An unforgiving heart is revealed by how one treats others and it’s the evidence of how he or she responds to people or situations. Unforgiveness holds you back from the blessings of God. It paralyzes you and makes you feel you don’t have to forgive those who have done you wrong. It consumes individuals from the inside like cancer that slowly and malignantly grows to eat away at the heart making one bitter, angry, or in a unloving state. It is like a wound that if not properly cleaned by love it can eventually lead to pain, discomfort, and infection. Wounds and unforgiveness alike have to be properly treated with the correct medication in order to heal.
It hurts when someone you trust has betrayed, hurt or lied on or to you. There are many ways how pain can cause deep wounds. It comes in many forms which may lead to unforgiveness. It usually comes through the people who are closest to you. Such as when a spouse cheats, rejection from a parent, unreconciled sibling argument, a child, or even a bad experience from church. No one deserves pain, but everyone deserves to heal. When we choose to hold on to the pain we carry a weight. It’s hard to walk spiritually when you’re carrying heavy burdens that Jesus tells us not to. Despite whatever may occurred in your life forgiveness is necessary. Some may say “the pain is too deep to forgive a person because it caused major damages and what happened was wrong.” I want you to understand when someone harms you it is not your fault. That person is only representing the reflection of their character. You shouldn’t play the victim forever. You should move from being a victim to victorious, but you can’t move to the next step until you conquer your battles at the first step.
When you’re stuck at unforgiving you’re paralyzed, immovable unable to move forward. Unforgiveness also causes you to be skeptical of others intentions. This type of behavior is called fear. The Bible states in I John 4:18 when you have fear it torments and keeps you from loving perfectly. So in other words, forgiveness is loving and to love cancels out fear. When one has been hurt he or she may always be cautious of others. One thing I have noticed about people who walk in the spirit of unforgiveness is they become skeptical of others. He or she may push away people who have legitimate intentions. Then when that person who has good intentions walks away the hurt person then develops a more angry and unforgiving nature. They didn’t realize it was their fear (not love) which pushed them away.
In Matthew 18:21, Peter asked Jesus how many times should we forgive, Jesus responded seventy times seven. That’s powerful! Jesus was making a point that we shouldn’t be concerned about the number of times we forgive someone, but more concerned about just forgiving. Forgiving doesn’t mean you’re weak. It actually means your strong because it takes a strong Christian to forgive all matters of hurt. It also doesn’t mean you should allow others to continue to hurt you.
One of Jesus’ messages during His sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6 was concerning prayer. In that prayer, it teaches about forgiveness. It states in Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Our debtors are those who have wronged us. When we say the Lord’s Prayer we are asking God to forgive us ONLY when we forgive others! It is clearly written, forgive me AS (or when) I forgive others and don’t forgive me when I chose not to forgive. It’s very important that when we say the Lord’s prayer that it said with sincerity and not repetition because repeating something without the understanding can be dangerous to our souls.
Matthew 18 is a clear example of what happens when we don’t forgive. There was a servant who owed his king money. The servant was unable to pay so the king considered having him, his wife, and children sold until the debt could be repaid. This servant pleaded with the king and the king had compassion on him and forgave the servant of his debts. The servant was then free and no longer owed the king debts. Now the servant was able to walk free of his debts, but instead of rejoicing in his blessing he went and found someone who owed him debt. The Bible says the servant was so angry that he grabbed the one who owed him by the throat and said pay me! How many times have we been so angry at others we physically attacked them or wanted to attack them in our minds? The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 we will at times become angry, but don’t sin when we get angry. The servant allowed his emotions to get the best of him and he did what Ephesians 4 says not to.
Just as the servant asked the king for compassion so did the debtor asked the servant. Instead of the servant returning the same mercy and grace he received from the king he threw the debtor into prison. Now the king was informed of the servants’ actions and he began to overturn his decision. As a result, the king sent the servant into prison until his debts were repaid. This serves as a constant reminder for us that we must forgive in order to be forgiven. The servant refused to forgive and as a result, his debt was resurfaced and he was sent to prison. Sometimes we can allow ourselves to be in a spiritual prison by holding on to hurts/pain. Spiritual prison does not allow us to be free.
The servant could have been free of debt and free physically, but he chose not to forgive instead. We determine if our circumstances allow us to walk spiritually free. He chose his own path which hindered himself.
You can recognize when your walking in unforgiveness when:
- hold grudges or refuse to let go
- the hurt and memories keep resurfacing
- anger begins to rise at the sight of the person who wronged you
- you can’t or refuse to talk about the past
- you constantly remind others how they wronged you
- often accuse good intentions for bad
Forgiveness is a choice. We choose everyday where we want to go, what we should eat, or who we should love. Just like we pattern our everyday lives with choices, forgiveness should be something we choose everyday as well. Forgiveness doesn’t sneak on you or forced upon you, but it’s gently guided through a process of accepting Jesus Christ. Jesus takes away our anger, fear, resentment, and unloving heart which are all attributes of unforgiveness. We forgive because Christ first forgave us, the Bible teaches us to, and it’s necessary for a better you!
I have to admit forgiving may seem hard when you feel that particular person doesn’t deserve that type of kindness, but it’s necessary. Jesus teaches me everyday how to forgive and in the areas where I need to learn to forgive. It’s a process and so much better with Jesus guiding me! Let’s become free of grudges, fear, anger, bitterness, and other unforgiving sicknesses that wound us and prevent healing. Receive your healing today by forgiving and searching the scriptures for a better path to begin the healing process.