DAY 29 - Freedom from Mental Torment

Am I experiencing any mental torment which could be coming from my willful unforgiveness?

21  Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"  22  Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23  "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24  As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25  Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26  "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27  The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28  "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. 29  "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' 30  "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31  When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32  "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33  Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?'  34  In anger his master turned him over to the jailers [KJV – Tormentors] to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  35  "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother sincerely and from your heart."

INSIGHT:  Imagine this; you’re a Christian, but the thoughts coming into your head are almost always worrisome, anxious, confusing, and fearful.   You’re desperate for peace and God doesn’t seem to be helping you, so you start running to food, drugs, alcohol, music, porn, exercise, or recreation for temporary relief.  You have no idea that God is allowing you to be tormented in your thoughts, by evil spirits, because you are withholding forgiveness.  In his mercy, He is trying to make you miserable enough to turn you from your disobedience before it is too late.  The torment will stop as soon as you forgive, but do not delay.  God may turn you over to your stubborn heart and allow you to remain trapped in your hard heart (Psalm 81:11-12).  Note: King Saul was tormented by evil spirits sent from God, after he disobeyed God.
While I was living in my friend’s office, God set up a beautiful encounter between me and the cleaning lady named Kay.  We had a brief chat and I discerned something was wrong in her heart.  After I inquired about it, God gave her the grace to admit that she was struggling with terrible unforgiveness against her sisters.  They had committed some terrible wrongs against Kay, regarding their mother’s death and will.  Kay was a believer in Christ, but she was filled with hate towards her sisters.  She had heaviness in her heart, and she was afraid of dying in her unforgiveness, but she didn’t know how to get rid of it.  I told her about today’s teaching and that she can get rid of it by letting them go, from her heart, before the Lord.  I grabbed her shaking hands and began to lead her in a prayer of forgiving them.  She began shaking even harder and crying.  It was like watching an emotional volcano erupt in her heart.  The forces of good and evil were battling for her heart, and evil was about to lose.  She came up from the prayer, took a huge breath, and exclaimed, “I’m free Michael…I’m free!”  In a testimonial video she says, “If you can get the same feeling I have now…what are you waiting for?    What happened is in the past; forgiveness is your future”.  – Kay Duncan


DAY 28 - The People You Must Forgive

Am I continuing to forgive others so that God will continue to forgive me?

14  For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

INSIGHT:  As with most of the Bible and Christ’s teachings, this is a black or white issue.  If you forgive others you are right.  If you withhold forgiveness, you are dead wrong.  There is no in-between.  A person whose sins are not forgiven cannot go to heaven (Luke 13:2-3, 34-35, Acts 26:18, Colossians 1:13-14, Colossians 2:13, Hebrews 3:12-14, Hebrews 10:26, James 5:20, 1 John 3:6-10, Revelation 21:27).

Forgiveness is not good self-help advice or a recommendation; it’s a command.  To ask God’s forgiveness of your sins, and then withhold forgiveness from someone HE made, and someone HE will judge, is wickedness on the level of pushing God off His throne and slapping Him in the face (if it were even possible to do so).  When we withhold forgiveness, we are playing God.  Unforgiveness is an issue of pride, “How dare they treat me that way…don’t they know who I am.”  How can a true Christian, who has been bought at a price, and who no longer belongs to himself, turn and demand honor and justice for himself?  What is wrong with that picture?  Do you see why God will call that person a wicked servant, if they do not forgive?  Do you see how a person could fall away from grace, and lose their future inheritance of salvation, by choosing not to forgive their brother or sister?  Jesus never said that a person who doesn’t forgive is a false believer, and that they would have fallen away anyhow.  He said a believer who doesn’t forgive will not be forgiven themselves.   Unforgiveness says to God, “I don’t believe your word; and I don’t trust you to bring justice so I will create my own.”  When we don’t forgive others, we are not continuing in God’s kindness, and we are in danger of being cut off (Rom 11:22)!  

Who would you still like to see punished for what they did to you?  Who do you want restitution from?  Those are people you MUST forgive, if you are wise and expect to have eternal life.  Forgiveness does not mean that what they did to you wasn’t wrong.  It means you trust God to right the wrong, and it means that you will not miss heaven as a wicked servant, because you did God’s will.  – Mat 7:21

DAY 27 - Unrighteous Anger

Am I still angry with anyone, which is the same as murder in God’s eyes and brings judgment?

21  "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'   22  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.  23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24  leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. 25)  "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. (26)  I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

INSIGHT:  Righteous anger is when we are mad about God’s will being violated.  Unrighteous anger (the sinful kind) is when we are mad about our will being violated.  When we stay angry, it is because we desire justice and we don’t trust God to bring it.  My greatest enemy was more hurtful and more vicious than I ever imagined possible, for six straight years.  In the beginning it made me very angry because it was so unjust.  However, God asked me (and you) to forgive others and to trust Him.  As I obeyed, He began helping me, and soon I was controlling my anger, rather than it controlling me.  The key for me was to go to God with every new offense like a “tattletale”, until I no longer needed to do that.  By the way, there’s no such thing as a tattletale to God; He wants you to bring the details of every hurt and offense to Him (See the Psalms).  You can spit the poison out on Him since He’s immune, and that gets it out of you.  My trust in Him eventually extinguished my anger for my enemy so much, that I often plead with God, in tears, to bless them.  You do not have to be angry as a Christian.  I can’t even remember the last time

An angry Christian is a disobedient Christian, and is not surrendered to the Power of the Holy Spirit.  Satan uses the anger that we hold onto to ensnare and destroy us. (Eph 4:26-27)  It can easily become a stronghold, and such a person reading this will feel the “impossibility” of being able to forgive or release the anger they feel towards someone.  They have given Satan a foothold and he turned it into a stronghold.  As you can see from Jesus’ teachings, this ensures that the person will end up in hell, if they are in that state when they die, which could be at any time.  This is why Jesus calls Satan the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  A stronghold is a desperate and dangerous situation that must be dealt with NOW!  If you are stuck in a stronghold of anger or unforgiveness, ask yourself this sobering question.  “Am I willing to be thrown into the eternal fire of hell (Jesus’ words) just so I can remain angry with that person?”  The warning has been made and it is up to you to decide.  If you want out of the stronghold, put this book down and get on your knees and cry out to Him and show Him you sincerely want His help.  Confess your sin against Him, and ask Him to teach you the Fear of the Lord (Psalm 86:11) and to give you the grace to never pick the anger back up again.  He stands with open arms, ready to reconcile anyone who repents.

Note:  In v. 23-26, the command is to attempt reconciliation, when you have legitimately wronged them.  I have made a few enemies by telling them the truth about the sin in their life, when they asked me (Gal 4:16).  I acted in love, but love is not subjective to the receiver.  People are far too easily offended today.  I attempted reconciliation, but it was not reciprocated.  Since my motivation was to see them be better off, without the sin in their life, their remaining offended is not something God holds against me.  In fact, God would hold me accountable if I did not say anything (Eze 3:18).