Curses tend to get worse with time. Unforgiveness smells of death, and its noxious aroma attracts dark creatures that traffic in death. Unforgiveness is an open invitation for all of hell to attend a grand party at your personal expense.

Nothing draws the devil like unforgiveness. It gives him a foothold in your life—a base of operations to work from within you. It is surrendered ground, given up when you refuse to do what God demands. He plants his flag in your soul and invites his forces to dig trenches in that conquered ground. He does not own the real estate, but he holds it due to the darkness of disobedience. In the vacuum created by your disobedience, he has slipped back across the border. He’s no longer forced to attack you from the outside. No—you’ve left your screen door wide open and invited him in. You’ve given him legal rights to be there as long as you refuse to forgive.

You may find this hard to believe. You may be thinking, “There’s no way!”  I propose you read something Jesus taught in Matthew 18:21-35 in your Bible before you proceed any farther. We will re-visit this story over the next few blogs because there is a tremendous amount of truth contained in these few verse about the blessings of forgiveness and the curse of unforgiveness. Please read it and pay close attention to what takes place in verses 34-35.

 “And his lord moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all was owed him. So shall my heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother (or sister) from your heart.”  I believe the “torturers” are demonic spirits. I also believe the sin of unforgiveness (a sin one refuses to turn from) causes God to gradually remove his hand of protection, which then allows the enemy to move in, set up shop, and bring torment. Death always resides in darkness, and unforgiveness is darkness of the worst kind. Where sin lingers—the devil lurks.

I am in no way implying what many would call “possession.” This is not possession versus oppression. The Greek text of the New Testament uses neither word. In some translations, the term “possession” was supplied in an attempt to explain what was meant. In other words it was added to clarify by the translators, not by the Holy Spirit or the men who penned the original words of Scripture. That attempt to clarify has clouded this issue and coined a whole genre of inappropriate language and bogus beliefs concerning the work of both the devil and his demons. The New Testament primarily uses two descriptions: 1) to have a demon (ekw), or 2)to be demonized (daimonizomai). The issue is not ownership or whether a believer can be possessed or not. They may be issues to you, but they are arguments developed from silence or bad theology, not from the plain truth of Scripture. Both Greek words mean “to have a demon—to be under the influence or power of a demon in certain areas.” Don’t allow movie makers, bogus theology, or blind ignorance to influence your doctrine in these areas. Just allow the plain truth of the Bible to speak.

 Now, back to the issue at hand! If you struggle with the above paragraph, I invite you to do some study on your own. Don’t naively accept what you have been taught or even what I say. The tools you need are accessible even if you don’t have a mastery of biblical Greek. Check them out and allow the words of God to speak for themselves.

If forgiveness is not granted fairly quickly, the enemy expands his territory. That wound perpetrated on you may become a stronghold in your life. Many people who have been hurt in a particular manner eventually hurt others the very same way. Hurting people hurt people! The wound inflicted on you may eventually become a generational curse. Things like sexual abuse, emotional abuse, drug abuse, unfaithfulness in marital relationships, immorality, pornography, and alcoholism are all examples of generational curses that seem to follow families. I am not implying that if you were wounded, hurt, or offended you will automatically end up doing one of the above listed things. But if you don’t deal with whatever your wound is by forgiving the offender, you may do to someone else what was done to you. The sin perpetrated on you will affect you if you don’t forgive, and if it affects you, it will affect your children in some form or fashion. That is, unless someone breaks the pattern.

Sometimes a person who has been wounded becomes a control freak. Unforgiveness is often an attempt to get control of the chaos one has encountered. It’s your choice, but attempting to exercise control over everything and everyone will never heal the hurt or make you safer. Only forgiveness can do that.

Often people who are hurt become bitter, harsh, cold, uncaring, or unfeeling. Perhaps numb is the best word to describe this condition. They often turn to drugs or alcohol to insure the numbness, or to death-defying activities and life-on-the edge adventures to feeling something—anything to remind them that they are still alive.

Physical illness can be the result of the curse of unforgiveness. Stress triggers a domino effect of disaster in our physical bodies. I have witnessed people who were experiencing all kinds of physical conditions find healing once they offered forgiveness. God reversed the work of the tormenters in their case.

There is a curse that accompanies unforgiveness. It destroys the person from the inside out. Unforgiveness is the playground of Satan. As long as unforgiveness reigns, the devil will run roughshod through every area of your life. He cannot not get your soul if you know Christ, but if you refuse to extend forgiveness—he will eventually destroy you and possibly those you truly love.