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I have a message about forgiveness, which I call "When God Won't Forgive." And when I announce that title, most people in the congregation do what you may have done when you saw the title of this article—they sort of do a double take...

I have a message about forgiveness, which I call "When God Won't Forgive." And when I announce that title, most people in the congregation do what you may have done when you saw the title of this article—they sort of do a double take and either say out loud, "God will always forgive," or I can tell from their faces they are thinking there's never a time when God won't forgive.

But the Bible says there is a time when God won't forgive. Right after He described the prayer of faith in Mark 11:24, Jesus went on to say:

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. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
(Mark 11:25-26)
Is there a time when God won't forgive? Yes—when you won't forgive your brother or your sister.

Will unforgiveness interfere with the flow of healing and prosperity into your life? Yes, it will. And that's a very serious matter.

Already Paid For
Let me give you an example from my own experience. For many years I worked in Healing School at Kenneth Hagin Ministries. I remember one particular man I worked with for months and months without seeing any progress toward his healing.

The man had this physical problem for years, and he was half-dead most of the time. He was seeking healing, but he never seemed to get it. It wasn't because he hadn't heard the Word on healing. He could quote as much scripture as I could on the subject. But he just didn't receive his healing.

It troubled me that he wasn't making more progress, because he should have been. So I went to the Lord in prayer about it. "Please show me what is wrong, Lord," I said. "This man should be healed by now. He should have been healed a long time ago."

Do you understand that if you go years and years without being healed, something is wrong? And, of course, the difficulty is not with God. God has no purpose to serve by keeping you sick.

People say, "Well, God is going to heal you, but not right now." No, no. God's will is that you receive right now the healing He provided for you a long time ago. Jesus paid for our healing long before we were born.

Well, I got to talking with this man one day after a service. He was a retired businessman, and I happened to make some remark about people doing you wrong in business. When I said that, this man began to tell me about an incident that happened 30 years ago.

Apparently, this businessman had been badly hurt by someone who had done him wrong in business. They stole a lot of money from him and damaged the reputation of his business. There was no doubt this man had been seriously harmed.

Don't Carry A Grudge
But that wasn't the problem. The problem was that here he was telling me about it decades later, and the more he talked, the harder he got. The harder and edgier his words got. His face was set in a hard and angry expression.

And though he didn't realize it, he was going into a mad frenzy. I just stood there and let him talk, waiting to see how far he would go, and finally he was virtually ranting and raving against this person who had hurt him over 30 years ago.

He actually got to the point he said to me, "If I had a gun, I would shoot the so-and-so!"

Well, the Lord spoke up inside me and said, That's why. The reason the man wasn't healed was that he hadn't forgiven this person. He was still holding a grudge against him. That unforgiveness was blocking his healing.

Struggling With Forgiveness
About now you may be saying, "Brother Keith, I have tried to forgive a certain person who has wronged me, but every time I try to forgive, I get to thinking about what they did, about how wrong and hurtful it was, and I just get so mad I can't see straight! And then I feel bad because I haven't forgiven them."

Well, that's an honest statement of how people feel, but it shows they don't understand how forgiveness works. Forgiveness is not based on feelings. Actually, forgiveness has nothing to do with feelings.

You see, if you are hung up on feelings, you are going to struggle with forgiveness. You'll think that because you still feel upset sometimes about something someone did to you, you haven't really forgiven them. Or you'll think you haven't been forgiven for something you did because you don't feel  forgiven.

Forgiveness is about letting go of things in the past and moving forward. Jesus taught that forgiveness of sins and forgiveness of transgressions against others are comparable to forgiveness of debt.

Do you remember the story of the debtor in Matthew 18? This man owed his king a multi million-dollar debt, and when he was called to account he begged the ruler, "Just have patience with me, just give me time, and I will pay it all back" (v. 26).

It is questionable whether he would have paid it back or would have been able to pay it back, but his lord had mercy on him and forgave him the debt. The king didn't just give him time to pay the debt. He forgave the entire debt: "Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him and forgave him the debt" (v. 27).

So now the debtor was a free man. A few moments before, he owed ten million dollars and now he owes nothing. But he didn't understand forgiveness. He went right out and found a fellow servant who owed him a few dollars.

He grabbed him by the throat and demanded, "Pay me the ten dollars you owe me right now!" and his fellow servant said the same thing the former debtor had said to his lord, "Have patience with me, And I will pay thee all" (v. 29).

Instead of forgiving the debt as his lord had done for him, "he would not: but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay the debt" (v. 30).

When his lord found out what this former debtor had done, he became very angry. He called the man back and said:
O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
(vv. 32-34)
Did you notice what happened? This man's previous huge debt was reinstated. He was once again responsible for a debt he had been forgiven. And not only that, he was delivered over to the tormentors until he could pay.

Jesus summed up the situation with these words, "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses" (Matt. 18:35).

When won't God forgive? When you won't forgive others. Boy, that's serious. When you are not forgiven, you are under condemnation; you have no confidence. Your faith won't work. You are dull and insensitive.

Unforgiveness messes up your spiritual life.

A Help To Live It
Understanding that forgiveness is like releasing a debt has helped me tremendously in walking in love and forgiving, because it helps me separate my human feelings from the act of forgiveness.

Dealing with feelings is important because we're all human, and it's natural to have hurt feelings when someone does something to hurt you. And don't think you can get away with pretending it doesn't bother you.

If someone does something that really hurts you, really harms you, you are going to be tempted to hold a grudge. And if it is something that keeps upsetting you—well, every time it upsets you, you are going to be tempted.

But you don't have to yield to the temptation. The best way I've found to resist the temptation to hold onto hurts and injuries is to remember that Jesus compared forgiving to releasing a debt someone owes me.

When I forgive someone, I release them from a debt, like Jesus taught. "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matt. 6:12).

Tear Up The Paperwork
For instance, if someone owed you money, you might say to them, "All right, when are you going to pay that $10,000 you owe me?"

They might say to you, "I'm having financial trouble right now, but I'm going to pay you just as soon as I can."

"Well, listen," you might reply, "The Lord has dealt with me to forgive you this debt. Here's the note that says you owe me $10,000, but I'm just tearing it up. From this moment on you do not owe me this money. You are released from this debt. You owe me nothing."

That is exactly the way forgiveness of sin is. And it is not based on how you feel. If someone has hurt you or transgressed against you, it's natural to feel, They owe me reconciliation. They owe me an apology.

But if you forgive them, you release them from the debt. You, in a sense, tear up the paperwork

Then, any time remembrance of the incident comes up, any time feelings arise about it, you just say, "They owe me nothing. I've torn up the paperwork on that." That becomes your stance, no matter how you feel.

You see, forgiveness operates by faith regardless of feelings. If you take a stand of faith, then every time you are tempted to remember the hurt and get upset, you hold fast to our confession of "No, no, they owe me nothing, not even an apology."

Before long, your heart will begin to agree with your mouth and you'll begin to feel free. You'll know no one owes you anything. You'll know you have let go of the hurt and by faith have really forgiven those who have trespassed against you.

And when you have truly forgiven your debtors for what you feel they owe you, God can forgive you your debts and your trespasses against Him and against your brothers and sisters.

Then, there's no hindrance to the flow of healing and prosperity into your life.

First published in the
Believer's Voice Of Victory Magazine
Kenneth Copeland Ministries All rights reserved.

Author Biography

Keith Moore
Web site: Moore Life Ministries
Keith Moore is the founder and president of Moore Life Ministries and Faith Life Church of both Branson, Missouri and Sarasota, Florida. Two of the greatest emphases of Brother Moore's ministry are the importance of the written Word and the necessity of being led by the Spirit.

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