What is forgiveness? The Greek meaning in the Strongís concordance says that it is:
(1) The release from bondage or imprisonment
(2) forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty
When we do not forgive, we hold our self in bondage. We are in bondage to the offense. The bondage rules an area of our life. When this rules, it opens the door for other things to come in, We are building on a wrong foundation that eventually will crumble and cause the building that was built to fall. The enemy just rejoices when he can get us to be offended or hold an offense towards someone. He has convinced us to build on a wrong foundation.
God said that if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Mathew 6:15). He also said in Psalms 66:18, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
In 1 Peter 3:7 we are told about prayers that are hindered. Our prayers are hindered if we do not forgive others. They are hindered in two ways. Firstly, since we are holding on to a grudge or an offense, which is iniquity in our heart, God will not hear us. Secondly, if we do not forgive, our prayers are also hindered in that we are unable to pray for the person. God said that we are to pray for those that despitefully use us (Luke 6:28), not hold them in judgement or in unforgiveness. If we stop praying for people what happens? We will die spiritually. Jesus always intercedes for others. If Jesus is in us, and we do not pray, then we are no longer yielding to Jesus in us. We have bought the lie of the devil that this person or persons should not be forgiven. If you think of it, none of us should be forgiven. None of us deserves to be forgiven, but this is called grace! Godís unmerited favor. Jesus in us always gives this grace to us and to others. When we donít, we stop the flow of the Lord within us, and we dry up spiritually.
Letís consider Job for a minute. Job had all the reason to hold much unforgiveness. He could have been bitter, angry, resentful over the way which he was treated by his friends during his great time of testing.
Job instead prayed for his friends. Because he prayed for them, God turned his captivity around. What would have happened to Job had he been unforgiving? Would his captivity been changed? Would he have received double of all that he previously had from the Lord?
Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. KJV
I like what I heard a preacher say. I have many opportunities; I just do not take them.
I can remember a time when the enemy kept working on me to be offended at what a person did. I knew in my heart that I was not offended at them, yet the enemy worked for over two days to get me offended. I recognized him and said no. I have no reason to be offended. I had a great opportunity there, I chose not to take it. I have learned that we are to have love towards each other. When we hold unforgiveness everyone loses. I have learned to recognize that an opportunity to become offended is just a ploy of the devil to put us into bondage. It is one way that he uses to hinder our prayers so that he may kill steal and destroy us. We must learn to recognize the opportunity to be offended is a ploy of the devil and to not allow it in our heart.
If you look honestly at your heart, do you see things that are hurtful where anger or bitterness keep surfacing? Are you reliving these memories over and over? If so, please consider that maybe you need to forgive. Once there is true forgiveness, there is no remembrance of these past hurts. Be like Job, kick the devil in the teeth, and go forgive these people and pray for them. Watch what Jesus will do if you do. You will find new peace and rest in your mind and heart. I always have seen an offense this way. Sure they may have done something that hurt me, but if I donít forgive, they are still getting me. Letís all let go of the offenses, and go on with Jesus and just love the people. Let grace prevail that our prayers are no more hindered!