As difficult as forgiveness can be, it’s absolutely essential if you want a fresh start in your walk with the Lord.
David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me” (Psalm 139:23-24). Make no mistake about it: Unforgiveness is a “hurtful way” that will imprison you with torment unless you deal with it.
Don’t just assume you’ve forgiven people who have hurt you. You may need to spend some time asking God to search your heart. If you’re still talking about the offense months or even years after it occurred, it’s likely that you still have some forgiving to do. Friend, take time today to allow the Lord to search your heart and remove any “hurtful way” or unforgiveness that is keeping you imprisoned to your past.
If you’re still struggling with letting go, perhaps this story will help…
A mother baked some chocolate chip cookies for her young son. “Tommy,” she told him, “I’m putting the cookies in the cookie jar. You’re not allowed to eat any now, but you can have some after dinner.”
Of course, Tommy couldn’t wait for this special treat. While his mom was in the other room, Tommy opened the cookie jar and reached in to grab a few big cookies. However, when he tried to remove his hand, he discovered that it was stuck.
Tommy began to cry and then screamed to his mom, “Help! I’m trapped!”
When Tommy’s mom ran into the room, she saw that his hand was stuck, and he was sobbing hysterically. She decided the only option was to break open the cookie jar, so he could get his hand out.
When she broke the jar, Tommy’s mom was shocked to discover he was still clutching three cookies in his little hand. “Tommy, why didn’t you let go of the cookies?!” she asked in amazement.
“But I wanted them!” Tommy replied as he broke into tears again.
If you find yourself stuck and in some kind of bondage to the enemy today, you may need to let go of some “cookies” you’ve held on to. God wants to set you free from anything that hinders you from fulfilling His highest purposes – but you need to let go.
Like Tommy, you may be tempted to protest that the cookies you’re grasping are something desirable and good – not something negative. But remember that anything is negative if it keeps us from God’s best for our life. Paul says, “Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7).
Today God offers you a fresh start, but you must let go of anything holding you back from your spiritual freedom in Jesus Christ. Once your surrender is complete, you’ll be amazed by how quickly your new beginning comes into view and God gives you long-awaited breakthroughs with prayer.
So go ahead and thank God for His plan to set you free. Since He has so graciously forgiven you, you are now able to forgive those who have caused you pain. Take time to go through the list of those who have hurt you and forgive them one by one. As you do, repent of any anger, bitterness, or desire for revenge that may still be in your heart.
Today and in the days ahead, when the enemy tries to remind you of these past hurts, remind him that you have chosen to forgive these people as God has forgiven you. With His amazing peace in your heart, you’ll be able to stand in complete victory in Jesus’ name!
Jim Buchan is the Director of Partner Communications at Inspiration Ministries.