“This is how My heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18:35 (NIV)
Forgiveness is not an option for those who follow Jesus. His own words say that if we don’t forgive, the Father literally must release us to the torturers (Matthew 18:34). You see, unforgiveness gives the devil a legal right to operate in a person’s life. When we choose unforgiveness we literally voluntarily assign ourselves an endless prison sentence. Forgiveness has more to do with us than it does the one who we are forgiving!
Forgiveness releases healing, while unforgiveness hinders receiving the healing. This is the single most important part of healing. God wants to release the power of healing but can’t because of unforgiveness. People are sick and die prematurely because they carry unforgiveness! Forgiveness doesn’t have anything to do about feeling good toward someone. It is a choice of our will. Most people don’t feel like forgiving, but it has legal power, and demons often leave simply when forgiveness is given. But these filthy critters will fight and resist being cast out if there is unforgiveness present! And the crazy thing, our unforgiveness is sometimes not even rooted in actual fact, but our interpretation of it!
When you speak out forgiveness, be specific, say the name of the person whom you are forgiving and the offense. And don’t say something like “I want to forgive so and so” or “Father, help me forgive…” Your forgiveness must be definitive, and specific! Remember, forgiveness is choice you must make!
Say something like… “I choose to forgive ____ for _____. I will no longer carry the burden of unforgiveness. I choose to forgive as I have been forgiven by God through Jesus Christ!”
Ask God to show you any place you are carrying unforgiveness! And then speak out that you choose to forgive. You may need to forgive yourself, or even forgive God (though He is not actually guilty), but definitely, forgive anyone and EVERYONE He brings to your mind. Ask God to release a grace to forgive at your church. So much of the world, and its easily offended culture, has crept into the church. Ask God to set your church free, meaning individuals freely choosing to forgive individuals. Ask God to give grace to folks to forgive leaders who have caused “church hurt!” Ask God for church leaders and pastors to forgive other churches and pastors in our city. And ask God to now fill the void that unforgiveness occupied with love and grace for those people, and healing every place that has been previously hindered.