Freedom From The Bondage Of

This article was authored by Basil Frasure and copyrighted © 1994 by Vinyard Ink Press
"Freedom From Bondage"

    Jesus addressed the issue of unforgiveness when he said, "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). In one sense God forgives us of our sins as we forgive others of their sins toward us. Jesus brings up the topic again immediately after the close of the prayer. He said, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will you Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15). When someone offends us we feel that they are trespassing on our rights. We feel that they owe us. To forgive them would mean to release them from that debt. We should remember that the word "forgiveness" has the word "give" in the middle of it. This means that forgiveness is a gift and is never deserved.

    A young person came to me for counseling with Demonic spirits tormenting him. He wanted God to set him free. However, the real area of difficulty was of an ongoing conflict with the person's     stepmother. Anger seemed to be controlling spirit. The person desired to be free, but he was not willing to forgive the stepmother. In fact, unforgiveness was keeping the individual from committing his life to Jesus as his Lord. His unforgiveness was holding him in bondage to evil spirits. His unforgiveness was keeping him from receiving freedom and healing.

    In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells the story of a king who had a servant that owed him about twenty million dollars. When, the king called the servant and demanded payment, the servant asked for more time to pay all that he owed the king. The king, realizing that the servant could never pay the debt, had mercy upon him to forgive him of the debt. However, the servant refused the forgiveness, for he went and grabbed his fellow servant by the throat who only owed him twenty dollars and demanded payment. The first servant in his pride was still trying to pay the debt that he could not pay by demanding payment of his servant. In anger, he threw his own servant into prison, knowing that the man could never pay so long as he was in prison. When the king got word of what his servant had done to the other servant, he became very angry. He demanded an answer of the servant for this injustice. The king then turned the servant over to the tormentors until he should pay all that he owed the king. Although the king knew that the servant could never pay while he was being tormented in prison, he wanted the servant to come to realize the futility of his situation, come to ask for mercy, and to come to give mercy to his own servant. The analogy is that God is the king and we are his servants. We have owed a sin-debt that we could never pay, but God is willing to forgive us. However, if we don't forgive others who sin against us, then God will turn us over to evil spirits who will torment us. God wants us to ask for His mercy and then to show mercy to others by forgiving them.

    We see a good example of forgiveness and healing in the story of Joseph and his brothers. As a prideful youth, Joseph declared that one day that his parents and his brothers would bow down before him. Joseph offended his brothers by his words and they sought to make him pay for these words. They, at first decided to kill him, but the eldest persuaded the others not to do that. They thought that they would get rid of him for ever by selling him as a slave to a caravan going to Egypt. While Joseph was in Egypt, he learned to humble himself before God and to seek the guidance of God.

    Although, not specifically stated, it is evident that Joseph sought the mercy and forgiveness of God for the prideful words that he had spoken to his family. When Joseph's brothers came to Egypt and Joseph saw that they had a repentant heart, he forgave them. The forgiveness opened the door for Joseph to receive healing. Joseph's tears are an evidence of the work of healing. Those who have hardened their heart through unforgiveness are usually not able to cry. Joseph was also free to see God's hand in all that had happened. 

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