Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, October 28. Do you have persistent memories of hurt that rob you of peace and contentment? Scripture offers an effective way to be free. Stay with us now for practical instruction and forgiving the hurts we don't deserve. We are unforgiving toward others. Number one is our pride.
Well, if you just knew what they had done to me, so what? Look what we did to Jesus at the cross. So first of all is pride. Secondly, selfishness.
We want it our way. And that is we think they've wronged us and we think they need to correct that and on and on we go. And our own selfish self-centered spirit waiting for somebody else to change, waiting for something else to happen in their life.
And what happens? The burn keeps going. And then thirdly, there is ignorance. Some people do not understand what happens when hurt develops into hatred and unforgiving spirit develops.
And so there it is. They don't know how to handle it. They don't know how to respond to hurts and these old memories the way they should. And so therefore they suffer even as those who know better. Now, what are the consequences of an unforgiving spirit? The first consequence is this emotional bondage. A person who is unforgiving will find themselves wrapped up in anger, incarcerated by their own hostility.
So first of all, there is emotional bondage. We just can't feel. We just can't be.
We just can't do. Secondly, it damages our relationships through others because, you see, an unforgiving spirit spills over on everybody, spills over in your family, the people you work with, your friends. At times in your life, they have to walk around you because of your attitude. You can't afford to have an unforgiving spirit. Thirdly, it damages your relationship with the Lord. Do you think God can unctionize and empower and anoint a person with an unforgiving spirit? There is no way. The Spirit of God can never anoint unforgiveness, bitterness, resentfulness, hatred and animosity and hostility.
He cannot. Not only does it damage our relationship to the Lord, our emotions, our relationships to others, but it damages us physically. The mind has more effect over the body than you and I give it credit for.
Now, that's good because that's the way God made the body. But I'm telling you, an unforgiving spirit is going to make you sick ultimately. The second thing I want you to jot down is this. The hurts we don't deserve can be healed through forgiveness. The hurts we don't deserve can be healed through forgiveness. Now, we talk about healing hurts and healing old past memories.
What are we talking about? So let's clear up some confusion what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not justifying someone else's wrongful act towards you whereby you are hurt. Well, after all, I understand where they came from and I guess if I had grown up the same way they did, then I'd understand.
So no problem. That's not forgiveness. Secondly, it is not excusing someone's wrongs toward you. You say, well, everybody makes mistakes and they probably did not realize what they've done.
You know what? When you are hurt, deeply hurt, excusing, that's not forgiveness. And justification and excusing does not deal with an unforgiving spirit.
Then there's the whole idea of denying it. Well, you know, I really was not hurt. It's just something I felt for a moment. Yes, you were deeply hurt, painfully hurt. Excruciatingly, painfully, you were hurt. Don't deny that, my friend, because, you see, to deny it is only to push it down.
Ultimately, it's coming out in some other form. So to deny that you've been hurt, that's not forgiveness. But some people think it is. And then the idea that someone says, well, I accept the person just the way they are. So they're forgiven.
No, that's not true. I can accept a person for being mean, ornery, ugly, ungodly and absolutely wicked. That may be the way they are. That doesn't mean I forgive them. Then somebody says, well, but you have to tolerate everything in life. Toleration isn't forgiveness. Toleration says I've been hurt, deeply hurt, and I guess I'm going to put up with it.
That's not forgiveness. And then another point of confusion is this, that somebody says, well, I believe that time heals everything. My friend, time doesn't heal everything.
Time does not heal old past hurts unless they're dealt with because they're just lodged there. And every once in a while, something comes along and you ask yourself again the question, why do I react that way? Why do I feel what I feel?
Why am I responding this way? I'll tell you why. It is the poison of a lodged memory of an old hurt that keeps seeping through the system, bringing it back. Different situations, different circumstances.
There they are. And you cannot escape it by trying to justify it, tolerate it, excuse it, explain it away. That's not the way you deal with old hurts, old past memories.
So let me ask you a question. Is it not true already since we began this sermon that for some of you, all of a sudden you had that twitch of pain, something that happened a long time ago between you and your parents? Your father, your mother. Maybe you were abused by your father. And all of a sudden, when I said past memories of old hurts, it just sort of rose to the surface within you. My friend lodged in all of our memories, old past hurts that are going to stay there, oozing out their poison, affecting our life until we deal with them, until we are willing to have the courage to confront them. And that is painful.
You may laugh, you may smile, you may dress well, sit well, drive well, live well. But I want to tell you something. Until you deal with old past memories of old past hurts, no amount of faking anybody else out is ever going to work because you have to live with yourself. You can't ever run from you. You'll never be free.
There'll always be something that's like it's sort of like it has a tight grip on you. You can't express what you feel and you look at somebody else and you think, my, I wish I could feel like they feel. I wish I could have that kind of joy and I wish I could be free like that.
Deep down inside, you want to be. You cry out to God, God set me free. And then the painful memory of those old past hurts come and you shove them back down because you just can't face them. You just can't deal with something that hurts. So how do you deal with them?
How do you deal with them? So let me explain two things. First of all, we're talking about dealing with the hurts of those who are still around. You may see that person every day. It may be somebody who's hurt you deeply, who does not even realize that they hurt you. It may be someone who hurt you deeply, who did not intend to do it. But the hurt is just as deep. Or a little bit more difficult situation, it may be someone who lives 3000 miles away and you probably never see them again, except by some odd coincidence or God sends them across your way.
And so they're not there. And then even more difficult is a father or mother who's passed away. How are you going to forgive your parents who passed away? How are you going to forgive a friend who's passed away who hurts you deeply? You can't deal with it.
So that's why the process is like this. And I want to show you how to deal with all those past hurts, no matter who they are, where they are, how long ago they've been and who it is. Now, let me give you two cautions. There are times, depending upon who it is, the circumstance, that you and I should not ever go to someone and say to them, you hurt me deeply. Here's what you did to me.
And I forgive you. That's not the way to do it. Secondly, you never want to go to your parents who did their best.
They thought who may have made some tragic mistakes raising you, you could never go to them and say, I want to tell you how you hurt me, how you absolutely destroyed my self-image as a 16 year old girl. You should never do that. In other words, our dealings with our unforgiving spirit should never bring hurt to someone else. So how are we going to do it? The best way to do it is to take two chairs, one of them for the other person and one of them for you. And so what you want to do with that person is you want to sit the other person in the other chair.
And what you want to do is to carry on the conversation with the other person. They're not there. They may not ever be able to be there.
They may be gone. And here's how you want to do it. You call them by name. Let's say it's John. John, I will explain to you how you hurt me. You hurt me deeply one day when you embarrassed me in front of all of my friends.
I felt like somebody had stripped me. You made a joke of me. You destroyed my self-image. You hurt me deeply. You hurt me so badly that all of these years over these past months, I've hurt.
I've suffered pain. And in the process of dealing with that person, you tell them everything you feel, exactly how you feel. If you feel like crying, cry.
If you feel like kicking that person, then kick the chair. In other words, you get out of your system, whatever it takes. There's no point in you sitting there saying, Now, John, because that's not the way you feel. You feel hurt. You have hurts of old past memories that are hurting, that are painful.
Whatever you need to say, say it all and then walk away remembering when you walk away, if you meant what you said and you thanked God for healing your damaged emotions and freeing you, you're free. Now, you may not feel all that freedom instantly, but you're going to begin to feel it. You're going to begin to sense of freedom that you had not felt before. God is going to work in your life in a way that you have not felt him work before. He's going to show you. He'll help you to be able to say what needs to be said. It may be that you have to go back and say, That's number one. Now, I want to talk to my boss. You may have to do that for four or five, six or 10 people. But my friend, I want to tell you something.
That process will work. Now, when we talk about forgiving someone, there are three things involved. First of all, there is the hurt or the injury. That's part of it. There's the debt. That is the debt the other person owes us. There's the cancellation of that debt. So when you say to that person, first of all, here is what you have done to me and you explain that, then you must.
You must cancel the debt. That's an act of your will. I choose to forgive you for and state clearly in your own mind and audibly what you're forgiving that person for.
And then say to them audibly and clearly, I release you from that debt. That is, you no longer hold it against them because now you can be free. When you see you hold something against someone else, you're bound by your own unforgiving spirit. Now, the full results when you and I forgive someone else, jot these down. When you and I are able to forgive someone else, genuinely forgive them.
Here's what happens. First of all, the memory of your past hurts begin to be healed. There is an instantaneous beginning to that healing. The moment you're able to say, I release you, I free you, I hold it against you no more, then first of all, there is the beginning of the healing of those old memories. Secondly, you begin to see that other person in a different light. No longer is your enemy. No longer is someone who has hurt you. You see them now as a forgiven person.
Your whole attitude toward that person is different. Thirdly, you begin to experience freedom. The guilt and the weight of an unforgiving spirit, my friend, is far heavier than you think it is.
And I'll tell you why you don't know. If you've carried it long enough, you have forgotten what freedom feels like. And if you carry a weight long enough, it becomes such a part of your life and your thinking and your lifestyle. You don't know when you're free, when you're not. You think you're free. But my friend, when you're able to lay down the burden, when you're able to lay down the bondage of an unforgiving spirit, you're going to begin to understand what freedom is. You're going to be able to understand what love is for the first time in your life.
You're going to be able to experience a sense of freedom and joy that you've wondered about all of your life. And then there's the fourth thing that may happen, not necessarily, but it can happen, and that's this. There may be a coming together between you and that person. Now, there are times when this will not happen. Of course, if that person's gone on to meet the Lord, it's one way that they could not come back. That person may have moved 3,000 miles away.
You don't have any idea where they are. And thirdly, it may have been in one of those painful experiences of a divorce, and that person's remarried, and they can never come back the way they were. And so, whereas you may speak to that person on the phone once in a while, or you may see them occasionally, there can never be that coming together as it could be if it were you and a friend or some other situation. So that can't always be true, but it can be true sometimes, that coming back together again. Now, you and I have two choices about our hurts and our unforgiving spirit. You and I can hang on to our unforgiving spirit and nurse it, and let its poison keep on having its subtle effect in our life.
We can let the old memories remain lodged like concrete. We can continue fighting off these hurts, or you can choose to get yourself two chairs and sit down in one of them and the other person in the other chair. And my friend, do you know who gets freed in this whole situation? While you're releasing that person in your mind, the person who gets freed is you. Now, I know it's painful facing up to what is there. Not what may be there, but what is there, dealing with it, confessing it, repenting of it, but that's not enough until you release the other person, until you forgive the other person seated in that chair.
Until you're able to do it, it's going to hang on. It's going to affect you physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally. And my friend, tell me this, why go through life cheating yourself out of joy and peace and happiness and freedom and liberty and listen, one of life's greatest gifts from God.
Listen carefully. Why go through life never being able to fully love somebody else? You don't know what you're missing. Fully love someone else. Completely give yourself to someone else. No reservations, in total trust, risking all that love offers, totally giving yourself to someone else. And then being able to be fully loved, fully loved, with all the feeling and all the joy and all the fullness and all the contentment and all the inexpressible joy that comes by being fully loved by someone else. You mean you want to go through life and miss that?
I'm telling you, you don't really want that. It's a choice. Wonderful, awesome, painful choice you have to make. And it is my prayer today that you'll make a commitment that you are going to be free. Thank you for listening to Part 2 of Forgiving Hurts We Don't Deserve. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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