“If you forgive those who sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:23-24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Contrasting verses but literally offering freedom to the one who will obey its directive. In the kingdom of God, malice, bitterness and unforgiveness are not an option. The reason being if God in His mercy would send His innocent Son to die a horrible death for a sin He didn’t commit, how much more should the guilty be willing to forgive another equally guilty person? Hebrews 12:3,14-15

What struck me in Matthew 6 was the fact that Jesus said it wasn’t up to Him whether we’re forgiven or not, but it was the Father’s decision. So if we chose to hold onto unforgiveness, then the Father would not accept our request to be forgiven. This is serious stuff. One of the reasons this line is included in the disciples prayer, (Matthew 6:9-13) “forgive us as we forgive others,“ is to teach us that forgiveness helps both guilty parties. We free them by freeing ourselves.

The reason why some Christians are not experiencing the fullness of their new birth experience, can most often be traced back to remembering past offenses. They say they have forgiven the individuals, but by constantly reverting back to past hurts, bitterness begins to take root. They tell themselves that the person(s) needs to hurt as much as they have hurt them, and that God’s justice is moving too slowly. Because God will not compromise on what He’s told us to do, He cannot offer forgiveness to the degree that will allow the person to enjoy their freedom in Christ, because they’re not free until they have released the ones who have hurt them. The results of holding on to unforgiveness is most often depression, anger, loneliness, self pity, anguish of soul, loss of joy and peace. Unforgiveness is a noose that tightens the longer we choose to hold on to past offenses. God can’t free us, Jesus can’t free us, only as we forgive, are we free to receive His forgiveness.

I was abused as a child in multiple ways. I had a mother who was absent from my life from ages 4-22. I had a lot of anger and resentment. But I loved Jesus. He was my only friend and confidant. I didn’t know how to process what I was feeling and going through. I was saved, (religious) but I wasn’t free. I didn’t know what I’m sharing with you now, true freedom in Christ. The light I thought I had was darkness. Then in my early thirties, the Lord broke through the pain in a most unusual way. He told me to call my mother and tell her I love her. WHAT!!! I promptly said “you know I would be lying if I did that” He ignored me and repeated His instruction. So I reluctantly obeyed, called her and basically said, “God told me to call you and tell you that I love you.” It was quite the morning. But He had me repeat that exercise every time we spoke until it broke something in me, and I actually felt unconditional love for her. He also used a hurricane in Jamaica, when I was asked to contribute to repair my aunt’s house to help me forgive her. He has His methods, and through obedience it works. He healed my wounded heart, through acts of obedience.

Another thing I appreciated about my healing was that He never asked me to be emotional about it. I never had to deny what was done, or become chummy with the individuals and pretended that nothing happened, He simply asked me to forgive through love, His love. I was able to face the cause of my pain without feeling the effects of the hurt. Forgiveness frees us to love like Jesus loves us, unconditionally. We must never bury what’s done, we face it with Him, following His lead. We must deliberately walk away from the past, and be just as deliberate about embracing the future. Philippians 3:13. Allow Jesus to take the stinger out. It’s the sting of the past, coupled with bitterness and unforgiveness that makes the past our present, and sometimes our future. You don’t have to be friends with your pain. He’s not asking you to. He is not a narcissist, He gets it. He just wants us to be free to enjoy all He has for us.

I’ll never forget the day when I would see the cause of my emotional and physical hurt for the first time after 15 years. The Lord prepared me with these verses because He knew the person had neither changed or repented. But I had, and needed to be assured that, neither their words or actions when we met, would affect who I am. I wasn’t the little defenseless girl anymore. I was His daughter.

Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one—for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:33-34‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I walked into that house with confidence, I faced the disrespect of her back being turned when I greeted her, and being ignored when I tried to share pictures of my daughter while my siblings doing the same were well received. But I wasn’t moved. I had received the assurance of my Father that all of heaven was with me. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The sting was removed. Forgiveness had dug up the root of bitterness and I was walking in total freedom. We’re human, we hurt when mistreated, but we have also caused hurt. And that’s what the Father wants us to understand. We’re all in need of forgiveness, so if we want it, we have to be willing to give it. Sometimes He’ll direct us to do what Matthew 5:23 says. Ask for forgiveness, when we’re in the right. He will only ask those He can trust to give up their right, to do this. It’s hard enough to forgive someone who’s wronged us, but now we have to go reconcile with someone who we haven’t wronged, simply because they have something against us. Our Father wants us to live lives above reproach. He wants us to live like Jesus lived. Forgive whether they know what they’re doing or not.

Being a true follower of Jesus Christ isn’t for wimps. We’re challenged to do the hard things, because He knows it’s doable, and leads to true freedom. That’s why He didn’t leave wriggle room for walking in unforgiveness. If we want to be forgiven, we must first forgive. No compromise offered. All the way or no way. If you’re struggling with forgiving those who have hurt you, it can end today. Allow the love of God through His Son Jesus, to show you how to let go of the past. It’s not about them it’s about you. Stop carrying the stinky corpse of unforgiveness, it’s a drag on your spiritual freedom. There’s so much more in store for you. God wants you laughing with exuberant joy. I laugh more now than when I was a child and young adult. I’m finally free to be me. I’m everything He says I am. And that’s what I choose to believe. Who can bring any charge against me? Who or what can separate me from His love? No one! I have decided to forgive and walk in true unfettered freedom. You can too. So go ahead, forgive that spouse, parent, child, friend, relative, pastor, boss, whoever it is! Trust Jesus and let it go. Take the noose off. Freely you have received, freely give. In Jesus Name 🙏

You are always in My hands as the one I love. Let your challenges bring you to a greater faith. My outstretched arm of power will bring you courage. Hold on to Me, and the omnipotence of My love will conquer the pain that hides in your heart. Release the pain of misunderstanding and rejection to Me. Be brave and forgive all who have hurt you, so that you will be free to laugh and heal. I Am not only your Savior and Lord, I Am your Friend. Eternally faithful, I will never forsake you. Quoted from: I hear His Whispers. B. Simmons

Written by permission of the Holy Spirit

W. Tennant

May 17, 2021

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