Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Power of Unforgiveness

You'd think, reading that title, that I had made a mistake. Didn't I mean, "The Power of Forgiveness"? Well, I could have titled it that way, except I wanted to make a point. However, first let's read from Matthew 9.

And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. (2) And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. (3) And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. (4) And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? (5) For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? (6) But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. (7) And he arose, and departed to his house.

I confess I never understood Jesus' words in this story. Literally speaking, yes, it is not any easier to say one phrase over the other, but in my heart, I knew there was more to it than just that. Then the other day, I heard a well-known preacher make a statement about this passage that finally turned the light on in my own heart. (I love it when that happens!)

But first let me state, forgiveness is vital to answered prayer. We read this in Mark 11:26, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."

It is found again in Matthew 5:23-24,"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." In both verses, we plainly see that before we can begin to request anything from God, we must forgive.

We find this again in James 5:15.

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:15)

Here again, like Matthew 9, listed with the prayer of faith and healing is forgiveness of sins. The question now is why? Why did it matter if Jesus said, "Rise and walk," or "Your sins are forgiven?" Why does unforgiveness hinder answered prayer?


Think of it this way, if you have an electrical outlet mounted in a wall, but never hook it to any electrical wires, then you can plug in any appliance you wish - a toaster, a can opener, a space heater - and none of them will work because that outlet is not attached to any power. You can beat and pound on them until your hand hurts, but they still will not work. There is no power.

This is the effect of unforgiveness on our prayers. Forgiveness operates from the same supernatural power as healing or prosperity. The power that heals is the power that saves, the power that prospers, and the power that forgives. When we allow unforgiveness to remain in our heart, we cut off the power supply. We become just like that outlet, suddenly nothing we try works. We pray and pray and pray, but it's not that God doesn't hear us, instead we have unplugged ourselves.

This is why we are warned again and again in the New Testament against strife. (1 Cor 3:3;2 Cor 12:20;Php 2:3;Jas 3:13;Jas 3:16) To walk in the fullness of God's promises for us, we must lead our lives in peace and forgiveness. In fact, Hebrews 12:14-15 tells us to "look diligently" for peace, and 1 Peter 3:11 says to seek and pursue peace. Peace and forgiveness plug ourselves into God's great power and give Him the ability to move in our lives. Suddenly, everything works and our prayers are answered.

So ask yourself now in Jesus' words, "Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?" Hallelujah! Both make complete sense to me!

Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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