When I grew up…we were taught that it was okay to forgive and okay NOT to forget. God doesn’t see it that way. When we used to say: “I won’t forget.” We meant that we would never see the person the way God sees them after they repent…blameless.
We all come to God with baggage. Most of us get rid of it. Some do not. That baggage has got to go..do not hold onto it! It could kill you. Not being able to forgive is a huge weight and it takes up a whole suitcase, by itself!
As a child, I grew up in a family where we delighted in helping people.
Yet, as I entered adulthood with all of my spiritual knowledge, I changed. It was because I subscribed to the school of thought which says: “I’ll forgive you, but I’ll never forget it.”
Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, “I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4 NKJV
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:25 NASB
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 NASB
Ask yourself, who it is that allows you to feel pain, hurt, resentment, anger, rage and offense. The answer should not surprise you. I am responsible when my emotions try to lead me. Yet, even though I know it, it doesn’t make it any easier when it happens.
Some years ago, when I made a decision to become a prayer warrior, I was led to make a list of people who I needed to forgive from throughout my life. Yt, I was able to make a two page list. I had all that unforgiveness inside me and I didn’t even realize it. Some of the people, I forgave right away. Others took some days but I completed the list. From time to time. other people would come to mind and I would forgive them too. They were spillovers from my “pre” born again life.
None of them were hard cases except one. I had already forgiven the man who had murdered my father. That had taken years and lot of God’s grace, but it had come before that. If we’re not careful, unforgiveness can turn into bitterness which can grow and fester.
It would be years before I realized that this was not true forgiveness but a coping mechanism allowing myself to give people a “conditional” pass, not a complete pass. I think it’s healthy to keep your eye on everyone including yourself, but there s a fine line between that and unforgiveness. It’s a line that the believer can’t cross.
Underneath all of the rhetoric; unforgiveness may be some sort of defense mechanism whose activation is triggered by our willingness to protect our hearts from further or future attacks. However, I suggest that unforgiveness is in of itself and attack on the heart ever so subtle.
Just as I was thinking that I was stronger than that; I was tested.
I have long considered myself a prayer warrior. Each day, I fight and stand ready for battle against the adversary. There is no reason whatsoever to take false pride in such a role. That position can only allow one to be vulnerable to attack.
UNFORGIVENESS CAN AFFECT YOU SPIRITUALLY; YOU CAN”T AFFORD IT. I heard a wonderful young minister say: “Don’t sign for the package!” She really Blessed me when she said that.
I suppose the adversary has studied me and looked for chinks in my armor. He found it in the area of unforgiveness. It was an area that I was not aware of.
Just a few hours after leaving church one Sunday, I was verbally attacked in a nice way. I didn’t deserve it. The more that I thought about it, the more I became convinced that an injustice had been committed to me. I should have recognized that it was a test; but instead I allowed my emotions to drift into dangerous territory as I decided “how soon” I would totally forgive the person.
The dangerous part is the damage that can be done to my heart.
The bible says:
Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it. Proverbs 4: 23
Hours longer than I should have; I forgave the person. I struggled with seeing them the same way beforehand. I believe one of the greatest challenges that believers have is realizing that we’re all imperfect people.
We’re supposed to have love for the next person the same that we have for ourselves. Love is longsuffering and we have to remember how many times we’ve heard that something was a piece of cake and it wasn’t. As believers, we’ve been told that we’ll face tests and trials and that we’ll be persecuted. The lesson that I’ve learned is that when they do come, my assignment of love never changes; irregardless of how I feel. I’ve learned to give the burden to God.
I think that staying close to God and staying in the Word can help us to endure; the sin that “doth so easily beset us.”
Unforgiveness is like an invisible poison… don’t take it, reject it.