Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Landmine of Unforgiveness

Who has not struggled with the landmine of unforgiveness? The answer has to be no one! The truth is that we all have struggled with the spirit of unforgiveness that looms all around us on a daily basis.

However, I do believe that people who are not born again in Jesus Christ are much more intensely vulnerable to the physical landmine of unforgiveness. Why? Because they are caught in the web of the spiritual deception that unforgiveness, and the related state of refusing the need for repentance, need not be dealt with in their own lives.

Let me explain.

I have been reading Dr. Charles Stanley's new book, "Landmines in the Pathway of the Believer." It is truly an excellent book and I would recommend it to all. When I reached the chapter on unforgiveness, something became more clear to me than ever before. I am going to illustrate this through the recent posts I have done on the homosexual agenda, but you could take any compromising, sinful movement and apply such "darkness of sin through deception type of agenda" towards what I will share here, too.

I have often been perplexed about why gay activists absolutely hate ex-gays and ex-gay ministries.

It seems the more I read about this ongoing battle here at Talkwisdom, at online ministry sites and at other blogs, the more intense the rage becomes.

This phenomenon used to make me question...why?

Why does the gay community have such intense hatred for ex-homosexual people; especially those who have been saved through the grace and redemption offered through Jesus Christ?

The secular humanistic "politically correct" reasons and answers to my question are blaringly obvious, of course. However, as was stated in the comment section of this post, I have often wondered why Christians are so silent on this issue.

Could it be fear?

Could it be laziness?

Could it be their own struggle with immorality?

Could it be insecurity to speak out against it and deal with it?

Could it be pride?

These are just some of the "landmines" that Stanley describes in his book that can hurt one's Christian walk and obedience to God.

So, if believers have difficulty with such issues, then what of the non-believer?

I personally think that they must have it far worse.

How could I possibly know this? Because I was once a "nominal Christian" who acted more like a "worldly" unbeliever than a follower of Jesus Christ.

What was missing from my life at the time? Answer: true faith in Jesus Christ, the gospel message of salvation and the knowledge and obedience to God's Word.

The Gospel message of the Cross exemplifies our fallen nature due to sin and the need to repent of our sins in order to receive forgiveness. It is only then that the unmerited grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the salvation of our souls can be given.

We can't skip over our individual need to repent in order to become heirs to the kingdom of heaven and live eternally with God forever. Jesus took the punishment that we each deserved (because of our sins ) on that cross at Calvary in order to satisfy the death penalty that sin brought upon us.

God does not take sin lightly. He is the Righteous and Holy Judge of the universe. It is part of His character to keep His Holy Word.

When we, as individuals, realize the magnitude of what Christ accomplished at the cross, it is then that we can humble ourselves, repent, turn away from sin out of love for our Savior, and obey God's Word.

Jesus said, "if you love me, keep my commandments." (bold mine) Jesus would not have said that if it didn't matter how we live our lives after the moment of salvation. It is then that the sanctification process of the soul can begin. With it, the healing of our hearts through the power of experiencing God's forgiveness afforded to us through Christ Jesus takes hold in our lives. We then want, and desire to please God, not ourselves.

Selfishness becomes selflessness.

The desire to sin doesn't have it's power over us as it once did.

Keeping our eyes on Jesus, studying His Word, the Bible, and living our lives with Him indwelling our souls through the power of the Holy Spirit keeps us from our former selfish desires.

We would rather do anything than "grieve the Holy Spirit of God."

Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

I have a theory about non-believers. I would like my fellow Christian blogging friends to add any insight or comments they would like to share about this theory.

From what I have gleaned from Scripture, it appears to me that those who do not experience God's forgiveness through salvation in Jesus Christ, have a much harder time (if not impossible task) of forgiving others.

Now, I know what some will say. They will adamantly claim that they have, and can, forgive others through their own flesh without the help of God or Jesus Christ and have done so many times. That's not the kind of forgiveness that I am referring to. The forgiveness I am talking about is a spiritual forgiveness. It is one that cannot be accessed until a person humbles themselves to first receive it from God through Jesus Christ; then they are able to release it towards other people through the guidance of the Holy Spirit's indwelling within the soul.

Here's an example:

In a previous post I shared the story of a PFOX ex-gay person being persecuted by a gay activist. Here's a portion of the account:

The gays became infuriated when our ex-gay volunteers testified about leaving homosexuality. They adamantly refused to accept the ex-gays' sexual orientation. One gay man went so far as to hit our ex-gay volunteer because he refused to recant his ex-gay testimony. We summoned a police officer, who ejected the gay man off of the fairgrounds. Our ex-gay volunteer decided not to press assault charges against the gay man because he wanted to turn the other cheek as Jesus had done.

It could have been very easy (and reasonable) for the ex-gay man to press assault charges, but he chose not to. What (or more specifically Who) made the difference for him to turn the other cheek?

Answer: Jesus Christ!

I truly believe that this ex-gay man knew that the gay man had not experienced the release from bondage of sin afforded to all through repentance in Jesus Christ; and therefore, he also understood that the gay man was still in the midst of the power of darkness because of his unconfessed sin, and unrepentant heart. Therefore, the gay man had the spirit of unforgiveness upon him that would not let go and allow him to accept the ex-gay man.

That is the reason why gay activists can accept anyone and everyone who has a sinful sexual orientation that they agree with; yet when a person is released from such bondage, it infuriates them.


Because the ex-gay Christian man or woman has been released from the bondage that they (unrepentant gay men and women) are still in bondage to.

That's the truth, folks.

Whether gay activists and their supporters want to admit it or not, that is why "anything but formerly gay expression" is allowed in their "community."

Repentance leads to the destruction of the spirit of unforgiveness!!

What can keep us from repenting and receiving forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ?

All of these landmines:

1. The Landmine of Pride
2. The Landmine of Jealousy and Envy
3. The Landmine of Insecurity
4. The Landmine of Compromise
5. The Landmine of Unforgiveness
6. The Landmine of Disappointment
7. The Landmine of Fear
8. The Landmine of Immorality
9. The Landmine of Slothfulness (laziness)

Stanley's book goes through each and every one of these individually, then in the last chapter presents ways to defuse the landmines along your path.

While reading the chapter on the landmine of unforgiveness, I realized that the spirit of unforgiveness can be one of Satan's most powerful weapons against all of us. We must all admit that we have been on both sides of the unforgiveness landmine; the receiving end as well as the giving end of this landmine.

In my own life, I recently felt that I was being led by a spirit of unforgiveness towards my best female friend. We have been friends for over 15 years, and I can only remember one other incident where we had a "spat." But this time, I was so hurt, disappointed and angry by what I perceived as several uncaring, unthoughtful, commitment-breaking acts by her that I was seriously thinking that our friendship might be over.

I ask you, from whom do you think these thoughts were coming from?

I needed this chapter on the landmine of unforgiveness to break me free of my funky feelings toward my best friend!!

Back to my questions regarding why homosexual activists hate ex-gays; particular Christian believers.

I think that you could pick any number of the landmines listed above to understand what leads the gay community at large, as well as the homosexual activists, in particular, to attempt to portray them as "non-existent people" and/or bash them as phonies, fakes, liars, etc. because they don't walk lock-in-step with the gay agenda. Once you pick one or more of the landmines listed above, the one that stands out the most is the landmine of unforgiveness.

You see, they hate the fact that Christian ex-homosexual people have found the peace that forgiveness brings.


Because they don't have it...that's why!!

In order to receive the peace that forgiveness brings, each individual person must own up to his/her own sinful nature and repent of it. Only then, is the peace that surpasses all understanding through the love of God and our Lord, Jesus Christ, available to heal the heart and the brokenness within.

The enemy of our souls loves to keep people in bondage to sin. He puts forth this feeling of "no need to repent" to those who are steeped in sin; thus, they miss the forgiveness and peace that Jesus Christ could bring to them.

Satan has twisted the minds of reprobates to such an extent that they perceive those who are trying to share Christ with them as the enemy!! How perverted is that?? But it's true!

I pray that each person sitting at his/her computer who are currently not believers will have their hearts and minds quickened by the Holy Spirit who is outside of their bodies, knocking on the door of their hearts and individually inviting them to be born again in Christ Jesus so that they will experience the peace that forgiveness brings and spend eternity with God when this brief life is over.

I would love to share the entire chapter here, but time constraints allow me to paraphase and just share a few brief quotes.

The landmine of unforgiveness can cause a "feast of emotion" that causes a "desire to retaliate" until a root of bitterness grows within. Then, it's payback time, tempers flare, anger erupts and someone gets hurt.

Stanley tells us that "refusal to forgive is one of the most exhausting struggles we face."

He continues:

The landmine of unforgiveness is unlike the other landmines. It explodes, but the devastation is not immediate. There is a "click" within your emotions. You feel hurt, disappointed, or angry, but you may deny it by pushing these feelings aside.

As time passes, you reexamine the hurt you have felt. You hold on to it. And slowly the explosive work of unforgiveness takes a toll on your life. As long as you refuse to forgive those who hurt you, you remain bound to them through the anger and resentment you feel. You are not free but bound emotionally and spiritually to this deadly sin.

***to be continued***


Susan Smith said...

Hi Christine:

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday weekend and I appreciate your great review of Dr. Stanley’s book on landmines that can deceive and trap even born-again believers.

Christine said: “I needed this chapter on the landmine of unforgiveness to break me free of my funky feelings toward my best friend!!”

You are always most beautiful when you put on humility. I love you. The opposite of pride is humility.

Jesus the Messiah delivered me from more than 20 years of active homosexuality and more than 30 years of alcohol abuse. I was delivered from homosexual acts in 1985 and the Lord delivered from the identity of a lesbian in 1988. Years later I was set free from alcohol abuse.

To this day, I have never had a homosexual/lesbian express “hatred” toward me personally. This writer has a number of friends who identify themselves as being “gay” and they have never displayed any expression of hatred toward me personally. I have never attempted to get them to “repent” because conviction of sin is the work of the Holy Spirit. God’s kindness leads us toward repentance (see ROM 2:4). I love my friends.

God bless you and your wonderful family, Christine. I love you. (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Hi Susan,

Our weekend has been so hot! It has reached 101 (108 in some areas) during the day and stays around 85 degrees at night. Thank God for AC! Hope the power grid holds out.

I have been nursing our puggle back to health. She had some kind of intestinal bug. Last night and this morning she ate all the chicken and rice I cooked for her, so I know that she is on the road to recovery.

I read the "unforgiveness" chapter at just the right moment. I was filled with so many negative emotions (mostly directed at my friend for caving on a commitment) over the last week or so and I felt perfectly justified in my anger. But when I read that chapter, I realized that keeping such negative emotions was only hurting me and our 15 years of friendship. Is that worth it? No. Of course not!! I had to get over it all, and do it quickly, so that those "funky feelings" of wanting to spew my anger, hostility or resentment towards her would pass.

You are correct that the spirit of humility helps release a person from the state of unforgiveness. I think that is why we must rely upon our Savior for achieving that. Doing so "in our own flesh" leads to the opposite result. It would lead to the desire to retaliate. Believe me, I know. I had those feelings!!

We must be on guard for the enemy of our souls leading us away from our focus on Jesus Christ and back onto ourselves, right? Haven't we all experienced this?

I always appreciate you for being so candid with your testimony and release from the bondages of sin that afflicted your life. Your story gives hope to many who may not have reached that point yet.

This is why sharing our individual testimonies helps people to consider Jesus Christ and helps lead them to salvation through the urging of the Holy Spirit.

I am so happy to read that you have never experienced hatred from gay or lesbian people who know you have changed through the power of Jesus Christ. Since I am "on the outside, looking in," perhaps I am not as aware of such experience as you obviously are.

Perhaps the hatred spewing is often more directed at formerly gay men? Could it just be a male "thing"?

I know of three formerly gay men who have experienced terrible persecution at the hands of gay activists. One is a pastor and the other two are currently involved in ex-gay evangelical ministries. In fact, one had told me personally that he had experienced more hatred and bigotry as an ex-gay ministry worker than he ever did when living as a gay man in San Francisco.

I have also seen a lot of hatred directed towards the other two men via blogs on the internet. The anonymous "medium" of blogs can provide good and bad results, as we all know.

You are correct that it is the Holy Spirits' leading that leads one towards conviction and repentance of sin.

John the Baptist started his "paving the way for the Messiah" (so to speak! :-) ) by proclaiming, "repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

Mat 3:1 ¶ In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

Mat 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Jesus began his earthly ministry calling for people to repent:

Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

As he gathered his disciples, he told them (and, through the Scriptures, has also told us) to follow him. Part of following his lead is to share the need for sinners (all of us!) to repent.

Mat 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Of course we are only the "fishers of men" and he is the salvation of men!

You always share such wonderful words of wisdom from God's Word here at my blog. I appreciate you more than you could know, my sister in Christ!

God bless you too, Susan. Love you!


Christinewjc said...

P.S. I thought it might be interesting to see how many times the word "repent" appears in the KJV of the Bible.

It appears 46 times in 43 verses!

"Forgive" appears 56 times in 48 verses.

"Forgiveness" appears 7 times in 7 verses,

In 6 of the 7 verses, the term is used within the context of "forgiveness of sins." In the one remaining verse, it is a warning of "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" which is the only unforgivable sin and puts one in danger of eternal damnation.

Mar 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

Mar 3:30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

Who in their right mind would want to pass up the redemption offered through Christ our Lord?

Act 26:18 To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:

Colossians goes on to inform us:

Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.

Col 1:19 ¶ For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell;

Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.

Col 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

Col 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Stephen said...

Hello all - great post Christine. Just wanted to jump in here quickly with a comment to ponder.

Forgiveness cannot happen unless repentance happens first.

As Christians, we cannot let go of unforgiveness until we repent of our sin.. of unforgiveness! Only then can we truly forgive.

God will not forgive us of our sin, until we repent of it.

To those who are not born again, the Bible says all must repent of their sin before they can receive the forgiveness of God.

The Bible says in Mark 6:7-12:

"7 And he (Jesus)called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.
11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent."

I once heard a pastor say, "You can love a person right into hell." That was so powerful, I'll never forget that.

Our job as Ambassadors for Christ is simply to "go and tell".. for "how can they hear unless the Lord sends?"

We don't do the "saving" - the Holy Spirit does. However, Christ gave us the Great Commission - to simply "go and tell."

I can't change anyone from gay to straight, let alone make a person become a Christian - but I can tell them, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" and why Jesus died -- to save sinners just like you and me.

I thank God for Kathy who told me about Jesus, shared the gospel in love and told me that I needed to repent of my sin. You see, I never knew homosexuality was sin until she showed me the words -- in black and white -- in God's Word.

Two years later, it was "the goodness of the Lord" that led me to repentance as I acknowledged my sin because of Romans 10:17 - "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Kathy told me NOT to believe her, but to read God's Word and see for myself.

I did, was convicted of my sin (not because of Kathy - because of the Word) and REPENTED before a Holy God.

She simply told me about Jesus, about my sin, about repentance, forgiveness and the new life God was ready and willing to offer.

THANK GOD for Kathy.

Yes, we are to go and do exactly the same -- tell people about Jesus, about sin, about repentance and about the incredible love and forgiveness of God!

For seven years, we've been sharing that message and teaching tens of thousands to do the same. We have seen numerous men and women - homosexual, heterosexual, young and old, come to Jesus Christ -- not because of our "words of wisdom" (which are foolishness with God) -- but because Jesus Christ left the 99 sheep to go after them.

Oh, the love of God -- how rich and pure, how measureless and strong!

We serve a mighty God, One who is ready to save and set free, simply when we humbly repent and bow the knee...


Christinewjc said...

Hi Stephen!

Thanks so much for sharing all of that additional, important information!

These are particularly powerful:

"Forgiveness cannot happen unless repentance happens first.

As Christians, we cannot let go of unforgiveness until we repent of our sin.. of unforgiveness! Only then can we truly forgive."

"Loving people right into hell" is exactly what the emergent church groups (as well as cults and off-shoots of such heresy) are doing. No need for repentance. No need for forgiveness. The Cross of Christ isn't even preached anymore in some cases!

I was catching up on reading my emails last night and ran across an interesting article called Heresy precedes the acceptance of homosexuality.

The entire article is really good and I encourage all to read it. However, these bullet points really stand out:

* But to born-again, revivalist Christians, it is no surprise that most of the denominational churches, absent of the gospel, are instead filled with sentimental moralizing in Christ's name, and since they lack the HOLY Spirit, they also are filled with the acceptance and practice of sin. Repentance and faith towards God are rarely preached, and so regenerating faith is rarely experienced.

The unregenerate do not have the HOLY Spirit, so matters of holiness to them are merely ethical considerations. They, like all humans apart from Christ, lack the awareness, desire or ability to forsake sin, since such things are made manifest to one's spirit by the Spirit.

* While it is absolutely true that Christian spirituality demands honesty and integrity, when we don't believe, we should be honest about it, but not call such unbelief "Christianity." If he doubts the essential orthodox truths of the Christian faith as outlined in the Nicene Creed, can he really say that he is a Christian? By pure definition, he is Christian in Name Only, since he doesn't believe the foundational Christian doctrines. Of course, that really begs the question, what doctrines are essential for salvation, and which are essential to Christianity in all its forms.

Mohler criticizes Robinson's claim of being Christian while doubting some essential doctrines this way:

So, long before we ask the question of why a church would elect an openly homosexual bishop, we must ask why it would ordain a candidate for the ministry who, at the very least, openly doubted the very basis of the church's faith?


Mohler concludes that Robinson's example should remind us all that the acceptance of homosexuality is the RESULT of a long descent into heresy and abandonment of God's truth, as I discussed in The Wrath of God II - How God abandons a nation.

The election of an openly homosexual bishop does not emerge out of the blue. It can be traced to a succession of events and decisions made by this church. The toleration of heresy precedes the toleration of homosexuality. Bishop Robinson helpfully reminds us of this important fact.

All of what Stephen wrote below is necessary for true salvation:

Yes, we are to go and do exactly the same -- tell people about Jesus, about sin, about repentance and about the incredible love and forgiveness of God!

Anna said...

Hi Christine -

This is a test to see if my commenting problems are now solved.