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KEEP YOUR HEART - PART II
Guard your heart against unforgiveness.
"Some are hooked on phonics, but some are hooked on pain – the pain of the past. If you hold on to the pain of the past, it will hinder you wherever you go."
- Some people wake up thinking about how someone treated them yesterday. Perhaps someone said some unkind words to you and you’re still fuming.
- Some are hooked on phonics, but some are hooked on pain – the pain of the past. If you hold on to the pain of the past, it will hinder you wherever you go. Guard your heart diligently.
- People constantly mourn: I wish I had gone back to school. I wish I had been a better parent. I wish I had made a different decision. They are allowing the past to poison their future. Friend, are you living life constantly looking in the rearview mirror? Don’t be a prisoner of the past. If you’d go forward in life, you’ve got to quit looking back. Say to your self:” I’m going to shake off the hurts and limits of yesterday.” Paul reminds us in Phil 3:13,14 to forget the past and press forward in Christ Jesus. Keep your heart free from bitterness and resentment over the past.
- Hebrews 12:14 warns: “Be careful lest any root of bitterness, springing up, troubles you and thereby many be defiled. For out of our hearts we vocalize words, which indicate who we really are. A bitter person; out of the bitterness of their own heart, will infect you. Life is already too short and the cancer of bitterness will make it even shorter. You must not permit it to rob you of precious years of life. Everyday people are choosing to live in either the pasture of yesterday’s pain, or the present of God’s Amazing Grace and eternal promises. His promises are yes and amen!
- The story is told of Job who lost everything and sat down in the ashes and mourned. You too at this moment may be sitting in the ashes of the past – past failures, the wrong someone did you; a disappointment; a failed marriage; the death of a loved one. You find comfort in reliving those morbid and sad memories. You’re heart-broken, down and discouraged. How long are you going to mourn over those broken dreams and failed relationships? You don’t have to stay in the past. Shake off the discouragement of yesterday. Throw away that rearview mirror. God wants to give you beauty in exchange for your ashes. Cor. 8: 3 tells us: Eyes have not seen, nor ears heard., neither has entered into men’s heart what God has prepared for yoyou who love the Lord.
- Today I want to focus on those who harbor unforgiveness because they live in the past. Perhaps you find it difficult to forgive someone. Maybe you say you can forgive but you can’t forget. Your mind constantly replays the events and pain of the past.
- Look at Joseph. He lived in a home of 11 brothers. From time to time he had these dreams which seemed to define for him a destiny more noble than that of his brothers’. In time, their envy and ill-will against him reached such an extent till one day they forcibly took him as a teenager, decided to kill him, but then sold him into slavery. Imagine - his own brothers sold him to get rid of him and his dreams. The psychologists call this sibling rivalry. Contented with their dirty deed, they thought they had destroyed the dreamer and his dream forever, and effectively thwarted his destiny. But he forgave his brothers. He was made a steward of Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s palace guards. Later, his employer’s wife took a liking to him and tried to seduce him, repeatedly. He constantly resisted her sexual advances, and she got mad. It’s said. Heaven hath no rage like love turned to hatred, nor hell hath a fury like a woman scorned. So she, the boss’ wife accused him of sexual harassment - attempted rape and he was thrown in prison. But Joseph forgave her this injustice and trusted his God. In prison, he correctly interpreted the butler’s troubling dream but as soon as the butler was released from prison and restored to the Pharaoh, he promptly forgot all about Joseph.
Again Joseph forgave him.
- Friend, what situation are you facing today? How is it with you?
People may have wronged you greatly, but don’t hold unforgiveness in your heart: forgive them. Your trusted friend may have betrayed you and won’t let your secret go untold – forgive them. You invested so much in that person, now it all seems wasted and in vain. But God will make it up to you. When one door closes, God will certainly open another. Keep your heart free of unforgiveness. God will give you beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning - Your brightest days for your darkest hour, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Yes, your brightest days are just ahead: God is giving you a new beginning, even now. The best is yet to come.
- Your children have rebelled against every good you have done for them, and now they are ungrateful towards you – forgive them. Your spouse may have deserted you after many years of marriage – forgive them. A business partner has robbed you of your investment – forgive them; don’t allow unforgiveness and bitterness to reside in your heart; it will poison and slowly destroy you. Perhaps living has lost its lustre for you – but take heart; behind every cloud there’s a silver lining. Weeping endures only for the night, but JOY comes with daybreak – your JOY comes in the morning. Psalm 84:11,12 says: For the Lord God is a sun and shield – He will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
- It doesn’t matter whatever your situation is in life – keep your heart diligently from unforgiveness – let God heal you, and make you better instead of holding on to unforgiveness and becoming bitter. "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Prov. 19:11.
- How is it with you? Indeed, behind the doors of many a beautiful home lies the empty ugliness of broken dreams because a spouse won’t forgive another.
- So many people today harbor bitterness and unforgiveness from broken marriages and other relationships. Parents, family members, friends take sides. Church people against the Ministers and Ministers against the people. Brethren against brethren. People who sing lustily ‘when we all get to Heaven,’ but won’t cross the aisle to greet another - Lord, have mercy. This spirit of unforgiveness has created strife, havoc, dissension and destruction in so many lives.
- Into the garden of many a home has crept the serpent of envy. Brothers and sisters who harbor ill feelings and won’t speak to each other. Ministers who are preaching the same gospel but haven’t spoken in years. Church members are being robbed because of division and the spirit of unforgiveness in the house. That spirit of the enemy controls the spirit of unforgiveness. It creeps into family and robbing father and son, mother and daughter, husbands and wives. Estranged spouses so bitter against each other till they poison the minds of the children and influence them away from a parent. Unforgiveness leading to divorce and the disaster of broken homes, broken dreams, broken families and broken children .
- Lord have mercy! How many churches are destroyed, marriages forever wrecked, precious friendships severed asunder because of the spirit of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness can come in so many ways. Malice, hatred, anger, unkind words; all these we harbor in our heart. If we don’t forgive them we suffer most. If we keep it our hearts, we’ll always be in a state of turmoil. Those who hurt us most are often those closest to us.
- I am fully convinced that the enemy uses it to stop us from accomplishing purpose. This spirit must be exposed and expunged. God will forgive us if we forgive others.
- You must have the spirit of forgiveness and it comes from God. Jesus commanded us. Forgive 7 x 7. You must humble yourself that you don’t keep any bitterness inside.
- Through all of life’s vicissitudes Joseph, prayerful, trusting God, and ever mindful of his spiritual legacy, was a believer who expected and received miracles – a good outcome. He kept his heart with all diligence, and one day Joseph stood before them in royal splendor: He was now vice-regent over all of the Egyptian empire. When you stay focused on your disappointment and do not forgive those who wrong you, you miss out on your future.
- But thank God Joseph had already forgiven his brothers – his heart was free from unforgiveness. He consoled them by saying: You meant evil against me but God meant it for good to preserve many alive. Their evil intention was motivated by the devil but God took what they did; overruled it, and used it for good.
- God has a plan, and that plan includes using the suffering and injustice others inflict upon you and turning it around for your good. He didn’t magnify the evil of his brethren but magnified the plan and purposes of God. He came to the settled conclusion that God turned it to good. Romans 8:37-39 asks what shall separate us from the love of God? Shall tribulations, angels, things present or things to come? No, in all these things we’re more than conquerors through Christ.
- Even Christ forgave on the cross. Jesus’ only desire was to please His Heavenly Father. He left us a pattern to follow. They took Him to the cross and they pierced His side. But He cried out, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Jesus Christ forgave his enemies and so must you. You know nothing until you know the love of God! Until you know the loving Hands that reaches down to fallen man.
Yes, they crucified Him, and put Him in a grave; but up from the grave He arose – with a glorious triumph o’er His foes. He arose a victor over sin’s dark domain, and lives forever with His saints to reign.
- Friend, how is it with you? Have you forgiven those who have wronged you? Have you forgiven that neighbor, that spouse, that child, that church member?
Eternal Father, I come to you in Jesus’ Name. I bring to you all my hurts and the unforgiveness I feel inside to those who have wronged me. You have forgiven me and I forgive them likewise in Jesus’ Name. Cleanse me, change me, make me the person you meant for me to be. – Amen.
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