SEVEN // Part 3 of 7
Since Resurrection Sunday, we have been focusing on walking out our freedom in Christ. This is our third week into our study of steps to freedom. Week one we shut the door to satanic practices and influences of the flesh. Week two we faced our addictions and embraced accountability. Today, we will focus on freeing ourselves from those who have hurt us.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. /// Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV)
The refusal to forgive people who have hurt you places you in a position of bondage. To many, this command seems unfair. So, you are wronged by someone. Then, you must forgive them whether they repent or not. And, if you don’t, God will not free you from your bondages. The truth is that when we are holding on to unforgiveness toward someone, we are living in the bondage of what they did to us even if the event was in the past. In other words, the person and the event still exercise control over us. This is why God commands us to forgive because through forgiveness, we begin to experience freedom from the offender’s control and freedom from the internal effects of the event. The Bible also tells us that when we hold unforgiveness, Satan can take advantage of us.
Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. /// 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 (NIV)
It is Satan’s plan to keep us in unforgiveness so that he can take advantage of us rather than us winning the victory over him.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank You for the riches of Your kindness, forbearance, and patience toward me, knowing that Your kindness has led me to repentance. I confess that I have not shown the same kindness and patience toward those who have hurt or offended me. Instead, I have held on to my anger, bitterness, and resentment toward them. Please bring to my mind all the people I need to forgive in order that I may do so now.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
Take out a sheet of paper. As we go along in this teaching, write down names of people that the Holy Spirit brings to your mind that you need to forgive. At the bottom of the page, include yourself and the Lord. From this day forward, we are going to put the past in the past and begin to live the life God has for us right now. Before we release the people that hold power over you to God, let’s discuss forgiveness.
1. Forgiveness is not merely forgetting.
Some people try to move forward through practicing deceptive amnesia. You cannot forget undealt with hurt and pain. You don’t have to forget to be healed. You are healed by being truthful with yourself about what has happened and by making Jesus lord over it through forgiving.
2. Forgiveness is a choice.
Many people give over control of their lives to painful experiences by saying they can’t forgive offenses or by saying that they don’t feel like forgiving. God would not require you to do something you could not do. You can forgive! What makes it hard is our fear of the pain or our desire to see revenge done to the offender. Romans 12:19 tells us that we are never to take our own revenge. If you choose to hang on to a desire for revenge, you will stay in bitterness, stay chained to the past, and continue living with the effects of the hurt. Just because you let someone off your hook doesn’t mean they are off God’s hook. But you must give judgment over to God. Forgive for you sake, so you can be free from the past.
3. Forgiveness trusts God with the consequences of another’s sin.
Someone may say, “Well, if I forgive I will still be dealing with some consequences of another’s sinful choices.” The truth is, you are going to live with those consequences whether you like it or not, so the choice you have is to do so in the bondage of bitterness or the freedom of forgiveness. Your unforgiveness will not change your circumstances or protect you from further pain.
4. Unforgiveness is not a tool of protection but an instrument of bondage.
Hold this passage as a prophecy over your life:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. /// Romans 8:28 (NIV)
5. Forgiveness comes from the heart.
It is in your heart that you are hurt. It is in the heart that we allow God to bring the hurt to the surface, we agree with Him about the effects the offense had upon us, and we choose to trust God with the offense and we move to put God back in control of our lives, our beliefs, and our emotions. Plain and simple: forgiveness reflects our trust in God to heal, to administrate our lives, to judge our offender in fairness and truth, and to create our future.
For every painful memory you have for each person on your list, pray aloud:
I choose to forgive for ,
which made me feel .
After you have been honest about how these things have affected you and have forgiven each person for each offense, conclude by praying this aloud:
Lord, I choose not to hold on to my resentment. I thank You for setting me free from the bondage of bitterness. I relinquish my right to seek revenge and ask You to heal my emotions. I now ask You to bless those who have hurt me.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
- Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV)
- 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 (NIV)
- Romans 8:28 (NIV)
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