Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11
“I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes” [2 Corinthians 9-11 NLT].
We used to sing in children’s meetings:
“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…
Won’t let Satan snuff it out, I’m going to let it shine”
There is nothing that will snuff out the light, and hinder our fellowship with God, faster than an unforgiving spirit. For that reason Paul says, “we are familiar with his evil schemes” [verse 11]. The word “schemes” is variously translated as wiles, intentions or strategies. Notice that the Corinthian church forgave the offender, and Paul also exercised his authority to forgive. This is an outworking of the promise of Jesus, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” [John 20:23].
The consequences of unforgiveness are not only spiritual, but can also be physical, emotional and psychological. Many years ago a man in charge of a mental institution told me that he estimated that seventy per cent of all his patients could be released within a week if they would forgive the people that they held grudges against. Unforgiveness and bitterness are twins that destroy people’s lives.
I was ministering some time ago in a Christian student campus church in Minneapolis. At the invitation for prayer a young woman was among those who came to the communion rail. I found myself saying to her, “You are no longer rejected! You are no longer rejected!” When I asked her who had rejected her, she responded by saying, “My mother and my sister.” Her sister was the favourite and she felt unwanted.” That evening she had no difficulty forgiving her mother, but when challenged to forgive her sister she began to choke. Satan had bound her through unforgiveness. Finally she managed to get the words out, “I forgive my sister.” At that moment she fell backwards and cried out, “My back! My back!” She had previously been rejected for missionary service because of a severe curvature of the spine, but following the forgiveness of sister her spine became straight and perfectly normal.
Why do you think that unforgiveness is such a powerful tool of the enemy to destroy people?
Are there any areas of unforgiveness in your life that hinder your progress and growth as a Christian?
Spend time alone with God and write down on a piece of paper the names of anyone that you need to forgive. Will you then bring that paper to the cross and release those people whose names you have written down?