The following is an excerpt from Carol McLeod's newest book, "REFINED - finding JOY in the midst of the FIRE"
One afternoon, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. This, of course, must have been music to the ears of the One who had spent eternity past in heaven listening to the prayers of humanity.
Jesus had learned a thing or two about effective prayer while hanging out in the throne room with God the Father, and from that wonderful and powerful Holy Spirit who teaches us all how to pray!
As the disciples listened, Jesus perhaps had a faraway look in His eyes as He pondered what it had been like to be on the receiving end of prayer. And on this day, Jesus taught this band of brothers how to pray words that would be heard in the throne room of heaven and would capture the Father’s attention and response.
“Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Jesus then paused and looked around at the rapt faces of the men who sat at His feet, and He knew in that moment that He needed to reiterate a prayer point while He had their full and heartfelt attention.
“For 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.”
“Forgiveness” was the singular point that Jesus chose to emphasize outside of the context of the dynamic prayer that He taught to His best friends on earth. The word that Jesus carefully chose to communicate the power of forgiveness was the Greek word aphiemi.
Aphiemi means “to set free; to let go, to release; to liberate completely.”
You and I do not have the privilege of holding others hostage to their past actions and words.
There was a mercy seat in the Old Testament Tabernacle that was made of pure gold. The mercy seat was the place of total and complete forgiveness of sins.
We, as the Body of Christ, and as the personification of the Temple of God, are called to be the vital mercy seats that offer forgiveness to the world around us. What a complete joy and delight to offer the total forgiveness to others that we have received for ourselves! What a potent and influential choice to act like Jesus and to forgive others!
We are obligated, as a mercy seat made of pure gold, to let it go!
As the mercy seat in the temple of God, it is imperative that you rid yourself of the spirit of offense and therefore no longer hold onto other people’s shortcomings or sins.
As the mercy seat, you must give up your right to think about how others have wronged you, as well as talking about how they have mistreated you or hurt you.
Let it go!
If you are still thinking about or talking about an old offense done to you, it is because you have not totally forgiven the person who wronged you. You are not responding like the pure-gold mercy seat that you have been called to be.
Let it go!
If you refuse to forgive and then you choose to continue to discuss, debate, and rehash other people’s shortcomings and failures, your life is in agreement with the devil rather than with the Lord. The devil loves to cause you to forget who you are as the pure-gold mercy seat and to engage you in conversations about past hurts and old pain.
Let it go!
The father of all lies manipulates and plots to place a mercy seat in situations where you are continually reminded of others’ failures.
Let it go!
When the enemy realizes that he is unable to engage you in conversation, he will tuck his broken old tail between his scrawny little legs and leave you alone. But as long as you are still biting . . . he is still offering the bait of offense.
If you have truly and completely forgiven a person and are committed to be the personification of the pure-gold mercy seat, you will refuse to drag up past pain and hurt caused by a person from your past. You no longer have the right or privilege to pull out an offense at a later date and use it strategically against someone . . . let it go!
Forgiveness wipes out the transgression, and then love earnestly covers it. The magnificent beauty of forgiveness and the miraculous power of love is that because grace has happened to you, now you have been given the delight of offering it to others.
You are the grace place made of pure gold.
Forgiveness is of utmost importance to God the Father— it is a pure-gold issue. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die so that those who had been trapped by the ravages of sin could fully experience the forgiveness of the Father.
As believers, we must commit to doing things God’s way in order to receive the blessings of God. We must build our lives according to the Blueprint of God and not according to the blueprint of self.
When I approach the throne of God in prayer with unforgiveness in my heart toward a person who has been made in the image of God, there is a blockage that restricts sweet fellowship with the Father. As God observes the unforgiveness in my heart, He gently and lovingly reminds me, “Forgive the one who has wronged you. Forgive completely. Be who you were created to be . . . be the pure-gold mercy seat in the temple of God. When you have forgiven, come back to Me and we will talk about your desires and needs.”
If you are a parent, you easily understand this principle of forgiveness. If a child came to you who was angry with his or her sibling and said to you, “I love you so much. Even though I hate my brother, can I still have a brand-new bike?”
Of course you would respond with these wise words, “No, my child. Settle the issue with your brother and restore your relationship with him. When you do, then we will talk about your desires and needs. Forgiveness and relationships are so much more important than temporary desires.”
Jesus cares more about our relationships than He is concerned about our material requests. Forgiveness is high on God’s list of priorities for your life.
As a mercy seat that is made from pure gold, your number-one job description is to demonstrate the characteristics of that golden place of grace.
Is there someone that you need to forgive today? Is there a person from your past whose words or actions have caused horrific pain in your life? You have been called to be like Jesus and to simply let it go!
Carol's newest book, "Refined - finding JOY in the FIRE" will be released on September 15, 2015. Be among the FIRST to receive a copy by pre-ordering the book below. All pre-orders will receive EXCLUSIVE FREE gifts as our way of saying, thank you!