Welcome to Day 3 of our 40 day countdown to Easter 2019! We have been discussing the importance of forgiveness because we need forgiveness in order to be forgiven. The story is told of a man who came to John Wesley complaining about someone whom had hurt him so much. He said, "I will never forgive him" and Wesley responded, "Then I hope you never sin." Ephesians 4:32 tells us to, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
The one who never forgives walks around in spiritual handcuffs. Handcuffs in the natural are “comprised of two parts, linked together by a chain, a hinge, or rigid bar. Each half has a rotating arm which engages with a ratchet that prevents it from being opened once closed around a person's wrist. Without the key, the handcuffs cannot be removed, and the handcuffed person cannot move his or her wrists more than a few inches apart, making many tasks difficult or impossible (Wikipedia).”
God did not create us to be restrained from the abundant life in Christ Jesus. Every time we refuse to forgive people who have hurt us, we are putting ourselves in spiritual handcuffs. The spark that restrains Christians is unforgiveness, which turns into bitterness. You see, harboring unforgiveness in your heart does more damage to you than anyone else. When we forgive just as Christ forgave us, then Jesus' words in Luke 23:34 become reality for us. He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
When your hands are cuffed, you are suspect.
When your hands are cuffed, your actions are restricted.
When your hands are cuffed, you’re a danger to those around you.
When your hands are cuffed, you are limited. You can’t give freely because you’re hinged to the chain. Not only can you not give freely, but it’s difficult to receive when your hands are cuffed.
When your hands are cuffed, you’re linked to unforgiveness.
When your hands are cuffed, you’re swinging on the hinge unforgiveness.
When your hands are cuffed, God is applying some discipline and control techniques to bring you back to the cross.
Spiritual handcuffs are authorized by God to temporarily restrict you, restrain you, and protect you and others from your unforgiveness. God is allowing your hands to be cuffed, so that the safety and security of others will be protected. God is so loving that He has placed a key in your heart to unlock the spiritual handcuffs.
Forgiveness is the key to unlock spiritual handcuffs. Live free or die hard.
Let's pray this prayer aloud...
Lord, I use the key of forgiveness to release myself from spiritual handcuffs. I forgive and release others who have sinned against me. I now I understand what You meant in Luke 11:4 when You said, "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us." I will no longer allow bitterness to burn in my heart. I forgive and that makes me free because you have made me free. You have replaced my hurt with Your love and peace. That knowledge and understanding helps me, keeps me and opens me to Your presence in my heart.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!
~Inspiring Hope and Seasoning Faith, Pastor Sean
About the 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting
In the first ten days of our 40 day countdown, our prayer and fasting period is from 7 pm to 9 m. Every ten days we will add three hours, extending the fasting period to 12 noon, then to 3 pm and finally to 6 pm. As we intensify this time of prayer and fasting, you should intensify your spiritual focus on letting go of the past, forgiving others and moving on to the greater things God has in store for you. (Jeremiah 29:11).