“Do not bear a grudge against others, but settle your differences with them, so that you will not commit a sin because of them. Do not take revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbors as you love yourself. I am the Lord.”
A prison is not solely a physical place for criminals; it can also manifest as a self-imposed confinement within one’s heart due to sin. When Adam and Eve transgressed against God, they hid themselves out of fear and shame. They became captive, losing the fellowship they once enjoyed with God due to the presence of sin.
One of the sins that can imprison a person within their own heart is unforgiveness. Allowing unforgiveness to dominate your heart inhibits your ability to truly achieve freedom. The prison of unforgiveness affects not only the offender but also the offended. When you withhold forgiveness because someone hasn’t sought it, you prevent yourself from finding peace within. This is why the Bible encourages us to reconcile with those who hold something against us, even leaving our offerings at the altar to prioritize making amends. Mark 11:25, “And when you stand and pray, forgive anything you may have against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will forgive the wrongs you have done.”
So, what is the key to unlocking your freedom? You hold the key to your own prison. By setting your offender free through forgiveness, you ultimately set yourself free. As we ask for forgiveness, we should also forgive those who have wronged us. In other words, if we refuse to forgive others, we should be prepared to face the consequences that come with it.
Have you ever contemplated why your heart feels burdened and restless? Have you considered why you’re not making the progress you desire? Take a moment to examine your heart and see if you’ve unknowingly confined yourself and others in the prison of unforgiveness. “Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22.
Heavenly Father, thank you for exposing me to myself. Thank you for helping me to see my mistakes and reasons for not being progressive spiritually and other areas of my life. Please forgive me for holding grudges against my fellow human. Forgive me for not practicing the act of forgiveness and love. Please renew my heart and help me to forgive and love those who have offended me even if they refuse to acknowledge their wrong. Amen in Jesus’ name.
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Have a pleasant day!