Summary: Parts 4 & 5 of this series focuses on unforgiveness.
The Schemes of the Devil Part 4: Un-forgiveness
This is part four of my series focused on the schemes of the devil. The foundational scripture for this series is Ephesians 6:11-12 which says “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
This morning I will be focusing on how Satan uses our refusal to forgive to hinder us. Several words give us insight into true forgiveness. Absolve; Acquit; Excuse; Overlook; and Pardon are all forms of the word forgive. I read in a book about how we are a nation that tolerates the differences and beliefs of others. Although we say this about ourselves as a nation, whenever we look at the news this is not what we see. Everyone seems unconcerned about others while looking out for themselves which leads to argument after argument after argument. If we consider the example that our politicians, we see that there are many differences between the parties and the individuals and they do nothing to hide that they are out for themselves. Instead of being “accepting of differences” these people go digging into one another’s past seeking to find something that they can bring up against their rivals. There is very little forgiveness and as a matter of fact, if someone does something wrong, it becomes a vulture feast, everyone comes in and enjoys the kill. This is in stark contrast of a nation that prides itself on being tolerant of others.
Our foundation Scripture for this message is found in Mark 11:24-26. Jesus says “Therefore I say unto you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them and they shall be granted you. 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 transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” The reason I chose these verses as the foundation is that there are many people who spend hours per week praying yet they have a need to forgive others. Jesus said that before we pray, we should forgive those who have done something against us and if this is not done, then when we are asking for forgiveness, it will not happen. This is important because generally the first thing we ask for when we pray is that god will forgive us of our sins. Jesus said our prayers are guaranteed to be answered, but there is a clause. When we pray we should believe immediately that we have received what we asked for and this requires faith on our part. However, no amount of faith will overshadow or undo God’s rule about our need to forgive.
We have all heard it said that we should forgive and forget. How many times have you stated that you have forgiven someone but yet you have not forgotten about the offense? How hard is it to really let loose of past offenses and totally treat the person as if nothing happened? This is what we are being told to do. In this life we have so many excuses as to why we should not forgive, the pain was too bad; they really hurt me; you don’t understand what the person did; etc, etc, etc. Our excuses measure up to what God’s command is and His command does not make allowances for how bad the offense was. But I will tell you this, we have an advocate when it comes to our not being willing to forgive. Our advocate, who just happens to also be our adversary, will go out of his way to ensure that we feel totally justified in walking in un-forgiveness. He loves it (and us) when we are doing this. Satan even agrees with our assessment of why we should not have to forgive; he supports it 100%. If you have been offended he will give you reasons to stay offended. Not only will he give you reasons, he will help you justify your anger and disgust. But why is he so willing to be friendly with us in this area when normally he is out to destroy us? It is because he knows that not being able to forgive others will destroy us, the destruction may come slower, but it will come. Let me go back to our foundational Scripture.
I. Forgive If You Want Forgiveness
Mark 11:26 says “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” This is not a statement to be taken lightly. Jesus meant just what He said. If you do not forgive those who offend and/or hurt you, when you stand before God praying, your sins will not be forgiven. And if you have sins that are not forgiven, it will shut down God’s ability to move on your behalf. Are you starting to see why Satan is very friendly when it comes to our walking in un-forgiveness. He does not want us operating in God’s kind of love which we would do if we made it a point to walk in a spirit of forgiveness. Let me share with you another example from Matthew 18:21-35.