Is there someone in your life who you are having a hard time forgiving? Is there someone who has committed an offense so overwhelming and devastating that you just can’t let it go? There is a great danger in holding this kind of unforgiveness in your heart. Unforgiveness can lead to offense, resentment, retaliation, anger, wrath, hatred, violence and in the extreme – murder. Unforgiveness not only keeps us trapped, but also the person who is held captive to our bitterness.
So how can you break free of this deadly prison of unforgiveness? One of the first things you need to understand is the concept of SEPARATION. Separation is an important kingdom principle in helping us successfully walk in forgiveness and love. Jesus was our first and best example of separation. On the cross before His death, our Lord asked His Father to, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This is so very powerful. Jesus separated each person who was accusing, lying, beating, stabbing, hurting and murdering him, from all of this and more. “They know not what they do”. In other words, Father this is NOT who you created them to be. The enemy of their soul has control of them. Please Father separate them from their words and actions. Yes, they are sinning against you, please forgive them Father. Yes, they are responsible for what they are doing, however they are not their horrible murderous actions and words. Their actions and words do not define the essence of who YOU created them to be. Forgive them.
Wow, what a life giving, life changing Kingdom Key Jesus passes on to us….
Like Jesus, we must learn to separate each person who has hurt or offended us from their sin filled words and actions, just as God in His love, mercy and grace, separates and forgives us for our sin-filled words, actions and thoughts…numerous times a day!!!! Separation say’s “Yes, you HAVE done and said some horrible, hurt-filled, sinful stuff – but you ARE NOT all that sin.” It also says, “I choose to forgive you and let God my Father be your judge and jury, because every person is responsible for their action before God. “
Separation keeps your heart free from the sin of unforgiveness, offense, resentment, etc. and releases the offending person into God’s hands. Separation is VERY powerful, healing and freeing.
Many people we minister to are in bondage to the belief that they are, “Anger, lust, bad, an addict, etc. Through the power of separation, we have seen people separate themselves/characters and natures from the lies of their poor sinful actions and choices. They start to see themselves as God sees them, and how HE made them to be. Hope, healing and freedom are released, and each person steps into their “new creation” in Christ Jesus!
You are NOT all of the sin-filled thoughts, words, actions and attitudes! When God created you, none of it was in your DNA. You are made in HIS image. Recognize the enemies seductive work in and through your thoughts, words and actions. Separate yourself from the enemies lies about you, your life and others. Stand up and say NO to his temptations into sin, and CHOOSE to be who God created you to be in Christ…holy and righteous. Take responsibility for your life, separate and forgive yourself, separate and forgive others and choose God’s love first!
In Romans 7:17-20 Paul laments:
As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (Romans 7:17-20, NIV)
This is the sin-filled evil that can hide within us and others. So instead of holding unforgiveness and bitterness against a person, you may learn to have compassion and forgiveness because the person is more than likely being held captive by the “stuff” within him, just as you are being held by the “stuff” that is in you.
Here are some of the reasons you may find it difficult to forgive others.
- You may be ignorant of the scriptural basis for forgiveness. God has commanded that we must forgive in order to be forgiven.
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, NIV)
- You may believe that you have to “FEEL” forgiving. Forgiveness is NOT about how you FEEL. It’s about your will and asking God to bring us to a place where we can CHOOSE to forgive. God will honor that request if you just ask. When we do this it can bring us to the place of wholehearted forgiveness and the feeling will follow.
- You may think the offense is too big to forgive. You know you should forgive, but you just can’t. Well hear this … YOU CAN!
- You may fear forgiveness. When you forgive you are not excusing or ignoring the offense. By forgiving you are not saying what you did to me is OK. Forgiving does not negate holding the offender responsible for their actions nor does it mean that the offender should get off “Scott free”.
- You may “think” that you have already forgiven the person. The enemy likes to blind us into thinking we’re “squeaky clean”. The truth is, we don’t always remember what needs to be forgiven.
- There may be generational unforgiveness that has been passed down the family line. An entire family can be bitter and unforgiving. Remember the Hatfields and the McCoys?
Here are some simple steps to help you uproot the spirit of bitterness in your life.
- Recognize that you hold unforgiveness and have the spirit of bitterness in your life.
- Go to God and tell Him that you choose to forgive all who have set you up to sin and all who have hurt you. Tell Him that you release them and that you choose to let go of all judgements against them and all punishments that you have harbored in your heart. Turn it all over to Him and let Him take care of it. Thank the Holy Spirit for working forgiveness in your heart.
- Repent for the sin of bitterness and unforgiveness and all its bitter fruits. Fall out of agreement with it and TURN AWAY while asking God to forgive you.
You must learn to separate the person from the sin just as God separates you from your sins and forgives you. They are NOT their sin! Christ died for you when you were still a sinner. You still don’t have it all together, yet He still accepts you and forgives you minute by minute as you turn away from your sin and turn to Him. You CAN forgive! You don’t have to be the victim to a happening or a person in your life. Jesus commands us to forgive and on the cross He showed us how to do it. He gave us the power to be able to do it!
Take a few moments and look into your heart. Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive? Free yourself from the deadly trap of unforgiveness!