Have you ever been so hurt that you decided you weren’t going to forgive that person, no matter what? Chances are, most of us have felt like that at one point or another. Even though it might seem like the best option in the heat of the moment, it’s one of the most damaging choices we can make.
Harboring unforgiveness is a hindrance to receiving full deliverance and healing, and if held long enough, it can even open doors to demons. Scripture also mentions that when we store those emotions within our hearts instead of releasing them, we are in danger of having our own prayers hindered.
What Is Unforgiveness?
Unforgiveness is a process by which a person is released from the consequences of an action against another person and is restored to a positive relationship with the offended party.
I believe that one of the reasons that people hold onto grudges is because they have spent time and energy thinking about the issue and they are unsure what would happen if they simply released it. Often misery and bitterness are much more familiar and easier to have nearby than the mystery of the unknown. People will justify the grudges by saying that the offender has done nothing to deserve forgiveness, and although that may be true, holding onto that stunts our future.
When you choose to release that offense, God will spark new ideas and help your mind focus on things that edify your spirit and cause growth in your life. But, as long as you are holding onto unforgiveness you will be bound in a cage of bitterness, offense, and hurt.
Holding onto a grudge may feel like you’re in control, but really, you’re being controlled.
Why You Need To Forgive
1. God needs us to forgive
As a believer, we must remember that God commands us to love because we were first loved (1 John 4:19). He also commands us to forgive. The forgiveness that we have received from Him can actually be forfeited by us if we choose not to do the same in return. We see this in the story that Jesus depicted in Matthew.
His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’Matthew 18:29-33
2. The people who have hurt you, need it
As crazy as it sounds, by choosing to forgive those who have hurt you, you can be a bridge for people to experience God’s love and forgiveness. God desires to reach those around you and releasing forgiveness can be a stepping stone for a lost son or daughter to experience the mercy of God.
3. It benefits you
Ultimately, forgiveness causes the most benefit to you. It’s by this small choice that you can experience God’s peace, joy, and freedom in a way you didn’t know was possible. If you release unforgiveness, you are released from that which had taken you captive.
In Matthew Jesus tells us,
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.Matthew 6:14-15
Forgiveness is not optional if you want to go to heaven.
Now, I am not saying that we are saved by forgiving others, but we do forgive others because we are saved. And Jesus makes it very clear how holding onto this can be very dangerous.
10 Things That Forgiveness is Not
- It doesn’t mean minimizing what’s wrong, or taking the blame for someone else’s wrong. When you’re forgiving someone, you’re not minimizing the pain they caused, you are choosing to do what’s right despite their actions.
- It’s not waiting for an apology. So many people hold their forgiveness towards the offender until the offender comes to them in repentance, but Jesus never did that. He forgave those who put Him on the cross, even though they never asked for forgiveness.
- It’s not forgetting and ceasing to feel pain. Forgiveness begins the healing process, but it doesn’t mean that you will be healed automatically, it’ll take time. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you through this process and turn your wounds into the scars that will one day testify of God’s goodness.
- It’s not a one-time event. For many of us, forgiveness will be a recurring thing. It begins as an initial decision, but when the thoughts of bitterness begin to flood back in, don’t get disappointed. Instead, see forgiveness as a process by which you are learning to respond to God in any given situation. Forgive again.
- It does not mean trusting again. Just because you’ve chosen to forgive, it does not mean that you must trust them. It provides the opportunity for trust to be restored, but it does not restore it. Forgiveness is free, but trust must be earned.
- It does not mean reconciliation. It takes 2 people to reconcile fully. However, when someone takes the initiative to forgive, it can often lead to this.
- It’s not an option. You cannot afford to not forgive. It’s a command from God. Don’t wait for your emotions to catch up, simply take the step of faith and do what He has asked you to do. You’ll notice that God will supply you with the strength to forgive that person.
- It’s not just for us. Forgiveness is a gift that God has given to us as His children. Not only does God want you to be a carrier of His forgiveness, but He desires you to be a container of it, someone willing to release His forgiveness unto others who are just as undeserving as we were.
- It’s not a feeling. You don’t have to wait to feel like forgiving, it’s just a choice you make regardless of how you might feel. Sometimes our feelings are not the best indicators of what we should do.
- It does not change the past. You can’t change what someone did to you, but you can choose to enlarge your future by making a decision to release them. If you do, you’ll escape the bondage that you are willingly in by holding onto this pain. Release yourself by releasing it.
Prayer For Release
The key to forgiveness is simple, we forgive because we have been forgiven.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:32
If someone has been on your heart as you read this, simply pray this with me:
Lord Jesus, I repent for holding onto these emotions. I thank you for the gift of forgiveness that You have given to me to share with everyone. Today I choose to release that person. I forgive them for what they did, and I put them in Your hands.
Would You please heal my heart? Would You turn my wounds into scars and use my scars as a testimony?
God, please set me free, and heal my body, my mind, and my relationships in Jesus’ name.
I pray this was a blessing. Please share this blog and let me know what you think!