And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone forgive him, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
When we hold people hostage through unforgiveness it really keeps us captive. When someone offends us we can let it go or choose to hold on to the offense. In holding on it feels like we are winning by not letting the person off the hook but really we are blocking our blessing because God can’t release forgiveness for you, if you can’t forgive others.
Jesus reminded us of the importance of forgiveness when he asked the disciples, “how can you say you love God whom you’ve never seen and hate your brother you see every day?” When God sends us out to love our enemies, and to do good to those that hate you, what he’s telling us is, “Go do me!” you can’t be free until you learn how to forgive. Forgiveness isn’t about them, it’s about you! God wants to release something for you but you block your own blessing when you harbor resentment.
Did you know that harboring a known felon is against the law? When you allow a fugitive to stay in your house you are guilty of harboring a criminal. When you walk around holding grudges and offenses while acting like there is nothing going on in your heart you are a criminal. “But they hurt me!” Then why are you letting them hide in your heart jeopardizing your freedom?
When you release them, God releases you.
1. When you stand praying and you remember somebody you are angry with, forgive them. Oftentimes, the Holy Spirit will bring people to your mind that you are upset with and you need to call them by name and tell God that you forgive them. When possible you need to tell the person that you forgive them.
2. When you are giving and you remember something you’ve done to offend someone you need to go ask that person for forgiveness before you give God your offering. God is not going to accept what you give until you work on a need to forgive or be forgiven. Matthew 5:23-24
3. Don’t choke somebody after you’ve been released. Matthew 18:28-35 tells a story of a man who owed a million dollars in debt. The judge forgave him and released him from prison. On his way out he saw a man that owed him a hundred dollars. He beat the man up and started chocking him. The judge heard about it and had the man and his family thrown into prison until the debt was paid off. You don’t get released and turn around and choke people for a lesser offense.
I’m searching my heart this morning for people I’m holding hostage and people I’ve sinned against. I’m releasing my hostages through forgiveness and asking you to forgive me for anything I’ve done to offend anybody I don’t know of. Forgive me if I caused any of your little ones to stumble because of something I said or did. I want to be free so I choose to forgive and I’m asking for forgiveness. I choose not to hurt in retaliation. I choose to worship in spirit and in truth.
In Jesus Name