Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Learning the Importance of Forgiveness

If you forgive anyone, I also will forgive them, and what I have forgiven, if there was anything to forgive, I have forgiven in the sight of God for your sake, In order that Satan may not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” II Cor 2: 10-11

One of the most difficult things in life is to go through tough times and not develop an unforgiving or bitter spirit. It can be easy to be unforgiving because of the hurt and pain that people can cause you. With tough circumstances in life, it can be easy to develop a bitter spirit toward life or God. I have reminded myself almost daily that I have the potential to become bitter because of my health issues.

I know what the Bible teaches about an unforgiving spirit and a bitter attitude, so I know the serious consequences of this sin. God in His rich grace has helped me to not question Him with my illness and to accept it as part of His plan for my life. However, I know that in my human weakness I could begin to question God and become angry with my life circumstances. I need to be vigilant and watch my attitude because the enemy is looking for an avenue to impact my mind.

In II Cor. 2:10-11, Paul describes that to be unforgiving is a serious sin, and Satan can use this to outwit us and cause us to be deceived by his schemes (2:11). At times we are unaware of our unforgiving attitude toward another person. One good way to check whether you have an unforgiving spirit is to ask yourself how you feel when you are with this person. Can you speak to them in love without feeling any animosity or can you be around them without feeling tense or nervous? Forgiveness results in freedom for the individual rather than bondage. It is really the sin of spiritual pride when we fail to forgive because a critical and judgmental attitude assumes that we are not in need of forgiveness.

Scripture teaches us that we are to forgive others as we were forgiven by the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:31-32). When we have an angry, unforgiving spirit we are actually giving room for the enemy to work in our lives, and we give him a foothold in our lives (Eph. 4:26-27). One of the things that I have observed in my ministry is that an unforgiving attitude is something that many believers struggle with because of past hurts and painful experiences. Believers are ultimately bitter against God because without realizing it they are blaming God for the pain and circumstances in life that have made them angry and bitter.

So, what should we do when we are facing situations that are undeserved or seem like they are not fair. We need to accept everything as part of God’s plan but not blame God for things that are unfair or seem wrong. We need to forgive people and move forward without developing a bitter spirit. The enemy is at work and wants to destroy our lives, and one of his greatest weapons is to persuade us to not forgive others. Experience freedom rather than bondage by making sure that you do not tolerate the sin of holding grudges and not forgiving others. Your unforgiving spirit will cause you great harm physically, relationally, emotionally, and spiritually.

s it worth it?


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