Winning Over Bitterness

This article is part 3 of 6 in the series Winning Over Bitterness

                 “Understanding Forgiveness
   Bitterness will make your life go ‘from bad to worse’, never from ‘bad to better’! It gives a ‘foothold’ for Satan to operate from, and gain control over your life. Nothing but misery, restless sleep, mind numbing medication, lays ahead for the bitter person. Yet it does not have to be that way. There is an answer… But there are some important facts about this ‘doorway to healing’ that we must know:
   1. THE UNFORGIVER IS UNFORGIVEN. Often we say, “What goes around, comes around.” Yet we fail to understand that this applies to ourselves as well in this area. The Bible teaches this principle. “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:12-15). 
   In the parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus says “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.  Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:32-35). 
   The apostle Paul writes, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all  malice.  And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:30-32). Christians have been forgiven, and this ‘grace’ must be given to others as well. We forget that we did not deserve to be forgiven by God. Get baptized all you want, you still don’t deserve nor earn forgiveness. Forgiveness is a matter of grace (un-merited favor). Forgiveness is a gift to be given.
   2. NOTHING TAKES THE PLACE OF FORGIVENESS. Just saying, “Let’s forget it” doesn’t work, because we can’t forget it. Moving to another State won’t help, because you can’t run from, hurts, and pains. (Besides, there’s always, “Facebook”.) Getting re-baptized won’t do it. You can’t donate your way out’ of bitterness. Constantly re-hashing the past, will never help. Forgiveness is the  ‘door’ through which one MUST pass, if healing is to begin. No one can say exactly  WHEN, God will turn his back on the unforgiving person, but eventually He will. Paul’s instructions are clear, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:19-21). 
   Forgiveness is not optional in scripture. If true healing is to begin, forgiveness must take place. Nothing can substitute for real forgiveness.

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