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When unforgiveness digs in
- Jacob Ninan
God wants us to be forgiving towards the others since we ourselves have received forgiveness without deserving it (Ep.4:32). Even when people do wicked things against us we must remember that we have no right to judge them; we have to leave that to God (Ro.12:19). If we imagine that we aren't going to let someone 'get away with it' we must realise that we ourselves would be in danger of losing our forgiveness (Mt.18:35).
God warns us not to be unforgiving towards anyone because that can give an opportunity to Satan to latch on to us (2Co.2:10,11). Making use of that 'access point' Satan is going to bombard us will all kinds of thoughts and imaginations that can finally ruin even our personality.
For example, if we have gone though some unfair, unjust treatment in our developing years, it is possible that we have raged against people in our mind even though we couldn't retaliate against them externally. We may have been upset with God for letting this happen to us. Satan would have made use of this opportunity to poison our mind towards those people or certain classes of people, and this would have shaped our thinking, response patterns, etc., from then onwards. The chances are that these people have passed out of our life and we have practically forgotten about those events, but the distortions that we experienced then in our thinking are still continuing. We may find it difficult now to deal with people in a mature way, we may be very touchy with people, we may find it difficult to face criticism (even the constructive ones), we may be jumping to negative conclusions about people too quickly, etc. It may be difficult for us to realise that all these difficulties rose from an original root of bitterness against someone, which has not been cleared up so far (He.12:15).
The healing process must start with our forgiving all those who have hurt us, beginning with the ones who come up in our mind immediately. The issue is not whether they deserve to be forgiven, because we also cannot be forgiven on that basis (Mt.6:14,15). We 'let them go' by 'taking off our hands from their necks' to which we have been holding on so far. To be able to forgive them from our heart it is very helpful to remember how much the Lord has forgiven us (Co.3:13). Remember how Jesus forgave those those who had crucified Him, even while hanging on the cross (Lk.23:34).
If we have been upset with God about the problems we went through, recognise that it was not His fault but those of the people who did this to us and our own response to it. We can ask Him to forgive us for unjustly blaming Him and also for our own sinful reaction when we went through our troubles.
When we set things right in our heart like this we can experience the peace and joy that comes to our life because Satan has lost a major point of access in our life! Now we can allow our mind to be transformed in godly ways with God's word and experience the newness of life.