[Part 4 of 4: Forgiveness Series]
We’ve been talking about forgiveness. Concerning this, the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). They were as human as we are when it comes to needing help in the area of forgiving others. But Jesus spoke of forgiving quite often, indicating it was a key to walking in the fullness of God and maturing in faith. In fact, He said, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25).
To forgive means to release, let it go, dismiss it, cancel it, and give up resentment. This is what God did for us. He forgave our trespasses (failings and shortcomings). But as you already know, forgiving others isn’t always easy. First, it’s an act of faith and obedience. And secondly, it’s a choice. But the real question is: “How?”
My answer is odd, but simple: “Grit your teeth and speak.”
What I mean is, you won’t “feel” like forgiving but obedience is important. God knows what you don’t and can see what you can’t, therefore it’s important to trust His instruction, no matter how we feel. This isn’t hypocritical either… Faith is an action and sometimes you have to “school” yourself in faith. But another very important aspect of forgiveness is that you actually have to say the words “I forgive so-and-so.”
The battlefield will always be in your mind. This is where the enemy attacks best. But your voice is the address to your authority in Christ. When you speak, your thoughts yield (every time).
Let’s do a little exercise together. In just a moment, I want you to (1) start counting in your head (not aloud) from 1 to 10, and then (2) somewhere in the middle of your counting, say your name out loud.
Ready? Set. GO!
What happened to the counting in your head when you said your name aloud?
I guarantee it stopped because your voice always has precedence over your thoughts! Mental thoughts have to pause when you speak. And this principle will help you forgive. When a negative thought is plaguing your mind, you need to say something out-loud to regain control. Too often, people try to battle the attacks in their mind with more thoughts. This will never work. All you’ve done is get in an argument with the enemy… in your head! This is why you must speak your faith concerning forgiveness.
Your emotions toward the other person or situation will be strong and your mind will run rampant with re-played conversations and “what-ifs” if you allow it to. But when you obey Jesus’ instruction to forgive by faith, choosing to obey, and then say so out-loud, you regain the authority and automatically increase your faith.
Is it resolved at this point? No, probably not. But if a vicious, infectious dog comes up on your property numerous times after you’ve run him off, do you give up? No way! You use your authority and tell him again to “Scram!” And in the same way, the devil will not give up easily, so neither should you.
You can either wear the devil down, or he will wear you down. No matter how you “feel” in the midst of your battle, grit your teeth and SPEAK your faith with words of forgiveness. As you continue to do this, not only will the emotions of unforgiveness lose their power, but the enemy will tire of you!
And this is the victory Jesus intended for you when He instructed us to forgive. You are the victor –not the victim!
<< Part 3 |Forgiveness Series