“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13; NLT.)
I can remember how much I struggled with unforgiveness. People had hurt me so much. Many took advantage of my kindheartedness. A great number repaid me evil for all the good I had done them. There was no one there for me when I needed support. They were all judging and condemning for all my mistakes. But when they made theirs, I was there for them.
I was hurting so badly I got sick. The bitterness in the inside of me was corrosive. It was eating me up. I lost focus of my goals and concentrated on my hurts. You guessed it. Things got worse!
Does that sound familiar?
Unforgiveness is the holding of a grudge against somebody.
“And to hold a grudge is to have a strong feeling of anger and dislike for a person who you feel has treated you badly”
Forgiveness is a Divine Command. But alas! Many of us Christians struggle with the inability to forgive others. Forgiveness is a grace from GOD. And the grace that GOD has freely given to us we must learn to extend to others.
Unforgiveness is at the root cause of major psychosomatic disorders. Plainly put, Unforgiveness makes one sick spiritually, psychologically and physically.
A person who harbors unforgiveness cannot enjoy the grace of forgiveness from GOD. When a person goes about bristling with anger and resentment, others will keep off as well.
Unforgiveness is counterproductive for it hurts the unforgiving: It restricts them from receiving GOD’s forgiveness. And without GOD’s forgiveness, they will collapse under the weight of their own sins. Sin apart from being destructive, is the major open-door for demon activity.
GOD says in HIS Word that:
“… If you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14, 15).
Forgiveness attracts forgiveness, while unforgiveness attracts unforgiveness.
In John 8:1-11 is the story of the woman caught in adultery. Her accusers caught her in the very act and dragged her to CHRIST. There was no question about it. The lady was guilty as charged. But then, the only difference between her and her accusers was that they sinned different. But they conveniently forgot their own sins and persisted she be judged according to the law.
But CHRIST the Righteous Judge had to make them look inwards before judging her. So HE said to them: “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”(John 8:7). After proper self-evaluation, her accusers realized they were no better than her: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of GOD” (Romans 3:23). And so they slipped away and left her alone with CHRIST the Redeemer and forgiver of all sins. CHRIST forgave, set her free and told her to sin no more. Glory is to GOD!
Unforgiveness is a defense mechanism a Christian should never have. It is alien to Christianity.
Dictionary.com defines Defense Mechanism (n.) as : “any of a variety of usually unconscious mental processes used to protect oneself from shame, anxiety, loss of self-esteem, conflict, or other unacceptable feelings or thoughts, and including behaviors such as repression, projection, denial, and rationalization”
The Unforgiving Christian is a selfish and self-centered person who is full of crap. And who refuses to confront issues but hides behind the faults of others in a bid to hide their own identity issues.
Basically, unforgiveness points to a lack of spiritual self-esteem.
When you know who you are in CHRIST, the grace that you have received by virtue of your relationship with CHRIST, you can never be unforgiving.
In chapter 18 of Matthew’s gospel is the story of the king who while updating his account discovered a debtor with a huge debt. And when he couldn’t settle his debts, the king ordered him, his wife, kids and all his properties sold to offset his debt. But when the debtor pleaded for an extended period of grace to pay up his debt; the king, filled with pity, not only signed his release, but forgave him his debt.
You would think that having enjoyed such an amazing grace, the debtor would be gracious to his debtors as well. But rather unfortunately he was not gracious at all. He was his old vindictive and vengeful self.
When the forgiven debtor left the kings’ presence, he went to a man who owed about a fraction of what he had owed the king. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded immediate payment. But of course, that was unrealistic. If the man could, he would have paid up his debt before then. Even though he pleaded for a period of grace to enable him pay, his creditor would have none of that! Instead, he had the man arrested and jailed until the debt would be repaid!
Heartless! You might say, but rather unfortunately, most unregenerate humans are like that. And we as Believers should never be like that ever again.
That is not the end of the story. The man’s friends went to the king and rehearsed what had happened to him. You can imagine how anger would have welled up in the king. He sent for the inconsiderate and wicked fella whom he had forgiven and said to him:
“You evil – hearted wretch! Here I forgave you all that tremendous debt, just because you asked me to — shouldn’t you have mercy on others, just as I had mercy on you?’ “Then the angry king sent the man to the torture chamber until he had paid every last penny due. So shall my heavenly Father do to you if you refuse to truly forgive your brothers” (Matthew 18:32-35; TLB).
Read the full story in Matthew 18:21-35.
Unforgiveness begets unforgiveness.
The Bible is very emphatic about ‘seed-time and harvest’ (Genesis 8:22). The principle runs through the Bible. And it is the Principle of ‘sowing and reaping’ which states that: “You reap what you sow”.
In Galatians 6, GOD says to us:
“You should not be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore GOD and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires, will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit” (Galatians 6:7-8; NLT).
There is no running away from it. If you do no
t forgive, you won’t be forgiven as well. The Principle of Forgiveness requires that “you forgive others for as many times as they wrong you” (Matthew 18:21, 22.) Because if you don’t, the devil will take advantage of the resident evil that unforgiveness is, to torment, oppress, intimidate and frustrate your Divine destiny. In addition, to the above, unforgiveness facilitates psychosomatic disorders.
Medical science has connected some sicknesses to the state of the mind. It points to how the thought life affects the functions of the body causing it to malfunction. Biblically, we are told that “a person is what he/she thinks” (Proverbs 23:7)
Unforgiveness is a mental attitude sin; it is an ego and self-righteous, vindictive state of mind which is self-destructive for those who harbor it. Unforgiveness is an evil mindset that should be reset to reflect our relationship with CHRIST.
Although a mindset is said to be “a set of attitudes or fixed ideas that somebody has and that are often difficult to change”, the WORD of GOD is dynamo! And is capable of changing the worst mindset there ever is. But for the Word of GOD to change any mindset, the WORD has to richly dwell in the heart by faith first.
When GOD’s word is studied, ingested, and metabolized, its effect would become evident in our interpersonal relationships and other aspects of our life.
In order to fight against and overcome the mind that is set at unforgiveness, you would need to change your perspective and perception by correctly applying GOD’s Word which is Truth.
From a Biblical perspective, forgiveness is actually to your advantage whereas; unforgiveness places you at a disadvantage.
A close study of Matthew 18:34-35 and 2 Corinthians 2:10, 11 would reveal to you the following:
- Unforgiveness nullifies your own forgiveness; and deactivates your Divine immunity;
- Makes you culpable thus enabling the prosecution to reopen the charges against you;
- It gives the devil and the forces of evil access to your life;
- And makes you the target of tormenting demon spirits.
Unforgiveness is resident evil that should be evicted right now.
The dilemma of the Christian should not be whether to forgive but HOW TO FORGIVE
Shalom! -Hephzibah Christly