Clinging to Unforgiveness

Give me an undivided mind to fear Your name.—Psalm 86:11

A friend of mine who is a minister and Christian counselor shared with me about a woman who told him that she spent thirty to forty-five minutes every day asking God to take away from her an unforgiving spirit. She told Him that what she wanted more than anything in the world was the ability to forgive those in her family who had brought her hurt.

The minister joined her in prayer, but the Holy Spirit spoke to his heart and showed him that deep down, the woman did not want a forgiving spirit. The minister waited for the Spirit to show more, but nothing came. Realizing that he had enough information to pursue the matter, the minister invited the woman to explore the possibility that what she was asking for with her lips was not what she was asking for in her heart.

At first the woman seemed annoyed and upset by the suggestion that deep down she might not really want what she was asking for, but gradually she agreed to take an inside look. In the hour or two that followed, this came out—despite her claim that she wanted to forgive, deep down in her heart she clung to an unforgiving spirit. This gave her the justification she felt she needed when she was the cause of hurt to someone else. In other words, she was saying to herself: “Other people have hurt me, so it won’t matter so much when I hurt them.” When she saw what she was doing, however, she immediately surrendered it to God and found inner release and freedom.


God, I am deeply challenged by this yet deeply relieved to know that whatever might elude me can never elude You. I open up my heart right now for inspection and examination. Search me and make me whole. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Lk 17:1-5; Mk 11:25; Eph 4:32

How did the apostles respond to Christ’s challenge?

How did Paul admonish the Ephesians?

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