Friday, January 27, 2012

The Unforgiveness Chain

I didn’t realize that I had allowed the chains of unforgiveness to weave themselves so intricately around my body until the pastor mentioned the symptoms a few Sundays back. “Someone does something to hurt you and you forgive them. But what happens at the very thought of the issue? Can you see them the way God sees them or are you still offended by what they have done to you?” “Whoa, what’s that?” I suddenly felt the tiring weight of “unforgiveness chains” pulling me down as a name came rushing to the front of my mind.
For the next few seconds I was flooded with a wave of images in my head of ways that I had been offended by someone. I had to admit right then and there that I had carefully constructed the “unforgivenss chain” I wore around my neck. I added bitterness link after anger link at the mere thought or mention of the person’s name. “But you don’t know what this person does and gets away with!” From the pulpit I heard “Unforgiveness is like lighting yourself on fire and hoping the other person dies of smoke inhalation.” “Humm.” I nervously shifted in my seat and finally there was illumination. What had I allowed Satan to do?
I had allowed Satan to hold me in bondage. His weapon of choice? Unforgiveness, bitterness, and anger. As the pastor continued to preach I thought about how the “unforgiveness chain” originally got its start. I was highly offended by someone’s treatment of me and others. I said something and asked for forgiveness, but the words we not heartfelt. I really didn't mean what I was say at all.I was merely going through the motions. Satan had his first link and was able to quickly add others by keeping those offenses at the forefront of my mind.  I was fighting a losing battle because I had forgiven in my own strength.  I was going nowhere fast. The more this person got away with, the more bitter I became adding another link to the unforgiveness chain. I thought about the fact that I had allowed myself to be offended at something that didn’t even have to do with me in most cases. With each thought I saw clearly another link in the long chain currently holding me captive. At this point I knew exactly what I needed to do to be free.
As I continued to listen to the pastor, I was reminded that if I was going to win a fight against Satan, I had to use God’s weapons. I can’t do anything on my own, but by the power of the Holy Spirit I can forgive. I can conquer unforgiveness by choosing to forgive. Before I left the church I chose to forgive. I had allowed the chains of unforgiveness to weigh me down for far too long. Now as I move forward, I will keep my eyes focused clearly on Christ and pray – not just for me but for the other person too.
Matthew 18: 32 – 35 (NCV) – The Unforgiving Servant
32 "Then the master called his servant in and said, 'You evil servant! Because you begged me to forget what you owed, I told you that you did not have to pay anything. 33 You should have showed mercy to that other servant, just as I showed mercy to you.' 34 The master was very angry and put the servant in prison to be punished until he could pay everything he owed. 35 "This king did what my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

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