Category Archives: Curse

The Forgiveness Factor (Part 18)

Be the Victor not the Victim! It’s your choice.

Now that the lies of the enemy have been exposed, we can return to the process of forgiveness. It is a process and it begins with a choice of the will to forgive the specific offender for a specific offense. “God, I choose to forgive ________ for _________ in Jesus name. I release and forgive this person. Please forgive me for my sin of unforgiveness, in Jesus name.”

Once you do this, you take control of the offense and responsibility for its results and you are no longer a victim. A victor refuses to be a victim. Victims give control over to the offender and become prisoners of the offense. Victims allow what was done to define who or what they are—to determine their future. Forgiveness allows you to shake off the victim mentality and reclaim responsibility for your life (past, present, and future) and ultimately, surrender all of it to God. Areas of unforgiveness are ruled by the offender’s offense not God’s grace.

Earlier in this series we described the prison cell of unforgiveness. The person who refuses to forgive shuts the door and locks it from the inside. But when forgiveness is offered the door swings open and God steps in to heal the hurt or wound in your soul and spirit. Invite him to restore your heart. Ask for what you need. Cry out for him to restore what the devil has stolen. Jesus is the one who binds up the brokenhearted, meaning he comes to heal those who are shattered in pieces. He will gather all the pieces and heal the memory, and in doing this, he heals the soul. He is Jehovah Rapha (the God who is our healer).

As he does this, he will also reveal the ground the enemy has taken in our lives. Unforgiveness opens the door, but once forgiveness is offered, his legal right to be there ends. Jesus will expose his handiwork, but we must repent and renounce each stronghold (things such as bitterness, hate, rage, anger, fear, insecurity, jealousy, envy, revenge, etc). Each time we repent, God brings a new level of freedom. This is an ongoing process. As long as we are willing God will work and complete healing will come.

Once the initial step of forgiveness is taken, God starts the process rolling that will eventually bring about total forgiveness. Once we take the first step, he empowers us to take the final few steps. It’s a partnership—his power and grace coupled with our obedience. The end result is total forgiveness and healing.

Hang in there! We are almost there. It’s all downhill from here.

The Forgiveness Factor (Part 11)

The key to forgiveness is Jesus. If you remember, we said that forgiveness always costs the one who does the forgiving. It is given freely, but it costs the one who offers it everything. For you and me to comprehend God’s forgiveness of us, we must truly grasp the price he paid.

Like the servant who owed an incalculable debt, we must first own our debt. We did not just mess up—we sinned. And sin demands retribution. The problem is we can’t make the payment. Jesus paid the debt we owed for the offenses we have committed.

Our dilemma is we often forget the price Jesus paid and the pain he endured to purchase our forgiveness. He was beaten unmercifully before he was crucified. He was punched in the face. His beard was pulled out. He was spit on. He was kicked with boots and punched unmercifully with the butt of a spear when he fell. He was dropped twenty feet through a hole onto the stone floor of a prison cell under the high priest’s house. He was slapped unmercifully in the face over and over. Then, Jesus was flogged with a rawhide whip tipped with shards of glass, bone, and lead that literally ripped his flesh away. By the way, you can forget that forty lash less-one stuff—he was condemned to die and that rule was suspended for those doomed to die on a cross.

Isaiah 52:14 tells us that “his appearance was marred more than any man and his form more than the sons of men…” Jesus was beaten so badly that he was unrecognizable to those who knew him the best. In fact, he was beaten so severely you couldn’t tell if he was male or female. The flogging was brutal—far, far beyond inhumane. It’s cruelty was demonically inspired.

Then Jesus was forced to carry his own cross from the Fortress Antonio up to Skull Hill (Golgotha) outside Jerusalem’s gates. There the soldiers stretched his arms and legs out and nailed him to a cross and stood it up and let it fall into a hole. And there he hung in unspeakable pain. The victim of crucifixion slowly suffocated as his lungs filled with fluid. To get a breath, he was forced to push up on the nail driven through his feet. The pain was excruciating and that position could only be held for a few seconds. Over and over for six long hours Jesus did this for you and me until he took his last breath, gave up his spirit, and died.

Why? So you and I could enjoy forgiveness for our sins. Forgiveness is freely given and freely received, but it cost Jesus everything. Remember—the one who offers forgiveness assumes the loss and endures the cost, while the guilty one—the perpetrator of the offense—is released and forgiven.

This is what Jesus did for you and for me. This is the forgiveness that erased your sin debt off the books and granted you freedom from an eternity in hell. This is the level of forgiveness all of us have received because God—like the master of the servant—felt compassion for us. In his great love, he substituted his Son for us.

So here’s the deal. Let me get this straight…”and you can’t forgive another person because….what”?

The issue is not that you can’t forgive. No, it is that you refuse to give another what has been freely given to you. If you will not forgive—it means you really don’t have a clue what Jesus did on the cross for you!  

The Forgiveness Factor (Part 8)

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.

The Forgiveness Factor (Part 7)

It was never God’s plan for people to hurt one another, but our sinfulness changed all that. We do have choices. Choice, or the ability to use our personal will, is a gift from God, given so that we might also have the ability to love. Love is an act of the will. It can never be coerced; it is always a choice. So, for each of us, forgiveness is a choice—an opportunity to show God how much we love him. Sadly, many choose not to forgive, and in doing so, they open the proverbial Pandora’s Box that releases the curse that perpetually escorts unforgiveness where ever it goes.

Curse, what curse? Direct disobedience of God’s commandments opens a person up to the direct attack of the devil. Salvation destroys the chains of bondage, but when you refuse to forgive, thinking you will somehow get even, get justice, or see that other person hurt like you hurt, you re-forge the chains of a bondage called unforgiveness. You may think you have that person right where you want them, but you are the only person behind the eight ball of bondage.

Hurt quickly turns into anger, and anger turned inward becomes the poison of revenge, wrath, and murder that screams “I want justice! I want them to pay for what they’ve done to me! I want them to hurt like I hurt or feel the way I feel!—I! I! I! Something is terribly wrong when “I” becomes the center of one’s world and revenge becomes one’s supreme purpose for existence. The reality is that no one can feel precisely what you feel and no one will hurt in exactly the same way you are hurting. What you desperately desire in unforgiveness is therefore not even possible. Yet…you refuse to let it go. Can you feel the cold dead weight of those chains of unforgiveness as they envelope you in their hellish power? The curse has been loosed.

That seed of anger soon turns into a root of bitterness that will, in a short time, produce all kinds of toxic fruit in your spirit, soul, and body. According to the apostle Paul in Hebrews 12:15, this root of bitterness causes us to fall short of God’s grace, while defiling us at the same time. We step back under the curse of sin, rather than experience the full blessing of salvation. (No, we don’t lose our salvation, but neither do we enjoy its benefits.) That root spreads like a cancer sucking the life’s blood out a person throughout your heart and soul. And, whatever is in your heart comes forth in your life. The root soon becomes a fatal fruit tree producing the putrid fruit of death in your ability to love, to feel, to make right choices, to have intimacy, to build relationships, and to be a parent, a spouse, or a friend

The bitterness—that need to get even—produces a rot, whose venom is deadly to every part of your being. It paralyzes and pollutes your personality, your emotions, and turns you into something you were never designed to become. It’s like a super-charged staph infection running wild inside your body. Yet…on the outside you smile and act as though nothing is wrong.

That hidden wound in your soul and spirit coupled with your refusal to forgive (this refusal, by the way, is called sin) creates a darkness within you that has a specific smell that invites even more destructive forces into this scenario you call you.

Now the curse starts picking up both steam and speed. But…the worse is still yet to come.