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By White Nation correspondent Brackenfell, 23 November 2014
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT)
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you are agreeing with what they’ve done. In fact, it has more to do with your freedom than anything. When we hang onto things people have done, it puts us in bondage to their deeds. We mull over it, replay it over and over in our minds until it becomes a root of bitterness that blinds us from our own sin. What someone has done may have been cruel, wicked, and unacceptable, but we must refuse to allow the toxin of unforgiveness to overtake our hearts and minds. Forgiving others comes fairly easy to me, most times. I’m not sure why. I’ve experienced extreme abuse at the hands of people who had vowed to protect and love me. If I try and remember some of the darker times of that season of my life, I can barely believe I emerged unscathed. I can hardly believe I don’t hold some bitter root of anger towards them for the unmentionable acts that I experienced at their wicked hands. But I can barely remember. Somehow I learned to forgive and put it behind me so that I could move on. And I really did. I mean a true forgiveness that involved forgetting too. It’s almost as if it were another person.
I’m not talking about denial though. I’m not denying those horrible things happened to me, but I’ve really forgiven and destroyed all the roots associated with it in my heart. It has no hold on me. It has no bearing on the trust I place in others now. I am completely healed, praise God! I said that most times forgiveness is easy.
But there are some times that forgiveness seems almost impossible. There are some things that have happened to me, that have caused such deep scarring and pain that I have a hard time letting go. The more I think about what they’ve done, the angrier I become. And the angrier I become, the more I feel it settle down in my heart. And I want to pluck their eyes out, at the very least! Every time I hear that person’s name, a shard of anger and bitterness springs forth from my heart and fills my mouth with negative words against them. I know it’s wrong! But what a struggle it is to do what I know I need to. Forgive and pray for them! Wait, pray for them? Oh how I do not want to do that! No, in fact, I want the complete opposite for them. I want them to experience the pain and suffering I’ve experienced, and maybe even worse. The last thing that I want to do is pray for them! But when I hold on to unforgiveness, it causes a rift between the One I really need. The One who is my source of life. You see, His word says to “forgive those who sin against us as God forgives us.” Oh, wait, what? Forgive like God forgives? Well, when Christ forgives, it must be with a confession of our mouths right? We’ve got to repent and then He forgives, so I guess that lets me off the hook a bit. I mean, so many times when people hurt us, they never apologize. So does that mean we don’t have to forgive them? No, that’s not what it means. In Mark 11:24-26 Jesus says:
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Just so that we are clear, did you see that Jesus said that in the way we forgive, we will be forgiven by God? He’s not talking about “salvation forgiveness”. He’s talking about God holding onto our sins. There will be a rift between God and us. Now listen, the word does say that nothing can separate us from the love of God. It’s true that nothing can change His love for us, but when we hold onto the sins of others, God holds onto our sin, we are not as close and our prayers are hindered.
So what’s the key to forgiving those who have wronged us so deeply and have never, or will never repent to us? First, we must learn to accept the apology that they will never give us. They were wrong. What they did was wrong. And letting go of this does not mean what they did was okay. But what we are doing is releasing their hold on us. The very last thing that I want to do is to give that person one more ounce of power over me! I want freedom from them. And the first step is to accept that invisible apology. The next step, is to ask God to help you forgive them. Some wounds are so deep, only the love of a Savior can heal. God is in the heart changing business. He can change your heart about someone. So ask Him, daily…minute by minute if you must but don’t let those negative thoughts settle in your hearts any longer! It’s time to walk in freedom. The final step is to pray for them. You’ll be amazed at the transformation in your hearts and minds when you do this. There is something that takes place in us when we bless and not curse people. This brings healing! This brings freedom…there is so much freedom in forgiveness! Are you ready to be free of the curse of what someone’s done to you? Are you ready to forgive them?
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