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The Poison of Unforgiveness

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A close look at how unforgiveness can destroy ones life!

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Matthew 18:21–35 NKJV
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
Acts 8:18–23 NKJV
And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
: 18-23
Matthew 18:21-35
I still have a praise inside of me
I been through the fire and
I been through the flood
Broken in pieces
And left all alone
But through it all God blessed me
And through it all God kept me
And I still have a praise inside of me
Yes I still have a praise inside of me
Can I get a witness here?
I been through the fire
I been through the flood
Broken in pieces
And left all alone
(Leader)
But I got good news tonight
But through it all
But through it all God blessed me
Through it all God kept me
And I still have a praise inside of me
Let me tell you what my praise is
There is a praise in my spirit
A praise down in my soul
A glory hallelujah
That cannot be controlled
And I still have a praise inside of me
Introduction
Conflict doesn’t just weigh down the spirit; it can lead to physical health issues. Whether it’s a simple spat with your spouse or long-held resentment toward a family member or friend, unresolved conflict can go deeper than you may realize—it may be affecting your physical health. The good news: Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress. And research points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age. In other words the older you get the more important it is for you to forgive from the heart!
According to Doctor Daren Swartz, M.D., the director of the mood disorders adult consultation clinic at the Johns Hopkins Hospital “There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.
According to Doctor Daren Swartz, M.D., the director of the mood disorders adult consultation clinic at the Johns Hopkins Hospital “There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.
Forgiveness is not just about saying the words. “It is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not,” Swartz says. As you release the anger, resentment and hostility, you begin to feel empathy, compassion and sometimes even affection for the person who wronged you.
Studies have found that some people are just naturally more forgiving. Consequently, they tend to be more satisfied with their lives and to have less depression, anxiety, stress, anger and hostility. People who hang on to grudges, however, are more likely to experience severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as other health conditions.
In the text,
Peter thought he was “extra-spiritual” for offering to forgive seven times, because the Jewish rabbis said that three times was enough. Jesus put no limit on forgiveness, for true forgiveness comes from a heart of love, and love keeps no record of wrongs ().
The lesson of the parable is obvious: if the king could forgive the servant’s debt of $12,000,000, certainly the servant could forgive his friend’s debt of about $15! We forgive others because Christ has forgiven us (; ). Keep in mind that this has nothing to do with salvation; it is a matter of “family forgiveness” between siblings in Christ, not between God and the sinner; so do not read eternal judgment into v. 34. God will certainly deal with a believer who harbors an unforgiving spirit.
One of the evidences that a person is saved is love for the brethren (). Christians who cannot forgive others have forgotten what Christ has done for them on the cross.
1 Corinthians 5:6–8 NKJV
Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 cor

The High cost of unforgiveness

I have seen so many people in spiritual bondage due to unforgiveness. It is a common source of bondage and demonic harassment, as Jesus warns us about in .
, "And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
That is nothing less than a strong literal warning that a person can fall into the hands of demonic spirits for torment and harassment if they are unforgiving and bitter inside. I have seen it again and again, it is not an uncommon scene to find a person harassed by demons because of bitterness in their heart. Bitterness is also known in the Bible as spiritual poison:
Acts 8:23 NKJV
For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
Unforgiveness not only gives demons the right or ability to torment us, but it also prevents God from forgiving our own sins! Now this is serious, this means that when we cry out for God's help, but have unforgiveness in our hearts, He looks down and our sins are before Him. It puts up a wall in our relationship with our heavenly Father. Jesus was very clear that if we are to be forgiven, we cannot be unforgiving towards others:
Matthew 6:15 NKJV
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6
Beyond this, bitterness is also a very common means for a born again believer to become spiritually defiled, that is, polluted or unclean spiritually:
Hebrews 12:15 NKJV
looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
Hebrews
Notice the word 'many' in the above verse... this is a very common means for people to become defiled and open themselves up for spiritual harassment from the enemy.
There are somethings that belong to God!
Unforgiveness is actually taking something that belongs to God, and taking matters into our own hands. God's Word tells us clearly that we should allow God to bring His wrath upon that person, and let Him have the room to repay those who wrong us:
Romans 12:19 NKJV
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
Those who have wronged us will reap what they sow. If you chose to forgive somebody, they may be off your hook, but that doesn't mean they are off God's. God's Word tells us clearly that what we sow, we shall reap:
Galatians 6:7 NKJV
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

What unforgiveness actually is

Unforgiveness is actually a form of hate against another person. If a person hates somebody, it is a sign that the person is lacking love in their heart. Why? They are not firmly rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, and Christ's love is not flowing through them. As simple as that sounds, that's how it works.
What somebody may have done against us is one thing, but if you take Satan's bait of unforgiveness to heart, it will do much more harm than they did.
Do you want to continue to allow their mess to trouble you even more?
Have they not done enough damage?
Allowing yourself to hang onto hard feelings and become bitter is only causing your wound to become even more infected spiritually. Honestly tell yourself, what good is it doing you to hold onto the hurt and bitterness that the enemy has tried to plant within you? It is doing nothing but harm, and is holding you in bondage spiritually.
The only reason you are holding onto those feelings is because it feels good inside. Don't let this fool you, that’s why the bible calls it spiritual poison:
acts
Acts 8:23 NKJV
For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
The reason Satan wants you to hold onto that bitterness is because it is poison to your soul. Jesus said that the devil came to steal, kill and destroy. Satan wants to do just that to you. Know wonder Satan makes unforgiveness 'feel good'... he wants your soul to be poisoned! Don't let him do this to you... stop him dead in his tracks! Release yourself from those hurt feelings, and let them go... stop holding onto those feelings, and let that poison out of your soul!
Let me give you a few tools that you can use to help you overcome this stronghold in your life!

Use props

Sometimes a ritual can help us come to terms with someone or something that has hurt us. So create your own ritual to help move you from anger to forgiveness. For instance, write a letter to the person expressing your hurt and anger, then burn it. Next, write another letter to the person expressing your forgiveness and explaining the reasons behind your decision. You can either mail the second letter or put it in a drawer, but either way, it represents an important step in the journey of forgiveness.

Make forgiveness a part of your life!

Forgiveness is a choice, Swartz says. “You are choosing to offer compassion and empathy to the person who wronged you.” The following steps can help you develop a more forgiving attitude—and benefit from better emotional and physical health.

Reflect and remember

That includes the events themselves, and also how you reacted, how you felt, and how the anger and hurt have affected you since. Sometimes keep a journal of how things affect you my help!

Try to empathize with the other person!

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another! For instance, if your spouse grew up in an alcoholic family, then anger when you have too many glasses of wine might be more understandable, says Swartz.

Forgive deeply

The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Fifteen: The King’s Rebuke (Matthew 18)

When we start living in an atmosphere of humility and honesty, we must take some risks and expect some dangers. Unless humility and honesty result in forgiveness, relationships cannot be mended and strengthened. Peter recognized the risks involved and asked Jesus how he should handle them in the future.

But Peter made some serious mistakes. To begin with, he lacked humility himself. He was sure his brother would sin against him, but not he against his brother! Peter’s second mistake was in asking for limits and measures. Where there is love, there can be no limits or dimensions (Eph. 3:17–19). Peter thought he was showing great faith and love when he offered to forgive at least seven times. After all, the rabbis taught that three times was sufficient.

Our Lord’s reply, “Until seventy times seven” (490 times) must have startled Peter. Who could keep count for that many offenses? But that was exactly the point Jesus was making: Love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5, NIV). By the time we have forgiven a brother that many times, we are in the habit of forgiving.

But Jesus was not advising careless or shallow forgiveness. Christian love is not blind (Phil. 1:9–10). The forgiveness Christ requires is on the basis of the instructions He gave in Matthew 18:15–20. If a brother is guilty of a repeated sin, no doubt he would find strength and power to conquer that sin through the encouragement of his loving and forgiving brethren. If we condemn a brother, we bring out the worst in him. But if we create an atmosphere of love and forgiveness, we can help God bring out the best in him.

The parable illustrates the power of forgiveness. It is important to note that this parable is not about salvation, for salvation is wholly of grace and is unconditionally given. To make God’s forgiveness a temporary thing is to violate the very truth of Scripture (Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:8–9; Titus 3:3–7). The parable deals with forgiveness between brothers, not between lost sinners and God. The emphasis in this chapter is on brother forgiving brother (Matt. 18:15, 21).

The main character in this parable went through three stages in his experience of forgiveness.

He was a debtor (vv. 23–27). This man had been stealing funds from the king and, when the books were audited, his crime was discovered. The total tax levy in Palestine was about 800 talents a year, so you can see how dishonest this man was. In terms of today’s buying power, this was probably equivalent to over $10 million.

But this man actually thought he could get out of the debt. He told the king that, given enough time, he could pay it back. We detect two sins here: pride and a lack of sincere repentance. The man was not ashamed because he stole the money; he was ashamed because he got caught. And he actually thought he was big enough to earn the money to repay the king’s account. In the economy of that day, a man would have had to work twenty years to earn one talent.

His case was hopeless, except for one thing: The king was a man of compassion. He assumed the loss and forgave the servant. This meant that the man was free and that he and his family would not be thrown into a debtor’s prison. The servant did not deserve this forgiveness; it was purely an act of love and mercy on the part of the master.

He was a creditor (vv. 28–30). The servant left the presence of the king and went and found a fellow servant who owed him 100 pence. The average worker earned one penny a day, so this debt was insignificant compared to what the servant had owed the king. Instead of sharing with his friend the joy of his own release, the servant mistreated his friend and demanded that he pay the debt. The debtor used the same approach as the servant: “Have patience with me and I will pay you all of it!” But the unjust servant was unwilling to grant to others what he wanted others to grant to him.

Perhaps he had the legal right to throw the man in prison, but he did not have the moral right. He had been forgiven himself—should he not forgive his fellow servant? He and his family had been spared the shame and suffering of prison. Should he not spare his friend?

He became a prisoner (vv. 31–34). The king originally delivered him from prison, but the servant put himself back in. The servant exercised justice and cast his friend into prison. “So you want to live by justice?” asked the king. “Then you shall have justice! Throw the wicked servant in prison and torment him! I will do to him as he has done to others.” (There is no suggestion that the entire family was sentenced. After all, it was the father who abused the other servant and ignored the king’s kindness.)

The world’s worst prison is the prison of an unforgiving heart. If we refuse to forgive others, then we are only imprisoning ourselves and causing our own torment. Some of the most miserable people I have met in my ministry have been people who would not forgive others. They lived only to imagine ways to punish these people who had wronged them. But they were really only punishing themselves.

What was wrong with this man? The same thing that is wrong with many professing Christians: They have received forgiveness, but they have not really experienced forgiveness deep in their hearts. Therefore, they are unable to share forgiveness with those who have wronged them. If we live only according to justice, always seeking to get what is ours, we will put ourselves into prison. But if we live according to forgiveness, sharing with others what God has shared with us, then we will enjoy freedom and joy. Peter asked for a just measuring rod; Jesus told him to practice forgiveness and forget the measuring rod.

Our Lord’s warning is serious. He did not say that God saves only those who forgive others. The theme of this parable is forgiveness between brothers, not salvation for lost sinners. Jesus warned us that God cannot forgive us if we do not have humble and repentant hearts. We reveal the true condition of our hearts by the way we treat others. When our hearts are humble and repentant, we will gladly forgive our brothers. But where there is pride and a desire for revenge, there can be no true repentance; and this means God cannot forgive.

In other words, it is not enough to receive God’s forgiveness, or even the forgiveness of others. We must experience that forgiveness in our hearts so that it humbles us and makes us gentle and forgiving toward others. The servant in the parable did not have a deep experience of forgiveness and humility. He was simply glad to be “off the hook.” He had never really repented.

“And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32). “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you” (Col. 3:13).

Let go of Expectation.

An apology may not change your relationship with the other person or elicit an apology from her. If you don’t expect either, you won’t be disappointed.

Decide to forgive.

Once you make that choice, seal it with an action. If you don’t feel you can talk to the person who wronged you, write about your forgiveness in a journal or even talk about it to someone else in your life whom you trust.

For give yourself!

1. Acknowledge your anger. Instead of pushing your anger into the recesses of your mind or refusing to admit it is there, be mindful of what you are feeling. If you can admit that you are angry, then you can begin to tackle those emotions and find a solution to the problem. 2. Realize why you are angry or feeling hateful. Look deep within yourself and ask yourself why you are upset. Many times, anger and hatred come from a place of fear, insecurity or self-defense. Once you find the root of your anger, ask yourself if your physical and mental health are worth the struggle. 3. Step back for a moment. In the heat of the moment it can be hard to make rational decisions. Take a break, go for a walk or practice meditation until you have calmed down a bit. Take deep breaths and allow yourself to relax. Once your mind is calm, you can will be able to control your emotions in a more efficient manner. 4. Deal with the issue. Unresolved anger can seriously affect your health and happiness. Instead of ignoring the issue, try to find a solution to the problem. If the situation is beyond your control, try to resolve it in your head by shifting your mindset. You may not be able to change a particular person or situation, but you can change how you think about them. 5. Talk to people about what’s on your mind. Sometimes just talking to a close friend, family member or even a therapist about something that is making you angry can help to alleviate the negative feelings you are having. Moreover, other people can often offer valuable advice that comes from an objective perspective. 6. Let go of unhealthy thought patterns. If you find yourself always thinking the worst about others and/or yourself, try to retrain your mind to think more positively. If you can let negative thought patterns go and start to appreciate the good in life, you will find that you have less to be angry about, better health and a happier disposition. We all experience anger and hatred at some point in our lives. It is natural to feel angry about something, as long as you know how to deal with your anger so that it doesn’t negatively affect your health and well-being. Remember that anger comes from within, and it can be just as easy to eliminate anger as to suppress it or hold on to it. In fact, sometimes it is easier to just let something go than to carry on being upset. If you can learn to tackle your anger at its root and resolve your negative feelings without lashing out at yourself or others, you will already be one step further on the path to optimal health and happiness. Forgive yourself!
1. Acknowledge your anger. Instead of pushing your anger into the recesses of your mind or refusing to admit it is there, be mindful of what you are feeling. If you can admit that you are angry, then you can begin to tackle those emotions and find a solution to the problem. 2. Realize why you are angry or feeling hateful. Look deep within yourself and ask yourself why you are upset. Many times, anger and hatred come from a place of fear, insecurity or self-defense. Once you find the root of your anger, ask yourself if your physical and mental health are worth the struggle. 3. Step back for a moment. In the heat of the moment it can be hard to make rational decisions. Take a break, go for a walk or practice meditation until you have calmed down a bit. Take deep breaths and allow yourself to relax. Once your mind is calm, you can will be able to control your emotions in a more efficient manner. 4. Deal with the issue. Unresolved anger can seriously affect your health and happiness. Instead of ignoring the issue, try to find a solution to the problem. If the situation is beyond your control, try to resolve it in your head by shifting your mindset. You may not be able to change a particular person or situation, but you can change how you think about them. 5. Talk to people about what’s on your mind. Sometimes just talking to a close friend, family member or even a therapist about something that is making you angry can help to alleviate the negative feelings you are having. Moreover, other people can often offer valuable advice that comes from an objective perspective. 6. Let go of unhealthy thought patterns. If you find yourself always thinking the worst about others and/or yourself, try to retrain your mind to think more positively. If you can let negative thought patterns go and start to appreciate the good in life, you will find that you have less to be angry about, better health and a happier disposition. We all experience anger and hatred at some point in our lives. It is natural to feel angry about something, as long as you know how to deal with your anger so that it doesn’t negatively affect your health and well-being. Remember that anger comes from within, and it can be just as easy to eliminate anger as to suppress it or hold on to it. In fact, sometimes it is easier to just let something go than to carry on being upset. If you can learn to tackle your anger at its root and resolve your negative feelings without lashing out at yourself or others, you will already be one step further on the path to optimal health and happiness. Forgive yourself!
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