Did you guess the #1 issue that keeps us on the outside looking in? (this is my question from last week).
The one issue that God has been shouting into my head for a couple of weeks now, that keeps people on the outside looking in is Unforgiveness.
Unforgiveness is the #1, not the #2 or the #3 but the #1 block to having a relationship with God and unforgiveness will keep you on the outside looking in for a very long time.
Ephesians 4:26 New International Version (NIV)
“In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, do not give the devil a foothold.”
It is spelled right out in the Bible, we can give the devil a foothold and that can open us to things that God never wanted or intended for us. It can keep on us the outside looking in, wishing, longing to be in that circle.
Unforgiveness – a complete definition would be a jailcell.
When we decide we cannot, will not or just plain no to forgive, we lock up our heart and hand over the key to the jailer (spoiler alert the jailer is not God).
On my drive home from Edmonton yesterday I was stewing about this topic and what to write and the phrase “Locked and Loaded” kept coming to me. I asked God for more clarification and got a picture of an old western movie with rifle barrels coming out of a window, guns a’blazing and the person inside shooting whatever moved – no questions asked.
The problem is the bad guys, the person(s) you are angry at has left. The only one standing outside is Jesus and He is waving His white flag but because you don’t stop shooting long enough to take a look, you have missed it. Locked and Loaded.
Locked inside the jailcell, you have come up with all kinds of reasons why you cannot forgive, why it is unfair, what you would like to say or do to that person, what you would like God to do to that person and even perhaps gone so far as to wish them removed from this planet. Yup, locked and loaded – firing all those precious brain cells against that person who hurt you.
Please hear me, I do not for one moment take your pain and hurt lightly – I have been hurt many, many times even to the point where I thought it would take me out. So I know pain and hurt.
But God has told us to forgive, not because He wants to be fair or unfair, He told us to forgive because He does not want us to put ourselves in jail, albeit a self-imposed jail, but not God’s jail. Giving the devil a foothold in that above scripture means that satan has legal ground to any area of your life that you are not willing to give to God.
Our heart can become hard, bitter and negative. Life becomes a chore and lifeless because our heart is locked up. God is standing there waving His white flag, waiting and longing to talk to you, but you, you – not God, chose to board up shop, not let anything in and keep shooting. You may not even know how you got there, past hurts, child hurts, emotional, physical, spiritual hurts. You got hurt and you closed off.
Unforgiveness is a darkness issue – it is in the dark recesses of our mind, where we think no one knows that we hate that person, we want them to suffer, we want revenge, we might even want them dead….perhaps we ourselves want to be dead. Murderous thoughts. Yes unforgiveness is a very dark place.
God longs to come and bring light to this area so that it and you can be healed. The first step is even to want to forgive or even understand that forgiveness needs to happen. It is your will and obedience that come into play because believe me you may not “feel” like offering forgiveness. Obedience is not the same as the feeling.
Being willing to do what God is commanding – not suggesting. He only commands forgiveness because it is His way, after all, He forgave you.
It is the way of life for you, it releases you from the pain of the past, it is the key to the jail cell with freedom and life on the other side.