so that we would not be outwitted by satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. [2 corinthians 2:11]
forgiveness. a word we’ve been talking about all week. it means freedom. it means trusting the Lord. it means laying our life down for the glory of the Father. it means sanctification through humility. all of these things are so good. good for us, good for our relationship with our Creator, good for the world around us. so why do we hold onto unforgiveness? pastor marc mentioned a few reasons, but this text points to one. satan is a master designer of stirring up bitterness.
bitterness is at the root of unforgiveness. it’s a sickness that begins with hurt and turns quickly to idolatry as we seek to control our hurt and handle it our own way, putting it before the glory of the Lord. it’s a sickness that affects the whole body of Christ, spreading like a virus to create division in the church.
see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. [hebrews 12:15]
our enemy seeks to defame the name of God by defiling the church with bitterness. satan knows full well that the antidote to this sickness is forgiveness. he works hard to stir up feelings of unfairness, tell lies about protecting ourselves, help us justify our desire to punish others and heap condemnation because we think God will not avenge us. we cling to our control and in doing so, we sacrifice our own healing freedom.
my prayer for my own heart is that God will give me a greater understanding of his own forgiveness of my sin.
and you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. [eph 2: 1-7]
the perfect picture of complete forgiveness is found in Jesus Christ. today, as I sit in the presence of God, I beg for a bigger picture of His forgiveness to fill my heart, overflowing to the world around me, those who fail me, those who hurt me, those who need God’s forgiveness as much as I do. marc said it. the forgiven, forgive. my family, we have been forgiven much. who do you need to forgive today?
in him we have redemption, through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us. [eph 1:7]
~ arwen eastman