“Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29, NAS).”
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15, NAS).”
We all need to be so heavily clothed in the spirit of humility that we are able to walk in a perpetual internal condition of forgiveness. Meaning, we are to have forgiveness readily available for those who have not yet offended us. My friend, Ruby, taught me a great technique many years ago about how to alleviate unforgiveness and judgment that we form against others. It is, figuratively speaking, to put people in “the chair.” What we do is pull a chair in front of us, pretend that the person who has hurt us (and most likely we’ve passed judgment against them) is sitting there. Then begin to tell them what they have done to hurt, offend or anger us. Once we have released our irritations, forgive them from the heart (Matthew 18:35). The next step is to confess to God and repent of all judgment against them. Then pray and ask God to apply His forgiveness for the judgment against them. This is an excellent technique. Getting our own hearts clean is our issue, not whether or not they hear our plea or receive our forgiveness or apology for what they did wrong. It really has nothing to do with the other person at all.
I have heard, “Well, I think putting people in the chair is a cop out. I should go to those people every time to repent of my unforgiveness (or whatever) directly to the one who offended me. How they react does not matter, only that I tell them what they did wrong, how it affected me, what is going on with me and that I forgive them anyway.” Clearly, there are times when we should go to a person. If the one who hurt or offended us is a friend, they should be able to listen, apologize for their action, and forgive us for whatever we’ve held in your heart against them.
That being said, if they are really a friend, the question we should ask ourselves is “why am I letting them offend me? Then ask “are they someone that would purposely hurt me?” If not, consider that they did not mean to hurt you and don’t let their misstep offend any longer. Otherwise, maybe they aren’t someone with whom you need to remain friends. You should be in control of your emotions and be slow to anger and offense (Psalm 119:165).
Please recognize and understand that putting people in the chair is strictly for the purpose of keeping our own hearts clean before God. The attitude of “I have to confront the offender” is wrong because what may seem humble on our part by confessing to the offender that we forgive them is really an act of revenge. It is having the perspective of, “I’m going to tell them what they did to me because they need to know.” However, in reality, people with this attitude just want to tell the offender what they did wrong so that they will hurt like the offended.
This person’s so called “confession” to the offender of unforgiveness and judgment is not an act of humility. In return for such a confessoin, there’s just more anger and judgment going round and round, now in both people. If the offender did not accept the so-called apology and became angry at the anger of the offended, both the offended and the offender grow ever angry. By going to the actual person, fire is being fueled when it all could have been avoided simply by keeping mouths closed and deal with personal issues in our quiet time with Yahweh. This takes genuine humility.
There may be someone who offends us (or tries to) regularly. It is not necessary to go to them every time. If we do, we simply irritate the situation by going to them and, in turn, make them angry. We then are the ones who make our brother or sister fall and the guilt lies on us. Be very careful and discerning about whom to apologize in person, and who to forgive quietly. Nine times out of ten, quietly is the best resolution. Remember, the person who has offended us may be very fragile in their heart. If we, thinking only of ourselves, go to them when they upset us, we may make them feel worse about themselves because they did not know what they did. Another scenario could be that the offender has confirmation that they accomplished their task of annoying us and they will continue all the more. Some people are full of evil spirits and its their mission to cause as much havoc on others as possible. Be careful with people. We are a fragile creation and we need tender, loving care that can only be given through obedience to Holy Spirit within.
Excerpt from Holy Spirit Who? by Alexys V. Wolf
We who are within the Body of Christ are not here to be served, but to serve. Those who desire to be great will be brought down. Christ states that those who serve are the greatest among His people. Those who purpose in the name of Christ Jesus to serve the Body will be highly exalted in due season. Many misunderstand, but there is a huge difference between a slave and a servant. A slave is in bondage to his master and has no choice, therefore becomes easily embittered. A servant, on the other hand, is employed by choice by his superior. He serves with diligence because his payment is eminent.
A bondservant is a person who is released from slavery by their master, yet choose to stay out of dedication and love. Therefore this person is willing to do anything they are asked without hesitation or grudge. God’s bondservants who serve with a grateful heart will be rewarded in the kingdom of heaven. The lower we humble ourselves before Christ and His people, the higher we are moved toward Christ. We become more of a servant as time goes by, not less. This honors God.
Our only purpose in this life is to glorify the Father. When we are focused on ourselves, we take the focus from Him. Pride can be very subtle. Remember what I said about those most at risk? It is very easy to find ourselves out of spiritual sync with God because we forget whom we serve and the One who gives all ability to do what we do. We can easily allow the praises we receive from those around us to puff us internally.
When we are in a place of servitude, we must remember that there is no good but God, as mentioned earlier. Therefore, if there is good coming from us, it is not us. We can tend to look down in judgment on those not doing what we are or how we are. To be judgmental comes from a spirit of pride. We all pass judgment. The key is being so aware of it that we don’t allow it to remain and take root. We must be quick to repent of a judgmental spirit and remove that foothold of the enemy. Keep in mind that we as the Body of Christ are to judge things according to the Spirit of God; this is righteous judgment. That differs greatly from being judgmental (viewing ourselves better than another).
We, God’s holy people, also need to be careful about starting a life story wanting to exalt God yet talk endlessly about ourselves and what we did or said in a certain situation. Human nature is to glorify self and get people to be in awe over how humble and selfless we seem to be.
Obviously, according to the Word, pride is an issue everyone somehow, somewhere, needs to deal with. Pride takes constant pruning. It grows like weeds and spreads itself as fast and as far as it can. It is unrelenting! It cannot be assumed that, once we have dealt with pride, it is never to be faced again. Our hearts require constant supervision. The fleshly nature is driven by pride; therefore, we all need to be alert to it on a regular basis.
LOWLY: 1. humble in feeling, behavior or status 2. modest; unpretentious 3. evolved to only a slight degree
“…thus says the Lord God, ‘Remove the turban and take off the crown; this will no longer be the same. Exalt that which is low and abase that which is high (Ezekiel 21:26, NAS).”
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matthew 11:29, KJV).”
“I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit… (Isaiah 57:15, NAS).”
“For though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar (Psalm 138:6, NAS).”
There was a point where the Lord was speaking to me, “Associate with the lowly.” I wondered if He was referring to the prison ministry or other people. Suddenly, I realized that it was a word letting me know that I am the lowly. As He is the high and lifted One, He lowered Himself to be as lowliness like mankind, with mankind, to show mankind how to humble ourselves one to another. Basically, He became like you and me, the lowly, so that we could become like Him, highly exalted and favored by God!
Since I am the lowly, I can keep that image in the forefront of my mind when the flesh in which I dwell wants to arise, lie to me, and deceive me into thinking that I am even one ounce better than someone else. Knowing this and understanding this concept, it makes it all the easier to forgive someone before they form an offense against me.
For instance, I hear all too regularly how people are having a hard time forgiving a parent, child, boss, friend, neighbor, etc. for abusing, neglecting, rejecting or harming them in some way. They say that they would not be in such a bad place had that person done better by them. Since their unforgiveness is soon followed by judgment, now they are having a hard time repenting of the judgment, which leaves them in an even deeper mess than what the offender initially did. I am referring to the people claiming to walk with God, not the ones in the world.
There can be no walk with God without forgiveness and repentance of judgment. I have taught repeatedly on this matter. I am certain that it will be touched on some level in all of my books as I did in my previous two. It is vital to understand and practice forgiveness daily. My point is this: when you, the follower of Christ, can truly begin to see yourself through the eye (single vision) of God, you will begin to realize that you are no better than the one who hurt you. You are also no better than anyone who doesn’t walk a close walk with God. It is an extremely difficult concept to accept, yet it is without a doubt a key element in a successful Christ-like life. Instead of saying ad nauseam how a person wronged you or how they are simply wrong in their life in general, start saying how gracious the Lord has been to spare your life when you were not walking correctly.
You must look at yourself with new vision. It is imperative that you realize how filthy your sins were before God cleansed you. You personally, just like me, offended Almighty God before we humbled ourselves to Him to receive His gift of salvation. He says that each of us were His enemy when He died and rose again. Jesus allowed pain, sorrow, and death to come upon Him. He had to face being forsaken by His Father, and He did all this for you and I before we were thought of or had ever sinned our first sin. He died for you and I knowing we would rebel against Him, and did it anyway because of His unfailing, unwavering love.
The entire world for every generation is completely forgiven. In fact, if we are going to be sticklers about it, one should never pray, “O God forgive me of this or that.” We are already fully forgiven. What should be prayed is something like, “O gracious God, I repent of _______ and I fully receive and apply to my life the forgiveness given to me at the cross of Calvary.”
The forgiveness is not given at your confession; it was given a long time ago. The repentance of sin for a believer is simply an act of humility (lowliness) on our part that ushers back into our lives the open door to God. In this, you will begin to realize that it is actually blasphemy against His death, burial and resurrection to beat yourself for your past as though your sins are too terrible for His provision of forgiveness to be sufficient.
So now we come to forgiving others of heinous crimes committed against us. It is completely astonishing how people can walk for many years claiming the grace of God, but never forgives that one person in their life they deem “unworthy.” When you begin to see through new spiritual spectacles, your heart will begin to melt for the offender as God’s heart melted for His offender – you and I. It does not mean they were justified in their actions; only that you are now able to extend mercy and grace as was extended to you.
Mercy is not being given something you do deserve (punishment for a crime). Grace, on the other hand, is receiving something you don’t deserve (a pardon). Like the woman in Matthew, the more love you begin to realize you have been given that you did not deserve, the more love you will begin to pour out unto those who equally do not deserve it.
Isaiah 57:15 listed above is clear. God abides in two places: I dwell on a high and holy place (heaven), and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit (the one humbled before God). When you lower yourself, you will then be lifted up to where He resides in the heavenly realm. One cannot be lifted by God lest they first lower themselves. You must see yourself from God’s standpoint. When you see yourself as better than anyone, you have lifted yourself and you will have to be lowered; either by your own hand or the hand of the Almighty. The choice is yours. It’s simple mathematics.
Let’s say though that no one offended or harmed you personally. Maybe they just have a different skin color, nationality, speech, style, amount of money (less or more), etc. All over the world there are nations against nations because they don’t believe the same way. Do you think yourself better than a Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, Indian, Catholic, Baptist, etc? My Hispanic friends tell me that there is rivalry between Latinos: Spaniards, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and others. What about African Americans where the lighter skinned people think themselves better than darker skinned or vice versa? I believe it’s called colorism. Of course there is the ever common white against black. The list of prejudices is a bottomless pit. If you think yourself better than anyone, it is pride and God cannot grant you grace.
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech (Proverbs 8:13, NAS).”
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another (I Peter 5:5, NAS).”
Pride was the first sin. As David E. Taylor points out in His book Victory Over Pride, Lucifer manifested the only sin that can get in when everything else has been set in order. Pride is the only sin that can attack while in the presence of perfection. Pride is one of the hardest enemies to see or detect. The Scriptures say that pride goes before destruction. That means that pride itself is not destruction, but is sent as an ambassador before the destruction comes. Pride destroys God’s children daily. Things such as rebellion, unforgiveness and coveting are a few manifestations of pride.
You must allow God to reveal to you the hidden fruitless deeds of darkness buried deeply within. Pride causes God’s grace to be rejected in your life even though it has been activated in other areas. Grace comes only in the presence of humility.
“While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape (I Thessalonians 5:3, NAS).”
Daniel 4:4 reads, “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented, and prosperous.” The reigning king, just before the wrath of God came against him, was content in his home. He had no consciousness of God whatsoever though he had been warned by Daniel. He thought himself superior; self-made. He commended his own hand for having brought himself such superiority among the nations. Pride only seems to be good for a season, but that season will end abruptly. Destruction came in an instant though it took twelve months for it to manifest from the time Daniel spoke the prophetic word of impending destruction. Just when he became comfortable in the luxury of his home, it came. Prideful people rest in their wickedness when they need to be warring against the evil in their midst. Pride would not allow the king to humble himself to repent before God; he paid a steep price.
It’s time for God’s people to take this application and put it to use in their individual lives. Have you allowed pride in your heart? Are you letting it destroy your family, job, health, finances or more importantly, your relationship with God? You must seek inwardly and allow God to reveal all pride that is in you.
Pride is very tricky. It manifests differently from person to person. For the one who shows it outwardly, once they become aware of it, it is fairly simple to remove. However, for the rest of the Body of Christ, it is not so easily detected; those doing good deeds, going to church regularly, dressing modestly, not stealing, lying, cursing, drinking, smoking, doing drugs, etc. These are the people that are the most at risk of pride. Because Satan is deceptive, he slithers into God’s people unawares; he does not come in with forked tail and pitchfork.
Pride always leads you to the high place. Humility leads you to the low place. Pride is whatever makes your head too big for a room! David E. Taylor also points out in Victory Over Pride that in the world, the leader in a chain of authority is positioned at the top. The pyramid is right side up. Everyone at the bottom serves the one at the top. However, in the Kingdom of God, the pyramid is upside down. The person who is the greatest is servant to all. The pinnacle is still pointing toward the leader, but the leader is at the bottom serving. Jesus lowered Himself and served others and exalted all others above Himself, including His enemies. Even on the cross, He prayed for those who hung Him. May we, God’s holy people, allow Yahweh to reveal every hidden area of pride so as to be cleansed of unrighteousness. This will benefit us, those around us, and the Kingdom of God. ~excerpt from Holy Spirit Who? by Alexys V. Wolf
Welcome to The Fiery Sword blog! I pray this will be a place where God’s people can learn, grow, and share together. I welcome comments and interaction with others. When we hit a topic where there is disagreement, I ask that we interact with the intention of all parties growing together instead of fueling flames of anger and arguments. May the Holy Spirit richly and supernaturally move the Body of Christ into greater levels of humility, wisdom, unity and the love of Christ. Blessings to you all!