The Sin of Unforgiveness in the Church

Only God is the one that can truly help someone that has sinned, when humans try and fix a problem without God it ends up getting much worse. When we forgive others we also release ourselves from bondage and open the door for God to bring healing to our heart.

17 JUNE 2015 · 11:49 CET

Photo: T. Vo (Unsplash, CC),airport, person, passenger
Photo: T. Vo (Unsplash, CC)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. – Matthew 6:12

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. – Luke 6:37

Using our Mouths to Bless and not Curse
A clear pond has no ripples unless a stone is thrown into it which creates turbulence in the tranquility. In the same way in Christian life it takes words of accusation, gossip and slander to steal away people’s peace as well as disregard spiritual authority.

- To desire to stir up conflict and bring out accusations against others is a sinful attitude (Proverbs 16:28).

- Our mouths can cause us to greatly sin and one who talks to much should be avoided (Proverbs 20:19).

- We are told to keep our tongues from speaking evil things (Psalm 34:13).

- James one of the early leaders in the Church said: “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers” (James 4:11).

Out of our mouths can come blessings to believers but then death and accusation which is a poison or unclean thing. The one that desires to stir up dissension against authority is actually questioning God Himself Who appoints leaders in the body of Christ. What is worse than biting and devouring brethren is to seek to do so to shepherds of the Church.

Unforgiveness and the Lord’s Supper

John Chrysostom says, “Let the mouth also fast from disgraceful speeches and railings. For what does it profit if we abstain from fish and fowl and yet bite and devour our brothers and sisters? The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother and bites the body of his neighbour.” We can seek the Lord in many ways and appear godly towards others but if we do not cease sinning from our lips or writing then we can bring shame to the Lord’s testimony. If we do not choose at times to careful bridle and stop our tongue we actually will never progress in godliness (James 1:26).

Love calls for us to seek to do good to other brothers and sisters, to build them up and encourage them according to their needs. When we use our words to condemn and criticize, we are engaging in what the Apostle Paul called unwholesome talk. What profit is it for us to claim to be Disciples of the Lord and yet secretly or publicly tear down others in the body of Christ? It is grieving to read and see the ways Christian brothers and sisters condemn others in the body of Christ, but I can assure you that it grieves the Holy Spirit of God much more. We would change our actions and words quickly if we were able to see the reaction of our words against the body of Christ in the face of our Saviour Jesus. For it is His body we speak of, as faulty as it can be.


Unforgiveness and the Lord’s Prayer

Many godly believers in the past have recommended to pray the Lord’s prayer multiple times a day. In many Church traditions, every Sunday the Lord’s Prayer is recited. In the underground North Korean Church, they put emphasis on reciting the Lord’s Prayer together. One of the benefits of this practice is that you can daily check your heart to see if you have any unforgiveness in it toward someone. As our Lord shows us, we should expect God to forgive us debts as we also have done to others.

Some brothers and sisters claim that they do not have unforgiveness towards an individual but in their hearts their actions show they do have this poison. The Lord has forgiven us and does not hold or accuse us over sins that have been forgiven, but when we say we forgive others, we still hold their sins to the light, such is not true forgiveness. Only God is the one that can truly help someone that has sinned, when humans try and fix a problem without God it ends up getting much worse. When we forgive others we also release ourselves from bondage and open the door for God to bring healing to our heart.

When we hold onto bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness we can suffer throughout life with problems and end up hurting ourselves much more.


Unforgiveness Keeps us in Bondage

John Chrysostom says, “Just as maniacs, who never enjoy tranquility, so also he who is resentful and retains an enemy will never have the enjoyment of any peace; incessantly raging and daily increasing the tempest of his thoughts calling to mind his words and acts, and detesting the very name of him who has aggrieved him. Do you but mention his enemy, he becomes furious at once, and sustains much inward anguish; and should he chance to get only a bare sight of him, he fears and trembles, as if encountering the worst evils, Yet for the very torment resulting from the thing itself we ought to forgive the offences of those who have aggrieved us. What can be more senseless than the man, who both here and there brings punishment upon himself, while he thinks to be revenged upon his enemy.”

The Amplified Bible translation says, “Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them” (Romans 12:14). You cannot have forgiveness towards others and gossip about them. To bless is to speak well of them and to curse is to speak in a wrong accusing way. When we carry resentment for feeling we have been unfairly treated by another in the body of Christ we end up putting ourselves in harms way as well as hurting others.

Unforgiveness is spiritual filthiness, a poison for your soul, a prison of torment. Forgive and give the individual to God and even have the grace to love and accept the individual again. Father in heaven give me a new realization of the great forgiveness you offer me daily so that I may be able to have more grace and forgiveness to all men. And allow me to release and forgive anyone who has hurt me and caused me pain. Amen.


Greg Gordon is the founder of and writes at his blog The Christian Journey. USA.

Published in: Evangelical Focus - GREG GORDON - The Sin of Unforgiveness in the Church