So what does that title make you think? Nervous? Freaked? I hope so. I could say, “Forgive or watch your life fall apart” or “forgive or stay sick and broke, stressed and diseased.” Forgive or watch your kids go the wrong way”.
While the title might sound “gloom and doom” it is actually a life-saving Word from God. Mark 11:23-26 talks about:
“The truth is, you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, mountain, fall into the sea.’ And if you have no doubts in your mind and believe that what you say will happen, then God will do it for you.
So I tell you to ask for what you want in prayer. And if you believe that you have received those things, then they will be yours.
When you are praying and you remember that you are angry with another person about something, forgive that person. Forgive them so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins.”
[“But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.”]”
So many of us get excited about the first part – that if you ask and believe, then God will do it for you (obviously, with qualifications like the fact you can’t ask Him to kill someone for you). The asking has to be in line with the Bible!
But what most of us don’t want to read are the last two verses – about forgiveness. Literally, these two verses are saying, “Forgive… or else.” Why? Because if you don’t forgive someone, God can’t forgive you.
If God can’t forgive you, you’re out there unprotected. He is trying to protect you, save your life, keep you in that Psalm 91 secret place. Why? Because no matter who we are, none of us can walk outside of God’s commandments and expect to walk away from the repercussions that will come.
He says to forgive or He won’t forgive you – in other words, “You are limiting My ability to bless you, to work in your life, to prosper you, to work on your behalf, to help you, to watch your back.”
There is actually strife in not forgiving. When we don’t forgive, we ofen rehearse why we can’t or what they’ve done to us, or we say, “I may forgive them but I will NEVER forget what they did.” Umm, newsflash, that just means you have not forgiven.
The Bible, paraphrased, “Get strife out of your life, out of your house because it’s very dangerous place to be, in strife. In strife is every evil work; you’re living in the devil’s playground. He gets to take potshots at you.” (James 3:16)
I’ve had people say “But you don’t KNOW what they did to me.” I could easily say back, “Well you don’t know what has happened to me in my life” (or anyone else on earth because we’ve all been there). I don’t say these things lightly. Actually, I don’t say them at all. GOD ALMIGHTY says – no, commands – you to forgive.
When you don’t forgive, it hurts you. You’re actually pretty ugly inside because you are harboring hate. Guess where hate comes from? The Bible says God is Love. That only leaves your enemy, the devil. Do you want him to be the boss your life?
I don’t care if you have been physically, verbally or emotionally abused. I don’t care if you were raped, set-up to lose financially, stolen from, lied to, or cheated on, fired unjustly, or lost your promotion to a co-worker, had business partners rip you off, or had someone you loved murdered, had an ex-anything humiliate you, had your best friend sleep with your spouse – I don’t care what you have been through.
NONE OF IT will excuse you before God. He did not qualify that statement “forgive” with, “Oh, except if they divorce you for someone else” or “Or if they really, really hurt you or your child” or “Oh yeah, you don’t have to forgive because they stole $150,000 from you and stole your work.” No, He simply commanded you to forgive – for your own good. Every. One. Every. Thing.
Trouble? Study LOVE and you will begin to understand another vital reason to forgive. FAITH does not work without love, it only works with it. To not forgive someone means you are not walking in love which means you are NOT walking in faith. If faith is not working – and faith pleases God – well, you figure it out. You wanna be there?
It might help you if you understand that to forgive is NOT a feeling. It is a choice. You may have to talk to yourself several times before you begin to realize you aren’t even thinking about that person negatively anymore; do so. A lot.
“I forgive them as a choice in obedience to God.” Then after that, “No, I refuse to think about what they did. I have chosen to forgive them.”
By forgiving you are saving yourself a world of hurt. You stay in that secret-place of protection, you have not opened the door to the enemy to pull a John 10:10 on you, stealing, killing and destroying things in your life, and, more importantly, you don’t block God’s ability to bless you.
Don’t forgive and you’ll dry up inside, beginning to lose vitality and life because not forgiving causes stress, sickness, and all sorts problems you may not even realize are related to unforgiveness. You won’t feel connected with God (although He never leaves you), you may begin having financial troubles, trouble with your kids, relationship issues. Is it worth it?
So I say it again – forgive, or else. It’s really for your own good.