THE BONDAGE OF UNFORGIVENESS

“My command is this: Love each other as I HAVE LOVED YOU.” JOHN 15:12

When I read this verse I can’t help but think about the subject of FORGIVENESS (among other things), and here’s why. When we love like Jesus loved, then we begin to FORGIVE like He FORGAVE.

In LUKE 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, FORGIVE THEM, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Here Jesus is being wrongfully punished, like a criminal and yet His prayer to God was to ask Him to FORGIVE these people. This forgiveness could ONLY BE MADE out of LOVE.

His love CAUSED Him to EXTEND FORGIVENESS in the midst of abuse and being mistreated.

When we DO NOT forgive we ARE NOT operating with the same LOVE that Christ had or has.

EMBRACING the fact that Jesus forgives you and I SHOULD give us the STRENGTH to forgive others.

Growing up, I was very fortunate because my dad modeled how to say, “I’m sorry.” But he didn’t stop there. He taught me how to forgive.

Many times my dad would sit me down and admit some fault that he committed against me.

It typically was something like, “I’m sorry that I flew off the handle.” “I’m sorry that I didn’t give you an opportunity to share your side of the story.” “I’m sorry that I spoke to you in that manner.”

My typical knee-jerk response was to tell him it was okay. But he would fire back and tell me it was not okay and then he would solicit something from me. He would ask, “Will you forgive me?” To which I always would say, “Yes” and then he and I would move on from there.

My father’s humility taught me a few things: One, real men admit when they’re wrong. Two, it’s okay to ask for forgiveness, and, three, the IMPORTANCE of granting said forgiveness.

Forgiveness is NOT an easy subject to embrace, simply because it comes with a lot of different emotions. At times we may have difficulty exercising forgiveness. WHY? Because the pain caused by others runs deep.

However, we still need to remember that Jesus said for us to love others as HE HAS LOVED US (JOHN 15:12).

Jesus was all about RECONCILIATION and RESTORATION. He was NOT ABOUT revenge, writing people off, and holding people in bondage to past mistakes.

When we HOLD people hostage to their past behavior, they’re trapped by our bitterness. Our hurt imprisons them to their past mistakes; so they’re jailed. And for some… they may not even know it.

When we DON’T FORGIVE, not only do we hold people hostage to their mistakes, but also, we become IMPRISONED by our very own UNFORGIVENESS. We IMPRISON ourselves to the pain caused by others.

Unforgiveness is like a magnet that draws the enemy in. Satan convinces us that we have the right to be angry (forever) and he stirs the pot of negative emotions, which produces that sick feeling inside, and not only does it imprison others but us as well.

God desires for us to FORGIVE and live FREE from past hurt and bitterness.

Remember, we’re the jailer and we have the “key” of forgiveness. The question is will we CHOOSE to use the key to set others and ourselves free?

About: Rbulman:
Rick Bulman is the Senior Pastor at New Hope Foursquare Church in Bellingham, Washington. He is a normal guy (actually, depends on who you ask) who loves Jesus. His faith is real and he tries to live life as transparent as possible. Rick is married and has 4 amazing kids! To see all articles by Rick-Bulman Click Here!
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