One of the number one ways that the devil tries to snag a believer in Christ and bring them under attack is by trying to get us to hold onto offense and unforgiveness.
Did you know that holding onto unforgiveness against someone actually impacts your prayer life in a negative way? Check out the following verse:
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” -Mark 11:25
Wow…crazy to think about, right?
Another verse that always blows my mind to think about is this one:
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” -Matthew 6:14-15
Ouch, right? I don’t know about you guys, but that verse convicts me every time.
I want to ask you today-is there anyone in your life that you have been holding offense or unforgiveness towards?
When we choose to forgive we are not saying that what the other person did to us was right or even fair…we are just saying that we choose to forgive as Jesus forgave us for our sins. Think of all of the times that we have messed up BIG time in our lives and Jesus chose to forgive…how much more should we forgive our brother’s and sister’s in Christ when they mess up?
I also want you to remember that forgiveness starts as a decision a lot of the time…not an emotion. Sometimes when someone has done something really hard against you it takes time for your emotions to align with your decision to forgive, but as you keep stepping out in faith and choose to pray for the other person, God will begin to give you his heart towards that individual and things will get better.
I will never forget a valuable lesson that God spoke to my life one day-I had an event awhile back where an authority figure in my life did something REALLY wrong against me and I was having a hard time forgiving this person. God spoke to my heart: “Jill-I want you to pray for them.”
I said nooooo problem, God! I can do that. I started praying prayers like, “God, show them how wrong they are! Help them to repent! I pray that you would help them to apologize!”
God immediately paused me in the middle of my prayer time. He said, “Jill, I want you to pray that I would show you my heart towards this person. They are my kid, too. Start praying blessings over their life.”
I wish I could tell you that I handled this direction from God in a very mature way, but I was not at all happy about it at the time. I didn’t want to pray blessings over the very person that betrayed me and tried to ruin my life! How could God ask me to do such a thing?
But I did start to pray. And it started as an act of faith-my emotions didn’t line up immediately. But as I did, over time, I started to notice that my heart began to change towards this person. I felt more compassion. I was able to give grace. And I was finally able to forgive.
Ask God to help you during the hard seasons when someone has truly done you wrong, and pray blessings over your enemies. He knows how to get to their hearts better than anyone else. Trust your enemies to the Lord and let Him fight for you. God is an expert in this area.