//Kenneth W. Hagin
A number of years ago, I heard a minister say that anytime you want a congregation to get really quiet, just start talking about paying tithes or church members’ children. I’ve also found that to be true when you preach on forgiveness. Whenever I preached on faith and told people that their faith wouldn’t work if they had an air of unforgiveness about them, they got really quiet.
It’s amazing how misinformed good born-again, Spirit-filled, tongue-talking Christians are about the subject of forgiveness.
|The High Cost of Offense|
Kenneth W. Hagin
|My father often said that he never prayed a prayer for himself that wasn’t eventually answered. However, he taught that when he wasn’t seeing answers to prayer, the first place he would look was at his love walk. He asked himself, “Am I holding a grudge or harboring bitterness and animosity toward anyone?” When he got those answers straight, he’d go back to what he was believing for and refuse to budge in his stand.|
Dad always said, “I refuse to permit the least bit of ill will in my heart toward anyone.” He told me at an early age, “Son, if you will refuse to take offense, you’ll never be out of the will of God, and you’ll never fail to receive His blessings.” There’s a great lesson packed into that statement.
When you’re tempted to become offended, ask yourself, “Is this where I want to get stuck in life? Is this the level of blessing I want to walk in, or do I want to go further with God?”
Harboring offense will harm us more than it will others. We must count the cost of harboring offense and weigh the consequences. Will our harboring offense be worth the price we will eventually pay?
It’s been said that sin will take you further than you
wa nt to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. This is certainly true of the sin of offense. It will bring you needless suffering and cause you to say and do things you never thought you would. Offense will deter you from your divine destiny. That’s much too high a price to pay.
(Editor’s Note: This Faith Nugget was adapted from Kenneth W. Hagin’s book Avoiding the Trap of Being Offended.)
Mark 11:25 says, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” “Ought” in this verse means anything at all. That includes any type of offense—ones that are little, middle-sized, and big.
The Apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). I’m so thankful that God forgives. Where would we be if He didn’t send His Son to the earth to redeem mankind from sin?
Not only does God forgive, but we also are supposed to forgive. We are told in Ephesians 4:32, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” We can forgive others in the same way God forgives us, because God is love and the Bible says that “the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts” (Rom. 5:5). The same kind of love that God is has been shed abroad in our hearts. He furnishes the love for us to forgive with.
We see from Romans 5:5 that God’s love is in our hearts, not in our heads or in our flesh. Most Christians miss it by letting their heads and flesh dominate them instead of their hearts. Instead of allowing their spirit man to dominate them, they are letting their flesh get the best of them.
Paul said in First Corinthians 9:27, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.” The flesh, or the body, is the hardest thing for us to keep under. And by “keeping under” I mean not giving in to fleshly desires.
When we talk about keeping our body under, most folks think about sexual sins. Sexual sins are included in this verse, but so is our unwillingness to forgive those who have wronged us.
One time a woman came to me after one of our faith seminars. With tears in her eyes, she asked me, “Brother Hagin, would you cast this old unforgiving spirit out of me?”
She went on to tell me how another woman wronged her.
“I want to forgive her,” she said, “but I can’t.”
“Are you married?” I asked. I didn’t look to see if she had on a wedding band.
She told me how old she was when she got married and how long she had been married. I put the two together and figured up that she was 43 years old.
“Well, you’ve been married for 23 years,” I said. “Have you ever had to forgive your husband?”
Grinning, she said, “At the breakfast table this morning we got into a little disagreement. I forgave him and he forgave me.”
“I thought your ‘forgiver’ wasn’t working,” I replied. “Sister, you don’t need any spirit cast out of you. You just don’t want to forgive that woman. You wanted to forgive your husband, so you did. Now be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. Go ahead and forgive that woman.”
Forgiving others is really a matter of choice. And it’s a good choice to make, because when we forgive we open the door for our faith to work.
(Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from messages Kenneth E. Hagin preached at an All Faiths’ Crusade in Winston-Salem, NC, in May of 2003.)