Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Unforgiving Spirit...It is Spiritual Cancer!

Eph 4:31 (ESV) "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be PUT AWAY from you, along with malice..."

I have heard from many believers the phrase, "I have forgiven him/her, BUT..." and while I know we are not God and we cannot fully forget those things done against us and those things that have hurt or harmed us... the commandment from Scripture is still abundantly clear for the believer. We must put away all things that bring about bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice toward others. This means when other do things to hurt us, we must be willing to truly forgive and move forward by putting away any bitterness it may bring, any wrath it may cause, any anger it may stir, any clamor it may lead to, any slander it could bring to mind or any malice it may cause in our heart!

"Now preacher what you are saying is impossible, when someone hurts me I can't just 'put it out of my mind'... I can forgive them, but I can't forget it...I have to guard my heart!" I know that when Scripture dictates we guard our heart such as Prov 4:23 "Guard your heart above all else..." that there is NOTHING that Scripture says to lead us to believe we can do this under our own power or with our own wisdom. What Scripture instructs is that we ingest the Word of God to protect us (Ps 119:11) and that when we submit in prayer and supplication to God, that HE will guard our hearts and minds (Phil 4:6-7)! You must make the decision to guard your heart, but in truth the only guard you have for your heart is His Word and His Wisdom.

With that being said, let me ask, "How often does bitterness steal your joy? How often does your anger or wrath ruin something for you? How many times have you allowed your spirit to clamor about in a malicious attitude toward others because of something they have done that you just cannot let go?"

Bitterness can still be present after we have professed forgiveness, and often it is the case. I know in my own life I have prayed about it, I have made bold statements of forgiveness and about 'moving' on, but in my heart I have harbored bitterness, anger and wrath. God's Word is very clear that we must make the effort and take the initiative to put these things out of our lives. Now while we cannot do this on our own [we need the power of Christ to fuel our quest] we must make the decision to move forward. Are you willing to make the decision to PUT AWAY wrath, malice, anger, bitterness and clamor out of your life?

Can you imagine if this was how God 'forgave' us? Can you imagine God saying, "I forgive you." but in His heart he harbored anger toward us... or his heart struggled with bitterness against us... this thought would terrify me if this is how God forgave! However, Scripture is clear in that His forgiveness removes sin and that God moves past it never to hold it against us again. We are called to imitate Christ in all things in our lives, so why can't we forgive as He does?

So the challenge here is not the initial act of forgiveness (as we are expected to forgive, not challenged to forgive). Rather, it is our attitude after we have professed that forgiveness. The question is: Do we truly put away all the bitterness, resentment, and anger that came with being hurt? Also, when we realize it is too much for us to do on our own, are we leaning on the power of the Holy Spirit to empower us to make the choice to lay aside these things? As believers, our challenge is to be like our Savior and strive to show the world His love, mercy and grace through our lives and what better way can we do this than to be forgiving and loving in this manner! I challenge you to listen to this song by Matthew West about Forgiveness (click here for song).

Take HIS Word and put into action in your life today!

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