More toxic to the soul than deadly poison is to the body-- is unforgiveness.
It eats away at our very core causing ill health: spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and even physically.
How do we get free from this snare?
Let’s unpack it and see what it is at its very root and unmask the enemy of our soul who sets the deadly traps that cause us so much harm.
Unforgiveness comes as the result of an action that has caused us to take offense. This offence can either have been intentionally or unintentionally directed towards us, large or small, it matters not, if we take offence we are trapped.
The word “offence” comes from the Greek word “skandalon”.
Skandalon is primarily “a trap-stick," "a bent stick on which the bait is fastened which the animal strikes against and so springs the trap," hence, it came to denote a "snare," or anything which one strikes against injuriously (it is Septuagint's word for moqesh, a "noose" or "snare," "a stumbling-block"). NETBible
The first line of defence is to become aware of what the enemy is trying to do.
Avoiding the trap altogether is best, refusing to take offence and seeing all “offence” as rolling off of you and falling onto Jesus. Upon the cross, Jesus took the sin of the entire world upon Himself, so let the insult fall upon Him. (“The insults of those who insult you fall upon me." Romans 15:3). Then ask Him for the love He had from the cross to speak the words He spoke: “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). And thank Jesus for taking the hurt and giving you the love you need to handle the situation and even go one step further... bless the ”offensive person.” (“But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28). And see the results of this below.
If you find yourself already in the “offence trap”, there is only one answer to spring you out.
Choose to FORGIVE.
Forgiveness is a choice, it is not a feeling. It is not dependant on whether the offender is “sorry” or ever acknowledges what they have done. It does not mean you need to re-establish a relationship or in any way erase “healthy boundaries.”
No. It means you are handing over the situation to more Capable Hands. You are releasing the situation and the person who caused the offense into the Hands of Jesus.
The beauty of this is that you are not denying that it happened, you are simply giving it over to the Just Judge who can handle the situation far more astutely than you can. Along with this, you are releasing the “fixing” of the situation and the person to the Great “I AM” who can bring peace, goodness, and even blessing out of the worst we can hand to Him.
Try it and see.
1. Cup your hands and place in them all of the “offences”, naming them one by one. Pray telling Jesus, “I release all of this into Your more Capable Hands to wash over and to forgive. I acknowledge that it is too much for my humanity to deal with or to bear.” Brush off your hands.
2. Now cup your hands again and place in them all that these “offences” caused you to do. Perhaps you withheld forgiveness, retaliated, or refused to be loving to the “offender”. Pray telling Jesus, “I release all of this into Your more Capable Hands to wash over and to forgive. I am sorry for my part in this and I acknowledge that it is too much for my humanity to handle or to bear.” Brush off your hands. (You might feel the need to go to Confession! If you do…even more graces flow!)
3. Cup your hands again and place all the good that you would like to see come to the “offender” in them. Perhaps you would like this person to change to become a more loving individual, more generous or kind. Pray telling Jesus, “I release this person into Your more Capable Hands to wash over and to heal (I leave the “fixing” to You.) I acknowledge that this is too much for my humanity to bear and not my job.” Brush off your hands.
4. For the last time: cup your hands again and place all that you would like to see that is good that could to come to you from this in them. Perhaps you would like to become a more loving individual or to be able to react differently to this person or in this situation. Pray telling Jesus, “I release myself into Your Capable Hands to wash over and to heal (I leave the “fixing” of even myself to You.) I acknowledge that this is too much for my humanity to bear and not my job. I ask for the will and the ability to cooperate with Your grace.” Brush off your hands.
Now thank Jesus for hearing your prayer and bringing peace and wholeness as you choose daily to forgive...again and again and again.
SPRING THE TRAP! FORGIVE! And leave it all in the more Capable Hands of Jesus!
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ Rather, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.’ Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21.
Amen! and AMEN!