THE HEALING POWER OF FORGIVENESS
• TIME DOES NOT heal wounds, only FORGIVENESS does.
• Time only helps us FORGET the wounds for a while, until something triggers the pain again.
THE DAMAGING EFFECTS OF UNFORGIVENESS
• When wounds don’t heal for a long time, they can HARDEN our hearts towards life, towards others and even towards God.
• Until we forgive, we are SLAVES of our past and can become emotional CRIPPLES throughout life.
• Unforgiveness creates “soul ties” with the people who have hurt us. It binds us to them and keeps us reliving the hurt done in the past (like a haunting ghost) so that it continues to affect us until the present time.
• Unforgiveness RETARDS personal growth and INHIBITS positive character formation.
• Much of our uncontrolled anger (rage) today is rooted in the rejection / dishonor we suffered in the past that we have not yet released in forgiveness.
It is an expression of our self-protectiveness, often pursued at the expense of another.
It manifests when: Old wounds are TRIGGERED and when unmet needs in the past remain UNMET in the present.
WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?
• FORGIVENESS means the CHOICE to renounce personal bitterness and release the offender(s) from all moral obligations to you for the damage done to you by refusing to avenge yourself or demand recompense for the damage done. (Mark 11:25; Colossians 3:13)
• It means entrusting the justice issue to God who promises to execute justice and repay you for damage done to you. (Romans 12:19-21)
• It means refusing to dwell on the memory of the offense and committing never to bring up the matter again to the offender or to other people. (Hebrews 10:17)
• Forgiveness is a CHOICE, not a FEELING.
Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
It is a commitment that involves three promises:
1. I will not bring up the matter with YOU again.
2. I will not bring up the matter with OTHERS anymore.
3. I will not dwell on the MEMORY even when I remember it.
• Forgiveness is a DUTY, not an OPTION.
Mark 11:25-26 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your sins.”
If we do not FORGIVE, God will not forgive us.
• Forgiveness must be SINCERE, not given GRUDGINGLY.
Matthew 18:34-35 “In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
Forgiveness can be more sincerely done when we are able to TRUST God to take care of the damage done to us. The assurance of justice diminishes resentment. (Romans 8:28)
• Forgiveness is a WAY OF LIFE, not just an occasional ACT.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up
to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
We daily live in a FALLEN world. Offenses should not take us by surprise but should be EXPECTED.
• Forgiveness comes full circle when you choose to bless the offender.
1 Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:15 “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.”
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Luke 6:27-28, 35-36
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you … But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
BREAKING FREE FROM THE BONDAGE OF INNER VOWS
What is An Inner Vow?
An Inner Vow is any vow that you make because of deep resentment against an offender or against oneself in order to seek vindication or preservation for your wounded soul.
“Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’”
Examples of Inner Vows
• “I will never forgive … I will never forget …”
• “I will never do to my children what my parents did to me …”
• “I will show them [or, prove to them] how wrong they are about me …”
• “I will never allow anyone to step on me or oppress me again …”
• “I will never let this pass by without getting even … I’ll get back at them …”
• “I will never love again …”
• “I will never be hurt again … I will never allow anyone to hurt me again …”
• “I will never admit or show my emotions again …”
• “I will never trust anyone again …“
• “I will never try that again … I’ll never be embarassed again …”
• “I will never do anything right … I’ll never be good enough …“
• “I will never amount to anything … they are right!”
The Danger of Inner Vows
• It opens your soul to demonic infestation and control
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca, ’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. (Matthew 5:21-22)
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
The Negative Effects of Inner Vows
1. Binds you to the past hurt that triggered it, and keeps the wound open and unhealed.
2. Creates in you an inner “drive” to fulfill a personal “mission” to seek vindication for your cursed identity.
3. Can render you incapable of forgiveness – leads to hardening of the heart towards people.
4. Traps your angerin a bombshell – ready to explode when a similar offense is done to you.
5. Prevents you from growing emotionally as it entraps your emotions in a self-protective mold that keeps you emotionally tied to the wounds of the past.
6. Renders you incapable of receiving love from others or from God.
7. Often leads you to repeat in your own life the pattern of offensive behavior you hated in others in the past, or push you to the opposite extreme.
8. Sometimes leads to recurring or lingering diseases caused by unrest in the soul.
Breaking Free From Inner Vows
• Recognize and Confess them
• Renounce and Cancel them
• Release forgiveness and Choose to bless the offender(s)
• Receive God’s love and forgiveness and Commit to walk in Love & Affirmation
• Recognize your new identity in Christ and Change your view of yourself accordingly
Walking in Love & Forgiveness As A Way of Life
• Eph 4:31-32. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
• Col 3:13. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
• Mark 11:25. “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Affirming your identity in Christ
• Ephesians 1:3-8, 11-14
• Ephesians 2:4-10
• Romans 8:1, 15-17, 31-39
• Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2