Jesus Did It!
FORGIVING OTHERS IS PRIMARILY FOR OUR BENEFIT
By: Norm Rasmussen
An all-loving and all-wise God never tells us to do something that is not good for us.
One of the greatest reasons we are commanded in the Bible to forgive those who have done us wrong is to remain free from spiritual death - to stay free from having a literal curse placed upon us. Holding onto unforgiveness is inflicting ourselves with spiritual death - a spiritual curse - to one degree or another.
Here is both the command, and proof of the consequences if we don't forgive those who have done us wrong: who have angered us:
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." -- Matthew 6:14-15
When God the Father refuses to forgives us of the wrongs we do against Him and others ... I would hope we fully realize that their is no worse curse we could have placed upon us than His refusing to forgive us!
An all-loving and all-wise God wishes no one to self-inflict themselves with spiritual death - a spiritual curse. Holding onto unforgiveness is like swallowing daily vitamin tablets laced with low dosages of cyanide poison. Unforgiveness is one of the the most lethal spiritual death poisons, because it will kill you spiritually to one degree or another without you even realizing what is going on.
When we speak of holding onto unforgiveness, we are really speaking of holding onto different levels of anger. Anger is a normal emotion God has given each of us, but it can also be our worst enemy when we fail to realize just how lethal it can be if we don’t channel it properly.
Quickly forgiving those we are angry with is executing God’s wisdom in properly channeling our anger towards somehow who has wronged us – someone who is upsetting us (or has upset us). Properly channeling our anger is like driving down the freeway at 70 miles an hour with your eyes wide open and your hands on the steering wheel. You are in full control of what direction the car goes. If you close your eyes and take your hands off the wheel at that speed, it’s just a matter of time before you will be in grave danger.
Anger not properly channeled opens the door for evil spirits to do you harm. Were you aware of that? Even if you don’t believe there are such things as evil spirits incapable of doing you harm doesn’t hinder them from inflicting harm upon you.
You may not know this, but in the New Testament Bible, there is only one place where it tells us that if we don’t properly channel our anger, it opens up legal doors for evil spirits to inflict harm on us.
Here is where God tells us that if we don’t channel our anger properly, evil will gain legal access to do us harm. Do you want to know the greatest harm evil can do to us once we give evil spirits legal access? It ultimately places a barrier between us and God.
Anger not properly channeled will literally stop the flow of blessing from God like little else will. One of the greatest desires of evil spirits is to place a barrier between you and God so that God’s blessings for you will begin to diminish rather than increase. Evil spirits can’t receive God’s blessings, but you can. Because you can receive God’s blessings and they can’t … they are filled with rage toward anyone else who can receive them.
Let’s look at this scripture from the Bible to help you see for yourself the serious danger of not channeling your anger quickly and properly:
Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. – Ephesians 4:26-27 (NKJV)
Ephesians 4:30 reveals what starts taking place when we do not properly channel our anger sooner than later:
And 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.
Anytime we grieve the Holy Spirit who is given to us to bless us, a barrier starts getting erected between us and God. Evil spirits know that, which is why they are constantly looking for ways to trigger our anger. If they can get us to respond to something in anger, they know that once that spark of anger has been ignited inside us, the Holy Spirit immediately becomes grieved if we don’t channel that anger properly and quickly, before it has a chance to sprout and grow.
“Be angry, yet do not sin.” This first portion of Ephesians 4:26 is essentially implying that … yes … God understands we’ll all get angry from time to time, but when we do become angry … just be wise and don’t cross over into sin because we’re angry. Stop short of sinning when we’re angry.
What remedy has God given us to stop short of sinning when we’re angry? Forgiveness. Forgiveness is God’s wise secret weapon to keep us from grieving the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is the only way to properly channel our anger. Forgiveness is the only way to be in self-control of our anger … instead of it controlling us.
Do you suppose Jesus was tempted to want his heavenly Father’s wrath to be poured out on those who placed him on the cross, and stood below mocking him? He certainly was being tempted for that very thing, and how he properly channeled that anger so it would not have any power over him to sin was to forgive his enemies. (Remember - Had he committed just ONE sin, his very sacrifice on the cross would have been a total waste. Committing just one sin would have disqualified him from being the only pure, unblemished sacrifice in which God the Father would find acceptable to pay ransom payment for your sins and my sins).
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” - Luke 23:34
Thus we see how Jesus wisely channeled his anger at that moment by not allowing it to grieve the very Holy Spirit who would raise Him from the dead just a few short days later. Had Jesus not channeled His anger properly at that moment by refusing to forgive those who cruelly put Him to death on the cross (and he had every right to stay angry at them, actually - as you may believe you have every right to stay angry at whoever has wronged you), the Holy Spirit would have had no choice but leave Jesus in the tomb until his body turned to dust. And had that happened, you and I would never have been given the Lamb of God to atone for our sins. Grieving the Holy Spirit has much more grave ramifications than what we can possibly comprehend. Be wise. Simply don’t grieve Him. Do everything you know to do not to grieve the Holy Spirit. He’s the One God has given us to help us stay free from evil spirit’s – not giving evil spirits the legal right to inflict their rage upon us.
Anger not channeled properly becomes the perfect poison (evil spirit weapon) to self-inflict us with spiritual poison we don’t realize is actually even harming us. The ultimate victory for evil spirits is to get you to channel your anger toward God. How are they best able to do this? Ultimately, by trying to convince you that an all-loving, all-caring God would NEVER have allowed you to be wronged in the FIRST place! “An all-loving, and all-caring God would have stopped the wrong from happening in the first place, would He not?”
On the surface - logically thinking – absolutely! Yet since when has human logic ever come up with a means of eliminating one person from killing another on this planet when anger out of control drives them to do so? “Can’t we all just get along peacefully?” hasn’t accomplished it. The brightest of brightest minds haven’t been able to convince the masses of people to stop doing it. What will stop it then, if there is anything to stop it?
The Bible promises that one day it will in fact be stopped. God Himself will be the one who stops it. An all-loving, all-caring God will indeed one day stop it, by stopping evil spirits from being able to tempt us from sinning once we become angry.
An angry person will then stay angry at God knowing that evil will one day be stopped by God to influence us ... by demanding, “Well, then why doesn’t God stop evil spirits NOW from tempting us to cross over into sin once we are angered? What is taking Him so long to do so?!”
Time out. Please realize something. Neither you nor I ever had it within our power to persuade God we deserved the right to be alive on this planet in the first place. God didn’t need to create you nor did He need to create me. It was His doing to do the creating, no one else’s. All of the questions we demand God answer doesn’t obligate Him to answer them.
What? Are WE placing ourselves above God in our demanding Him to answer us? If you haven’t read the entire Old Testament Book of Job, I would greatly encourage you to do so in the near future. Job was tested … tested severely … and read how that landed him a personal encounter with The Creator, and it was not a warm-fuzzy encounter at that. That encounter could have taken place at the Judgment Day for him, yet God allowed it to happen before, probably so that it won't happen on OUR Judgment Day.
We may not be inflicted with the degree of trial or trials that Job encountered, but God gave us the Book of Job to learn from … when He didn’t have to … so we would get a glimpse into matters that our human logic simply can’t fully grasp. God tells us both in the Old Testament and the New Testament that God uses evil until He determines it is no longer beneficial … to help shape us into the likeness of Himself. God’s ultimate goal for you and I is to shape us into the likeness and image of Jesus Christ Himself, who is none other than God Himself. (See: Romans 8:28-29). To not be aware of that is to miss entirely what is central to Christianity.
Thus to understand this life at all … one has to come to the full realization that our entire life is one big test. We are being tested by God. The greater we are tested, and pass our tests, it stands to reason that God has greater rewards waiting for us sometime in eternity. Our pain will one day be our future gain … as long as we pass our tests.
Why does God allow such terrible things to happen to innocent children who have no control over their lives at such a young age? It is someone’s test. It ultimately might be their test; it might be someone else’s test as well that knows that person. It may take years before someone who has suffered terrible abuse as a child to be confronted with the fact of needing to forgive those who wronged them so terribly, but once they are confronted with it, it becomes the “day of their exam.” Tests are given to see ultimately what we have learned. Tests are designed to show us how well we’ve done at learning what God knows is best for us to learn, and where we need to work a little more diligently at learning what God desires we learn. Tests reveal whether we are spiritual infants, or somewhat more mature spiritual children.
Thus in one sense, when we are angered, it is “exam time.” It’s “test time.” God tells us in the Holy Scriptures how we can pass the test with “flying colors.” He clearly tells us how to pull an A+ in fact on such a test. “FORGIVE your enemy. FORGIVE the one you are angry at.”
The “anger test” is probably the most difficult test we can take in this life. Some of us will be given the “opportunity" by God to take the test many, many times during our life. The more we are forced to take the test, the easier it should get to pass the test. An “anger test” that took years or months or weeks or days to take can be given and passed within literally seconds, once we gain full understanding of the wisdom of forgiving and apply it. God truly wants the test to be passed within seconds. How quickly we learn to pass the test in seconds really depends more on us than anything else. We must make up our mind to pass the test in seconds before ever attaining that ability. God will impart the power from the Holy Spirit for us to pass the test that quickly … we just have to be determined to pay whatever price is necessary to receive His power.
Mastering anger pays huge dividends. I hope that the words written here will motivate you to master the test of anger. If so, all glory be to God. Afterall … it was Him who gave me a dream in the night about this very topic less than four hours ago from the time this was written, and upon waking from the dream, the Holy Spirit instructed me to sit down at my computer and not share the details of the dream, but the PURPOSE for the dream. The purpose for the dream was to write these words so someone reading it could learn the wisdom of passing their “anger tests.” See – God was looking out for your best interests when you may not even realized it! Aren’t you glad that He has everything all figured out, from beginning to end, and all the power and wisdom to pull it off?
Choosing to forgive doesn't mean that the wrong never happened. It just means you refuse to allow it to control your life anymore.
Here's another writing on forgiveness that you may find very beneficial: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/MEncouragerArchives/ForgivenessThanksgiving.htm
And here's another: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/f-j/Forgiveness.htm
A highly recommended video on the topic of dealing with offenses: https://vimeo.com/64447774
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