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The Landmine of Unforgiveness - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
February 20, 2023 12:00 am

The Landmine of Unforgiveness - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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February 20, 2023 12:00 am

The last time somebody committed an offense against you, how did you respond?


Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, February twentieth. It's natural to be angry or want revenge when you are hurt, but there's only one way to truly get over the wounds inflicted by others. Let's hear about that in part two of The Landmine of Unforgiveness. It is never the will of God to have an unforgiving spirit to hold something against anyone, no matter what. You may be able to justify it in your own mind, but you can't justify it according to God's Word.

So, how do you deal with that hurt, that pain, that suffering, that ache, that thing that haunts you, that thing that weighs you down, that has you in bondage, imprisoned, somehow in some way you'd like to deal with it, but somehow you can't deal with it. It's just there. They did it to you. If you could just, just make them pay in some way, but you can't. Because it's not the will of God you make them pay. And especially if you're a child of God, it doesn't even fit who you are. Followers of Jesus Christ do not try to make people pay for the wrong that has been acted toward them.

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.

Paul's so practical in Ephesians and Colossians telling us how we need to deal with all kind of situations and circumstances. And here's what the Scripture says, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you. 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 circumstances, sometimes depending upon a person's spiritual maturity, sometimes depending upon how long a person's been in a 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, well, let's think about what the consequences are, for example. If a person does not forgive those who wrong them. Well, the consequences, first of all, look invisible, appear to be invisible and very silent.

You don't hear anything, you don't see anything. But when a person is unforgiving, it begins on the inside in their spirit, in their heart. It also works in their mind.

So, what happens? It alters their thinking. And a person usually who is unforgiving, even toward others, is critical, sometimes sarcastic. And oftentimes if you listen to their conversation, here's what you'll find. At some point in that conversation, they're going to reveal something about their unforgiving spirit. They can't keep it. Because see, it's inside, it's a part of them.

And it's churning away. And it's working on their personality. It's working on their character.

You don't see it, you don't hear it, but you know it's there. And then when they begin to talk and get honest and express their feelings about other people, before long, you find out there's something that's not level, there's something not right. And so, it affects their whole personality, their whole being is affected by it. Not only that, it affects their relationships. How many of you love being around a bitter person?

Nobody does. And you see, when I say it's invisible, let me say this. When the person is unforgiving and that anger and bitterness is ruling their life, you can see it in their eyes.

You look at a person, you're close to that person, or you get close to that person. You look into the eyes of a bitter person. There's no joy there. There's no happiness there. There's no peace there.

Why did Jesus say? The eye is the light of the body. Sometimes they're sad, sometimes they're very, very angry. And when they're angry, they can't hide it very long. Therefore, if it affects the human body, how is it going to affect the human body? Anger, resentment, hostility, all of those things create what? Tension and stress in a person's life.

So eventually, what happens? Blood pressure goes up and they want to blame it on somebody as well. I'll tell you, you know what, if you just knew what they'd done, you'd understand why I'm going to the doctor and taking ten different things. Because that's what they did to me.

No, they didn't make that happen to you. It affects your blood pressure. It'll affect your heart sooner or later.

It'll affect everything about your body. Because you can't live with bitterness. God did not create these bodies to be living with an unforgiving spirit, hostility, anger, bitterness, and resentment toward other people. That's not the way He made us. He made us to live in peace and joy and happiness and contentment. Does that mean it'll always be easy?

No, but it means simply this. With the power of the Holy Spirit in our life, we can lay it down, we can forgive. We can have contentment in the midst of great difficulty. We can have peace in the midst oftentimes of warfare going on around us. As long as we keep our heart clean and our spirit right and our forgiveness flowing in the other direction, no matter what happens, you know, as long as the flow is toward the other person, no matter what happens, there is a peace and a joy you cannot even explain.

Because that is the power of God in the heart of His followers. If you and I will keep the flow of forgiveness going in the right direction. You see the consequences of what appears to be a little sin. Unforgiveness is a serious sin because it affects every relationship.

Think about this. It affects your prayer life. You cannot come to Him with confidence and faith asking God to do for you what you want Him to do, what you feel like He needs. And at the same time, when it comes to forgiveness, you won't forgive someone. It's out of character for God to give and give and answer and answer and answer prayer while we are deliberately, willfully sinning against Him. And people oftentimes wonder, well, why doesn't God answer my prayer? Look within.

It's the best place to look. And an unforgiving spirit, you just cancel it out. Well, what about your worship? And we sing, It is well with my soul.

That's an awesome song. But let me ask you this question. How can you sing, It is well with my soul, when you have an unforgiving spirit? Because the truth is, it is not well with your soul. It cannot be well with your soul when you are holding a spirit of bitterness towards someone else. And we sing, Oh, the blood of Jesus that takes away our sin. Well, did it take away your brother's sin?

Then why are you holding it against him? You see, the truth is, it's so simple but so complex for some people. And yet, God made it simple.

Here's what He said. As your Father's forgiven you, so forgive the one who's wronged you. Now, it doesn't get any simpler than that, any plainer than that, any, listen, any clearer than that.

So why do we justify it? Think about this. How can you read the Word of God and understand the Scripture at the same time you come? For example, how would you read Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians?

Just take those three. How would you read those, understand them, apply them? So I'm applying this to my life. If you're not going to apply it, you might as well not read it. But if you're reading the Scriptures and applying it to your life, what do you do with these verses?

Here's what people do. They walk through the Scripture, hop over that, move on ahead of something else, and refuse to deal with sin. The Spirit of God does not hop. He does not skip us through any portion of the Scripture. When He comes to something in there, what do we say about the Word of God? It's a mirror. What does that mean?

It reveals to me what I'm like on the inside. And so your Scripture reading's going to be hindered, your worship's going to be hindered, prayer life's going to be hindered, and it's going to short-circuit your faith. So therefore, you're going to get discouraged. Well, God's not answering my prayer. And you'll say, God, why don't you answer my prayer? And not only that, not only does it affect your body, your worship, your relationship to Him, but you see, your whole perspective on life gets warped.

God intends for us to live lives that are fruitful. And so, how could you witness to someone else? And let's say that you witness to someone, you say to them, here's what Jesus said, He will forgive us of our sins. And if someone said to you, and you're withholding forgiveness, and they said, well, so-and-so wronged me, now what am I to do about them?

What would you say? You'd say, forgive them. At the same time, you're withholding something. You see, we can all play the hypocrite without realizing it. When it gets right down to it, you and I forsook, we surrendered our right to hold unforgiveness toward anyone the day we trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.

We gave it up. There are many consequences that affect every aspect of our life. Relationship to Him, relationship to others, our physical being, the most intimate relationships. Imagine, when I think about people being married, and one of them is unforgiving toward the other one. And then what do they want? They want to go to bed with the other person with this unforgiving spirit. Or they want them to do thus-and-so with this unforgiving spirit. God didn't make us to be able to just brush it aside and move on in life. So, what do we do with it? So, let's think about something for a moment.

How do you deal with it? Here's what He said. He said, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you. So, He said, Okay? All right? So, I acknowledge I have an unforgiving spirit.

How do I deal with it? Here's what you do. Listen carefully. First of all, you acknowledge I do have an unforgiving spirit and identify the person. Just say, God, she, he, they, just name them.

Here's what they did. I confess that I have an unforgiving spirit. And you pray to God and ask Him that the Spirit of God would enable you to lay that down. Paul talks about laying aside and laying down other sins in Colossians. Lay it down. Lay it aside.

Well, what about unforgiveness? It's a sin. It's an act of rebellion.

So, how do I lay it aside? Here's what I do. I choose. It's a choice.

It's a decision. I choose to no longer hold an unforgiving spirit toward that person. You say, but I don't feel that.

It's got nothing to do with your feelings. Feelings will come. For example, you can be saved by the grace of God and not have any feeling about it at the moment. That is, if you ask Him to forgive you of your sins and tell Him you're receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you may have lived a very wicked life, a devilish life, and you ask God to save you, you may not have any feeling at the moment, but you make a decision by faith to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. He accepts you, forgives you, cleanses you, writes your name in the Lamb's Book of Life, gives you the gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

And at the moment, it's so overwhelming, you may not have a lot of feeling about it. You say, well, don't I have to have feeling to forgive someone? No. He says, as the Lord forgave me, I am to forgive the other person, period.

It is a choice. I will no longer hold it against them. And somebody says, well, does that mean I won't remember it?

No, it doesn't mean that. There's some things that are done against people they will never forget. Never forget them, no matter what.

Now, listen carefully. Forgetting it is one thing. Forgiving them is something else. It may become more and more distant in your past when you have forgiven them. But some things you will never forget.

But here's the difference. If I forgive that person, when I think about it, I don't have these bad feelings. When I think about it, I don't think about holding it against them. I don't think about it as something done to me that was wicked and violent, evil and painful and hurtful.

I think about something that happened and thank God I could forgive them and move on. It's a decision you make. Can you forgive?

Yes, you can. How will you know whether you did or not? Let me give you an example of my own life. Somebody hurt me very deeply. Somebody I loved, did everything I knew to help them in life, and had not seen them in a long time. I forgave them. I forgave them immediately because I know that I'm not going to cross the street to avoid anybody. I'm not going to do that.

I'm not going to live that kind of life. And so, I didn't, I forgave them. As difficult as it was to see it happen, I was quick to forgive them. So, I often wondered how I'd feel if I saw them again. And quite some time went by, and when I saw this person, I couldn't wait to get to them. And when I saw them and the other person saw me, we headed toward each other, I found my arms out, waiting to put my arms around that person and hug them and tell them how glad I was to see them. That's how I really knew that I had forgiven them.

Is there anybody? You need to put your arms around. Is anybody out there that it was painful and you've not forgotten it? Or it may not be that it would be proper for you to put your arms around them. But it may be that a handshake or a smile.

Or it may be that you could say, I'm really delighted to see you again. And I wonder how many of you maybe you've reached way up yonder in your years and there are people that you've shunned and held back and just couldn't forgive them. Listen carefully, you do not want to die and leave unforgiveness in somebody's life. You don't want to die and have that person know that you left this earth with an unforgiving spirit toward them.

You see, it doesn't fit who you are as a believer. So, what I'm asking you to do is to be wise enough. Step out of that prison.

Shake off those shackles of unforgiveness and let Jesus Christ send His love into your heart and through your heart to the other person. Life will change. Believe me, it'll change. You won't be the same person. And the people who know you will say, what happened to you? You just have to say, I stepped out of prison. I got unshackled. I'm free for the first time in years and years and years. And you'll be glad.

How does that happen? Well, if you've never trusted Jesus, it's not going to happen because here's what happens. When you ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins, and you tell Him that you're accepting Him as your personal Savior on the basis, not that you're going to be better, but on the basis that His death at Calvary paid you some debt in full, and that you believe that. And you're receiving Him as your personal Savior. The moment you do that, the Spirit of God comes into your life. And He's there as Jesus called Him, the Helper.

Help us how? Help us in every single aspect of our life. And to help you to be forgiving is one of those. You trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior.

The power to forgive those who have wronged you, hurt you, pained you is there for your willingness to express it to whomever it may be and whatever they may have done. And I want to encourage you to ask Him to forgive you, to cleanse you, to save you. And once you do, God will show you what steps to take.

You say, well, I am a Christian, but you've just named me today. Then all you have to do is make this decision. I choose by the power of the Spirit of God within me to lay down all unforgiveness, all this bitterness, all this resentment, all this hostility, all this anger. I choose by the grace of God to lay it down. And you say, well, suppose it crops up again. Lay it down. Suppose it comes back again. Lay it down. And after a while, you know what?

It won't crop up anymore. And you'll feel this awesome sense of life-changing freedom. Thank you for listening to part two of 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, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-20 05:41:36 / 2023-02-20 05:49:40 / 8

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