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The Vindication of an Unforgiving Spirit in the Church

Updated on July 19, 2016

A. Let’s hear the usual arguments of an unforgiving Spirit:


Argument no. 1; “What about how I feel?”

Our emotions demand to be constantly pleased and appeased; and I believe we are given the inherent right to choose whatever way and manner to accomplish such demands. I’ve seen it countless times in those blockbuster movies! Honestly people, how can they expect me to act lovingly if they’ve hurt my feelings? Do not do unto others what you don’t want others do unto you! We reap what we sow! Remember?

Don’t they know that Jesus loves me and they ought to be loving to me? It’s a command! (Isn’t it?) And after failing to value my precious emotions, they can’t really blame me for acting cold and indifferent towards them. They should be ashamed of themselves and immediately comfort me instead. I will pretty much do the same if I were in their place (not that I will be in their place, I actually know how to value feelings!) Can’t you see that I’m actually fixing things even if I am the one being emotionally tormented here? So I’m going to stay mad until (my kind of) justice is served!

Argument no. 2; “What about what I’ve got to say?”

Some people are just so opinionated! They will just keep on insisting their point of view, their side of the story, blah blah blah! What about what I’ve got to say? Doesn’t it count? Of course it does! If we will just try and listen then strife will be extinct among us Christians!

It gets so frustrating how people don’t listen to what I need to say; yet become so careless in what they say to me! It’s really offending! If a person, in this case myself, felt that I’ve been wronged then you better shut up and listen. I was the one that got hurt first, I have a valid reason to feel this way, and therefore I have the right to be heard! Can we just make things easy and say our apologies without questioning emotions and opinions? In other words, apologizing to me without doubting nor challenging what I feel and think. A little tip, humility is a fruit of the Spirit and in situation like this it really does work wonders!

Argument no. 3; “You are no better than me!”

You know the other thing that aggravate my emotions further? It’s the ability of some people to talk down on someone! Acting all pompous and a-know-it-all! I accept that I am a working progress and in no way perfect; but so are they, right? So I really can’t understand how they can treat me as some kind of second class citizen in the Church! All I am asking is a listening ear and an apology, that’s all. But no, some people just can’t resist the itch to act like spiritual doctors and do some crazy diagnosing! Who are they to judge me? Judge not lest ye be judged!

B. Now let’s see what the Word of God says

(to do this we need to take the spotlight off ourselves)

Ephesians 4:26-27- Be c and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

Proverbs 15:18- A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife.

Romans 12:2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

2 Corinthians 10:5 - Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

1. The problem with emotions;

Well, if we are careful to study and obey God’s Word, it will be plain to see that our emotions has the tendency to manifest histrionic behaviors; and can be very demanding, obstinate and out of control. Not to mention it’s like a stink bomb that easily clouds up and distorts our thinking and overall discretion. It is not to say that feelings is sin in itself, but it can be dangerous when we allow it to control us.

“Our emotions, like our minds and bodies, are influenced greatly by the fall of mankind into sin. In other words, our emotions are tainted by our sin nature, and that is why they need controlling. The Bible tells us we are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit (Romans 6; Ephesians 5:15–18;Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 1 Peter 5:6–11; Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour...”), not by our emotions.

If we recognize our emotions and bring them to God, we can then submit our hearts to Him and allow Him to do His work in our hearts and direct our actions.”

Points to remember: 1. Submit to the Holy Spirit and not your emotions. 2. Pour your heart out to God and ask Him to create a clean heart in you and renew your spirit (Psalm 51:10)

~Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.-1 John 4:11~

2. The tyranny of the great I;

There’s nothing wrong to want to be heard; we ought to be listened to but we should also be willing to listen. The problem is when we claim that it is our right and demand the exercise thereof. But if each one of us sincerely listens (not for selfish reasons) then no one will be left unheard. Also, remember that listening is a bridge to understanding, and understanding is key to attain reconciliation and restoration. Therefore if your desire is to grant the whims of your ego together with impulses of your emotions then you will always refuse the right steps toward understanding, restoration, and eventually miss the opportunity for growth. Furthermore you will end up never desiring to listen to anyone else but yourself; and listening to yourself alone is equal to not listening to God at all. Doing so indicates that we are committing the sin of idolatry—idolizing ourselves.

Galatians 2:20 - I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The tyranny of the great “I” conflicts with a believer’s profession of believing in Christ and thus, “dying to oneself.”

The concept of “dying to self” is found throughout the New Testament. It expresses the true essence of the Christian life, in which we take up our cross and follow Christ. Dying to self is part of being born again; the old self dies and the new self comes to life (John 3:3–7). Not only are Christians born again when we come to salvation, but we also continue dying to self as part of the process of sanctification. As such, dying to self is both a one-time event and a lifelong process. “

Where we once pursued selfish pleasures, we now pursue, with equal passion, that which pleases God. Dying to self is never portrayed in Scripture as something optional in the Christian life. It is the reality of the new birth; no one can come to Christ unless he is willing to see his old life crucified with Christ and begin to live anew in obedience to Him. “

Points to remember: 1. Die to self. 2. Remember that God is God and we are not. 3. it’s never about us.

~Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.-1 John 4:11~

3. Edification not condemnation;

In this case it’s suspicion that kills the cat. Indeed, one effective way to hinder us from forgiving is our paranoia; believing that every word, every action are always meant to be against us. That is why we need to persevere in prayer and dig deep in God’s word to train our minds to see the difference between ill intentions from a heart that truly cares. And we honestly cannot dismiss it as the former just because we didn’t like it or because it fell short of our expectations/demands.

Proverbs 19:20; Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.

Ephesians 4:29; Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

1 Thessalonians 5:11; therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Ephesians 4:15-16; “But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

The tyranny of the great “I” together with the onslaught of our rogue emotions can really give us delusions that are both harmful to ourselves and others. So stay sober and be vigilant.

Points to remember: 1. don’t be paranoid—stop jumping to conclusions. 2. Always presume the best. 3. Make edification your goal.

~Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.-1 John 4:11~

C. An Unforgiven Case

So can an unforgiving spirit ever be vindicated? The answer is simple—never. The verdict? Guilty! It can have excuses after excuses, but it will always be nothing but disobedience; and disobedience (sin) dishonors God.

Consequently, as forgiven people we ought to be forgiving people. It is not a prerequisite for salvation, rather it is a fruit of salvation; just like the rest of Christ-like characteristics. Therefore if we find ourselves fighting for our right to not forgive then maybe it’s because we are an unforgiven case. For a true believer may have struggles to forgive but at the end of the day (perhaps a very long day) we will always choose, by God’s grace, to repent and obey. Even if it is at the expense of our ego *cough* flesh.

James 2:14-18; what does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

So if you have someone to forgive or if you are the one in need of forgiveness, do what the Lord has commanded us. Do it for the unity and purity of the Church. Do it for God’s glory.

John 14:15; (Jesus said), “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

And remember, Titus 2:11-14; 11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

~Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.-1 John 4:11~


Soli Deo Gloria


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    • sujinmikee profile image

      Sujin Mikee 2 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you! Soli Deo Gloria! =0)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      What a unique presentation? You pulled me in with those arguments and then delivered the truth. Well done!