Reader, this is the last part of the series. You may not read beyond this sentence, but I hope you will. No doubt, removing unforgiveness requires taking a risk you may not be willing to take. I urge you to take the risk and say these words audibly, using the power of your voice. If you take the risk to be intentional with forgiveness, God will change your life for the better. Here is a list of what forgiveness requires, as well as your intentional, verbal counterattack.
1) Forgiveness requires a nakedness with God. To be naked is not to hide any part of yourself. If we will be that vulnerable with God, even to tell him we don’t believe him or trust him, we are making the moves required for growth.
2) Acknowledge that what happened is the work of the enemy. The enemy of God and humanity—Satan. He is the source. He is at the root of unforgiveness. He doesn’t control people’s bodies and make them do awful things, but he fully intends destructive consequences in your life for the negative actions of others. It’s part of his plan to separate us from relationship with others and more importantly, with God.
Your words for the counterattack: “I acknowledge that unforgiveness is the plan of the enemy. I will not partner with Satan. I will not be a part of that plan.”
3) Replacing the “dead things” with life: Plant seeds of restoration and life to replace those plants of bitterness, rage and anger that are now cut off and dead. No more holding up the dead things. What replaces it brings life. Here is the life. Here is the live things you need to see. Replace those places of bitterness with seeds of righteousness and peace, love and hope.
Your words for the counterattack: Say out loud, “I forgive___________. The destructive intentions that the enemy had (for their actions) are bound in Jesus’ name. The enemy’s intended outcomes are cut off and destroyed right now. I do not accept the fruits of unforgiveness in my life. The fruits of unforgiveness are bound in Jesus’ name. I accept the blood of Jesus to cover what ________did. As the roots of unforgiveness are pulled up and out my life, new seeds of life, restoration and healing are planted in my life, right now.” Know that as these seeds are planted, they will need nurturing.
4) Setting yourself free from present offenders:
Your words for the counterattack: “The enemy’s intention for this will not take. Outcomes are cut off now and destroyed in Jesus’ name. I accept peace regarding _____________ right now, in the middle of the situation. I will handle ____________with wisdom, not my feelings.”
5) Forgiving yourself and setting yourself free from guilt:
Your words for the counterattack: “God, your word says that if anyone be in Christ they are a new creature. Old things are passed away and all things have become new. God, I believe what you say about me. I forgive myself.”
6) Recognize that nothing new can grow on rocky ground. The rocks in our “spiritual garden” are symbolic of our attempts to protect ourselves. To handle things ourselves because we do not trust God to protect us. They are there because we called on God for help and we felt like he didn’t show up. So we go our own way. These rocks of protection prevent new growth and they also protect the roots of what is already there: unforgiveness. Your getting rid of the rocks looks a lot like surrender. Giving in to the love that God has been offering your entire life. Surrendering your life to God, amid all the uncertainty and complexity of what you think you know about him.
Your words for the counterattack: “God I do not trust you or your word. But I want to. I will communicate with you as honestly as I can. I recognize that you are bigger than my understanding. I will acknowledge you and learn about you. Give me a desire to know you better. Help me to trust you. Increase my faith in you.”
That’s it. That’s all that God gave me this past February. Knowing these things hasn’t been enough for me. It’s required my intention, practice and application. I’ll be hurt again because I am alive. Because we don’t live in heaven. We live on Earth. We live in a world that is broken. A place where God gave us free will as individuals because he loves us that much, because he wanted us to choose whether or not we would pursue him back. If you’ve tried everything else but haven’t tried God, I challenge you to try his way.
***Since God spoke to me about this, whenever I have intrusive thoughts or harmful thoughts about an offender, I say “I forgive___________” repeatedly, right then. I imagine the blood of Jesus covering that scene and that person. God doesn’t love me more than the person who hurt(s) me. He loves that person just as much as he loves me. He wants that person to live a life of peace and love the same way he wants it for me. Their offense or sin against me is not greater than what Jesus sacrificed for me. It is never out of the scope of what he died for.