I posted this earlier in the year and decided to re-post it in hopes it may help someone who harbors an unforgiving spirit. Also I posted this for a blogger friend whom I hope will read it and gain the godly wisdom imparted to me by the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is a an important part in our growth as Christians.
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
It may be a shock to you unless you write a lot, but the word unforgiveness is not a word. In fact, as I sit here writing the blog the word is underlined in red. I have heard this word preached against by pulpits all over. It’s amazing how a non-word can have such impact in the church. What do we use in place of it? An unforgiving spirit would probably be appropriate. The antonym for forgiveness is actually ruthlessness. Going to my trusty 1828 dictionary by Webster, he says, “Want of compassion; insensibility to the distresses of others.” Being ruthless is not a worthy goal in life. It leaves you empty, bitter, and hurting and makes you want to hurt others. This is not God’s plan for your life. We can be so much better than this if we choose to.
Talking about the definition that Webster gave us is worth thinking about and what we can do to switch it around and give us a forgiving spirit. Want of compassion is the first point we will talk about. An unforgiving ruthless person has no compassion in their lives. They only help themselves and not others. They could care less about what someone may be going through. I do want to stop and point out that I had an unforgiving spirit in me, but I did not go to the extreme as ruthlessness goes. You still have some of the elements of ruthlessness though. Lack of compassion means you have all the attention placed on you. The world revolves around you and you only. A compassionate person sees the world as revolving around others.
The next point is insensibility. If you are in want of compassion, you don’t have a tender heart toward anyone. Insensibility is having no tenderness or feelings toward anything or anyone. You can almost say it’s ignorance in the highest degree. Now the opposite of insensibility is sensibility. When you are a sensible person, you are a teachable person and you have tenderness toward others. So much a part of forgiveness is having sensibility.
Finally distressing others or stressing people out. A ruthless person devises ways to stress people out and makes them feel inadequate. We can turn that around and find ways to not stress people out, make life easier for them. Being an encourager can help toward that goal. Speaking life and love is the best way to bring life to people. We all can get into the rat race and find ourselves heading in the mediocrity of an insignificant life. What’s interesting is we do not know how many lives we come in contact daily that we leave an impression of light. If we are intentional with that impression of light, we can change someone from a dull existence to significance. I would hope that will be passed on to people in their world.
Unforgiveness is not a word in our vocabulary as it shouldn’t even be in our hearts. The scripture above points out that if we cannot forgive, God cannot forgive us. If you think about it, how can he really forgive us if we are harboring an unforgiving spirit? I held on to mine for 35 years and wondered why my life never moved forward toward the maturity in my Christianity I desired. I had those ruthless elements of that unforgiving spirit within me. Until I learned to let go and surrender completely to Christ, I would be stagnant. I found freedom in forgiveness and was able to transform not only the inside of myself, but transform my outside as well. When you have a forgiving spirit, you will leave impressions of light all over your world. Forgiveness frees us up to be significant for others, so others can be significant for the others in their world.
[David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.