Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
I once awoke from spiritual slumber to the realization that I had led myself into the stronghold of unforgiveness and offense. After I came to myself, I decided I had had enough. It was time to forgive and move on. I wanted to forgive, I needed to forgive, I was ready to forgive. But guess what! Unforgiveness was not ready to let me go. As I tried to free myself from the darkness of unforgiveness, I found myself chasing my tail.
The dictionary of bible themes defines forgiveness as the freeing of a person from guilt and its consequences, including punishment; usually as an act of favor, compassion or love, with the aim of restoring a broken personal relationship.
Our Heavenly Father is a God of love. He is forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call on him (Psalm 86:5). He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger …, he does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:8 – 12). The scriptures are full of his promises of love and forgiveness towards us. Since we are all recipients of God’s grace and forgiveness, we ought to extend the same freely to others. We are commanded by Christ to forgive one another, not seven times, but seventy times seven times (Matthew 18:22). In other words, we should lose count. If we choose to ignore his command to forgive, our habit of unforgiveness will lead us on a downward spiral till we find ourselves bound by a stronghold.
Have you ever wanted to forgive someone but found yourself trapped in the stronghold of unforgiveness? How do you get out?
1)First of all realize that on your own you can do nothing. However, shout for joy because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).
2)Pray! Pray! Pray! Press into the presence of God. Pray for your adversaries (Matthew 5:44). Bless and do not curse (Romans 12:14).
3)Laziness won’t get you out of a stronghold. Dig into the word of God. Spend copious amounts of time mediating on God’s love and his unending flow of compassion and mercies towards us. Study scripture on God’s commandment to love. Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13. The word of God will shape your thinking so that when your are tempted to walk in unforgiveness, you will be able to cast down the vain imaginations and replace them with scriptures (2 Corinthians 10:5).
4)Open your mouth and speak the word over the situation (Mark 11:23). Whenever you are reminded of the hurts caused by another, confess your love for them by faith and speak God’s word over them. This will weaken the stronghold and quicken your healing process.
5)Make a decision to make forgiveness a commitment. See below.
6)Finally, be alert and awake for your enemy prowls around looking for someone to swallow up (1 Peter 5:8). Commit your ways to the Lord and resist spiritual slumber. As you move forward, learn to forgive quickly and do not keep records of things that people have done to offend you.
God delivered me from the stronghold of unforgiveness and he restored my soul. I have made a decision to commit to a lifestyle of love and forgiveness.
My prayer for you is that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for you (Ephesians 3:18). And as you bask in the love of God, I pray that his love and forgiveness will overflow from you to the people in your world; both the deserving and the undeserving. Amen!
Note: These principles can be applied to breaking free from other negative emotions such as pride, jealousy, greed etc
This post is linked up with Counting My Blessings at http://www.countingmyblessings.com, Grace and Truth at http://www.adivineencounter.com/grace-truth-week-75/, Fresh Market Friday at http://www.crystaltwaddell.com, Growing In Grace at http://www.childrenareablessing.org and Family Friendship and Faith Fridays