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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Are You Drowning in a Pool of Bitterness?

Most of the time I have no trouble forgiving people. I have often had people apologize to me for something that I couldn't remember. I appreciate the apology but I either didn't take it as an offense or I had long ago forgiven them and forgotten about it. I wish that was always the case.

There are some offenses that don't go away so easily. They cut to the very heart of who you are. You try to forgive the person and the offense but you find yourself forgiving neither. You pray that you will forgive the person but you keep remembering what they did. You remember the hurt and you are hurt all over again. In fact, the hurt seems to get deeper.

It seems that you actually enjoy rehearsing what was done to you in your mind. The pain fuels your desire for revenge. Revenge seems to be the only answer to relieve your pain. You think, "If they could just hurt like I have been hurt . . . ," and the thoughts give you pleasure.

All the while, you know that this is wrong. You tell yourself that you don't hate them. You tell yourself that you are over it. None of this is true. Bitterness has grown a root down in your soul and you can't remove it. It will start to affect other relationships is different ways. This bitterness grows down deep but comes up in other places. It may not seem to come from your hurt, but it does. It must be removed for your own sake.

You can tell that I have had such bitterness. I have struggled to forgive even though I know it is the right thing to do. However, I have had victory. I hope what I tell you here will help you rid yourself of this poison. The devil has been using this against you. You can have victory with Christ.

Stop trying to forgive by your own goodness. You have already proven that this type of goodness is not in you. You would have already forgiven this hurt if you could. Admit that you need God's strength to forgive. Ask God to allow you to forgive this hurt.

Base your forgiveness on the blood of Jesus Christ. This is the only acceptable payment for sin. It has been paid for by Jesus death on the Cross. You no longer have a claim when the payment has been made. Say out loud, "I forgive (this hurt) by the blood of Jesus Christ. His death paid for this sin. I no longer hold it as a debt to be paid because of what Jesus has done for me and what He has done to pay for this sin against me." You will probably have to repeat this several times until your heart begins to hear what you have said.

Imagine Jesus carrying the Cross to Golgotha. He is struggling with this burden. He is nailed to it. On that cross is your pain- the hurtful thing that was done to you. You see Him dying on that cross to pay for that hurt. You hear him say, "It is finished." You repeat what He has said because it is finished.

Resolve that this will not be the last time you will pray for strength, say you forgive on the basis of the blood of Jesus or declare that it is finished. Satan has a way of reminding you of your hurts so that you will stay under the bondage of this hurt. He must be confronted with the truth of God's word. Tell him that he no longer has any power to control you because you have Jesus. Tell him to begone!

I have done this many times in order to have victory. I realize God's grace more and more as I see myself forgiving those who have hurt me. I pray that you know this grace too. There really is victory in Jesus!

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