Summary: Part six closes the series with the last segment on Unforgiveness.
The Schemes of the Devil Part 6: Un-forgiveness Part 3
Scriptures: Eph. 4:26; 31; Matt. 5:25; Ps. 23:4; 56:4; Pro. 17:22
Last week I shared with you how it is fully our responsibility to forgive, regardless of the attitude of the offending person. Being able to walk in forgiveness brings us closer to being perfected in God’s eyes. In my closing statement last week, I shared with you that there are four outputs that are evident in the life of someone who does not forgive. Those four outputs are anger, hurt, fear and bitterness. This morning I will close out this series by focusing on how Satan uses our un-forgiveness to achieve his ultimate goal of our living our lives encased in bitterness.
You may put these in a different order of how they develop, but I chose this order based on situations of individuals I have counseled as well as situations that I have been involved in. Immediately when an offense happens, the first response is anger. I have talked about anger before in this series so I will not dwell on it too much here. Anger is the first response that we have to being offended. I shared with you previously what is recorded in Ephesians 4:26 which says “Be angry and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Paul made this statement and later I will share with you his experience with anger and bitterness.
When the offense first happens, Satan will use our anger, that first uncontrollable feeling that rises to the surface, to entrap us. Immediately following the offense we must make a decision. We can do as Proverbs says and give a calm answer which cools down the response or we can give a heated response which takes the offense to the next level (Proverbs 15:1). Satan wishes that we will take the latter response. Ephesians 4:31 says “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” There is a reason that we have been instructed to put this behind us and it is because of the “actions” that attaches itself to our anger. People have been killed in an emotional response of anger. There was no pre-mediation, no planning, no desire to kill, it just happened in a fit of rage. This is called voluntary manslaughter as there was no intent or previous planning to kill. This is probably the worst case of what can happen with anger, one person killing another. But there are other actions that are attached to the anger. When we become angry due to an offense, sometimes the response to the anger is an outburst and afterwards we let it go and think nothing more about it. Then there are the times when we stifle our anger and it just festers within us. This anger, if not released or removed from us, begins to sow its seed into our hearts. When the seeds of anger ripen, the fruit of the anger is exposed and I will talk about that shortly.
The second output of being offended which also plants its seeds into our heart is hurt. This hurt is an emotional pain that we feel after the initial anger. You see, the hurt develops after we have been angry and have had time to think about what has taken place. We reflect on the situation: what was said and why; and our response. Then we ask the proverbial question “Why”. Why did they do it? What did I do to deserve being treated like that? When you arrive at the answer that you did nothing wrong, the hurt returns to anger which acts as water to the seeds of anger that have already been deposited in our hearts. Jesus said “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, in order that your opponent may not deliver you to the judge, and the judge to the officer and you be thrown into prison.” (Matthew 5:25) It you take this verse and join it with the verse we read earlier from Ephesians 4:26, there is a reason that we should reconcile (not let the sun go down on our anger). The longer we keep something, the more fertilizer and water we add to those seeds that are being planted by the anger and hurt.
Let me give you an example. How many of you have ever had a boy or girlfriend that you loved dearly break up with you? Okay teenagers, although you might think it was true love, you can put your hands down. Anyway, remember the hurt? Remember how you played the relationship and breakup over and over in your mind until you were sick. If you were the one responsible for the break up, remember how easy it was to move on to the next chapter of your life? However, when it was you who was broken up with, remember how angry you got after the feelings of hurt? Remember how you wanted to get even? Remember how you may have done something stupid because the seeds of hurt and anger quickly took root in your heart and grew until you acted. God’s desire for us is that we kill those seeds before they can take root and grow.