“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble. “
Three witches are in a dark cave, casting a terrible curse upon a sailor whose wife offended one of them. They were seeking their revenge…
Unforgiveness – it is an evil poison; a toxic cancer of the heart. It makes us scowl and seethe and seek revenge. It gives us nightmares and steals our sleep. It grits our teeth and grinds our souls.Unforgiveness - it is an evil poison; a toxic cancer of the heart Click To Tweet
If you want toil and trouble, then don’t forgive.
I can remember a time when I was having trouble forgiving. I would sweat and stew when I should have been conked out in a glorious state of slumber. And, when I was supposed to be awake, I just wanted to be put out of my misery. My head ached, my teeth clenched, my chest was tight. My unforgiveness touched every area of my life – the way I viewed other people, the prayers (or lack of) that I sent up to God, and my entire attitude and countenance throughout my day.
Just as the “weird sisters” in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” represent evil, chaos and impending doom, you can be certain that unforgiveness represents the same. Yet, forgiving our offender, the one who has inflicted pain and burrowed it deep in our hearts, is seemingly impossible. I am reminded though, of a truth buried even deeper in my heart, which tells me that with God, all things are possible.
A necessary evil
Let’s talk about our enemy for just a moment. Though, a moment is all I want to give him. You have to understand one thing. Your enemy is not the person who inflicted that pain of offense you’re feeling. Your enemy is the one who inflicts all pain. And, it is not just possible, but certainly probable that he is working overtime behind the scenes to ensure that you hold on to every weighty ounce of that pain for a very long time. It is definite that he is against you.
In her book, “Fervent”, Priscilla Shirer convinces me once again, that Satan isn’t just a metaphor, but a very real enemy, and he is up to no good in my relationships. He wants them to suffer, and he wants me to suffer.
She writes, “If I were your enemy, I’d use every opportunity to bring old wounds to mind, as well as the people, events and circumstances that caused them. I’d try to ensure that your heart was hardened with anger and bitterness. Shackled through unforgiveness.”
Friends, this is exactly how the oppressor keeps us bound.
Our enemy keeps us suffering by keeping us from forgiving. He keeps us tied up in ropes of bitterness by convincing us to hold on. He wants us to hold on to our “rights”, hold on to our “dignity” – because he knows we hold on to the suffering at the same time – and he loves when we suffer.Our enemy keeps us suffering by keeping us from forgiving Click To Tweet
We have believed a lie about holding on. We have been led to believe that we are stronger if we hold on; like in the game “Tug of War”. He lied when he said that you win when you tighten your grip until your knuckles turn white. He knows that with forgiveness comes freedom, and he, instead, wants you bound. He makes you think that there will be no more war within you, once you’ve yanked your opponent into the pit. Oh, but there is. There always will be. Revenge never produces peace.
Now, enough of The Father of Lies. Enough of holding on.
The truth about letting Go
In the Bible, the Greek word translated “forgiveness” literally means “to let go”.
In the game “Tug of War”, the people who “let go” are rendered the losers and concluded to be the weaker ones. But in the game of life – abundant life, “letting go”, to overlook offense, actually reveals great strength and fortitude. I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have this kind of strength on my own. I need “the God of the impossible” to help me loosen my grip. He knows how.
The God of the impossible let go. He let go of His right to nail us for our sins against Him, providing us a way out at great cost to Himself. He let go of His dignity, so that His hands could be spread wide and nailed to a cross. His forgiveness is what gives us strength and reason to forgive our debtors.
He never said it would be easy (in fact, you must be tough as nails), but He said to do it – to let go. He did the impossible, so that we could too. So, when the caldron of unforgiveness is burning and bubbling within, let “The God of the Impossible” tug at your heart, free your grip and be the cool, healing balm to that burn. When the enemy is dancing on every wound, reminding you of all that’s been done to you, take the advice of Priscilla Shirer, and…
“Forgive anyway. Not because it’s easy but because your enemy gets exactly what he wants from you otherwise. Forgive anyway. Not lightly and quickly but ferociously and fervently. Not only for the other person but mostly for you -so you can be free and full and whole and complete.”
Forgive anyway.God did the impossible, so that we could too Click To Tweet
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”