Forgiveness – When the Other Party Has Died

The story of Martie’s experience in dealing with unforgiveness towards her mother in law had the perfect ending. This is not always the case. Bitterness could have taken root so deeply on both sides that it almost seems impossible for reconciliation. Hopelessness and despair, which also lead to depression, can play havoc with the mind.

Control, domination and manipulation are other factors which cause great difficulty in dealing with the issue of unforgiveness. When faced with this kind of opposition the “victim” feels powerless and cannot see a way out. This is a terrible condition to be in.

Now I wish to say this. The Word of God is not a magical formula. It works as a whole. You cannot name it and claim it. By that I mean that there are those who latch on to one of the promises in God’s Word and keep on confessing it in the belief that it is going to produce the desired result. Or, they receive a “word” of prophecy and attempt to build their lives around it. Beware! The word can become and idol. See what the Lord says in Ezekiel 14:1 – 5. This can bring you to destruction in order that you may turn back to God, not His Word only.

Let me give you an example which fits in with our discussion of unforgiveness and bitterness. People get caught up in the teaching on prosperity and hear the preacher saying that you must believe the Word, stand on the Word, confess the Word and it will come to pass. Now there is nothing wrong with that except for one thing; the hearers of that word have not walked the same road as the speaker. He has most probably worked through the issues in his life. He has or is practicing forgiveness. He does not harbour any bitterness in his heart. He does not speak bad about other people and the most important thing; he is walking in God’s love and has a relationship with the Lord. And, all of this Request personal prophecy is only possible when one is filled with the Holy Spirit and living daily in His presence.

People will confess the scripture in Mark 11:22 – 24 where Jesus said “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.” There are two immediate problems with this type of practice. The first being that they leave out verse 25 where Jesus says “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” This is paramount to having God’s Word produce fruit in your life. You see, without God’s forgiveness of your sins He does not even hear your prayer or confession. Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” So unless you forgive others their sin against you God cannot and will not forgive your sin. Stalemate.

The other problem with this confessing, naming and claiming game is this. We need to be asking and believing in accordance with God’s will. 1 John 5:14 – 15 says “This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” Can you see the results of unforgiveness. If we ask of God with unforgiveness in our hearts He does not hear us, and we can claim whatever scriptures we please; it is not going to work. This is not some magical system for getting things from our heavenly Father. We are talking about real life issues here. In James 4:1- 3 the Word says “What causes quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill (hate) and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (Self-centered).

As a result of asking incorrectly, many people don’t receive and are then angry with God. How sad? Our Father takes great delight in blessing His children. Why do we play games with Him by trying to manipulate Him with His very own words? The scripture in James says that if we ask according to His will then we know that He hears us and will grant the request. It is God’s will that we forgive? Therefore if we ask Him to help us forgive someone, do you think He will? Sure, it’s His will. But if we are still harbouring bitterness or even hurt in our hearts when we ask then He will not answer. Your request should first be, “Father give me a love for so and so and take away these bad feelings and thoughts.” Matthew 5:48 says we are to love our enemies. It is in God’s will. Let’s move on to our topic of unforgiveness.


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