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Everybody is familiar with Mark 11:23 and 24, but we want to read verse 25. Jesus is speaking:

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).

God doesn't want you going around with excess baggage holding you down. You're called to fly like an eagle, but if you still have sand bags on your wings you aren't going anywhere. And one of the biggest issues of all is the issue of unforgiveness.

I want you to notice what God said. He said to forgive if you have ought against any - anything against anyone. God said, do this so that "I may forgive you." That tells me that God cannot exercise the level of forgiveness He wants where I am concerned unless I do the same for other people. There is a harmony that comes when we operate in forgiveness.

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor. 7:1).

A key phrase in this verse is "cleanse ourselves." One thing that is real ugly is unforgiveness. Unforgiveness has a way of seeping - instead of being in the forefront, it seeps over time deep into the consciousness and seemingly disappears. But yet, it has never been dealt with. And sometimes it is not until certain things happen and it all rushes back up to the top.

Sometimes people are even surprised because they thought they forgot, but they never dealt with the unforgiveness that was in their heart against folks that did them wrong. Satan knows that there is power, a magnificent power, in harmony and agreement.

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother (Matt. 18:15).

That is Jesus speaking. He wants us to search ourselves and cleanse ourselves of any filthiness. Unforgiveness is absolute filthiness.

Notice He said "alone." This is your business (you and the person). He didn't say that when someone trespasses against you to pick up the phone and start telling everybody what they did to you. He didn't say to start talking about them. He said that if your brother trespass against you, you go to him or her, you and them alone.

That is the best way. A lot of times things don't get settled because everybody involves everybody else. And the more people involved, the more face has to be saved. Do you know what I mean by that? The more people you involve, the more people look bad, they think, to other people. And it makes it harder to get in a position where they can reconcile something with you.

So, learn to keep things between you and them. The Bible tells us that you can gain your brother. It says, talking about a brother, not a sinner. Today we would say people that are in the church.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matt. 18:20)

In one translation Jesus says, "I am there to make good that which they agree on." If they can come into agreement, I'm going to get behind it and make it happen. That is why Satan wants to keep you in unforgiveness and strife. He knows there is a multiplied power in agreement. When we can agree together, heaven will move on our behalf.

Now, Satan has done everything he can to divide us. He has divided us along race, sex, class, and education lines. You name it. If there is a way to divide us, he has found it. But going into this millennium, the hallmark and strength of the church will be this power of agreement.

One of the things that I'm seeing from traveling across the country is more and more of the walls coming down. You have people operating together who wouldn't even get in the same room together not too long ago. You have ministries getting together. You have people with different doctrinal beliefs getting together. And there is a power when we get into agreement.

Now you can always find something to disagree about. I don't care if you are talking about an organization, a family, or two people. If you are looking for it, you can always find something we don't agree on. That is not the mark of the church in the 21st century. The mark of the church in the 21st century is not the fact that we disagree, but it is searching hard to see what we can agree on. Emphasize where we can agree instead of where we cannot. Satan knows there is a power in that.

Let's keep going and take a look at what Jesus has to say about how many times we must forgive another person, or in this case, forgive their debt to us.

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt (Matt. 18:23-27).

Notice the phrase, "moved with compassion." We are not talking about moved with justice. It doesn't say he was moved with justice. It doesn't say he was moved in rightness. It says he was moved with compassion. The Holy Ghost is compassion.

He said, "You have no more debt. I forgive you of it. Because you asked me for mercy, I'm going to grant you mercy and wipe out all debt. You don't owe me anymore." Now, your flesh doesn't want to do that. Your flesh says, "You owe me, so pay me to the last dime."

I used to be like that. If you owe me $100, you are going to pay me that $100. You will get a letter from me, a phone call from me. If you don't give me my $100 you are going to get a visit from me and then give me my $100. But as I matured in the things of God, He started dealing with me about learning to forgive people of debt. Sow it to them. Even if it is giving to the poor. God said, "Well I give it back to you then."

But if you read farther in Matthew (18:28-35), you'll see that the one who owed the large debt was us. We owed a debt that was too heavy for us to bear. It was too big for our minds to even consider. It was the debt of sin. And because we asked the Lord to forgive us, He forgave us all of our debt, glory to God.

Then somebody does something to us. That is just a little tiny debt compared to what we owed God. He says, now if you won't forgive that little debt with that person then don't expect me to forgive you of the huge debt you have. You'll go to the tormentors.

That is about as plain as you can make it. God's idea about this is serious. It is so serious because of what He said earlier. He said earlier that if you get into agreement, I will make good whatever you agree on. Don't you know that there is no one powerful enough to stop God when He gets to moving on something? Yet, He is telling you what will move Him is His children being in love with each other and in agreement with each other. That will move His hand.

No wonder Satan has done everything he can to keep us divided. He knows there is power in agreement. There is something else he knows: There is destruction in unforgiveness. And Satan will love to see you destroyed. There is power in agreement and harmony in agreement.

People tell me a lot that after I minister on something like this they get an immediate opportunity to act on it. Satan comes to steal away the Word that was sown. It wouldn't surprise me if when you go out today that you get an opportunity to act on the Word of God. Don't forget the message.

Author Biography

Keith Butler
Web site: Word of Faith International Christian Center
 
Bishop Keith A. Butler is the senior pastor of Word of Faith International Christian Center. Keith Butler is the founder and president of Keith Butler Ministries (KBM), an international organization established to take the life-changing message of the Gospel to "the uttermost parts of the earth." Through Live Your Faith Seminars and the establishment of our PISTIS School of Ministry in various locations, Keith Butler provides teaching of the Word of God on a variety of subjects such as how to live the life of faith, how to fulfill the call of God for your life, how to receive your healing, the importance of walking in love and many more topics. PISTIS is specifically designed to train ministers so that they are equipped to go out into their world and teach and preach Jesus effectively.
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