Unforgiveness Closes Hearts

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in Forgiveness, Relationships | 0 comments

Unforgiveness Closes Hearts

Jesus Christ instructed His followers throughout the Gospels to forgive others—even their enemies—if they hoped to have God forgive them. Yet today, many of us do not do what He says.

Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions” (Mark 11:26).

Everywhere we see Christian people held in bondage by deeply-held resentment, anger, and hatred. Living in an age of retribution, they are holding grudges and grievances, and a desire to punish the people who have hurt them.

As we counsel people, we often hear echoes of buried resentments and anger from long ago. At the time their anger may have been righteously appropriate, but because they failed to forgive, their anger turned inward and became deep-seated. Their personality became poisoned by the entangled roots of bitterness anchored deep in their hardened hearts. When they speak, their words are sharp and biting, inflicting pain on the people around them.

Clogged hearts

Over time, the channels of their hearts became clogged; they cannot relate properly to the people around them anymore. When we are hurt, disappointed, and sinned against, our hearts naturally want to close. When this happens, we begin to emotionally shut down, close off, or physically isolate ourselves from the people in our lives. We may withdraw our gifts and talents from our Christian communities. Thus, God’s love and life are not able to flow through us anymore. As a result, we do not use what the Lord has given us, and we lose what we have and dry up inside. Our hearts grow cold.

When they come for help, they complain of feeling stuck, emotionally blocked, and lonely—unable to move forward in their lives. Their hardened, stony hearts cannot experience the Presence of Christ and His love for them.

St. Paul recognized the problem of a closed heart in the church at Corinth when he said: “Our heart is opened wide. You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections (inward parts)” (II Corinthians 6:11, 12).

Forgiveness offers us a powerful tool that enables us to keep our heart open to the people we love.

Lord, I acknowledge my complete reliance on the Holy Spirit as I consider the words of Jesus about forgiveness. I give you permission to reveal all unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, and hatred buried deep in my heart.  

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