Don’t Allow Satan an Opportunity
Don’t Allow Satan an Opportunity
There is another very important observation about unforgiveness that we need to make it this time. When we refuse to forgive others we give Satan an advantage in our life – both in our individual relationships and in our corporate relationship with others. The devil always wins when we fail to forgive. When we refuse to forgive others, he is given an opportunity to take advantage of us, to win arguments in our minds to have his way in our relationships, and to desensitize our hearts to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians when he was dealing with the disunity of the church in Corinth a very important point about forgiveness. There apparently was someone among them who’s, sin had been exposed, someone who had caused great pain in their fellowship. 2 Corinthians 2:5 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you.
It seems that this individual had repented and sought restoration. Yet instead of being cause for great joy, forgiveness towards him from others was coming reluctantly, being held back in reserve making it even harder for him to enter into the fellowship with the rest of the congregation. The apostle urged the Corinthians to forgive and comfort the repentant brother. 2 Corinthians 2:7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
It seems that Paul had forgiven him and was asking the congregation as a whole to do the same. The reason for this was so that the devil cannot take advantage of the unforgiveness in their hearts. 2 Corinthians 2:10–11 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
In the book of Ephesians Paul exhorts the reader’s: Ephesians 4:26–27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. We may have times of righteous anger against sin. But if we let that anger turn to bitterness and fester in our hearts we provide a place for the devil to launch his activities into our lives.
Have you ever known an individual in your life that someone had hurt deeply? Then you observe that individual being unfair and treating others harshly. If you observe people to any extent at all you probably have observed someone who demonstrated the unfair treatment of others. This is exactly what Paul is talking about in Ephesians, when we fail to forgive others. When we fail to forgive we allow our anger to fuel our inner resentment and boil into intense bitterness and turmoil. Ultimately all that bitterness comes to the surface and spills over with disastrous consequences for the individual that fails to forgive. This affects our family and our friends directly. Satan has a field day with our emotions and with our actions. There is an old adage: “hurt people hurt people”.
When we fail to forgive we opened the door for Satan to take advantage of our lives. Giving the devil just the weapon he needs to take over our actions and emotions. The disaster of all of this is that these actions and emotions will affect our relationship with other individuals and how we treat them.