by Gloria Copeland
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”
Matthew 5:44-45, New Living Translation
One of the most common obstacles the devil uses to block the pathway of love is the hurt that comes when other people mistreat us. He’ll tempt us to keep an account of those suffered wrongs. He’ll pressure us to become bitter, resentful and unforgiving. But when he does, we must tell him no. We must choose to drop our offenses, forgive everyone who has harmed us and let bitterness go.
If you’ve suffered serious abuse, you may think that’s impossible to do. But it’s not. The power to forgive is an awesome power. God has it and He has given it to you! His power within you will enable you to do it.
When you do, no matter how terrible the pain of those experiences may have been, you’ll find the love of God is more powerful. And as you begin to walk in love and forgiveness, giving up the resentment you’ve harbored against those who have hurt you, the love of God will overcome the damage that abuse caused in your life.
You may say, “The people who mistreated me did something very wrong. I’ve been miserable for years because of them. Why should I just drop my resentment and let them go free?”
You should do it, first of all, because Jesus did that for you. Even before you repented and asked Him to be your Savior, Jesus went to the cross and shed His own blood, so you wouldn’t have to pay the penalty for your own sin. Even though you were guilty, He dropped the charges against you so you could go free. That alone is reason enough for you to forgive others.
But there’s another reason. You should forgive those who have done you wrong because if you don’t, you’re the one who is going to suffer for it—not the people who hurt you. Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. It really doesn’t affect the other person at all.
On the other hand, if you forgive and let the love of God flow into that area of your life, it will restore you—spirit, soul and body.
What’s more, as you continue to yield to love, you’ll continually live in victory. So when the devil comes back and tries to bring hurt to you again, that hurt will not be able to gain a place in you. The love of God will completely protect you and keep you free, free, free!
LOVE ASSIGNMENT: Identify a person or people you have not forgiven. Make a conscious choice before God to forgive them, and then ask God to help you see them and love them like He does. Pray right now, thanking God for His love for you and for them. Ask God to open your heart to be a conduit of His love toward them. Invest something of yourself into them, just as He did when He forgave you and invested Jesus into your life. Experience the freedom love-powered forgiveness provides!
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