Bitterness, strife, and resentment.....
Many people ruin their lives and their
health by eating the poison of bitterness, resentment,
and unforgiveness. Matthew 18:23-35 tells us that, if we do not forgive
people, we get turned over to the torturers. If you have a problem in
this area or
have ever had one, I am sure you bear witness with what I am saying. It is torture to have hateful thoughts rolling around inside of you toward another person.
Who Are You Helping When You Forgive?
Who are you helping the most when you forgive the person who hurt you? Actually, you are helping yourself more than the other person. I always looked at forgiving people who had hurt me as being a really hard thing to do. I thought it seemed so unfair for them to receive forgiveness when I had gotten hurt. I got pain, and they got free without having to pay for the pain they caused me. Now I realized that I am helping myself when I choose to forgive. I am helping the other person also by releasing them, so God can do what only He can do. If I am in the way, trying to get revenge or taking care of the situation myself instead of trusting and obeying God, He has no obligation to deal with that person. However, God will deal with the people who hurt us if we will put them in His hands through forgiveness. It is our seed of obedience to His Word; and once we have sown our seed, He will bring a harvest of blessing to us one way or another. I am helping myself, because when I forgive I release God to work. I am happy when I am not full of the poison of unforgiveness. I feel better physically. Serious diseases can come as a result of the stress and pressure that bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness put on a person. Mark 11:22-26 clearly teaches us that unforgiveness hinders our faith from working. The Father cannot forgive our sins if we do not forgive other people (we reap what we sow). Sow mercy, and you will reap mercy; sow judgment, and you will reap judgment. Do yourself a favor and forgive. There are still more benefits of forgiveness. When you are willing to forgive, your fellowship with God has a free flow. Unforgiveness blocks it. Paul said that we are to forgive in order to keep Satan from getting an advantage over us (11 Corinthians 2: 10-11). Ephesians 4:26-27 says that we are not to let the sun go down
on our anger. Do not give the devil any such foothold or opportunity. Remember that the devil must have a foothold before he can get a stronghold. Be quick to forgive. Do not help the devil torture you? I also think it is hard to hate one person and love another. When we are full of wrong things, it is hard to treat anybody right. Even people you want to love may be suffering from your bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness.
How To Forgive
Like everything else, there are practical steps to forgiving people that must be taken if we are going to be successful at it. I asked the Lord why so many people seem to want to forgive and yet are not successful doing it. He said, "Because they are not obeying what I tell them to do in the Word." As I searched the Word, I found the following instructions:
1, Decide - You will never forgive if you wait to feel like it. Choose to obey God and steadfastly resist the devil in his attempts to poison you again with bitter thoughts. Make a quality decision, and God will heal your wounded emotions in due time.
2. Depend - You cannot forgive without the power of the Holy Spirit. It is too hard to do on your own. If you are truly willing, God will enable you; but you are going to need to humble yourself and cry out to Him for help. In John 20:22-23, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. " His next instruction was about forgiving people. We certainly can use this as an example and ask Him to breathe on us that we might be able to forgive those who hurt us.
3. Obey - There are several things we are told do in the Word concerning forgiving our enemies.
a. Pray for your enemies and those who abuse and misuse you. Pray for their happiness and welfare (Luke 6:27-28 Amplified). As you pray, God may be able to give them revelation that will bring them out of deception. They may not even be aware they hurt you, or maybe they are aware but are so self-centered that they do not care. Either way, they need revelation.
b. Bless and do not curse them (Romans 12:14). In the Greek, to bless means "to speak well of" and to curse means, "to speak evil of." You cannot forgive and gossip or be a talebearer. You must stop repeating the offense. You cannot get over it and also continue to talk about it. Proverbs 17:9 says that he who seeks to cover an offense seeks love.
Who Should Forgive?
Forgive the person from long ago who hurt you very badly and also the person whom you did not know in the grocery store, for stepping on your toe. Take those two extremes and forgive them in addition to everyone in between. Forgive quickly. The quicker you do it, the easier it is. Forgive freely. Matthew 10:8 says freely you have received, freely give. Forgiveness means to excuse a fault, absolve from payment, pardon, send away, cancel, and bestow favor unconditionally.
When you forgive, you must cancel the debt. Do not spend your life paying and collecting debts. Hebrews 10:30 says that vengeance belongs to the Lord; He will repay and settle the cases of His people. Let God pay you for past injustices; do not try to collect from the people who hurt you, because the people who hurt you cannot pay you. Matthew 18:25 says..."he could not pay".
Also forgive yourself for past sins and for hurts you have caused others. You cannot pay people back, so ask God to. Forgive God if you are angry with Him because your life did not turn out the way you thought it should. God is always just. There may be things you do not understand; but God loves you, and people make a serious mistake if they will not receive help from the only One who can truly help. You may even need to forgive an object--the post office, bank, a certain store you feel cheated you, a car that always gave you trouble, etc. Get rid of all poison that comes from bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness; and remember Proverbs 4:23 (Amplified), "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance...for out of it flow the springs of life." Unforgiveness is spiritual filthiness; get washed in the water of the Word and stay clean.