It is a process.
Some people do not even know they harbor unforgiveness. They remain slaves to the unforgiveness. Unforgiveness will stop you from growing spiritually. Eventually, the poison of unforgiveness will consume you untill you become heard hearted and bitter. It will rot your bones.
So a decent definition of Anger that leads to unforgiveness is that Anger is a strong feeling of INTENSE displeasure or indignation or hostility as a result of a real or imagined threat (fear), or insult (pride), or frustration (impatience), or injustice toward yourself or someone who is very important to you.
Forgiveness is the willful giving up of that rage, displeasure, indignation, hostility, threat, insult and frustration. You give up the “right to get even”.
Unforgiveness is a deliberate refusal to forgive. It is the belief that you have the right to hold a grudge because: Someone has got to pay!, He has hurt me. , She lied to me. , She said I was this or that., She didn’t say “HI” to me yesterday., He is two faced., He lies about his faith by saying one thing and doing another.
However, saying you forgive, and experiencing it are two different things.
Forgiveness says, “I give up my right to pay you back.”
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive you your tresspasses. But if you do not fogive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your tresspasses. Mark 11:25
Until we can forgive, we have to lay down our progress, our gifts to god, our growth in the Spirit of God, our effectiveness to demonstrate grace, love and mercy.
What are the obstacles to Forgiveness? There may be many, but they can be reduced, by thoughtful analysis to 4 things:
1. YOUR WILL – It ias to be your WILL and Desire to forgive. Unwillingness and not wanting to forgive are deliberate acts. You have to do this on purpose.
2. PRIDE – The arrogance of pride gives you the self righteous attitude that says, He or She should come to me to ASK for forgiveness. I shouldn’t have to go to them. Or if you are the one who needs forgiveness, you say to yourself, “Sure it bothers me that this happened, but I don’t think I did any harm, and besides, I was right when I did it.”
3. REHEARSING – This one is something every humand being does. This takes real discipline to overcome, and can be overcome by a lot of prayer, and realization of just how much GOd has forgiven you. The more you go over it in your mind, the farther from grace you get. You rehearse in your mind and heart the wrongs or offenses done against you. This will only strengthen the chains that bind you, and will eventually become a poison that turns into a well spring of bitterness. The Joy of the Lord evades you. happiness becomes a memory. Anger becomes your reputation. You get stuck right where you are in your spiritual growth. Eventually, you become content with stunted growth, or your heart becomes so hard that you no longer desire a working relationship with God.
4. FEAR – Wether you are the one who needs to forgive, or needs forgiveness, FEAR can stop you dead, too. Maybe you are afraid you will be taken advantage of by the person that you need to do business with. Maybe you have a fear of being rejected. Perhaps you are afraid of rejection. These fears are real, and it is possible that these things will happen. But you have to have the courage to face this fear and do the right thing. THere is nothing you can do to control the reactions of others. You can only obey God, and leave the rest to him. This is letting go of fear.
Dealing with these 4 things above will give you FREEDOM from the enslavement of Anger and Fear. It will free you from the spirit and heartlessness of Unforgiveness. The flow of living water will return to you, and you will know the joy of your salvation again.
Sometimes forgiveness is stalled by the following things:
Friendly but bad advice. Your brothers and sisters in the lord love you, and they mean well, but they are just as human and fallible as you are. They will tell you, “Well, if I were you, I’d…”, or “He needs to suffer…” “Why don’t you just leave him, he is not good for you…”, or “Buddy, we need to go have a talk with him ‘in love’ and straighten him out”
Have you been told this? Have you said it to others. Friends mean well. You should always be glad of the number of friends you have. But you MUST ask yourself, “Is this FRIENDLY advice GODLY advice?” Do nothing that will contradict the nature of God, or reflect poorly on your walk with God. Taking matters in your hands, with the heart felt endorsement of your friends, is till wrong.
Maybe he or she did several little things, or one big and several little ones, or some combination like that. Do you list them (rehearse) and say, “Well, I can forgive that, but not this, and I can forgive those, but not these!”? Partial forgiveness is just like partial obedience. Partial forgiveness IS unforgiveness. Partial obedience is DISOBEDIENCE. Don’t take half measures when God showed His love for you by going all the way to the cross for your sins.
MAKE EXCUSES. This little fox is a sly one.
This is what some people do to avoide genuine forgiveness. They might say things like, “THey probably didn’t mean that.”, or. “It was probably a mistake.”. If you use excuses to justify someone elses wrong, not only are you deluding yourself, and setting yourself up for more of the same, but you short circuit your ability to discern between right and wrong, and you stop the other person’s chance of learning from his mistakes. Forgiveness is just as much an act of love, as it is an act of grace. When you love the unlovely, it pours coals on his heart, and will ultimately lead him to repentance. This is the same behavior you hear about when you read the testimony of the battered woman. She made excuses for the batterer. Forgiveness is not for sissies.
Unforgiveness puts you in danger of the judgement of God. “But if you do not forgive neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses ” Mark 11:25
You risk your growth in the Lord. You risk having God stop dealing with you until you have done business with those who you need to forgive, or who you need to seek forgiveness from.
Forgiveness sets you free. It cleanses your soul. It teaches you about Godly love in a way that no other action will. You will become like Jesus Christ the more you obey.
I will finish this up in part 2, at least this part of the facet on the gem that is Forgiveness. There is more, and it is not all fire and brimstone. Hang in there. It gets better.
OH! And yes it is a process. How long does it take until you can come clean and forgive? I don’t know. Sometimes it takes a long time. It took me a very long time to forgive someone I used to know. The hurt was deep, and God had to do a work in me. With that brother who said he forgave me, but didn’t, I am good with that, and I forgive his dishonesty, and his gossip. I am free of the harm he has done. I love this person and would take a bullet for him without hesitation.
I have to keep in mind this verse: Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others. Ecc 7:21-22See you next time for Part 2 of this facet on Forgiveness.
I love you