May 25, 2016
WOFCF Bible Explosion
Turning from Bitterness to Forgiveness
Resentment is that deep feeling of displeasure or anger that we have toward someone because of a past offense. It is our painful memory of past hurts. It is also the great enemy of right relationships. It destroys friendships and turns friends into enemies. But the most damaging effect of resentment is the destruction of the one who holds it.
We feel justified in our resentment; it makes us feel superior; we like to “keep score”; we enjoy our resentments. Resentment grows into bitterness. Bitterness affects our health; it affects our mind; it affects our personality; it affects our relationship with God…but forgiveness sets us free!
Point #1 Give up your bitterness
Recognize that God is the Judge. People need to be judged for their wrong deeds, but you and I are not the ones to judge them. Judgement belongs to God (read Romans 12:19). God tells us not to try to “get even” or to avenge ourselves, but rather to forgive. When we forgive someone, we are turning that person over to God, recognizing that He alone has the right to judge and punish people for their wrongdoing.
Confess your sin to God. The other person may have done you a grievous injury. If so, he or she is responsible to God for this. But, if you are holding bitterness, you are sinning, and you are responsible to God for your sin of bitterness. You must confess it to God and ask Him to cleanse you with the precious blood of His Son.
Point #2 Pass the sentence of death upon resentment and bitterness
Resentment and bitterness are not minor vices. They are among the deadliest of all sins. We must pass the sentence of death upon them or they will pass the sentence of death upon us. Holding bitterness is “living after the flesh” (read Romans 8:13). Because we are crucified with Christ, we have the right to refuse anything that belongs to the old life. This means that we can refuse and reject the sin of bitterness. We have the right to ask the Lord to put it to death by His Spirit.
Forgive even as Christ has forgiven you. Forgiveness involves a choice on our part. We must choose to forgive. We may not feel like forgiving the other person, but God deals with our choices, not our feelings. You may say, “But suppose that person doesn’t ask for forgiveness or even admit that he (or she) was wrong? How can I forgive him (or her)?” To forgive someone “unilateral” means that you forgive him (or her) from your side, regardless of what was done (read Colossians 3:12-13).
Point #3 Trust the Holy Spirit to make your forgiveness real
Forgiving others and getting rid of bitterness is the result of our working together with the Holy Spirit. We cannot do it by ourselves, and the Holy Spirit will not do it apart from our choice. We must work together with Him. We choose it, and we trust Him to do it (read Romans 8:13 & Hebrews 8:12). We must ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to forgive and forget! We can’t repeatedly “reinstate” or dwell on the thought(s) or issue(s)… stays alive!
Consider the story of Joseph in the Bible (Genesis 50:20). Most of us are familiar about how Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him as a slave. The facts of the situation could not be changed. What had happened, had happened forever. Yet Joseph was not resentful toward his brothers. How did Joseph manage to have good feelings toward his brothers after all they had done to him? God can bring good out of a bad situation if we trust Him (read Romans 8:28).