Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Stumbling Blocks: Unforgiveness (Part 4 of 6)

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” —Ephesians 4:30-32 by Captain Emmanuel Masango

I heard about a person who carried around a notebook in which they kept a record of the wrongs ever done to him. Presumably, they had been hurt frequently and deeply. Choosing to hold onto unforgiveness could never heal the hurt in this person’s life. Moreover, it no doubt hampered his spiritual growth. 

As Jesus hung on the cross, He asked God to forgive the same people who had rejected and crucified Him! God has forgiven you and me of our wrongdoing. In the Ephesian passage, God commands believers to forgive others, just as He has forgiven us through Jesus Christ. 

Admittedly, forgiving others is difficult. The deeper the hurt, the more difficult it is to forgive. However, forgiveness frees us from bondage, promotes spiritual growth and improves our intimacy with God. Who do you need to forgive today?

A Prayer for  Overcoming Unforgiveness

Dear God, I have been hurt in so many ways and have found it difficult to forgive others, especially those who have hurt me repeatedly. Please heal me of my hurt, and give me the power to forgive them, not because they deserve it, but because I want to be healed. Help me to live a life free from bitterness, anger and resentment. In the name of Jesus, Amen. 

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner is you.” 

—Lewis B. Smedes

For Further Reflection

Take some time to pray after reading each of the following passages and ask God to use it to set you free from unforgiveness. You can verbally communicate your forgiveness to those who have hurt you, write a letter or send a text. You can also ask a mentor or friend to help you walk through the steps.

  • Colossians 3:12-14
  • Matthew 6:5-15
  • Mark 11:22-25
  • Matthew 18:21-35
  • Psalm 130:1-8 

Steps to Salvation

The Bible states that God loves you and cares for you as a person (John 3:16). Humankind has been separated from God by sin (Romans 3:23). God sent His Son as a provision for our salvation through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection from the dead (Romans 5:8). Doing good deeds is not enough (Ephesians 2:8-9), but receiving the free gift of salvation is (John 1:12).

You can invite Jesus Christ into your life right now by praying something like the following:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I need Your forgiveness and grace. I believe that Christ paid the penalty for my sin, and He died in my place, and He rose from the dead. I invite Jesus Christ to come into my life as Savior. Thank You for saving me from my sin and making me Your child. Help me to grow and learn how to serve You. Amen.