Unforgiveness ~ A Cause of Major Bondage!
By Rodney W. Francis
It has been said that the major cause of hindrances and bondages in the lives of Christians is that of unforgiveness. Every one of us will have experienced things in our lives, disagreements, criticisms, accusations (both true and false) against us. We cannot avoid these things happening. Even Jesus said that it was "impossible but that offences would come" (Luke 17:1 ). Offences are obstacles or "stumbling blocks" which come against us ~ things said and done to us to put us down, or to try and subject us to someone else's will, etc. So, no matter how well we handle relationships, etc., we will all face negative things being thrown at us. Some will "attack" us if for no other reason but that they are jealous of us. For the Christian we must accept that these things will happen in our lives.
• The big issue is how we deal with them!
It is very important to realize that once the offence has taken place, that we cannot change that. What we can change is our response to it, and how we allow it to affect us. The sooner we can take these matters to the Lord and leave them with Him ~ and at the same time practice forgiveness toward those who have offended us ~ the sooner we will be able to get on with our lives and continue to be fruitful in His service. But if we allow those criticisms to get into our emotions and cause us to re-act negatively and to start "bad mouthing" that person who has offended (and hurt) us, then it will quickly get into our spirit and lodge there. Once that happens, then we become the loser in the situation ~ even if the accusations are wrong! It is so important that we learn to keep short accounts with God and with people; otherwise we will start on a downward slippery slope that can cause us to finish up being hurt, angry, resentful, "bitter and twisted", and carrying a wounded spirit in the process.
None of us can afford to let that happen. Yet, in my travels in numbers of countries, I am finding wounded Christians that have to be set free from the bondages unforgiveness has caused them ...
When we practice forgiveness ~ as soon as we possibly can ~ we can actually turn those “stumbling blocks” into “stepping stones.” The negatives can be turned into positives to the glory of God! Some years ago I had a situation where someone tried to put me down in a nasty kind of way. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me to pray for him daily, speaking his name out loud and asking God to bless him. When I could pray that ~ and mean it (that I wanted God to bless him) ~ I knew I had forgiven him. But to begin with, I did not want God to bless him; I wanted exactly the opposite! But that is not the way of the Lord. I have had to practice that principle of praying for God to bless people on different occasions as I have walked through life. Often, the accusations and opposition comes from those you least expect it! It seems that Peter (the disciple) had some problems with forgiving people, especially those who kept “aggravating” him. He asked Jesus,“Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven”(Matthew 18:21-22 , NKJV). Peter felt there had to be a limit on forgiving some people, but Jesus says we have to be those who practice forgiveness continually with those who continue to “get under our skin”. Unless we practice forgiveness continually we will find ourselves caught up into a bondage that comes through anger, hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness and pride (yes, pride can often get in the way of our practicing forgiveness). It is simply not worth it! There have also been times when I have asked forgiveness from others, even when I knew I was in the right!Forgivensss defuses situations and releases people to get on with life.
It is sad, but true, that many who have a prophetic calling in God have been "put down" or prevented from functioning. This has caused many to be "shut down," be hurt and to go inwards, which does not allow them to pursue and fulfil their calling. Tragically, many Christian Leaders have been guilty of clamping down on those who are trying to exercise their Spiritual Gifts. Many people do not understand the prophetic ministry, and their ignorance creates a fear which causes them to reject it. Regardless of who caused the offence we all need to practice forgiveness. Let me emphasize strongly to you:
It is He (Jesus) that we are called to please; and our carrying unforgiveness does not please Him at all. In fact unforgiveness stops God from forgiving us of our many offences against Him:
“For if you forgive men their trespasses (“a falling aside from right truth or duty, lapse” – Bullinger’s), your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15 )!
Right now, come before the Lord Jesus and give it all to Him. You will be so pleased that you release it all to Him!