What I am about to say is not an exaggeration, nor is it a poetic flourish. This is something to live by daily and to absolutely never forget. This is the most important lesson I have ever learned (and am still learning).
The greatest pain and suffering, by far, that I have ever experienced, has come from unforgiveness, resentment, hatred, and unresolved anger.
Jesus was not kidding when He said that if you do not forgive others their sins against you that God will not forgive ~your~ sins, and that He will send the ~torturers~ against you. (The torturers are not men in black masks holding swords in dungeons, but depressing, despairing, painful, terrifying emotions and destructive effects in your life.)
This does not mean that a believer in Jesus is not saved if he does not forgive, but that he will receive the same kind of judgment and punishment and torment from God in his soul that he is giving to others in his mind.
Here are part of the verses of the story Jesus told, in Matthew 18:28-35:
But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.
Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.
Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’
And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.
Forgiving others ~completely~ is the key that unlocks the door out of the worst mental and emotional prison there is. Not forgiving others their sins against you, ~no matter how painful and severe or evil or unjust those sins and abuses were~, is the most destructive force, no exaggeration, in anyone’s life, that I have ever seen. I can think of ten people I’ve known, right off the top of my head, whose lives seem ruled by, and ruined by: resentment, anger, hate and unforgiveness.
The anger that comes from not forgiving others (especially not forgiving those who have severely abused you ~or people like them~) can cause depression, inner chaos and painful thoughts and emotions, random angers, wanting to get rid of friends who do you wrong, suicidal thoughts, despair of life, general negativity, overeating, obesity, alcohol and drug abuse, emotional pain and emptiness, relationship problems, domestic abuse, violence, stress!, health problems, spiritual problems; terrifying, excruciating emotional pain, and probably many other things.
One of the worst things about unforgiveness is that the pain and problems keep coming back if you forget this lesson and start hating and wanting revenge again (what you and I foolishly and sinfully call, “justice”). My opinion is that ~most~ people in therapists’ and psychiatrists’ offices are there because they do not have the emotional freedom that forgiveness could provide
~in a moment~.
(And forgiveness is a continually daily repeated thing, for new offenses, and for old offenses newly remembered.) It is easy to forget this lesson, and to start hating again. Lives are literally destroyed by unforgiveness.
Lives are healed and prospered by forgiveness.
Forgiveness is ~love~.
First Note: You do not have to stay around or in relationships with destructive or unloving people.
Second Note: Our hatred and vengeance is sinful, whereas God’s hatred and vengeance is pure and good, because it is ~righteous~ (holy) judgment against sin.
God dealt with all sin by having His Son tortured and killed on the cross, once for all, for the just payment and forgiveness of ~all~ sins of ~all~ people. Believe in Him and be forgiven of your sins, saved forever, given a new life, filled with His Spirit, and destined for Heaven–irrevocably and permanently.
Pray for and give gifts to those who hurt you, whom you forgive, as Jesus commands you to do. Give good for evil, not evil for evil. Overcome evil with good. We all need Jesus’ help and love and power and wisdom and comfort to forgive. Ask the Holy Spirit for help and for the ability to forgive. Forgiving must be 100% toward everyone, for everything they have ever done to you, and everything everyone continues to do to you, for you to really live
If I needed to sum up what Christians and churches should be, these three things would be it.
Of course, there is Bible study, prayer, evangelism, worship and fellowship, and many other things, but based on the Bible, if I could pick three things that are really needed, these would be those.
Today’s churches focus on Lordship Salvation False Gospel, attendance–large crowds, theologically deficient ego-rock for songs, Family focus (what about all the single people like me?), Money and Entertainment and Politics.
My guess is Jesus is ready to spit many of them out of His mouth after getting a taste of what they are doing. (see the book of Revelation)
What I Believe:
GOD: Holy Trinity: God is Three Persons in One Being: God.
The Trinity is God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.
There are Three Persons in One God. God is Self-Existing (Aseity.)
CREATION: God created the universe in six 24-hour days about 6,000 years ago.
SIN: Humanity fell into sin by disobeying God in the Garden of Eden.
ANGELIC BEINGS: There is a real person, Satan, who tried to usurp God’s authority and became evil, taking many angels with him. Angels are usually invisible.
There are many good angels that did not fall into evil and rebellion against God.
God chose individuals throughout history to represent Him: Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and others.
FLOOD: God destroyed most life on earth in a global Flood, saving only Noah and his family to restart humanity.
LAW: God instituted the Law under Moses, which was a system of rewards and punishments. Also, God instituted animal sacrifices to cover the sins of His Old Testament people in advance of the efficacious sacrifice of Christ Jesus Himself on the Cross.
FAITH: Abraham was “the father of faith,” believing God through very difficult circumstances.
SCRIPTURE: The Bible, 66 books, was written by men who were inspired by God over many years. The Bible is inspired, inerrant and infallible, and is preserved by God.
ISRAEL: Jacob’s children, the children of Israel, were God’s Covenant people in the Old Testament. This was the people which contained the human ancestors of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
SALVATION: Jesus Christ is true God and true man. Out of love, God sent Jesus to rescue mankind from its awful hellish destiny apart from Him.
Jesus’ sinless life, sacrificial death on the cross for the forgiveness of all sins, His burial, and His resurrection, are the Gospel: 1st Corinthians 15:1-4. Anyone who believes in Jesus as Savior even for a moment, has forgiveness and eternal life (justification), and is irrevocably destined for Heaven at death (eternal security).
SANCTIFICATION: By faith in Christ who is our perfect goodness (Sanctification), believers are made holy in practical life (growing in Grace).
END TIMES AND ETERNITY: Jesus Christ will return to Earth to judge humanity, resurrecting everyone from the dead, sending believers to Heaven and unbelieving sinners to Hell to be justly punished forever in eternal and everlasting conscious punishment, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for their unforgiven sins.
Believers will live forever with Jesus in Heaven and on the remade new Earth, Jesus and believers, and Heaven and Earth, united together.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me HAS everlasting life.”
JESUS said this, in John 6:47
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you THE GOSPEL which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, BY WHICH also YOU ARE SAVED, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
1st Corinthians 15:1-4
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, HAVING BELIEVED, YOU WERE SEALED with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the GUARANTEE of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
For by grace YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast.
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to A DIFFERENT GOSPEL, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach ANY OTHER GOSPEL to you than what we have preached to you, let him be ACCURSED. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches ANY OTHER GOSPEL to you than what you have received, let him be ACCURSED.
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have FELLOWSHIP with Him [NOT “SALVATION” –C.S.], and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1st John 1:5-10
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
A Psalm of David. A Contemplation.
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah 6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him. 7 You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. 9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you. 10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. 2 He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. 3 How long will you attack a man? You shall be slain, all of you, Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence. 4 They only consult to cast him down from his high position; They delight in lies; They bless with their mouth, But they curse inwardly. Selah 5 My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. 7 In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah 9 Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor. 10 Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. 11 God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God. 12 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work.
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
2nd Timothy 2:24,25
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1st John 2:1-11
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.