You know what I’m talking about, right? You can conquer all the negativity in your life, clean up and make right – almost everything. But there’s still that one thing you think about right before you go to sleep and it’s the first thing you are reminded of when you awake. The truth is you have tucked it away but it’s still there and must be dealt with. Until you do, your life and the blessings God has for you are on hold.
I have seen in my own life how Satan can manipulate his way into the hearts of people. It is sad to say but most every family I meet with at the funeral home has family dissension going on. I’ve also noticed that those who choose to get things in order between themselves and God can do so once they make their minds up to make serious changes. I’ve seen people tackle drug and alcohol addictions and be able to clean up difficult personal matters. But there is one thing I see that people will not release. It is the one area Satan holds the keys to in a lot of people’s lives. That is unforgiveness. I don’t know if it’s because people don’t want to say they’re sorry or that whatever has happened to them is just too unforgiveable.
I believe there are things that occur in our lives that are so bad forgiveness seems impossible. It is in those times of impossibility we must lean on God’s power to work through us. I know from experience God does provide the strength we need to forgive what is impossible to humanly forgive.
A friend of mine who died some time ago carried a grudge against another person for years. There were a lot of bad things that went on between the two and he just could not forgive. The other person who had wronged him even went to him several times and tried to make amends, but my friend always shut the door. Sadly, he died still carrying this grudge, choosing to never forgive. We have no idea the damage this may have cost him eternally. That is now between him and God. But I do know what the Bible says about unforgiveness and can say you don’t want to meet your creator with unforgiveness in your heart.
The father of another friend passed away. There were years of bitterness between her and her father. He died without them making things right. I remember her being so bitter regarding her father. During his funeral service, I watched her. She sat cold and stoic. They played “Amazing Grace” during the service and, before the song ended, she was bent over with her face in her hands sobbing uncontrollably. God moved within her heart during this song, showing her His power can help her forgive, even when she thought it was impossible.
Did you know God chooses to do something extraordinary when He forgives us? The same God who knows every thought of every man every second of every day is the same God who, when we repent, forgives us of our sins. He also chooses not to even remember our sin. That is incredible to me. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” (NLT) Hebrews 8:12
When someone does me wrong, I know I must forgive them. I know if I cannot come up with the strength on my own, God will supply me with the strength. I do this for two reasons. First is because God commands us to do so. Ephesians 4:31-32; “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” The second is found in Matthew 6:15:” But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” If you are a Christian, this unforgiveness effects your heavenly rewards, not your salvation.
Please allow me to encourage you. What you are battling is not between you and the person who wronged you. Your battle is with Satan who will do anything to rob you of your joy and freedom. Think for a moment about the number of hours you have spent being tortured in your mind over this wrong. It is simply not worth it nor is it worth coming between you and God.
Father, I pray for anyone struggling with unforgiveness. This is so personal Father, but you know every single detail of what has happened. Lord, someone reading this right now may be thinking, “I simply cannot forgive them!” Father, I understand how they feel, and you do as well. I am asking you to please give them your strength and power to forgive the person who has done them wrong. May they feel your love and freedom as they say the words, “I forgive you.” Amen.
Brad Shotts is a member of the Rotary Club of Waxahachie and attends Oaks Fellowship Church in Red Oak, where he serves on the ministry team. He loves serving his community.