I found myself sitting in a dark parking lot one night waiting for my youngest to finish with gymnastics class and I realized I was stewing over hurts in my heart. I was failing miserably in “taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” I just let my thoughts go wherever they took me and all was not well with my soul. After allowing my blood pressure to soar and throwing my peace to the wind, I called a dear friend because I knew I was in a bad place and she would speak truth to me. Of course, I didn’t want to hear the truth until after she had heard my rant. My ranting caused my friend to order and eat ice cream (poor thing). She said something to me that I didn’t fully grasp until driving home a little while later. It frankly fired me up when I first heard it. She said, “Debbie, you need to let go and allow yourself to feel the pain.” At the moment, that just sounded stupid and ridiculous but, as I drove home, I heard it in my spirit and it nearly knocked the breath out of me. God revealed TRUTH to me that night. I was harboring unforgiveness towards others. Not only that, but I was not letting go because I didn’t want to feel the pain. So my drug of choice for the day (or maybe months) was unforgiveness with a big fat dose of justifying myself.
That drug (unforgiveness) has almost killed me. The next day, I sat down and asked the Lord to help me understand where I was in my heart. My eyes fell upon the parable of the unforgiving debtor in Matthew 18:21-35. Stay with me here…I’m not adding or changing the Bible in any way, shape or form but I want to share with you how I read those Scriptures that early morning…
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, Debbie (that’s me) who owed him a ridiculous amount of money was brought to him. Since I was not able to pay, the master ordered that I had to sell everything I had (maybe even my husband and my kids) in order to repay the debt.
“At this I fell to my knees before him and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The king took pity on me and cancelled the debt and let me go!
“But when I went out, I came upon one of my fellow servants who owed me just a little bit of money. I grabbed my fellow servant up in the throat and began to choke her/him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ I demanded.
My fellow servant fell to their knees and begged me, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
“But I refused. Instead, I went off and had this person thrown into prison until they 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 me back 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? In anger his master handed me over to the jailers to be tortured, until I paid back all I owed.
And then verse 35…
This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
I sat there, staring at the pages…reading and blinking a lot! And then I repented!!! I mean it! I truly repented! When we sin, our sin is ultimately against God. I thought of everything I have done against God and He has forgiven me of ALL my sin. I confessed who I was holding unforgiveness towards and I thought to myself…if we weigh the debts of my sin against God to any sin done to me, there is no comparison. Who am I to hold unforgiveness or bitterness in my heart towards anyone? I should be so overcome with joy over the grace and mercy that God has showed me, it should spill out over everyone I come in contact with. That is how Jesus rolls and we are to be like Jesus…for crying out loud! We make it so hard, don’t we?
Read this parable for yourself. Jesus is talking to a believer about how we are to treat other believers. Read verse 35 again…“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Ummmmm…pretty clear to me. Oh God, help me!
Check this one out…1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
One more and I will quit, but seriously, this could go on and on…unforgiveness is that serious to God…
1 John 2:9-11 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
I was guilty. I praise God that He didn’t let me stay there. He opened the eyes of my heart. I repented and I am forgiven. THAT is good news friends.
Back to the words of my friend…Let go and allow yourself to feel the pain. I get it. I don’t like feeling out of control but the funny thing is I’m not in control anyway…I just FEEL like I am. God is in control and when I let Him have it…I can rest. YES…I said REST. That is very hard to do for a control freak like me but God is changing me and, you know what? I’m loving it!
Do you struggle with unforgiveness towards someone? You must LET GO AND ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL THE PAIN. God will not leave you alone in this. He will walk with you through it. You will be refined as you forgive…and it is for our good. Ask for the Father’s help in forgiving…
Here’s a prayer you can use as a guideline…I got it from an excellent book called The Bait of Satan, which is all about the spirit of offense…
Father, in the name of Jesus, I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by not forgiving those who have offended me. I repent of this and ask Your forgiveness.
I also acknowledge my inability to forgive them apart from You. Therefore, from my heart I choose to forgive (insert their names—release each one individually). I bring under the blood of Jesus all that they have done wrong to me. They no longer owe me anything. I remit their sins against me.
Heavenly Father, as my Lord Jesus asked You to forgive those who had sinned against Him, I pray that Your forgiveness will come to those who have sinned against me.
I ask that You will bless them and lead them into a closer relationship with You. Amen.
Now, we must make the commitment to take action and walk it out everyday…aren’t you glad we don’t have to do it alone?
I love you sweet peeps!