Ephesians 4:31-32

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. KJV

A wise man once said ‘Forgiveness is setting a prisoner free only to discover that the prisoner was YOU’

A lot of people are trapped in the vicious cycle of being unforgiving. They have tried severally to break free but the reason they are still trapped is because the bar that holds them bound is not made of steel but of wrath, anger, bitterness, malice, grudge, hostility, hatred, spitefulness and all manner of resentment. Many are vicious and intolerant because of the inability to deal with past pain and hurts.  Others simply find it easier to bear by living in denial and pretence of the un-forgiveness that rages within.

A cycle is a series of events that are repeated in the same order. A life of un-forgiveness is one where there is movement but no growth. Anger becomes wrath which develops into rage and a life of despair and lack of peace which ends up in frustration all over again.

The Diary of the Unforgiving Person: Offenders vs Offended

Category 1 Offenders: This is an individual who always finds himself in a position where he hurts others all the time through words or actions. This is one who tells people ‘ This is who I am’, ‘You need to accept me with my flaws’, ‘ We all aren’t perfect’ , ‘ I am sorry again’, ‘I promise not to do that again’, ‘ Ok so I made another mistake but you just need to forgive me’ and the list of their apologies is endless.

Category 2 offenders: These are people who hurt people and either don’t realise it or don’t even care how the offended people feel. These set of people live a carefree life and sometimes without an idea they have offended people. They make statements like ‘What is the fuss about? ‘, ‘Are you saying that statement hurt your feelings?’ ‘Learn to deal with criticisms’.

Category 1 Offended: These are people whose feelings have been hurt and can’t simply get over the betrayal or offence. They hold on to the grudge and relay the experience in their mind as often as they can to ensure the hurt doesn’t heal. They refuse to let go of the pain in their hearts. They see themselves as the victims and always want reasons to justify their wrong attitude towards the offender. The tale of the bad experience is repeated; perhaps in the hope to attract the pity of others. These people’s language include: ‘I just cannot find it in my heart to forgive’, ‘would you forgive if you were in my shoes?’’I am still hurting’, He hurt me so bad I simply cannot deal with it now’.

Marriages of over 30 years have ended because of the inability of a partner to forgive their spouse.  Siblings have become enemies because of the inability to let go of a trespass.  People’s vision and assignments have been forfeited because of the inability to walk in forgiveness. Parents swear not to forgive their children while children dishonour their parents because of unforgiveness.

Category 2 Offended: These are people who live in perpetual denial of living in offence. They claim all is well and try to convince themselves and all around them that they have forgiven or bear no grudge but they struggle internally anytime they have to deal with the offender. Many have developed health issues and become suicidal because they live in denial. Some others have almost lost their minds and live on pills because of nightmares. They lay in wait for an opportunity to strike back and get revenge. Classic examples are Absalom the son of David who conspired to kill his brother Amnon in 2 Samuel 13 and Levi and Simeon in Genesis 34 who wiped out a whole generation of the male gender in a city in their quest for vengeance.  Whether one is the offended or offender, the road to healing and forgiveness could be tough but it is possible because it is an act of faith when we allow the Holy Spirit to shed abroad His Love in our heart.

Offence is dangerous when harboured as it spreads like cancer and infects as an epidemic. A lot of people who were once jovial have become very angry and intolerable. It is time to come to terms and deal with the hurt.

It is true your father or mother abandoned you but remember God never left nor forsook you, be rest assured He will be with you forever.

Yes, your spouse cheated on you and you feel betrayed but God for Christ’s sake forgave us all our sins and remembered them no more. Isaiah 43:25

Indeed you lost your resources through fraud and injustice but the Lord your God will restore unto you all you have lost. Joel 2:25.

You feel so bad because you have been denied and lied on. Can you imagine the greatest sin anyone can commit against you which you consider unforgivable? Now that you can conceive it, it means the greater one in you has placed you above it. When we are unforgiving, we submit ourselves to the slavery and bondage of imprisonment where we are controlled, moved and conditioned according to the lifestyle behind bars. There is a lot of pain when one is sentenced to confinement.

Un-forgiveness is a stronghold and just doesn’t give way by mere wishing. We need to be deliberate and destroy the yoke of malice, anger, bitterness and all forms of resentment to be free indeed. Ex-convicts struggle with the life outside the prison as some find themselves back because they just cannot adjust to their new free status. We need to stand firm in our liberty in Christ Jesus.  Freedom is the reality of a life of forgiveness. In order to be free, we have to guard our heart because He who the Son sets free is free indeed. It is over to you to stay free.

For Further study

Romans 12:19b, Joel 2:25

Personal Declaration for the day

I have a forgiving heart. I am merciful, therefore I will obtain mercy. I forgive, therefore I will be forgiven.

Questions for you to reflect on

Do you know offense eats deep and eventually destroys?

Do you know a person living in unforgiveness is bound?