During our weekly online community group, one of our friends asked a sincere question about forgiveness…it was clear that God was doing something new and beautiful in her life.
If we haven’t already, may all of us come to the season in our lives where we ask God to help us forgive those who were used by the enemy to bring hurt in our lives.
Well, naturally her question led to a powerful discussion, and we all walked away remembering that God has a plan for everything we will face in life.
So, today we are going to talk about the importance of forgiveness and the devil’s venom called unforgiveness.
When we are unaware of how a simple or not so simple hurt vows to send us down anger lane, God is aware, and He has a plan.
After all, anger is one of the basic human emotions—as elemental as happiness, sadness, anxiety, or disgust. It’s God-given.
All these God-given emotions are tied to our basic survival. Daily life happens and in that process of living amongst individuals who are either healthy or broken, our emotions become honed or manipulated.
Without warning, most of us are introduced to the emotion of anger or confusion.
Even when we are not aware of the impact of these emotional hijackings… they are set in motion.
Many times, individuals are too young to even realize what is going on. One doesn’t know to take things to God, but adults do…and that’s where our conversation picks up today. God wants to excise the pain out of our hearts, and He needs our help.
Anger is related to the “fight, flight, or freeze” response of the sympathetic nervous system; it prepares humans to fight.
But fighting doesn’t necessarily mean throwing punches. It can also mean standing up for our God-given rights as humans in healthy ways.
God wants us to fight for ourselves.
We can’t let anger just fester, it doesn’t just stay put. It likes to plant corrosive bitter ulcers in our souls. Hurt wants us to continue to suffer. It’s evil stuff.
The seed of bitterness is a hurt that is planted in someone. It may be intentional or unintentional. Someone does not mean to hurt you, but you were hurt.
And we don’t aim to become bitter people in our relationships, but the enemy is always working over-time to see these opportunities take place in our lives.
The world is full of people who have not dealt with old hurts. They look for things to criticize, people to find fault with, and ways to justify the way they feel.
Have you ever seen people who are hypercritical? Generally, they are bitter people.
They know how to push your hot buttons until you react in a way to further justify their bitterness. Then, they can say, “Aha! I was right. I have a right to be bitter.”
Hebrews 12:15 is clear when it teaches us about bitterness.
“…see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled…”
Hurt leads to anger to resentment to bitterness. It’s that easy.
Paul emphasized the importance of forgiveness in his letter to the Ephesians:
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Hurt tempts us all to comply with a variety of unreasonable emotions. There is always a beginning – let us see the end from the beginning. Today, let’s recognize that the soil of bitterness is a heart that harbors hostility and does not deal with hurt by the grace of God. But we can begin to change that.
Let’s pick up next week with the second part of our discussion on unforgiveness.