I’m beginning to see that unforgiveness is satan’s favorite tool. It’s a caustic substance that burns into a person’s soul. The offense that causes it to take root in a person’s soul was initiated by satan and works through the offender. This is not the offended one’s fault. When the offense lands in the offended person’s soul it is now in his territory, his soul, and it IS his responsibility to get the offense out of his soul. The longer it stays there…the greater the damage it does to the offended.
Meanwhile the very same initial perpetrator, satan – who caused the whole chain of events to start, slips around to the offended and encourages him to NOT let go of the offense through forgiveness. Satan wants to cause as much damage to people as possible.
When we choose not to forgive we actually cooperate with the initial perpetrator against our souls. We HELP satan continue to hurt us as he pokes the damaged area of our souls to provoke responses from us. He’s like a sadistic little kid torturing a frog.
The responses he can provoke from us are usually tailored to cause more damage in ourselves and others. For instance, if a man hurts his wife she might respond by finding a lover, deciding to divorce, choosing to withdraw, etc. All these cause more harm to her as well as to him.
This delights our enemy.
Let’s not give him any more delight.
As Christians, our souls don’t really belong to us…they belong to Jesus.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
When we forgive we take the authority given to us by God Himself and use it to practice good stewardship of our souls. We choose to take the offense and turn it over to the Lord for Him to do with as He sees fit. Then we ask Him to cleanse and heal the parts of our souls that were damaged by the offense. We ask Him to restore our souls which literally means to bring our souls back to their pre-damaged condition. It is crucial that we receive the healing and restoration of our souls; we must make that ours.
THEN, we confess to Him our reactions to the offense since most of our reactions are usually sinful in themselves. We repent, having rethought our reactions and now seeing them as sin and not justifiable reactions to the offense, and receive forgiveness for those sins. Since satan is relentless, we know that he will encourage us to go over the offense in our minds repeatedly. Therefore, we then purpose in our hearts to not pick up the offense again – allowing the Lord to convict the offender through the Holy Spirit.
Finally, we love our enemies – even the ones who are enemies only in terms of the offenses they committed against us. (Matthew 5:44) See in verse 45 the reason Jesus says to do this: "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”
We ALWAYS benefit when we obey the Lord!
“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:16-19)
When we do the things outlined above, things the Lord so clearly tells us in the Word to do, we are blessed. This also amounts to a counterattack towards the initial perpetrator against us, satan. We ARE at war and this is, to me, the purest form of “spiritual warfare” there is: to allow the Lord to take the battle to the spiritual plane instead of handling it ourselves on the earth, resulting in damaged relationships.
May your life, relationships and your home be healed.
Pastor Mike McInerney Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.