Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ. 11 And we do this so that we may not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
2 Corinthians 2:10
What does the Bible say about unforgiveness and the demonic?
There is a theme in the Bible, it often speaks about unforgiveness and the demonic together. For instance, in the book James, he says, that what bitter people do is “earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.”
26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil.
Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving servant. It’s the story about a guy who was forgiven a huge debt but he was not willing to forgive a small debt. the last part of that parable says that he was thrown into a dungeon and tortured until he repaid the last penny he owed.
Many Bible scholars believe that Jesus was saying that when we choose not to forgive that we invite demonic torment into our lives through the prison of unforgiveness.
Then we have that same idea again when Paul says that he forgives so that he will not be outwitted by Satan.
Why does the Bible connect unforgiveness and the demonic activity of spiritual warfare?
Honestly, I think a lot of people have a wrong picture of what spiritual warfare and demonic activity is like. Some people think demonic activity is always overt and extraordinary. They think of heads spinning around, weird voices, dark powers and that kind of thing.
The Bible teaches that demonic activity is actually usually covet and ordinary. It happens in everyday decisions you make in your life. It’s sayin that in all the decisions you make you choosing to either pull Heaven down into your life, or you are choosing to pull Hell up into your life. You are learning how to stop the demonic spiritual warfare that comes with unforgiveness.
Why does the Bible connect demonic activity with unforgiveness and bitterness?
We know that satan and demons were never forgiven for their rebellion against God. So when you choose not to forgive you welcome their presence into your life.
Let me say it another way to give you a visual. What the Bible is teaching is this. If earth is a place between heaven and hell, and heaven is the place of forgiveness and hell is the place of unforgiveness, then when you choose to forgive, you are pulling heaven down into your life. You are learning how to stop the demonic spiritual warfare that comes with unforgiveness.
How to forgive someone who has hurt you
Now, here is what I know. Some of you have been victims of tremendous and terrible wrong. Some of you were physically abused by your parents. Some of you were sexually abused by someone who was close to your family. It may have even been a minister. Someone did something wicked, demonic, evil, and torturous to you. Maybe in a bad business deal somebody betrayed you and you lost your retirement and hope for future.
Many times, in pastoral counseling, someone who has been the victim of a terrible wrong will say this sentence to me. They will say, “Josh, I just can’t forgive them.”
Can I just give you some comforting words?
You are right. On your own, you cannot forgive them.
The power of the Holy Spirit within you
Here is some comfort though. In the same way their are demons or unholy spirits that are the dark energy behind our bitterness and unforgiveness. The Bible teaches that there is also a Holy Spirit. He is able to be the power of God, That power can enable you to forgive. That forgiveness will break a spiritual stronghold of demonic torment that’s actually been in your life for a long time. The Holy Sprit will empower you to do that. If you want to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, please watch the video at the bottom of this page. You will find out how to stop the demonic spiritual warfare that comes with unforgiveness.
Now let me get really practical and give you an example from my life. Unfortunately my wife and I have been victims of some really terrible things that people have done to us during our time in ministry.
What we have found is that many times the people who do wicked things to you are so wicked, so twisted that they are not safe for you to be around. It’s not safe for you to talk to them about the pain that they have caused you. So this puts you in the prison where all this stuff is locked up inside of you. You aren’t safe to get it out with the person who wronged you.
How to forgive someone who isn’t sorry for hurting you
If you are in that situation, here’s what you may need to do. This may help you to forgive that person and break a demonic spiritual stronghold in your life. A wise Christian counselor told us that it might be helpful to write a processing letter.
Write a letter that includes everything that you wish you could say to the person. who has wronged you. Write is as if you are actually writing to that person. Get out all of your hurt, your anger, your frustration and your disappointment. Get all of it out in that letter. Now I have to warn you. There are going to be some pretty dark things in that letter, but you have to get it all out. This is how to stop the demonic spiritual warfare that comes with unforgiveness.
When you’re finished writing the letter, you may want to do what I found to be helpful. The Bible says that when Jesus was at the cross he cancelled the record of our debt by nailing our sins to the cross.
You need to know that every sin that is ever committed against you will be punished. Either the person that sinned against you will endure the punishment for that sin forever in hell, or Jesus endured the punishment for that sin when He was nailed to the cross at His bloody violent execution. Every sin is gong to be punished.
How to be released from unforgiveness in your life
Here is what I found to be very helpful.
- After you write the letter, actually draw a big cross on the top of that processing letter. In effect you are saying to God, “you were crucified for these sins, and that’s enough for me.”
- Then get rid of that letter. It is not for public consumption. It’s not for you to post on Facebook. You might show it to your spouse, and maybe one other trusted Christian friend.
- Release that letter, symbolizing that you are releasing all of that frustration, anger and hurt to God.
This will allow you to forgive that person and remove what might have been a demonic stronghold in your life for a long time. That’s my prayer for you today.
Maybe right now you need to sit down and make a decision that will break a stronghold that’s been in your life for many years or decades. I pray that will happen. I pray that you will be released and pull heaven down into your life. I pray that you will be set free to live free with the power of the Holy Spirit in your life.