ROAD WAY TO FORGIVENESS
Jesus taught about forgiveness. Unforgiveness is another major weapon the enemy uses to keep us in bondage. Some believe that to forgive is to forget and let the person off the hook. We disagree. Instead, we believe that forgiveness is a letting go. It is a matter of giving the individual to Jesus and letting Him do as He deems best. We believe that forgiveness is a supernatural act. We cooperate with Jesus, but it is His power that enables us to forgive others.
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No,” Jesus replied, “seventy times seven. For this reason the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who borrowed money from him. In the process one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so the king ordered that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt. But the man fell down before the king and begged him, “Oh sir, be patient with me and I will pay it all” Then the king was filled with pity for him and he released him and forgave his debt. But when the man left the king he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. “Be patient and I will pay it”, he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and jailed until the debt could be paid in full. When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him what had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, “You evil servant. I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you?” Then the angry king sent the man to prison until he had paid every penny. That‘s what my Heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters in your heart. Unforgiveness will keep individuals in bondage. Jesus set the example for us when He forgave those who crucified Him.
If you feel that you are in bondage to bitterness and unforgiveness, the following steps may be helpful.
1: Ask God to identify areas of unforgiveness, esp. roots. As He does, write each one down. Be sure to include anything that comes to mind. It might be an action. It might be something that was said, or a perceived wrong. It might be something that was felt. It may even be something that was truly unintentional, but it hurt nonetheless. Any pains we carry, justified or unjustified allow the enemy a stronghold in our lives. List them all.
Let me stop for one moment to clarify something. I did not say to dig up all of the past. Ask God to bring to the surface anything He wants to deal with and to keep down anything He does not.
2: Next, pray over each area of unforgiveness.
Sample Prayer for Unforgiveness
Dear Jesus, Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Thank you for forgiving my sins. Please forgive me for being angry with ____________for _____________. I know that you want me to forgive others just as you have forgiven me. But Jesus, there is nothing in me that is capable of following your example. So, please Lord, do in me and through me what I could never do. In the power of your name, I forgive_____________for ________________. I take this wrong and I lay it at your feet. In Jesus name, I will dwell on it no more. In Jesus name, I will carry it no longer. Don’t let me take it back. Keep it forever from me. Thank you for hearing my prayer. Thank you for answering my prayer. I love you Lord. I pray this, and all things, in Jesus name!
3: If bitterness and anger are entrenched because the pain is so deep, you may need to come
back to the cross and repeat this process again. There is no condemnation if the road to
forgiveness is a battle. Acknowledge your struggle to God and claim that “greater is He that
is in us than he that is in the world”[i]. Keep asking.
Forgiveness Part Two
We have discussed forgiveness in regards to the harm others have caused us. However, there is more that needs to be discussed. There are other forms of forgiveness that we need to be practicing.
1: We need to continually acknowledge any sin in our lives and ask the Lord to forgive us.
2: If we have hurt anyone else, either intentionally or unintentionally, we need to go to them
and ask for their forgiveness. Each of us should ask the Lord if there is someone that we
need to apologize to. There could be people we don’t even realize that we have hurt. God
can reveal it, if we ask.
3: We must ask the Lord to help us forgive ourselves. Sometimes, we can be our own worst
enemy and beat ourselves up for mistakes of the past. God says that He has forgiven us
when we request it. We need to receive His forgiveness and also forgive ourselves.
1 John 1:9
But if we confess our sins to Him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.