Awesome Benefits of Forgiveness
- A feeling or sense of relief that comes from forgiving that refreshes the mind, spirit & soul
- Happiness and joy
- Peace - peace of mind
- Free from guilt
- Removes obstacles & roadblocks
- Removes the hurt & pain of bitterness and resentment that was once there
- Rebuilds & restores friendships and relationships with others
- Reconciliation to others
- There is restoration with God; reconciliation in your relationship with God
- Brings both emotional & physical healing
- Brings divine spiritual healing to one's heart & soul
- It brings complete freedom
There is nothing like being forgiven and/or forgiving someone else. The feeling of freedom and such relief that you experience that comes when this take place. Do you remember how it felt when you were a sinner and you cried out to Jesus to forgive you of your sin? What a moment! It was something that you have not ever experienced in your life until then. The weight of the burden just lifted off you; you felt so happy, so clean and that is was like you were floating on a cloud.
God, Abba Father has always intended and wanted it to be this way for each one of us. God's desire is for each one of us to free from sin and all unrighteousness, living for Him and in good relationship with Him. When God created man, He never designed us to harbor unforgiveness and bitterness. This came about because of sin.
Biblical Accounts of Forgiveness
Through the Bible, one can see over and over again in how God reaches out to show His love, mercy and forgiveness to mankind.
Let's look at a few Scriptural examples of people who forgave others of their wrong doings in the Bible.
Jacob and Esau
The twins, Jacob and Esau the firstborn, were very different from one another. Esau loved hunting and doing agriculture. Jacob, on the other hand, was simply and preferred to stay around home.
One day Esau came in from the field famished. He begged Jacob to give him something to eat. In return Jacob sold a bowl of soup to his older twin brother, Esau in exchange for his birthright. Esau traded his birthright for bread and a bowl of beans. Afterwards, Esau regretted and despised what he had done. (Genesis 25:29-34)
Later on, when their father, Isaac was old and knew that he was near death, he requested that his son, Esau to kill a deer and to prepare it for his father to eat; than afterwards Isaac was going to bless him, in giving him the "father's blessing". But when Rebbecca, the twins' mother, heard Isaac's request; she wanted Jacob to have the blessing and so she helped Jacob pull off a grand scheme to deceive Isaac into giving Jacob his blessing. (Genesis 27)
Because of what Jacob had done in deceiving Isaac and defrauding his brother, Esau of the blessing, he had to run for his life. He fled to another country to live his mother's brother, Laban. It was many years later before Jacob returned to his own family. (Genesis 27:41-46; 28; 32)
Before they both had met, Jacob was concerned and he didn't know what to expect from Esau; he didn't know if there still would be any hard feelings between them or if Esau would even forgive him. Jacob was surprised by what happened when they finally met. Esau ran to Jacob and hugged him, kissed him and they both cried. This shows forgiveness and mercy in Esau's words and actions. (Genesis 33:1-15)
You can read the whole account of this, in further detail, in Genesis chapters 25, 27, 28, 32 and 33.
Joseph was the 11th son out of 12 born to Jacob. His father, Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other children and his brothers hated him because of it, but they also hated him for the dreams that he had.
In several dreams, God revealed to Joseph His plan for his life. Joseph excitedly told his brothers about them. His brothers became jealous and eventually sold him into slavery while telling their father, Jacob that his favorite son had been killed by a wild animal. Joseph was seventeen year old when he was sold to a group of traders going to Egypt.
Then Potiphar who was an officer of Pharaoh and a captain of the guard bought Joseph who worked for him. With God's favor upon Joseph, he prospered in what he did for Potiphar and he made Joseph overseer over everything that he had. After this happened, Potiphar's wife tried repeatedly to tempt him to be with her, but Joseph refused. She than falsely accused Joseph and this led to him being thrown into prison for 2 years.
During his time in prison, Joseph interpreted several dreams for two of Pharaoh's officers. The chief butler promised to help Joseph when he was released from prison, but chief butler didn't remember and forgot about him.
After two years, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dreams thus Pharaoh made him second-in-command over all of Egypt and he prepared for the coming famine that happen after the seven good years of plenty.
During the famine, Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to buy food for their father and their families. In short, the time had come for Joseph to reveal himself to his brothers. It had been over twenty (20) years ago since they had last saw Joseph. His brothers thought Joseph might have been dead. They did not suspect that the man they stood before was their own brother, Joseph.
In Genesis 45, when Joseph revealed himself to them, they were shocked to know he was still alive. What happens next is so wonderful!
"And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.  Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him." Genesis 45:14-15
Joseph showed his brothers true forgiveness, grace and mercy. He forgave his brothers of all the awful things that they had done to him. It was all done and over with... all of the hurt and pain was released, and there was finally restoration.
After this took place, Joseph sent to bring his father and his whole household, including his brothers and their families, to live in the land of Goshen. Joseph finally got to see his father, Jacob again as it had been a long time; it had been over 22 years ago since the last time. What a reunion they had as stated in Genesis 46:29.
During the latter part of Joseph's life, his father, Jacob, died. Joseph's brothers then feared for their lives. They thought Joseph hadn't really forgiven them and that he would take revenge on them at last. So they sent a messenger to Joseph saying:
"So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him." Genesis 50:17
Joseph only wept when he realized their concern and said:
"And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them." Genesis 50:19-21
Joseph could see the sovereign, merciful hand of God at work in his life. He had completely forgiven his brothers and forgotten their offense to him years before, and Joseph longed for them to truly experience that forgiveness themselves.
You can read the whole account of this, in further detail, in Genesis chapters 37-50.
David and Mephibosheth
After King Saul death, David responded with kindness and forgiveness to the household of Saul. King David looked for anyone who was still living from the household of Saul so that he could demonstrate his love and friendship for Jonathan, Saul's son.
David showed kindness to Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth by restoring to him and his family the land owned by the former king, Saul. David had the land farmed and cared for. As for Mephibosheth himself, David made a place for him to always eat at his own table with him.
This was such kindness and mercy that King David did show forth with what he felt in his heart.
You can read the whole account of this, in further detail, in 2 Samuel chapter 9.
Parable of the Prodigal Son
There was a man who had two sons. The oldest was obedient and content to live with his father. The younger couldn't wait to get away from the family to live his life on his own terms. So he went to his father to ask for his portion of the inheritance that he was entitled to. When he got his portion and money he traveled to a far away country. The young man wasted his money in wild, riotous living.
A short time later, the young man had no more money to spend and to even live on. There was a very bad famine in the land where he was living and so he went looking for any work that he could find. He was willing to take whatever job he could get and he ended up taking care of pigs for a farmer. He was so destitute that he was willing to eat the pig feed just to stay alive. This shows how bad and terrible it was for him. He had gone from having riches to being completely dirt poor.
The young man came to his senses and realized that he had a loving father who treated his servants better than the way that he was currently living. He decided to return home to his father; he was going to repent, asking his father for forgiveness and just to be one of his father's servants, as he knew that he would have food to eat.
Little did he know or realize, but his father was expecting and watching for the return of his son. As soon as the father saw him out in the distance, he ran to him with open arms of compassion, mercy and forgiveness.
Though the younger son returned with the only hopes of just being a servant, the father accepted him as the son that he always was. The younger son was forgiven and restored to his former position in the family.
Jesus teaches us, in regards to this parable, about His mercy, love and forgiveness to each one of us, as we too were sinners who were just like the prodigal son. This is truly amazing! How much Jesus loves us!>
You can read the whole account of this, in further detail, in Luke 15:11-32.
The Adulterous Woman
The scribes and Pharisees, who were the religious people during the time that Jesus was on this earth, brought to Jesus a woman who was caught in the act of committing adultery.
The reason that they brought her to Jesus was to see how He would reply in response to the law that was given to Moses from God that such a person was to be stoned to death for adultery. They wanted to try to get something from what Jesus would say to them so that they could use it to accuse Him with.
The reply that Jesus gave them took them all by surprise because that was not what they were expecting for Him to say to them. To the woman's accusers, Jesus said "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." John 8:7
Each one of the woman's accusers were convicted that they had sin in their heart. And because of this, one by one, they walked away leaving only Jesus with the woman. When Jesus finally got back up from writing with his finger on the ground, He only saw that the woman was still there.
Jesus asked the woman where her accusers were and did any man condemn her of her sin. She answered "No man, Lord."
Jesus than responded to her saying, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
Love and mercy is a couple of the attributes of God and in both of them there is forgiveness. We too are to freely give to others what was freely extended to us by God.
You can read the whole account of this, in further detail, in John 8:3-11.
Something to think about...
For instance, in looking at Joseph's life in Genesis with all that he went through and endured; Joseph had many reasons for which he could have become a very bitter and resentful person. His brothers hated him and sold him into slavery. His master's wife falsely accused him of a serious crime that he did not commit and he was thrown into prison. One of the prisoners promised to help him when he got out but instead forgot about him and left him there. Despite all these things, Joseph did not allow any root of bitterness to take hold in his life.
Since the beginning of time and still today, many people's lives have been severely damaged and even destroyed by resentment and bitterness because of a lack of forgiveness. People go through such horrible emotional breakdowns and physical illnesses because they refuse to forgive others. The longer one carries a grudge and unforgiveness in their heart, the bigger and heavier the burden becomes for them. No one can afford the extremely high cost of harboring any unforgiveness or bitterness in their soul.
For twenty years or so, Joseph's brothers carried the terrible burden of guilt within their hearts for what they had done to their brother. They were haunted by this skeleton (offense) they kept locked in a closet. What a long time this was for them to carry around this bondage.
Do you have one or more skeletons hidden in your closet that is it weighing you down and eating you up on the inside? If so, don't wait for 20 years or more like Joseph's brothers did, but instead deal with it as soon as possible. Ask for forgiveness and forgive others. It will set you completely free!!
God said in His Word:
"Confess your faults (trespass, offense or sin) one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed…" James 5:16
In confessing our faults, which are wrongs and offenses we have done to others, and asking them for forgiveness - this is like releasing the healing balm for our soul. What joy, peace and freedom that comes to one's being!
From what all has been covered so far, we know that forgiveness means to release of the bitterness, resentment and everything else that is associated with a particular offense or hurt that you have towards that person. In doing so, this release of forgiving the other, is active; at least on your part even if they don't want to receive it.
Today, the world is full of people who have not dealt with past hurts and offenses. They look for things to criticize, people to find fault with, and ways to justify the way they feel. Have you ever seen people who are this way? Generally, they are bitter people and not pleasant to be around.
Unforgiveness and bitterness will keep you from being the person God wants you to be, and it prevents you from carrying out His Will for your life. The refusal to forgive is an act of pride and rebellion which is deliberate disobedience to the God's Word.
Failure to forgive is a devastating form of self-punishment beside many other things that God has said in His Word. But it is also a destructive landmine and pitfall in the path and life of the believer.
According to God's Word, we know that when God forgives He removes all the hurt and pain, all the baggage and the nasty scars left by unforgiveness. God also brings healing and restoration to your being that makes you whole again. Forgiving one another brings complete freedom - from that awful burden!
As mentioned earlier about the parable of 'the unmerciful servant' in Matthew 18:23-35, you too are just like the king's servant have such a great debt because of sin with no way to get free of it other than repenting of our sin and asking Jesus to forgive you; and He will forgive you.
Jesus paid the full price for your sin with His Blood when He died on the Cross. You are now free from that debt of sin of which the penalty would have been eternal damnation and torment in hell.
Just as Jesus has forgiven you, you too are to forgive all others of their offenses and trespasses that they have committed against you. Otherwise, just as Jesus said in His Word about the unmerciful and unforgiving servant, you too will than not be forgiven and suffer the severe consequences. It is definitely not something you want to face on Judgment Day standing before Jesus.
Genuine forgiveness is not SELECTIVE.
- Real forgiveness is UNDESERVED.
- Real forgiveness is FREELY GIVEN.
- Real forgiveness is COSTLY.
It cost God His Son, Jesus who died on the Cross for our sins. And it will also cost us the sweet taste of revenge and our selfish pride.
Forgiveness is a decision of one's "free will." Since God commands us in His Word to forgive, we must make a conscious choice to forgive or not to. When we choose to forgive, it frees us from the past. The offender may not desire forgiveness and may not change what they think but this does not matter as this is their own problem that they have to deal with but you still have to forgive them - thus you are released from the burden of it.
We will know the work of forgiveness is complete when we experience the freedom that comes as a result. We are the ones who suffer most when we choose not to forgive. When we do forgive, the Lord sets our hearts free from the hurt, anger, bitterness, and resentment that previously imprisoned us.
Do You Have Any Unforgiveness in Your Heart Towards Anyone?
If you are unsure and don't know if you have any unforgiveness in your heart, then ask yourself these questions:
- Are you holding on to any offense, grudge or resentment towards anyone?
- Do you hate anyone?
- Is there any person that you thought that you could never forgive them for what they have done?
- Do you avoid seeing or talking with certain people?
- Do you get upset, angry or feel hurt when you talk about someone or certain people that have hurt you in the past; or if their name is mentioned?
- Do you keep talking about (rehashing) what others have done that has hurt you?
If any of these are true, than you still have unforgiveness in your heart towards them and you have not truly forgiven them. If you said that you did but you still feel any pain or hurt then you did not truly forgive them from your heart but rather from you mind.
- Do you know what is truly hidden deep inside of you? This is not just about unforgiveness, but also for any other sin that may be in your life.
- Are you are unsure, because you feel like there is a barrier of something that is hindering you from the blessings and doing the will of God in your life?
- Do you really know, beyond a shadow of any doubt?
- Do you really want to be FREE from everything, no matter what?
If you are not sure, you need to do a thorough soul searching. You may be surprised with what the Lord might reveal to you - that you didn't know or realize that was there.
Even though, at this very moment, you may be unconscious or unaware of any unforgiveness in your heart or sin, remember that God looks upon your heart and sees all things. As it is Him that truly knows.
You need to ask the Lord about this, don't hesitate - do it NOW:
Pray and seek the Lord.
"Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; trying my reins (thoughts) and my heart." Psalm 26:2
"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24
"I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." Jeremiah 17:10
Ask the Holy Spirit, to search your heart and reveal to you any hidden hurts, resentment, bitterness or sin that may be buried.
"O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me." Psalm 139:1
"Shall not God search this out? for He knoweth the secrets of the heart." Psalm 44:21
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance..." John 14:26
"But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." 1 Corinthians 2:10-11
One can also fast...
"Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?" Isaiah 58:5
"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?" Isaiah 55:6 (ref: Isaiah 58:8-12)
In doing this, it is to be completely open both to oneself and to the Lord. This is doing deep soul searching in asking Him to reveal anything to you, so that it can be dealt with.
If the Holy Spirit reveals anything to you; you need to get it resolved. Confess your sin and ask God to forgive you. You may also find it necessary to go to someone to make the forgiveness complete.
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My Personal Testimony, in short:
I was there… and yes, I was raised in a Christian home.
When I was not a Christian, I had so much grief, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness and hatred in my heart towards my family, friends and even blamed the Lord because of all the different things that was happening to me. I was so eaten up inside - with no peace or joy, that I even was planning to do some very physical harm to several of my older brothers that would have resulted in their death because of wrongs that they had done to me and I even tried to end my own life; but God kept all of that from not happening. I was in a very sorry and bad place in my life. But Jesus!
Later on, when I had finally given my heart and life to Jesus, there was a freedom and peace that came and that I had felt; but even though this had happened to me in what I felt and knew what took place in my heart, I still didn't really understand why I still had these terrible feelings towards all of these people.
As time went on, in spending time with God in prayer, reading His Word and even fasting; the Holy Spirit begin to reveal to me many different things in His Word and show to me things that were in my heart that I had not surrendered to the Lord. These things were huge, though I did not realize that they were even there in my heart. I was both shocked and amazed.
In finding this out about myself, I seriously got before the Lord and I truly repented of those things that He had revealed to me, asking Him to forgive me. And He did! The Lord then told me that I needed to go to different people and ask for their forgiveness for the wrongs and things that I had said to them that was not right, even though, on some things or certain occasions, it was something that they had either had said or done to me and not what I had done. It did not matter - so I did. Yes, I had to swallow my pride or what have you, but it did not matter, as I truly want to know Jesus and for Him to know me and to live for Him as He wants each one of us to do. What healing took place - this completely changed my life!
Later on in my life, both in the USA and in traveling around the world to preach and share the "Good News", about who JESUS is and what He has done for all, I have seen repeatedly, over and over again - on so many different occasions apart from a person's salvation - which is the greatest miracle; but in regards to physical healings and miracles, the key to their healing was dealing with unforgiveness in their heart. And this is the truth! I know this personally in regards to my own physical healing - just ask me and I will tell you!
Here is what God said in His Word; and God means what He says:
"Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases." Psalm 103:3
Not ONLY does God forgive, but He also heals! This is so very important for one to remember, as I too have been healed physically!
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The Testimony of Pastor Daniel Ekechukwu
You will want to read this amazing testimony of the African who died on November 30, 2001 and what he has experienced. After being dead for 3 days, God brought him back to life. This testimony is important because it highlights the importance of forgiveness. Had God not given him mercy, Daniel would have had to stay in hell because he did not forgive his wife prior to death.
Click on the following link to read Daniel's testimony.