Precious Testimonies Ministry Encourager
WHY FORGIVENESS AND THANKSGIVING ARE SO LIBERATING
By: Norm Rasmussen
To each of us, God has given the precious power of choice. How we use that choice will help us become more liberated, or to imprison us spiritually.
When someone betrays us, we become angry. When someone hurts us deeply, we become angry. When someone hurts a loved one, we become angry. Many things can anger us, but how we chose to deal with our anger is the difference between staying liberated, or imprisoned.
God tells us in Ephesians 4:26-27 to deal with anger as though it was a lethal deadly viper, ready to inject itís venom in us if we donít make wise choices when someone has offended and hurt us:
Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.
In this scripture, the implication is that we all will have times when we are angered at someone, or some situation. Itís normal. God wired us to become angry when the occasion calls for it. However, just as quickly as God tells us that it is normal to become angry, He tells us to make wise choices immediately about whatever is the catalyst for our anger Ö otherwise we most likely will sin in that situation, which will only be to our detriment.
When someone offends us deeply, causing our anger to rise, our first response is to somehow strike back at that person and let them feel some of the same pain they caused us, correct? You cause me pain Ė I want to cause you pain. Sowing and reaping, baby. You sow kindness into my life Ė I sow it back. You sow sorrow into my life Ė Iím greatly motivated to sow it back. You rape me Ė I want you locked away in prison to suffer forever. You kill my innocent child Ė I want the death sentence for you; nothing less.
It is human to be tempted to seek vindication and revenge when weíve been wronged. Yet God says it can backfire on us! God says that in being energized to seek vindication -- seek revenge against our enemy who did us wrong, we literally can open up legal doors for demonic powers to inflict Ė literally Ė more lasting pain on ourselves than on the one we are trying to get back at.
STAYING ANGRY ALWAYS HINDERS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD - SOMEHOW; SOMEWAY
Anger is a normal emotion God has given each of us. Yet anger can turn on us and persuade us to do things that are greatly destructive to ourselves and our relationship with God. Repressed anger can trigger every form of sickness and disease known to mankind. Hidden anger that weíve stuffed deep inside us can cripple us emotionally and spiritually, even triggering all forms of sickness and disease and even addictions. God says anger is such a potentially deadly weapon to harm us that it can be likened to putting one bullet in a six-shot revolver, and putting that revolver to our head and keep pulling the trigger until the live round is chambered then fired.
God tells us anger is such a potentially deadly weapon that if we are wise, we will deal with our anger before we let the evening pass. Waiting until tomorrow may be too late, because if we do, we may give demons too much of a head start to begin inflicting poison in our spirit and soul.
Godís solution to keeping our anger under healthy control is forgiveness and thanksgiving. First and foremost, forgiveness. When we forgive the one/ones who hurt us, we slam the door shut so demonic powers have no legal ground to get at us. This is critically important. More important than what many realize.
All sin we commit gives demonic powers the legal right to inflict us with some of their poison. When we acknowledge our sin to God, ask for His forgiveness, He promises we have it. Our assurance is found in 1 John 1:9. Yet what some may not realize is that every time we do that, we shut legal doors demonic powers would have open to them otherwise to inject us with their poison.
Letís say that a little different way to make sure itís clearly understood. Every time you and I sin against God, it opens a legal door for demonic powers to inflict us with their spiritual poison Ė their death poison, in one form or another. The more often we commit that same sin, not asking God for forgiveness for it, the wider we open that door, inviting more and more demons to come on inside our house and do whatever they please to us. Itís the equivalent of leaving your door open all night long while you sleep, giving an open invite to any evil person to walk right into your house and do whatever they please. God is telling us in Ephesians 4:26-27, ďDonít be so unwise!Ē
Forgiving the one/ones who has hurt us is more for OUR benefit than anything else. God commands us to forgive our enemies. WHY? Because God knows it is for OUR benefit, first and foremost. God never tells us to do something that is harmful to us in the New Testament, but in truth, only good for us. God knows what gives demons legal ground against us and what keeps them at a distance. Letís be wise and not let anger ever control us Ö but by the help of God, let us control anger. Let us keep our anger under control. The weapon of forgiveness is the best weapon God has given us to accomplish that.
There are at least four very important reasons why God wants us forgiving our enemies:
1: To slam legal doors in the face of Satan, so we don't allow him greater means of attacking - oppressing - us.
2: To measure our depth of humility. People who are so angry and embittered toward those who have harmed them often fail to realize that it is the sin of spiritual pride we are giving place to when we fail to forgive our enemies. Thus the fact that we are sinning the sin of spiritual pride without even realizing it is opening legal doors as well for Satan to harass us. Thus God often allows our enemies to do us wrong for the explicit purpose of TESTING us -- to see if we will humble ourselves or not. Remember: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (See: James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5)
3: To bless us. We hinder God from blessing us when we sin. God warns us what will happen if we refuse to forgive our enemies. First off, He refuses to forgive us of our sins. Furthermore, when we refuse to forgive our enemies, we send a signal to God that we don't really CARE if He blesses us or not, and we send a signal to Satan that we don't really CARE if he torments us or not.
4: To grant us opportunity to realize more fully what Philippians 4:13 means, and the wisdom of applying it. Philippians 4:13 says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. A common statement that comes out of the mouths of people who have been greatly hurt by others is: "You don't understand! I CAN'T forgive that person/people who hurt me; who did me wrong! Besides - they don't deserve forgiveness!" And - they are more than likely telling the truth ... to a degree. Though many will disagree, none of us deserve God's forgiveness. It's solely by His love, mercy, kindness and grace that He forgives the most vile of sinners, of whom I'm chief.
God had that all figured out long before He created the human race. He gave us the solution in Philippians 4:13. In and of ourselves, we are powerless against demonic powers. But in and through Christ - through HIS power - we can win victory over sin and satanic powers and do anything that God asks us to do. Not through our power: through the power of Christ. Thus we are lying to God and lying to ourselves when we say we can't forgive our enemies, once we are made aware of Philippians 4:13. And ... once we ARE made aware of Philippians 4:13, and STILL say we can't forgive the person or persons who has done us wrong ... what we REALLY are saying to God is that we simply REFUSE to forgive them.
The bottom line when faced with the challenge of forgiving our enemies is: Do I want to be obedient to God in EVERY way, to be wise and please Him, or just the ways that seem to be convenient?
When dealing with forgiveness, we need to realize their are THREE areas we need to be aware of:
need to forgive God
2) Our need to forgive others
3) Our need to forgive ourselves
Let's address number 1: We can be are angry at God yet fail to clearly realize it, and/or admit it to ourselves. Though truly -- there is nothing God needs to apologize for ... we may BELIEVE differently! If you have reasons why you think God has done something wrong ... done YOU wrong or a loved one wrong ... you need to ask His forgiveness, and RECEIVE it.
Number 2: Much of this writing already addresses forgiving others, so I won't say anymore about this category.
Number 3: Forgiving ourselves. Failure to forgive ourselves can be every bit as lethal as failure of forgiving God or failure in forgiving others. Furthermore, it can be the MOST DIFFICULT of the three categories. Here's an awesome testimony of the struggle of one individual who struggled with forgiving himself. It clearly reveals the torment that can happen when we refuse to forgive ourselves.
God allows trials to come our way that literally can boggle our minds. Yet behind each of those painful trials, God has our ultimate good in mind. What is our ultimate good that He has in mind? To conform us to image (likeness) of Jesus Christ. (See: Romans 8:28-29; 2 Cor. 2:14-15; 2 Cor. 4:16-18). As we allow Him to do that in our lives ... He has eternal reward waiting for us in eternity, AND ... He might well have blessings stockpiled for us we'll never know about in THIS life, until we obey His Word.
On an ending note, let's be careful in not assuming that we are to erase the need for criminals to pay for their actions in this life. Forgiving someone is not excusing punishment the law says they deserve for breaking the law. As an example, if you kill my wife or child in cold blood, I'll chose to forgive you, but chances are excellent I won't plead with the judge to free you from spending the rest of your life in prison for the crime, and even sparing your life from being taken if that is what the law decrees and the jury and judge decides. Just as lawbreakers should rightly pay the price for their wrongdoing against others in this life ... that's exactly what the Judgment Day is going to be the like. Wrongdoing for what we do in this life against God and others will be judged. On the Judgment Day, forgiveness will not be an option.
Of course, if we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior in this life prior to dying, and we're sincere, then our wrongdoing will not be brought up on the Judgment Day, but rather, Christians will only be rewarded for what they did in obedience to God after they became Christians in this life.
There are two different levels of forgiveness we need to make ourselves aware of. The following writing addresses these two levels: http://www.biblical-counsel.org/forg-oxf.htm
Here's a link that deals with offense issues that is very useful to the cause: http://www.raptureready.com/soap/wasson53.html
The weapon of thanksgiving is another weapon God has given us to keep demonic powers at a distance.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Ė 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Forgiveness brings healing to a wound. Thanksgiving maintains that healing. Forgiveness releases Godís favor and blessing into our lives. Refusing to forgive closes a door between us and God, shutting down Godís favor and blessing on our behalf. Thanksgiving brings a smile to Godís face as He looks down on us. Refusing to be a thankful person causes God to grimace in pain as He looks down on us.
When the weapon of thanksgiving is immediately applied to a potentially angry situation, one will find that there will almost always be no need to even have to use the weapon of forgiveness.
Thankful people are the most joyous people on the face of the earth. Thatís no coincidence. People who routinely incorporate thanksgiving in their life are constantly empowering Godís holy angels to stand watch nearby whereby subduing demonic angels who are trying to find a way into our spiritual house.
Forgiving those who donít deserve our forgiveness reveals the very nature of God. God is into revealing His likeness through you and I. It pays huge eternal dividends! Being thankful when it seems crazy to be thankful is controlling our sanity. Thankless people are inflicting themselves with low dosages of spiritual insanity poison. Thankless people can assure themselves that life will never be what it fully can be for them.
The key to being joyless and miserable is refusing to forgive; refusing to be thankful.
The surest way to commit spiritual suicide is to refuse to forgive and refusing to be thankful.
The weapons of forgiveness and thanksgiving were never given to humanity to be stuck in some dark closet collecting dust. If youíre going to be the sheriff of your town, you better know what your weapons are, and you better know how to use them when bad-guy ugly rides into town with every intention of taking over."I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" - Philippians 4:13
We'll close by restating something very important said earlier. Everything God tells us to do in the New Testament Bible is good for us. Our feelings may differ at the time ... but the fact is, God wouldn't tell us to do anything unless it was good for us to do.
A video on this same subject matter I highly recommend readers watch: https://vimeo.com/64447774
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A Special Message: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/f-j/HelpingShareTheMessageOfTheCross.htm
Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
To be at peace with God; to have your sins forgiven; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life.
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