January 14, 2005
The Landmine of Unforgiveness
One of the most devastating things we can do to ourselves is to develop an unforgiving spirit. Of course, it is difficult to give up resentment and our right to get even with those who have hurt us, but that is exactly what God asks us to do - for their good and our own.
Unforgiveness has an enormous negative effect on us. The unhappiness and stress caused by our bitterness creeps into the relationships we have with co-workers, friends, and family. Our lack of forgiveness will chew us up on the inside. But when we choose to be obedient to God and forgive, we will find freedom.
Assume full responsibility for the unforgiving spirit. The other person is responsible for wrongful actions toward us; but we also sin by harboring unforgiveness.
Confess honestly. It is appropriate to admit to God when we harbor resentment or wish that the other person be punished. But no matter what we tell the Lord, our unforgiving spirit will return if we do not lay down our anger. We must choose to do this repeatedly.
Pray for the person who acted wrongly. We may not feel like lifting him or her in prayer, but we must make a deliberate choice to talk to God on behalf of our wrongdoer.
Even after we have done all these things, the bitter spirit may still crop up in our hearts. When that happens, we can immediately thank God that we have, in fact, forgiven. We never want to let Satan trap us into rehashing the past.
On Jan. 2, 2005, Dr. Stanley begins a ten-week series entitled "Landmines in the Pathway of the Believer" that identifies and helps you disarm the spiritual landmines in your life. For more information, including television listings and airtimes, visit www.landminesofthebeliever.com.
For more about this topic and many more, be sure to visit the "Exploring the Bible" section of intouch.org. http://www.intouch.org/myintouch/exploring/index_76118.html