This series on Spiritual Warfare and its Armor has been difficult to write, perhaps as much as trying to sum up World War II in a single chapter of a textbook. And while Paul describes spiritual armor in a progressive manner, I could not pinpoint only one place for forgiveness.
The Truth is that my Redeemer asks me to forgive debts of others which are far smaller than my forgiven debt to Him. Righteousness disallows the anger which rots into bitterness. The Gospel of Peace directs forgiveness, and Faith deflects any reminder arrows from the accuser. Salvation's Ownership means all debts owed me actually belong to my Master, and who can effectively wield the sword of God's Word if burdened by the weight of past offenses?
As for Perseverance and Prayer, fellowship with God will be severely hampered if I refuse to forgive and open a way for reconciliation with the one who hurts me.
Peter was grieved because [Jesus] said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.
~ John 21:17 (NKJV)
Can you empathize with Peter's grief over his failure and Jesus questioning his love? How severely would Peter have been handicapped in ministry if Jesus had not made plain the depth of His forgiveness for Peter's denials?
If you consider the person and circumstances that have hurt you most in your life, it no doubt seems worse than being thrice denied. It's quite likely that you were hurt a great many times by the same person, and it lasted longer than a single night. Practically speaking, it may simply be impossible to forgive what you have suffered.
We are empowered by a God Who specializes in the impossible, in mercy, and—most certainly!—in forgiveness. Jesus died so that we might live free of spiritual debt, both owing it and owning it.
If I regard iniquity in my heart,
The Lord will not hear.
~ Psalms 66:18 (NKJV)
Lack of forgiveness will result in my heart regarding iniquity, whether dwelling on the sins against me, nursing a desire for revenge, or committing murder-in-the-heart via hatred.
Take any element of spiritual armor, and it boils down to some form of fellowship with God. Unforgiveness will undermine the fellowship with God that I absolutely must have to be successful in fighting evil.
Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for enabling impossible forgiveness. Please keep us willing to forgive, as well as repentant and ready to seek forgiveness.
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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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- God's Favorite Color
- Formula for Healing Relationship
- God of Hide-and-Seek
- Spiritual Warfare Postscript: Forgiveness
- Spiritual Armor: Prayer and Perseverance
- Spiritual Armor: The Word
- Spiritual Armor: Ownership
- Spiritual Armor: Faith
- Spiritual Armor: Gospel of Peace
- Spiritual Armor: Righteousness
- Spiritual Armor: Truth
- Spiritual Warfare
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