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7 Ways Not to Retract Your Forgiveness
by Tai Ikomi
2/08/2016 / Christian Living
Temptations to rescind on our forgiveness may come. Temptations are here to stay until we see the Lord face to face. But we have an arsenal filled with weapons from God to help us to combat them.
(For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds (Corinthians 10:4)
It is not in every case that we will be tempted to withdraw our forgiveness, but the possibility does exist. Some of them may come in the form of:
a. Anger. After we think we have put the problem behind us, we may just remember what our offender did and we become upset again.
b. Living with the consequences. The daily inconvenience of the offense, or the resurgence of the consequence once in a while, may have its toll on our decision to forgive.
c. The person repeats the offense again after he had promised not to do it. He shows no sign of repentance.
d. More information comes to light about what he did which we did not know and did not include in our forgiveness. Perhaps our friend leaked confidential information about our husband to others. We forgave her. Now, we are learning that she did a lot more. She told people about our parents too. We may feel tempted to retract our decision.
When we are tempted, what then are we supposed to do?
We resist the temptation
God has given us His counsel for when temptations come. We are to resist them. Here are a few ways to do that.
1. When we are tempted to retract, we can quote a Scripture. A good scripture to have on call is:
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 (Mark 11:25).
When we remember how our friend did not lend us their help, and we want to renew our decision not to help him we confess out loud that we have forgiven him. It is a done deal. We tell ourselves that there is no going back. Confessing it out has helped me personally.
2. We don't focus on the offense
We refuse to keep on thinking at the various aspects of the offense. Refuse to visit their offense again by dwelling and examining the various facets and angles. And when the thoughts keep on coming, we do not allow them to stay. The old adage says that we may not be able to stop birds flying over our head but we can stop them from making a nest on it. We dismiss the negative thoughts and combat them with the word of God. Our resolution that we have forgiven settles the case.
Take fast hold of instruction; let [her] not go: keep her; for she [is] thy life (Proverbs 4:13)
3. We extend mercy to them
When we have the opportunity to help them, we should seize it. There is a temptation to withhold help from those we have not forgiven. We want to do to them what they have done to us. But when helping them, we are reconfirming our forgiveness until the feelings of animosity disappears.
Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work (Proverbs 24:29).
4. We pray for them
Praying for our offenders when the temptation comes to retract our forgiveness could be helpful. Jesus said to pray for those who spitefully use us (Matthew 5:44). In praying for them, our heart becomes softened and we receive grace to hold on to our forgiveness.
5. We consider the outcome of forgiveness
We remember the many benefits of forgiveness. We want to enjoy the benefits of forgiveness, such as the forgiveness of our own sins, the joy and peace forgiveness brings, just to name a few.
6. We consider the many outcome of unforgiveness
We remember also the consequences of being unforgiving. We cannot afford to harbor grudges because God will not release us of our own sins. We do not want the anger and hurt to reside in our heart. They are tormentors. An unforgiving heart is not our friend. So, when the temptations come to retract our forgiveness, let the consequences of such a retraction refrain us.
7. You do not want to identify with the devil
When you feel like judging the person again in your thoughts, tell the devil, "I am not an accuser of the brethren. It is a thing of the past. I refuse to be an accuser."
"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night" (Revelation 12:10).
In conclusion, there is victory in Jesus Christ. Our Lord, who commands us to forgive, is there to hold our hands, even after we have forgiven. He is our Strength against the temptation to retract our forgiveness. He is our Wisdom to deal with various situations. And He is our Fear to hold on to our forgiveness. Our ultimate goal is to please God and be blessed in the process.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 1:24).
Dr. Tai Ikomi is an author of over 30 books .and a conference speaker. She gives seminars on the Names of God and forgiveness after forgiving the drunk man who killed her entire family. She is the founder of Forgiveness Discipleship.
Dr. Tai Ikomi
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