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  • Writer's pictureMark Alan Williams

Forgiving Is So Important It’s Scary!

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Jesus told a story in Mathew 18 about a man who refused to forgive. The punch line is, “Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” (Matthew 18:34-35 NLT) Wow!

Another time Jesus said, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:15 NIV)

Yet how many of us walk around with deep bitterness and resentment every day of our lives? Ouch!

In my FREE eBook 10 Prayers to Unlock Heaven on Earth, this is the one, if not practiced, that can hinder all the other kinds of prayer.

But can we forgive? Many have a terrible time forgiving.

Here’s how it works—Forgiving Prayer involves two forgiveness arenas:

01. Knowing I’m Forgiven

To forgive others, it is extremely helpful to first know that we are forgiven. This happens first when we are born again and then as we regularly confess our sins to the Lord. (1 John 1:9)

How important is regular confession? Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

The Psalmist wrote “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18).

If we want any prayers to be answered and to unlock heaven on earth, we must be sure that we have confessed our sins, experienced God’s forgiveness, and then forgiven ourselves.

In the original language, the Greek word translated “confess” means “to say the same thing.” We must agree with God about our sins—not excuse them, not tolerate them, not wink at them or play with them.

When we do this, God’s promise is clear: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9 ESV).

02. Forgiving Others

God’s Word says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Tragically, many Christian’s prayers are hindered by a lack of forgiving. Some not only miss having heaven on earth, they make hell on earth through their bitterness and anger.

Lewis B. Smedes has well said that, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and then to realize that the prisoner was you.”

How to Practice “Forgiving Prayer”

With both of these arenas of Forgiving Prayer, we need to make a conscious decision to set aside the wrong:

01. Confession (Knowing I’m forgiven)

Remember that confession means, “to say the same thing.” When we confess, we are agreeing with God that what we have done is sin and it must stop.

So in prayer, agree with God that what you have done is wrong, thank Him for forgiving you and pray that you will not stumble again.

02. Forgiving Others

People confuse forgiving and forgetting. When you forgive someone, you might forget, but sometimes it is totally foolish to forget, even dangerous. For example, if someone repeatedly abuses a child for believing that forgiving means forgetting, that child has been seriously wronged. The child must be protected.

But what then is forgiveness of others? Here is the best definition I have found:

When we strive against all thoughts of revenge; when we will not do our enemies mischief, but wish well to them, grieve at their calamities, pray for them, seek reconciliation with them, and show ourselves ready on all occasions to relieve them. (Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity, p. 581)

This definition comes from a message by John Piper who quotes Thomas Watson (not the ones of IBM fame but the Puritan).

As Piper points out, every part of this definition is biblical.

If you are having a hard time forgiving someone, don’t expect heaven on earth. Not forgiving is poison.

Someone said that not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. But YOU are the one the poison is killing.

Pray and ask God to help you forgive, based on the definition above. He will answer that prayer.

You will begin to unlock heaven on earth in your own heart.

To be sure to cover all 10 prayers that unlock heaven on earth, be sure to get your FREE copy of my eBook 10 Prayers to Unlock Heaven on Earth.

For more help with forgiving, see my articles:

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