How unforgiveness will steal, kill and destroy

Why did Jesus teach us to forgive?
 Jesus told Peter to forgive not only seven times, but seventy times seven (Mat. 18:21-22)
In Mark 11:25 we read: “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”  (Also read Mat. 6:14, Luke 6:37, Col. 3:13, Mat. 18:35) 
 It seems so harsh, that we will not be forgiven unless we forgive, but once you realize the damage caused by not forgiving you will understand why it is a sin.
 So, let me tell you what happens to you if you don’t forgive. We are body, soul and spirit. Unforgiveness affects your whole being.
Let’s start with the soul.
The psychological implications of unforgiveness are quite complex. This is just a basic breakdown of three things that normally happen:
First of all, you pass a judgement.

You will say, for example: “He is a very bad person!” or “all men are unreliable!

Your judgement is based on your own feelings or experience and not a true reflection of reality. Let’s say you lost your temper and somebody judges you as being a ‘very bad person’, will that be a true statement of who you really are? Of course not! The Bible clearly tells us that it is a sin to judge in a critical, condemning way (Mat. 7:1-2, Rom. 2:1).

Secondly, you make an inner vow.

You will say, for example: “I will never trust another man ever again!”

These type of inner vows are really big problems. They are promises you make to yourself based on your judgement. These vows are then stored deep inside your heart and mind. They affect the rest of your life. It’s like being in a prison.

Because you have made an inner vow to never trust another man ever again (like in our example), your heart and your mind will not allow you to trust another man ever again! Once you make a vow, you are bound by it. Can you see the damage being done here? You are basically giving the wrongdoer power and control over your life! It’s no wonder that we are warned to rather not make vows (Ecc. 5:5-6, Prov. 20:25).   

Now you have negative expectations.

Negative expectations are the effect of judgements and inner vows. It is a practiced way of thinking that expects the worst from others.

In many cases your behavior tempts people to behave in a certain way to fulfill your expectation of the way they should behave. This then fuels your unrealistic judgement and inner vow which in turn cause you to continue expecting the worst and prompting negative behavior. You are caught in a vicious circle.

Not only will it be almost impossible for you to have healthy relationships, but you can also cause a lot of pain and psychological damage to other people because of your negative expectations.

Now for the body.
You will be surprised to learn what affect cropping up anger and keeping grudges have on your physical health:
  • According to Dr. Michael Barry, author of The Forgiveness Project, sixty one percent of all cancer patients have forgiveness issues. He states that chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier against cancer.
  • Karen Swartz, M.D, director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The John Hopkins Hospital, says that there is an enormous physical burned to being hurt and disappointed. According to her, chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health. 
Spiritual implications
Because not forgiving is a sin, the spiritual implications are huge.
By choosing not to forgive you are disobeying a direct order given by Jesus. This gives the devil legal right over your life and the permission to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10)
You allow him to oppress you and to set up strongholds.  You are placed under bondage of fear, rejection and depression.
Your mind are controlled by thoughts and plans of hatred, revenge and as we already saw, negative expectations. These are evil thoughts which bear evil fruits. In other words sinful actions and words (Gal. 5:19-21).
 Somebody once said: “Not forgiving is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die!”
  •  You need to confess your sin of unforgiveness before God the Father in the name of Jesus.
  • Then you need to repent. Repent (metanoia in Greek) means to change your mind and to turn away from evil back to God. He will forgive you your sins because Jesus Christ paid the price of sin, which is death, on your behalf (1John 1:9, Acts 3:19, Acts 2:38, Acts 13:38, Rom. 6:23, 1Cor. 15:56-57.)
  • The next step is to forgive. Make a list if necessary and work through it. Take each name on your list and declare, out loud, that you are forgiving that person. Then ask God to break down the bondages and strongholds that have been erected in your life by the devil. Do this in the powerful name of Jesus Christ (2Cor. 10:4).
  •  Ask the Holy Spirit to take control of your mind from now on. Whenever a negative thought creeps in, take it captive and place it under the authority of Jesus (2Cor. 10:5, Col. 2:8, Gal. 5:22-26.)
  •  You also need to confess and ask forgiveness from the people in your life who has suffered because of your negative expectations and sinful fruits.
It is a journey and might take time. Just remember, the longer you keep a grudge, the more damage is done and the harder it will be to fix the mess. That’s why it’s best to forgive straight away.
 But with God, all things are possible.
God bless

Image: Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Published by Madeleine Venter

I am a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, author, blogger, homeschooling mother to a wonderful daughter and married to my best friend. My motto in life: Believing is seeing.

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