Hebrews 12:14, 15 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Pastor Howard taught us that "it's more important to be godly than to be right." Our attitudes can be our undoing. When we allow unforgiveness to set in and then to grow into bitterness, we move out of God's way and His Kingdom.
In the Old Covenant, as the children of Israel journeyed toward the Promised Land and then endeavored to establish themselves in the Promised Land, there were enemies that had to be overcome and cast out. In the New Covenant, Jesus moves us into a place deeper than the physical and into a spiritual Kingdom in which we begin to live even now. In this Kingdom, battles are won in the heart and mind. In thinking of forgiveness, we recognize that it is a necessary and important weapon in our arsenal to cast out and keep out the enemies that would hinder us from living in the Kingdom. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6, as he instructs us to put on the armor of God, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Perhaps you have heard the old saying, "To err is human; to forgive is divine." Well, if we want to truly live in "the vine," we are instructed to forgive. We are to live in the Spirit of the Lord. Such things as unforgiveness and bitterness are some of those spiritual forces of evil that can become strongholds of the enemy in our lives. 2 Corinthians 10 talks about this spiritual warfare. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
This is not to say that righteousness is not important; indeed, it is. However, we don't move in an "enemy spirit" to establish righteousness. Forgiveness is a powerful weapon. We'll look at this more tomorrow.