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Unwillingness to Forgive—One of the Devil’s Schemes

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Unwillingness to Forgive—One of the Devil’s Schemes

The Apostle Paul’s manual for spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6. The key is to put on the armor of God. “Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength. Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way you can take a stand against the devil’s strategies.”[1] Strategies means methods, schemes, wily tricks.

There’s a song many of us sang in children’s church:

The devil is a sly ole’ fox.

If I could catch him, I’d put him in a box.

I’d lock that box and throw away the key

For all the tricks he’s played on me.

One of the devil’s tricks or strategies is an unwillingness to forgive.

When we choose not to forgive we choose to give Satan the upper hand. We play right into one of his key strategies.

The Apostle Paul wrote; “Forgive so that we may not be exploited by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”[2]

When we choose not to forgive we are trapped in our own pettiness and, worst of all, we can never receive God’s forgiveness until we do.  Jesus said to never forget this truth; Our sins are forgiven in the same measure that we use to forgive the sins of others.[3]

And Jesus practiced what He preached! While hanging on the cross He prayed, “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.”[4]

Most of the problems we have are people problems, at least that’s how we think, but people aren’t really the problem. If we understand spiritual warfare, then we understand that behind every relational problem there’s a spiritual battle, a dark force that is seeking to destroy both parties.

Wise Christians learn to place relational meltdowns on a spiritual level.

“This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world.”[5]

Look at the three key words in that verse.

  • Rulers – a world ruler, the title of Satan
  • Authorities – magistrates over specific regions
  • Powers – superhuman powers, the forces of darkness

This is what we’re up against! We don’t fight people. We fight the devil.

So be smart. Be aware. Use the right weapons, not the weapons of insult, retaliation, and revenge.

Paul was an expert on this subject. He said, “I don’t fight my battles the way the people of the world do. The weapons I fight with are not the weapons the world uses. In fact, it is just the opposite. My weapons have the power of God to destroy the camps of the enemy. I keep every thought under control in order to make it obey Christ.”[6]

Listen to the complete message here. 

[1] Ephesians 6:10-11 GW

[2] 2 Corinthians 2:11 NET

[3] Matthew 6:14

[4] Luke 23:34 KJV

[5] Ephesians 6:12 GW

[6] 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIRV


About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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