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The Landmine of Unforgiveness - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
February 17, 2023 12:00 am

The Landmine of Unforgiveness - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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February 17, 2023 12:00 am

Choose the path of forgiveness so you can have true peace and freedom.

Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green
In Touch
Charles Stanley
In Touch
Charles Stanley
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green

Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, February seventeenth. Most people would agree that people seem more and more easily offended these days. But how well do you react to injustice? Today's lesson teaches us how to evade the landmine of unforgiveness. Somebody hurts you, they hurt you badly. You feel the pain of it and you just can't get rid of it. Sometimes you feel like if you could just get back, if you could just take revenge, if somehow you could make them pay in some fashion, you'd feel better. But the truth is you really wouldn't.

But you feel that way. And so you take this with you day after day after day. And what you don't realize is what's happening is the result of not dealing with that unforgiving spirit quickly. Bitterness begins to set in in your life.

It takes a deep, deep root. It begins to affect every single aspect of your life. You keep denying it as if it never happened. But it is happening. It is making its impact upon your life. It's affecting you in ways that you realize.

It's affecting you in ways that you do not realize. It is never the will of God to have an unforgiving spirit, to hold something against anyone no matter what. So what do we do? How do we deal with it? What does God think about it? You know, so many times today people say, well, here's what I think and here's what I believe. They never stop to ask the question, what does God say? Because no matter what we say and what we think and how we feel, the ultimate question is, what does God say?

How does He think? What does He want us to do? What is His will about this hurt and this pain and this unforgiveness? So I want you to turn, if you will, to the fourth chapter of Ephesians and just read several verses here. Paul's so practical in Ephesians and Colossians telling us how we need to deal with all kind of situations and circumstances. And in this passage, he's talking about the Christian's daily walk. And if you'll notice here, he's talking about laying aside our old self and looking at our former life and how we ought to live.

Then he comes down to this, look if you will, in verse twenty-six. Be angry and yet do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give the devil an opportunity.

He who steals must steal no longer, but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good so that he will have something to share with those who are in need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word is his good verification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you are sealed for the day of redemption. And then listen, let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Now, forgiveness is all about giving up my resentment, giving up my right to retaliate, giving up my right to hold against, giving up my right to want somebody to pay for what they've done. It's giving it up. It's surrendering. It's laying it down. Is that easy?

No, it's not. But forgiveness is all about giving up my right to retaliate, giving up, surrendering this desire to retaliate. This resentment, this anger, this bitterness, this hostility, whatever may have developed, it's giving it up, laying it down and not requiring some payment, not requiring that person to do something to pay back somehow in some way, whatever they may have done. Now, I know that a person could say, But you don't understand what I feel. But you don't know what they did. And, But if you'd have been treated this way. And, But if you'd have been hurt like this. And, But if you'd have lost this. And, But if it had been your children. And, But if it had been your wife.

And, But, but, but, but, but. You have to go back to this simple verse. What does God say? As the Lord Jesus Christ has forgiven us, we are obligated by Almighty God to forgive them. Listen, when you and I trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we forfeited our right to hold unforgiveness in our heart toward anyone for any circumstance, no matter what. Does God say that it'll be easy to step from that into forgiveness?

No, He doesn't. Sometimes, depending upon the situation and the circumstances. Sometimes, depending upon a person's spiritual maturity. Sometimes, depending upon how long a person's been in Christian life. Sometimes, it depends upon a person's understanding of the will of God. So, no, it doesn't mean that everybody suddenly jumps into this freedom from unforgiveness.

But the issue is, sooner or later, it's got to come. We cannot defend an unforgiving spirit scripturally. A church may do it. A denomination may do it. A particular cult may do it.

It is making a difference. The ultimate question is, what does the Word of God say? And it says very clearly, the same way in which God has forgiven us, we must be willing to lay it down and forgive the other person who's hurt us. Now, let's just think about the whole nature of what's unforgiveness all about. Here's what it's all about. It's all about my being willing to rebel against the Word of God in order to have my way.

It's all about having this acid going on inside of me that's destroying me little by little. It's all about not being willing to deal with it, not being willing to identify it, not being willing to admit it, not being willing to acknowledge it, refusing deliberately to do it. The very nature of unforgiveness is it is destructive by nature. In every facet of a person's life, it is destructive by nature. So, any kind of reasoning and defense is unacceptable. It's unacceptable before God for the simple reason He knows the damage it's doing.

And when I think about its effect upon a person's life and how it damages them, it doesn't fit who we are. If you'll just think about this, I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, but I'm not going to forgive you. Because what's Jesus known for? He's known for forgiveness. What's the cross all about? The cross is all about the Son of God coming into this world for the primary purpose of dying on the cross to pay sins to your loved ones, to your loved ones, to your loved ones, to your loved ones. And so, what does that mean? Well, it means that God will receive His debt in full so that any and every person who's willing to receive Him as their personal Savior will be forgiven of their sin past, present, future, have the gift of eternal life. That's what He's all about.

That's why He came. I'm unwilling to forgive someone else. It doesn't fit who we are.

We're out of character. When a person who is a believer is unforgiving, they're out of character. They're acting in a way that does not fit who they are, does not fit who they claim to be, and does not fit the person they follow. So, when you think about the very nature of it, that it's self-destructive, that it's a form of bondage, that it's a prison people get in. That is, they get caught up into this bitterness and this anger deep down inside. And then after a while, they can't get out, at least from their own perspective and their own energy and their own understanding, they can't get out.

What they don't realize is it takes the Holy Spirit working in a person's life to enable them to be freed of that pain and that suffering. And you see, among many consequences of it is this. Let's say that here's a person who is in a divorce situation and anger, bitterness, resentment, hostility, and anger, and they get married again, they get married again. And they get married again, they get married again, they get married again. And before that, two years later, they get married again. You know what they did?

They brought all of their imprisonment, all of their hostility, all of their anger into the next marriage and the next poor person. They get dumped on with what came from someone else. You see, that's why you have to get rid of it. That's why you have to deal with it. If you're a young person, for example, and you're bitter about the person you say you love. If you're unforgiving, you need to deal with it.

Because you can't keep it to yourself. It spreads. It affects every aspect of our life. And so, it doesn't fit who we are. And if you read the Scriptures, you can read Paul's epistles, you can read Peter, James, you read what Jesus, how many things Jesus said about being forgiving. So, it's one thing to be forgiven. It's something else to be forgiven and forgiving. But that is exactly God's pattern for us. Because we have been forgiven, we have the responsibility, the obligation, and the awesome privilege to express that towards someone else, and that is to be forgiving toward them.

I ask you this question. When you turn three hundred and sixty degrees and your spiritual radar begins to click away, are there any bloops or bleeps in that three hundred and sixty degrees indicating there's somebody out there that you've not forgiven? Maybe a long time ago, may have been yesterday, it could be this morning, but somebody that wronged you in some fashion and you have never dealt with it, you've never forgiven them. Do you realize that all the time that you've been thinking about that and you say, well, I don't think about it anymore.

Well, maybe not constantly, but it still crops up. It is a terrible thing. And especially if there's the kind of and the degree of resentment that you're saying, I cannot forgive them, no matter what, I will not. What you're saying is, lock the bars on my prison. What you're saying is, tie my feet, tie my hands, tie my mind, tie my heart, because I don't want to live a full life. You can't live free and you can't live full as long as there is this kind of attitude of being unforgiving. Now think about this. Not only can you be unforgiving toward other people, you can be unforgiving toward yourself.

And there are many people, many people who will look back in their life and say, here's what happened back in my life. I did thus and so. And well, have you asked God to forgive you? Yes. Oh, I've asked Him many times.

Well, what did He say? Well, I know the Bible says if we confess our sins, He's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Have you done that? Yes.

Did He forgive you? Well, so it is amazing how a person can read the Word of God, Word for Word, exactly what it says, and say they believe the Bible. Then when it comes to something like that, they say, well, I know that's what it says, mm-mm-mm, not just what it says. Is it the truth?

Well, it's the truth. Did He forgive you? You know what, they can't say it. You know why they can't say it? Because they haven't forgiven themselves. So, forgiveness is not only directed toward other people, forgiveness is directed toward ourselves. We've all done things in our life that God has had to forgive us for. And He has forgiven us, and the issue is can't forgive themselves. Oftentimes, a person will walk a church aisle and confess to the pastor, I've been saved and know I'm saved, but something's wrong. And how many times have I heard this, something, do you know what it is?

I don't know what it is. Begin to talk and back yonder somewhere, they did something, some issue in their life they've never been able to forgive themselves for. And what it does is it causes them to doubt their salvation. Well, tell me when you were saved, they tell you when. Well, what did you do?

Same thing I did. In other words, I said, well, if you're not saved, I'm not saved. Oh, no, no, I know you're saved, but well, why don't you think you're saved?

They can't deal. You see, until you deal with forgiveness, nothing works right. And so, when you look in the Word of God, it's very evident to me when I look in the Scriptures that it's serious business. What did Jesus say? And let's go, if you will, back to what we call the Lord's Prayer. And look, if you will, in this sixth chapter of Matthew. And you know this by heart, our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, and so forth. And it's interesting that the only part of this for which there is a warning has to do with forgiveness.

So, look at that. He says, Pray then in this way, our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, or our transgressions, our sins, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. And as I say, if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Now, I want you to listen very carefully.

Notice the if. If you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Now there are people who will come to that passage and say, Well, how will I ever know whether I'm saved or not? Because every once in a while, I just can't be forgiving to somebody who wrongs me.

Well, here's what I want you to understand. You must distinguish between the pardon of our sin for salvation. That is our redemptive forgiveness, which is this. When you ask the Lord Jesus Christ to save you, and you accepted Him as your personal Savior, God placed upon Jesus when He died, all the sin of all mankind, it was all there.

And He crucified Him, and His death and the shedding of His blood paid the sin debt of the entire world, once and for all past, present, and future. So, when you come to Him and you ask for Him to save you, what does He do? He saves you, He forgives your sin. Listen, He pardons you of all of your guilt, all of your sin. He redeems you from that life of sin.

He justifies you. He declares you no longer guilty. He reconciles you. He brings you back into a right relationship with Him. He sanctifies you. He sets you apart as a child of God.

And therefore, all these things that go on, you say, well, then, but He said right here, what's He talking about? He's not talking about redemptive forgiveness. He's talking about those daily sins that all of us have to deal with. Every single one of us has had to be forgiven for many, many things over the years. Well, does that mean that we got saved every time we asked for forgiveness?

No, it does not. The awesome power of Jesus' death paid your sin debt in full, and listen carefully, and the reason you and I can come to Him with daily sins and ask Him to forgive us, we're not forgiven because we're going to do better and because we make promises, we're forgiven on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary. It all goes back to what happened at the cross. And one of the reasons people feel like or believe that you can fall from grace is they don't understand what really happened at the cross, that His atonement wasn't partial, it was absolutely total, final, and forever and eternal. So, when He says in this passage here, if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you. He's not talking about redemption. He's talking about this, that as a child of God and a follower of Jesus, if I'm not being willing to forgive other people for what they do to me, then what happens? My fellowship, listen, not my pardoned relationship, but my fellowship with Him is broken. And therefore, our relationship can't be right. In other words, if I have something against someone else and then I come to Him and pray, because you remember in these passages here, He's talking about fasting and praying and entering your closet and all the rest, then if you hold something against someone else and you're not forgiving them, how can you come and talk to the Father about your needs and about asking Him to forgive you for your sins and at the same time, you've got it over here for somebody and just waiting for something to happen and probably even feel every once in a while, God, if you just do something to them, I'd get free of this.

No, you wouldn't. And there are people who live with animosity. And they live just hoping that somehow something's going to happen to that person in a way that now they'll feel better. What they're looking for is payback. That's what they're looking for is payback.

Well, God, you know, after all, it's time for them to be paid back. And I think about how totally unscriptural that is. And if you happen to be one of those persons who's going through that, then listen to this verse. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, vengeance is mine, for it is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. So somebody says, well, good, I hope He piles it on thick and heavy. That's the human heart, that's carnality, isn't it? That's a plain old carnality.

But the truth is, that's the way people feel. I've heard people say, well, you know what, I know God'll take care of him, but I sure would like to help him. No, no, no, none of that is what He's saying.

He's saying that you and I must be willing to let Him deal with whatever's gone on, whatever's happened, no matter what it is, I have to be willing to let Him handle it. Thank you for listening to The Landmine of Unforgiveness. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-22 11:07:04 / 2023-02-22 11:16:39 / 10

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