Sometime ago I paid forty dollars for a new garden hose. I was tired of ones that kinked all the time. I figured if I paid more, I’d get a better hose. Wrong. The new “hi-tech” hose was only moderately superior. So I have concluded that kinks are both annoying and inevitable. I’m sure you know what I mean.
Kinks in our prayer lives are inevitable too. They stop the flow of the Spirit. They can be caused by anger, envy, apathy, misplaced priorities and a host of other things. But one of the most common causes of spiritual "kinks" is unforgiveness. The Spirit simply can't flow through our lives if we’re harboring bitterness. We must choose to release it. Yes, forgiveness is more a choice than an emotion. Lot's of people don’t understanding that.
Forgiveness is giving up the "right" to hurt back. This doesn't mean that the relationship will be restored, or that it should be restored. That may be unadvisable, or even impossible. (The person may be deceased).
So forgiveness isn’t a warm fuzzy; it's a choice of the will. If we wait until we feel like forgiving, we never will! We choose to forgive so that we can be free...free to move on with our lives without giving past experiences or another person (who might not even care) control of our emotions. Yes, forgiving is a choice, but healing takes time. A huge debt is usually paid on an installment plan. Forgiveness is the same way.
Of course, it’s also hard work, which is precisely why Jesus hung on a cross. Someone who was resistant to forgiving a former friend said to me, “If I forgave her, nothing would change.” I replied, “No, not true dear one, because you would change. You’d no longer be carrying a bag of bitterness, and all of life would be lighter.”
Anything can be forgiven. To say otherwise is to resign ourselves to remaining someone else’s victim. As long as we identify ourselves as a victim, we’re giving someone, (or something else) perpetual control over our growth and development. Instead we should say, “I was victimized, but I will no longer live like a victim.” My friend, there's a huge difference.
So understand this: Forgiveness is the hinge on the door to a better tomorrow. You’ll never know how heavy the bag of bitterness is until you’ve laid it down and travelled a bit without it. You'll never want want to go back. I promise.
So...are you ready to get rid of the kink? Are you willing to let the Spirit of God come in and wash out the pain? Here's what you need to do:
1. Take a sheet of paper and a pencil; then pray this prayer, “Lord, I want to be free of bitterness. I know it’s a choice that only I can make. So today/tonight I will make the choice...finally. As I bow my head to pray, would you bring to my mind the names of all the people I need to forgive?”
2. Now be still and listen. As the Lord brings names to mind, write them down. All of them. After a brief period of time, pray this prayer out loud for each person on your list: (Don’t be afraid to enter into the emotion of it all, and be thorough. Allow God to bring the details to your remembrance...and feel the pain that you experienced).
"Lord Jesus, I choose to forgive (name the person), for (say what they did to hurt you), even though it made me feel (acknowledge the painful feelings, all of them).
Pause again, then continue: “And now, Lord, I choose to forgive (name the person) and I resolve not to hold on to my resentment. I thank You for setting me free from the bondage of my bitterness, and I extend blessing to (name the person), instead of bitterness, and I ask you to heal my damaged emotions. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen."
Take a few minutes, go to the next name, and repeat the process.
When you're done, thank God for unkinking your heart. You may not feel differently in the short term, but in the long term you'll discover greater freedom in your life. Believe me, I know.
One last thing: sign and date the paper with the names on it. Here's why: the enemy will come back to say, “That didn’t work. You’re no different. You never really forgave anyone."
When that happens (and it will), just pull out your list and say, “Satan, I command you to leave me now! On ______, 2017, I forgave (name the person). That's a fact and all Hell can't change it. So get lost. ‘I’m a child of God and the evil one cannot touch me.’” (I John 5:18).
Now...by faith keep swimming in the ocean of forgiveness. It's so much better than pulling yourself across the barren desert of bitterness. Also, open your Bible and read Romans 15:13 five times, out loud. This is the new you...minus the kinks! I'm proud of you. So is the Father. You just hosed the devil. Way to go!
May the Lord of peace himself give you his peace no matter what happens. The Lord be with you all. (2:Thessalonians 3:16, The Living Bible).