My imagination was running wild. I couldn’t comprehend how someone who claimed to be a Christian could leave town on Christmas Eve without finishing the construction work in my home he was paid to complete a month earlier. I was literally shocked that this man, who I’d known for years, would essentially leave me living in a construction zone without any way to take a shower or cook a meal.
Over and over again, I rehearsed in my mind what I would say to this brother. I would have to wait, because he was off on a tropical island with $10,000 of my money enjoying the holiday with his family. I was planning on giving him a piece of my mind. I mentally rehearsed what I would say, imagined how he would respond, planned what I would say next, and so on.
I was seething mad. But I was also violating Scripture. The Bible tells us to cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled (2 Cor. 10:5-6).
When we meditate on the thoughts the enemy puts in our minds, we are setting ourselves up for destruction. In this case, the enemy was playing on the injustice to set me up for bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. Thankfully, I caught on to the enemy’s plan and brought those thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ, being quick to forgive and trusting God to be my Vindicator.
Forgiveness: Your Stealth Weapon
If the weapons of our warfare are not carnal—if they are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds as Paul described in 1 Corinthians 10:4—then forgiveness may be among your stealthiest weapon. The enemy never sees it coming. Think about it for a minute. God used forgiveness to deliver us from the enemy’s camp. All we have to do is repent and receive that forgiveness to remain free from oppression and condemnation the enemy heaps on our souls when we sin.
But there’s another side to that truth: When we walk in forgiveness toward others, the enemy cannot put us into bondage to resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness. When you look at forgiveness through this lens, it becomes a powerful weapon that keeps your heart free and clean. Indeed, obeying God’s command to forgive opens the door for God to “punish all disobedience” that caused you harm.
Forgiveness is a double-edged sword. If you do not forgive others, God will not forgive you (Matt. 6:15). Unforgiveness hinders your fellowship with God and affects your anointing. You may still command devils in the name of Jesus, but authentic spiritual authority is diluted when you fail to obey God’s command to love people. Love and unforgiveness do not flow from the same spring.
If you do not forgive, it will hinder your prayer life. Jesus said, “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). Spiritual warfare falls under the umbrella of prayer. How can you effectively bind devils when you yourself are bound with unforgiveness? Unforgiveness puts you at clear disadvantage on the spiritual battlefield.
Overcome Evil With Good
Spiritual warfare is more than binding devils in Jesus’ name. Spiritual warfare is forgiving those who oppose you, hurt you, or persecute you. And not only forgiving but blessing. And not only blessing but trusting God to avenge you.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus offered revelation on how to deal with people who mistreat you: “I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:44). How can you apply that revelation if you aren’t willing to forgive?
Paul wrote, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:19-21).
You may not feel like forgiving. You may feel like giving that someone a piece of your mind. You may not feel like blessing your enemy. You may feel like telling the whole town what they did. You may not feel like showing kindness. You may feel like putting your wrath on display. But when you do you give the enemy a toehold, which can lead to a foothold, which can lead to a stronghold.
The weapon of forgiveness is mighty not only to pull down strongholds, but to prevent the enemy from establishing a stronghold in the first place. Indeed, forgiveness is a powerful weapon—one that is too often neglected in our binding and loosing exercises. So before you head to the battlefield, consider that the Lord is long-suffering and slow to anger, and abundant in mercy and loving-kindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression (Numbers 14:18 AMP).
The Lord is a warrior—and He never loses a battle. When you follow His lead and forgive—when you set your heart to overcome evil with good and allow God to take vengeance—you can’t lose. Amen.
Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including Did the Spirit of God Say That? You can email Jennifer at [email protected] or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.