Joyce Meyer - Six Ways to Detect Unforgiveness - Part 1
Well, thank you for joining me today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". And you know, that is something that God wants us to do. And I think the important thing about that is everyday life. We can all enjoy a vacation or a special day, or a shopping trip. But what about just plain, old every day, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday? If you find your joy in Jesus, you can enjoy every day, even the days when you're having problems. Before I get started today, I just feel like I wanna remind you that God loves you very much. You're very special to him and he has a great plan for your life. So, no matter what's going on now, please remember that we win in the end. So, the devil has already lost the battle. We just need to keep reminding him of that. Today and tomorrow, and maybe even the next day, I'm gonna be teaching you about six ways to detect unforgiveness.
Now, that's important because, to be honest, I think sometimes we have unforgiveness in our heart for so long that we don't even know it's there. Somebody did something five years ago and we got a little resentment that settled down on the inside of us, and we just avoid them or when we're around 'em, we don't say that much. And, you know, this is probably one of the most important subjects that we can hear because so many people today are angry and bitter and resentful and offended. And the Bible says that in the last days, many will be offended. And boy, that is the truth. People are very easy to offend these days. My daughter was at the grocery store the other day, and on her way in, she, accidentally, didn't see somebody and cut out in front of him. And he followed her into the parking lot. Parked his car, got out and started yelling at her. And she said, "I am so sorry". She said, "I just didn't see you". And he said, "You're a liar, you saw me, and you did it on purpose"!
And, you know, that, he wasn't really upset about what she did. He's just an angry person who, anything that happens that frustrates him, that anger just comes out of him at anybody. And that's kind of what we're seeing today. I think people are angry just because of the conditions in the world and everybody knows it's not right: and people don't know what to do about it. But we wanna talk about getting your heart nice and clean today and having everything good in there. So, you can hear good from God and have good fellowship with God, have a great, close, intimate relationship with him. So, let's think about bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and offense. Now, many times, we hang onto these things because we think we're justified in doing so. We think, "Well, what they did was wrong". Well, that may be true, but there's only one thing that can justify us and that's the blood of Jesus. No matter what anybody does, we are never justified in behaving in a way that God would not approve of.
And I know that's hard to swallow sometimes, but God is our vindicator. And if we will do what he asks us to do, which is to forgive and pray for people, then he will always take care of the situation. He'll deal with them, and he will do what needs to be done in their life. Matthew 5:8 says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God". Now, what does that mean? Well, it could mean that, you know, we'll see God when we die and go to heaven. It doesn't mean that we're gonna see God with our natural eyes here on earth. But I think more than anything, I think it means that you're gonna, you're gonna be sensitive to the touch of God if you have a pure heart. You're gonna hear from God more clearly if you have a pure heart.
You know, it's so important to keep your heart right. We can have our outward actions be right. We can be doing the right thing and still have bad motives and an impure heart. And God sees the heart. We look at the outward man, but God sees the inner person. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. What does God tell us to do about bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and things like that? Well, in the Amplified Bible it says, "Drop it, (leave it, and let it go.)" I like that. Drop it. And, you know, we say that sometimes, if somebody brings up something that we did two weeks ago, or three years ago, "Can't you just drop it"? I know Dave used to say that to me when I would bring up stuff that maybe we'd be having a heated discussion about one thing, and I'd bring up stuff that he did, you know, 10 years ago. And he said, "Where do you even keep all that stuff? How do you even store all that stuff"?
Well, that was because I really had not forgiven. Maybe it wasn't something that was on my mind fresh, all the time, but I never really dealt with it. And you know, when we do have unforgiveness, we need to deal with it. We need to talk to God about it. We need to repent for it if we've been hanging on to it too long. And we need to actively pray for the person who hurt us. And I'll tell you something else that's good. Believe the best. Instead of believing that people did something on purpose to hurt you, why don't you believe that they didn't mean to hurt you? Just like the man who got mad at my daughter, you know, it didn't help him to believe that she did it on purpose. Why would she cut him off on purpose? But he looked at it in the negative way instead of looking at it in the positive.
Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows out of it". Why don't you take a little bit of time today when the program's over and just think about what's going on inside you, most of the time. What do you think about? What are your attitudes? If there's anything in there that you don't think Jesus would be proud of, then talk to him about it. That's what prayer is. We don't have to get real religious about praying, and being in a certain position, in a certain spot, in a certain posture, and get a real religious sounding voice. We just need to talk to God about everything. And you know what? He's always with you all the time. You can talk to him anytime, anywhere. "Above all, guard your heart". We wanna make sure that our heart is pure.
Matthew 6:12-15, "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors". Kinda looks like we can't even ask God to forgive us if we've not already forgiven other people. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you". Now, be careful and listen to this. "For if you do not forgive others their sin, your father will not forgive your sins". Mm... So, how many people, on a regular basis, repent for things they do and yet, they have things in their heart that they're holding against other people? And the Bible doesn't lie, everything in it's true. If we don't forgive other people, then God will not forgive us.
Now, to me, we shouldn't need anything else other than that to prompt us to forgive. And I'll tell you something, the more quickly you do it, the easier it is to do. When you let it get deep roots in you, it's harder to let it go. And once again, let me say, we're never justified in harboring unforgiveness. "Well, yeah, Joyce, but you don't know what they did to me". Well, no matter what it was, we're still required to forgive. There's nothing in the Bible that's listed that says we can hold, "We forgive everything else, but this one, if somebody does this to you, you can hold on to that". Matthew 24 is a chapter that talks about end times, last days. And, you know, we say pretty frequently, I think we're living in the last days. And one thing's for sure, I think it's at least the last of the last days, things are just crazy in the world today.
And this says that "At that time, many will turn away from the faith". And I just read a statistic the other day that said, "In the last 10 years," like, "50,000 people have left church". And we don't want the church to decline, we want it to grow. "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people". Matter of fact, in the Bible, it says that "If God didn't shorten the days for the sake of the very elect, no man could stand the deception that's coming on the earth". And it says to "Pray that you be not deceived". That's something we need to pray on a regular basis because there is so much deception in the world today. In the Old Testament, it says, "The days will come when evil will be considered good and good will be considered evil".
And we're living in those days. There are evil things now that people think are good. "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most people will grow cold". Well, you know, love is the most important thing. Jesus said, if we really love that we'll fulfill all the commandments just by really walking in love. And I think that should be one of the number one things that we study, and unforgiveness has nothing to do with love. In Mark 11:23-26, and I love these scriptures, these are so important, it tells you about prayer and what will hinder your prayers from working. "Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, 'be lifted up and thrown into the sea!' and does not doubt at all in his heart, but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I'm telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]".
I really love that. It's kind of a sneaky little way of telling us that you may not get it right away when you ask for it, you will get it, but it doesn't say when. It doesn't say, "You will get it in three months," or, "You will get it in one year," it says, "You will get it". So, we receive the promises of God through faith and patience. Are there any of you, right now, that are having to apply patience in your life? And you know, patience in case you're wondering, is not just the ability to wait. It's how we act while we're waiting. We're gonna wait. I mean, if God's not doing what we need him to do, we have no choice but to wait. But we can wait being upset, and frustrated, and getting aggravated at people, or we can wait with a good attitude, staying positive, believing our breakthrough's gonna come at any moment. "And", I love this, "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone", well, that doesn't leave anything out, does it?
"If you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop", and here it is. "(leave it, let it go), in order that your father who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] Failings and shortcomings and let them drop". Now, you might be thinking, "Well, the person I'm mad at, they don't deserve my forgiveness. I mean, they haven't even said they're sorry". Well, you know what? Even if they don't deserve your forgiveness, you deserve peace. Do yourself a favor and forgive. We always think, when we forgive people that we're doing something for them, but really, we're not, we're doing something for ourselves. We let ourselves out of prison, so to speak. Because, really, when you're full of all that bitterness, and resentment, and hatred, and unforgiveness, and you're offended, you're miserable. That's no way to enjoy your life. That's not the way God wants us to live. And forgiveness is so easy. Just give it to God and let God take care of it. And he will. "But if you do not forgive, neither will your father in heaven forgive your failings and your shortcomings".
Now, I wanna talk to you about being in a family, but not being in the house. And you'll understand a little bit more about what that means in just a few minutes. You know, a lot of people can be born again. They can have their names written in the lamb's book of life, but yet they never have close, intimate fellowship with God. You're not gonna lose your salvation if you hold unforgiveness against someone, but you're not gonna have a good relationship with God either. And that's what he wants. He wants relationship with us. He doesn't want all of our good works. Yes, we are to do good works, but the first thing God wants is relationship with us, a close relationship with you.
The prodigal son is a great story. It's in Luke chapter 15 verses 11-32. And we always talk about the prodigal son, but I really think the story is just as much about the elder brother as it is the prodigal son. And of course, I'm not gonna get to all of this today. So, I want you to make a decision now, that you're gonna watch the program tomorrow. And if, for some reason, tomorrow, you can't watch it, you can always still go back and get it on your computer. I'm gonna read you this story. Jesus continued, "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'father, give me my share of the estate...'" well, you know, that was no different than saying, "Hey, dad, I wish you were dead. I want my money now". It was just not a good thing to do. And interestingly enough, his father gave him what he asked for.
You know, sometimes we ask for something that's not really right for us, but, maybe the only way that God can teach us what we need to learn is to let us go ahead and have it and find out that's really not what we wanted. "So he divided the property between them". He gave the elder son his part and he gave the younger son his part. So, "Not long after that, the younger son gathered up all of his belongings and set off for a distant country and there", he wasted, the Bible says, "Squandered his wealth in wild," loose from restraint, "Living". And after he'd spent everything that he had, he had no more money left, a severe famine came on the land and he didn't have anything and so he had to hire himself out to a pig farmer. And he got so hungry that he said, "I would have gladly eaten the pods I was feeding the pigs".
Now, we have to think about how far this guy has fallen from where he was at. You know, sometimes, we're not happy with what we have or where we're at, but we're a lot better off than what we think we are. So, he went, and he hired himself out to this pig farmer and here he is busy feeding pigs. "When he came to his senses", one translation says, "When he came to his right mind," and you know what? Maybe some of you just need to think a little bit differently than what you are. I don't know. I'm not accusing anyone, but maybe you just are unhappy because you have a bad attitude. I know I was. I was givin' Dave the responsibility for my joy and I thought, "Well, I can't be happy because Dave this... And Dave that... And Dave something else". And God told me, "Stop giving Dave the responsibility for your joy, that's your responsibility". "So, when he came to his senses, he said, 'how many of my father's hired servants,'" have plenty to eat, "'and food to spare, and here I am starving to death'". It was like, he kinda thought, "What am I doing? Why am I doing this"? "'I am gonna set out and go back to my father'".
Well, this is a good message today for anybody who's drifted away from God and maybe you accidentally came across this program. And you think that God won't take you back. Well, listen to this. He said, "'I'm gonna go back to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you, and I am no longer worthy to even be called your son: just make me like one of your hired servants"'". He didn't even expect to go back and have the rights of sonship. He just was willing to work for his dad and just have something to eat. "So he got up and he went to his father". And I love this. "But while he was a long way off, his father saw him coming and was filled with compassion for him". I love that. "And he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him".
Now, older men in those days did not run. It was considered disrespectful for them to run. So, he was so excited about seeing his son coming home that he totally lost all decorum, and he just ran. He didn't care what anybody thought. And you know what, if you will just turn today and say, "God, I wanna come back to you," he'll come running toward you, too. He is the God of a second chance, third, fourth, however many you need as long as you are really sincere. And if you've never had a relationship with God through Christ, there's a number that's on your screen and you can call and say, "I wanna know more about receiving Jesus and one of our operators will talk to you and answer any of your questions. And if you're ready to make that commitment, they'll pray with you". "He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. And the son said, 'father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I'm no longer worthy to be called your son'".
You know, his father didn't sit down and give him a big speech. He didn't say, "Yeah, you really blew it, son. You've wasted my money, and, you know, you've done this, and that, and something else". You know how sometimes, when somebody's hurt us and they come and apologize, we may be willing to forgive 'em, but we're gonna make 'em feel bad first. Well, his father didn't even try to make him feel bad. He didn't even answer him when he said that. He just turned to his servants, and he said, "'quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet'".
Right away he started giving the son, who had acted so bad all the best things that he had. Do you wanna keep living separated from God or do you want to start enjoying the best things that he has? Because that's what he wants for you. But this thing about keeping your heart free from unforgiveness and bitterness, resentment, strife, and offense, it is a real key to keeping our relationship with God right. "'Bring the fatted calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and let's celebrate'".
I think we need to do more celebrating. People are always worrying about everything they've done wrong, but did you ever think about celebrating some of the things that you do right? Maybe you have a long way to go yet to be where you need to be based on scripture, but thank God you're not where you used to be. You can celebrate that today. "'for this son of mine was dead and now he is alive: he was lost and now he's found'. So let's begin to celebrate. Meanwhile, the elder son was out in the field. And when he came home, he heard the music and the dancing".
Now, let me tell you, people who have the attitude the elder son had, they don't like music and dancing. They don't like anything happy. They're unhappy and they don't wanna see anybody else happy. Do you know that? That unhappy people don't like it when other people are happy. "He heard the music and dancing and he called one of the servants and said, 'what's going on'"?
And I can imagine that was just kind of the way he said it. "What's going on"? And they said, "'oh, your brother's come home and your father has killed the fatted calf because he has him back safe and sound'". Well, it says, "The elder brother became angry". Right away, his response to his father, blessing the younger son, was to get angry. He wasn't happy that his brother came home. He didn't have a right heart attitude. He did a lot of right things, but his heart was all wrong. And you know, we can do a lot of things that are considered good works, but if our heart's wrong, then God's not pleased with that. "He became angry and he refused to go in".
I love that. He was still in the family, but he wasn't in the house. He was still a son, but he would not come in and enjoy the party. Let me ask you a question. Are you in the family, but not in the house? Are you born again, but you don't have a close relationship with God? Well, maybe there's some things in your heart, just maybe, not accusing. But maybe there's some things in your heart that you need to just drop it, leave it, and let it go. When the program's over, talk to God about it, get it straightened out, and don't go one more hour with all that mess in your heart.