How do you know when you’ve forgiven someone?
In Matthew 18:35, Jesus insisted we must forgive our brother from our heart. What does that mean — is it based on our emotions or how we feel? Let’s explore this admonition from the Lord in more detail because proper understanding and application are critical to getting free from demonic strongholds and walking in peace and victory!
As part of the process of getting our clients and seminar attendees primed for deliverance, we teach extensively on forgiveness. Matthew 18:23-35 comprises the parable of the unmerciful servant and is one of our cornerstone teachings on how unforgiveness is a huge open door for demonic torment that must be closed before ministry.
Jesus taught extensively in parables and in this one, he is illuminating one aspect of the kingdom of heaven. A servant owed his master a vast sum of money he could not repay and the king, who could have sent the man to prison instead had mercy upon him and let him go.
That servant went out and found a fellow servant who owed him a trivial amount and did not extend mercy to him. Instead, he had the man thrown into prison until he could pay back all that was owed (which would be a difficult task since he was incarcerated and not able to work).
The other servants, who had witnessed the first encounter with the king, dragged the offending servant back in front of him to relate the encounter. The king was angry and turned the man over to the tormentors/jailers to be tortured. This is a graphic depiction of the open door for demonic torment when we harbor unforgiveness towards someone.
Then Jesus utters this well-known warning: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart”.
Your heart. This passage is a source of great confusion for many and I want to explain it from a Christian counseling/deliverance minister’s perspective. Bible scholars and diligent pastors will refer to the Greek original text, and we must begin there but not linger long. The word “heart” is kardia (Strong’s 2588). It means “the affective center of our being” and the capacity of moral preference (volitional desire, choice).
Let’s return to a practical, real-world perspective: the best definition of the word heart is moral perspective, volitional desire and choice.
Forgiveness is a Choice To Be Made
It’s what we choose to do. Our decision. We teach that forgiveness is a choice, a decision, and forgiveness from the heart adds impetus and conviction to it. We absolutely and firmly choose to forgive. No “ifs, and’s or buts”. It is not conditional, wavering or subject to being snatched away unless we decide to go back and withdraw it.
Why do we choose to forgive? Because the Lord commands us to do it! If we do not forgive, this parable offers a sobering promise: God himself will turn us over to the demonic realm for torment. Another ominous warning is that if we do not forgive the Lord will not forgive us of our sins (Matt 6:14, Mark 11:26). There is no provision for entering into heaven unless our sins are forgiven!
As we consciously and with conviction choose to forgive others, we can know that we close the door for demonic torment that may have come upon us when we were turned over to the jailers because of that unforgiveness.
What a glorious revelation and source of peace for our souls! We prepare our clients and deliverance seminar attendees thoroughly by emphasizing the importance of forgiveness before receiving deliverance ministry.
They need never doubt again that they have forgiven those who have wronged them. That is an important reality because one aspect of spiritual warfare after deliverance is the need to deal with the demonic spirits who seek to return to the house (Matt 12:43-45). Those devils need to be reminded that the doors of unforgiveness have been closed and that they have no legal right to re-enter.
Teachings on forgiveness are vital and a basic tenet of Christianity 101. Understanding the practical aspects of that, in addition to the relevance to deliverance ministry, is not as widespread, and I hope this article will help you to move forward in victory.
If you are having trouble getting past abusive trauma in your past, you may need Christian counseling or deliverance ministry to get set free. Get help; you don’t need to drag emotional baggage around all your life. You can be set free from demonic torment and then inner healing can follow more quickly and easily.
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