Several years ago I interviewed David Yonggi Cho, pastor of the biggest church in the world. We talked about the four deadly sins that lie at the heart of every broken life.
The first one of them is unforgiveness.
When people ask pastor Cho to pray for their healing, he always asks them, “Have you forgiven everyone?” He firmly believes that forgiveness releases physical and emotional healing – and I couldn’t agree more.
You see, bitterness is poison. It can easily throw us into emotional chaos. If we don’t nip it at the bud, it can spread like fire, damaging our lives, destroying our relationships and ruining our health.
Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled (stained, hurt).”
The movie The Wizard of Lies shows the life of Bernard Madoff, a stockbroker, who wrecked his family and ended up in prison, without parole, for the largest financial fraud in U.S. history. In his bitterness, Bernard’s son said, “My father is dead to me!”
The minute I heard him say that, I immediately knew that he would become very sick. Sadly but true, shortly after, the son died of cancer.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen bitterness and unforgiveness destroy and even kill people in real life.
In “The Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus taught His disciples: “If you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:5-15).
Think about this: unforgiveness and bitterness keep the Divine Door shut to your prayers.
Have you forgiven everyone . . . including yourself?
In my time, I’ve made lots of mistakes. I made good money by being “clever” on the hamster wheel, but reaped major exhaustion, regrets and disappointments.
Once I had a daydream. Angels came to God, saying, “How in the world are you enduring Robert? Can You believe he just did that?” And God would respond, “Give Me time. I’m working on him. I’ve seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and bring peace . . . peace to him'” (Isaiah 57:18, 19). Amazing, huh?
Since the Lord forgives us, it’s time to forgive ourselves and others. It’s time to set our hearts free.