There are two ways for you to ruin your reputation as a minister, do evil and/or associate with or vouch for those who are evil (false).
People will know you by your fruits, and what/who you tolerate. Your reputation plays a significant role in whether people, especially those who are seeking the Lord, will receive anything from you. Protect your gifts and calling from all sources of contamination. Jeremiah did not tolerate Hananiah (Jeremiah 28), and Paul did not tolerate the woman with the spirit of divination who was trying to associate herself with him and Silas (Acts 16:16-18). Also see Revelation 2:18-23 regarding the Lord’s heart of what people, particularly His ministers tolerate.
Never forget that we are to “…have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” ~ Ephesians 5:11 (KJV)
I close with the additional reminders:
o “…I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:20-22 (KJV)
o “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I AM the Lord your God.” ~ Leviticus 19:31 (KJV)
o “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate’, saith the Lord, ‘and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters’, saith the Lord Almighty.” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV)
Social Aloe Ministries: “Glorifying God. Exposing the devil.”
I usually get irritated when I hear ministers (usually pastors) speak out against prophets when they are clueless about what a person goes through in order to become a prophet, and more importantly, how the Lord uses His prophets. I served in the U.S. Army for many years. I can tell you about things I experienced in basic training for example, but I would limit my comments regarding what the other branches of service basic training are like because I have never been through them. I have seen documentaries and movies about basic training for the other branches of service, but that does not make me fully qualified to speak about them. Similarly, the Lord specifically designs how He transforms a person into one of His apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). You may have heard me speak out against (errant) pastors, even though I am not a pastor, but that is a part of my job description in accordance with Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 34, Matthew 23, etc. However, I limit my comments as directed because I do not want to overstep my boundaries.
I recall being in the USO at an airport when I saw a deficiency on a young Marine’s uniform. I was not a Marine, so I would not have been able to spot a deficiency such as the improper placement of the accouterments on his uniform like a Marine Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) would. However, I saw that one of the clasps on his marksmanship badge was broken so I went over and quietly let him know. I did not do so from the point of view as a Soldier trying to make a Marine look bad. I also did not approach him like how a SgtMaj who does not want anything or anyone to be a poor reflection on the Marine Corps, to include a small dangling portion of a badge, may have. On the contrary, I treated him like a brother in arms who looked sharp but I wanted him to look his best by pointing out a deficiency he needed to correct. And by the way, I was not in uniform, yet I did not need to identify myself in order for the Marine to take corrective action. Similarly, there are things that the five types of ministers can point out to each other, in order to help them serve the Lord and His people to the fullest. But there are also limits, especially when a person’s deeds are not of the Holy Spirit.
An example of something I have heard pastors speak out against is “parking lot prophets”. I understand how they may be trying to protect their congregants, but I have never heard a pastor speak about receiving personal prophecy in private in the correct manner. Not every person who tries to deliver a prophetic message in private is a deceiver, a “parking lot prophet”. I can provide several Biblical examples of where the Lord sent a prophet to deliver a message in private. There are other cases where the recipient would have preferred if the message had been delivered in private, but I will only provide one for the sake of brevity. Take note of what happened when the Lord sent the prophet Ahijah to deliver the prophecy that Jeroboam was going to become king: “And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field.” ~ 1 Kings 11:29 (KJV) Many of today’s pastors would have discouraged Jeroboam from receiving that prophecy because Ahijah would be described as a “parking lot prophet”. Also note, in addition to being alone, they were in a field instead of a place of worship. But here is one of the reasons why the Lord had the prophet deliver the message in private: “Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.” ~ 1 Kings 11:40 (KJV)
Prophets do not give prophecies in private as a way to escape accountability, false prophets do. You receiving a prophecy in public, to include a church, may bring out the devils in people you would not suspect. As was the case with Jerobaom, prophecies are a magnet for spiritual warfare. Lest not forget that it was Joseph’s brothers who wanted to kill him so that the Word of the Lord would not come to pass (Genesis 37). Joseph may have thought his family would be supportive of his God-given dreams that they would bow down to him. But even his father Jacob, a man who had several prophetic dreams from the Lord that came to pass, rebuked his son (Genesis 37:10). Too many pastors have used their limited knowledge of prophets, and prophetic ministry, to cause harm to true prophetic ministries. They applied Scriptures such when the apostle Paul wrote: “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:29 (KJV) That is a doctrine primarily for periods of prophetic utterances in a church service or other public settings. It does not mean every prophecy should be given in public. Don’t forget that some prophecies do not require the recipient to judge if it is a Word from the Lord or not. If the Lord sends a prophet to tell a person to stop committing adultery because He is going to unleash the devil on both transgressors, the adulterer would probably prefer to receive that message in private. In addition, the person would know the messenger was from God. I know people have used the Lord’s name in vain to deceive others, but pastors, please stop making it seem as if all prophets are false prophets. When you teach about what to look for in a false prophet at least take the time to study and then speak about how true prophets operate. I have heard that some pastors teach that John the Baptist was the last prophet, even though the Bible speaks about the prophet Agabus (Acts 21), and the apostle Paul established doctrine for how prophets should prophesy in church. A part of why I speak out against errant pastors is because of their ability to mislead God’s people, arguably more so than prophets, evangelists, and teachers.
I am also dumbfounded by how many pastors preach the errant doctrine of having a “spiritual covering”. Some pastors do it out of ignorance, others want to protect people, but some simply want to gather people to themselves for tithing purposes (another false doctrine commonly taught in churches – see Leviticus 27:30-33, Deuteronomy 14:22-29, etc. for the truth). Many ministers want to serve as a “spiritual covering” for others even though that is a function of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-14). In addition, many ministers who want to serve as a “spiritual covering” (god) for others need covering themselves. Just look at ministers who have succumbed to greed, lust, perversion, etc. Some of those fallen ministers had identified another minister as his or her “spiritual father or mother”, yet that “spiritual parent” was powerless to prevent the other minister’s downfall. Some people would criticize me for not submitting to authority, ignorant of the fact that I simply refuse to bow to baal. I have heard many ministers cite Paul’s reference to Timothy as his son in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2, etc.) for having spiritual sons and daughters. But they seemingly overlook that the same apostle also referred to the same Timothy as a brother (2 Corinthians 1:1, Philemon 1:1).
Many ministers who are serving as a “spiritual covering” for others are wrestling with the same sins the people they are “covering” are struggling with. If you have ever experience sleep paralysis, which is actually a demonic attack, say or think about the human who is your spiritual covering and see what happens. Then call on or think about the name of Jesus and see what happens. The same demon that attacks you probably just left your spiritual covering’s house and he or she is busy watching a pornographic video or engaging in some other sin, most likely oblivious to what you are experiencing. Let’s just say it is hard for your spiritual covering to cast out a demon he or she is in a partnership with. Also, keep in mind how the Lord exposed the idolatry people were practicing in the temple to his prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 8). There is still a lot of idolatry in many so-called houses of God. Many ministers fell because people saw that the minister was about to fall and felt intimated and could not approach the minister as a brother or sister in Christ. Other people worship their pastor and believe that the pastor can say or do no wrong; they even defend the pastor’s errant ways. There is no better “spiritual covering” than the Holy Spirit, and He dwells in the clergy and the laity (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Prophets do not point people to ministers, to include themselves; they point people to Jesus, which is also one of the functions of the Holy Spirit.
Pastors, and other ministers, look in the mirror and examine yourselves regarding if you have been speaking on things you are not qualified to speak on. Doctors can read x-rays yet they rely on the expertise of a radiologist. Each ministry gift in Ephesians 4:11 has an area of expertise; the functions of an evangelist are different from those of a teacher, yet they are co-laborers in and for Christ. True pastors aim to protect the children of God, and so do true prophets. Pastors are referred to as shepherds, and prophets are the watchmen who look out for the sheep, and the shepherds. I also refer to prophets as being the Good Shepherd’s “sheepdogs”, so please stop treating them as if they are wolves or expect them to act like sheep. Instead, shepherds, learn to work with the sheepdogs. A sheepdog is not going to turn on a shepherd unless the shepherd is hurting the flock or the sheepdog. Arguably, no one is against a false prophet more than a true prophet… The Good Shepherd uses sheepdogs because He knows that some shepherds are hirelings, wolves in shepherd’s clothing, so He uses His sheepdogs to root them out. The Lord’s instructions to some of His sheepdogs are similar to the following instructions that He gave to Jeremiah:
‘Behold, I have put My Words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant… And I will utter My judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken Me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands. Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings…, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I AM with thee’, saith the Lord, ‘to deliver thee.’ ~ Jeremiah 1:9-10, 16-19 (KJV)
Prophets, if you have been bowing down to “your pastor”, worshipping baal, it is time to get off your knees. If necessary, how can the Lord use you to rebuke someone who has you on a leash? Nathan worked for king David, and he respected the king, but we know what happened in 2 Samuel 12. Do not become like king Ahab’s prophets, instead, be a vessel of the Lord like Micaiah (1 Kings 22). Too many prophets have become like spiritual eunuchs in churches.
Sometimes an “I do” turns into “What did I do?” because the other person’s true colors came shining through.
A revelation may come as a pleasant surprise or a rude awakening. Likewise, there are also times when “suppressed evidence” chances nothing, but then there are times when it changes everything. When it comes to a relationship, the suppression of evidence may constitute fraud, which may cause the victim to file a motion to terminate the relationship, immediately. It is hard to trust someone who would withhold inculpatory evidence in an effort to get or keep someone. A relationship built on deceit is one that is rapidly heading towards its demise; sometimes the bottom falls out quickly and suddenly. Most people don’t like being lied to; it is a “deal-breaker”. A person who truly loves you will love all of you. As a result, you won’t have to hide anything, to include potentially incriminatory information that would have or may have deterred others. Conversely, if that person loves you, he or she won’t hide something important from you either. For example, the wedding night (after exchanging wedding vows) is not a good time for a man to find out that the woman he married was born a man.
You may be familiar with the following: “Love is patient,love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,it is not easily angered,it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evilbut rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
Now, with respect to this post, please pay attention the fifth verse, which states, “[Love] …does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking…”
There comes a time when denial meets an insurmountable obstacle called reality.
If you are single, one of the ways you get to find out how people in your life feel about you is based on whom they would or would not try to set you up with.
It’s a telling sign when a person’s words and deeds do not align.
Social Aloe Ministries: “Glorifying God. Exposing the devil.”
This is an example of how low the devil will go to prevent, disrupt, or destroy your God-ordained relationship. “IDentifying YOUR God-Ordained Spouse, and the counterfeits (Part 3 of 3)”: https://youtu.be/dVS3FkYEgVk
There is only one version of the truth, and that is the truth without a version or revision. Similarly, there are many antichrists but there is only one Christ Jesus (1 John 2:18, John 3:16). Never revise the truth to exclude the portions that contradict your narrative. The Bible includes Jacob’s deception, king Saul’s rebellion, David’s adultery, etc. If my life story was in the Bible, you would see a man who, in one way or another, violated all 10 of the Lord’s Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17). However, I am a recipient of God’s love as demonstrated through His mercy and grace. I can relate to when Paul said, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” ~ 1 Timothy 1:15-17 (KJV)
God changed me, but He does not change, and neither does the truth. Please keep the following in mind:
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” ~ Hebrews 13:8 (KJV)
‘For I AM the Lord, I change not…’ ~ Malachi 3:6 (KJV)
Social Aloe Ministries: “Glorifying God. Exposing the devil.”
Discernment is a very precious gift from God, in so many ways. The “discerning of spirits” is one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, which is tragically an overlooked and undervalued, yet desperately needed, gift to the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:10). I won’t go in depth on the subject, but it is incredible when the Holy Spirit reveals which spirit a person is truly of. Do you remember when James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven (like Elijah) to destroy a Samaritan village simply because they did not want to receive Christ. But Jesus rebuked His apostles by saying, ‘Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.’ ~ Luke 9:55 (KJV) There are several things about that incident, one of which is that it does not matter how close a person is to the Lord, he or she can do things based on the wrong spirit. The apostles thought they would be representing and defending Christ when they would in fact be misrepresenting Him. The incident also speaks to how people can do things out of arrogance and/or ignorance; the apostles did not know they were of the wrong spirit so it took an observer to let them know.
One of the things about discerning of spirits is how a person can shout at you and the Lord allows you to tell the person’s motives come from a place of love. For example, a person shouting degrading comments at his or her spouse is not operating under the same spirit as someone who shouts at a distracted person, who is wearing headphones while crossing a street and is about to get run over by a truck. Conversely, a person may speak softly and act friendly yet the Holy Spirit will reveal that the person is a snake. There are other ways that the Holy Spirit communicates things to the gifted individual. Some things are revealed in dreams and/or visions, smelling things that are not in the natural atmosphere, and feeling things such as other people’s emotions. The gift may not always feel like a gift but it truly is.
The following are examples of the gift of discerning of spirits in operation:
“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, ‘Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!’ Nathanael saith unto Him, ‘Whence knowest thou me?’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.’” ~ John 1:47-48 (KJV)
“Then said Jesus unto the twelve, ‘Will ye also go away?’ Then Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the Words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray Him, being one of the twelve.” ~ John 6:67-71 (KJV)
Whereas Jesus knew there was no guile in Nathanael, He knew Judas was a devil. It is truly a gift from God when He shows you who is trying to enter your life, or may already be in it, and which spirit a person is of. It is also very important to note, even though this gift is an asset to you, it is also meant to be a gift to others. Sometimes the Lord will reveal things to you for you to warn others about. It may be a tremendous responsibility to tell a person who is about to walk down the aisle that he or she is about to marry a devil… Everyone has to prophesy in accordance with his or her measure of faith (Romans 12:6), and sometimes the Lord gives you the ability to help someone avert a disaster (see Ezekiel 33). By the way, prophesying does not always mean saying, “The Lord said…” I’ll give you an example.
I had a dream a couple of months about a business. A few days later, I was speaking with the owner but I did not feel as if the Lord had given me a message from him. However, as we continued speaking, I felt led to simply share the dream with him even though I did not have an interpretation. Well, as usual, the Lord knew what He was doing because the dream related to decisions the owner had been pondering; things I was not aware of. It was after I responded to the unction of the Holy Spirit to simply share the dream in its raw state that He began to give me things to reveal to the owner. Quite frankly, as I was typing this, I wondered if I had gone off topic, until I was reminded that the dream related to discerning which spirit some people were of.
I was simply the messenger, so unlike James and John, I was not going to force the business owner to take a certain action or impose punishment if he did not. The Lord gives us free will, which includes the ability to not take His recommendations or heed His warnings. For example, Jesus knew Judas was about to betray Him, but He did not try to stop Judas, He simply gave him a strong warning of the consequences of his actions and let him choose (Matthew 26:24). Similarly, my only recommendation was for the business owner to pray and seek the Lord about everything. One of the things I have discovered is a prophecy is an invitation to commune with the Lord.
I recently received a prophecy about the Lord’s plans for me. I trusted the messenger, in part based on previous interactions, and I also trusted the message, partially because some things I either knew or they aligned with my journey thus far. However, I still prayed and asked the Lord for additional insight. And that reminds me, sometimes the Lord will show you the actual person in a dream or vision, but there are times when He may use symbols. Dreaming of snakes, crocodilians, or a rose with the emphasis on its thorns usually indicate someone with bad intentions. It is then important to pray and ask the Lord to reveal whom the symbols represent. Whatever the Lord shows you, believe Him. Yet, you first have to discern the source of your revelation.
I hope this gave you a glimpse into how useful the gift of discerning of spirits can be. If you have this gift but have not been using it to the fullest, I encourage you to start doing so. The more you use it is the more proficient you will become so please use it. “…Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” ~ Hebrews 5:14 (KJV) And do not worry about people rebuking when you reveal things to them. My approach on that is similar to when Micaiah told king Ahab that his prophets’ prophecy was of the wrong spirit (1 Kings 22). In the fullness of time, people will know if what you communicated was from the Lord. It may be difficult to see someone ignore your advice and end up in divorce court before the wedding photographer processes the wedding photos, or a church split because the pastor shut you down (possibly because you didn’t have a ministerial title). On a final note, once you have discerned whether someone is good or evil, it is time to go into intercession; sometimes the Lord wants you to pray instead of giving a prophecy. Stay tuned for a post about the sometimes unheralded position of the intercessors…
On March 7, 2016, I was inspired to post “Burning Question” about how the Lord had not ordained Jacob and Leah’s “marriage”, He simply allowed it. Many people can attest to being in situations the Lord has given them the grace to endure but they don’t have His blessing. There was a subordinate question in the “Burning Question” post I had left unanswered, until now.
Why did the Lord warn Jacob of several things, to include Laban trying to cheat him of his wages, but He did not warn Jacob that Laban was going to deceive him into marrying Leah, a woman he did not love?
Initially, I did not intend to answer that question; I was going to leave well enough alone. But that changed while listening to a sermon that addressed David’s affair with Bathsheba, and the subsequent murderous cover up (2 Samuel 11). When the Lord rendered His judgment against David, He had forgiven him and spared his life, but David, the Lord’s anointed, was still going to reap the consequences for his actions. Do not confuse the Lord’s forgiveness with Him absolving you of the consequences of your actions. God is not mocked and you will reap what you have sown (Galatians 6:7-8). And please, do not think that your anointing is going to prevent you reaping the consequences of your actions. David was a beloved king, yet the Lord did not give him immunity from disciplinary actions. Never forget that the Lord is holy and He expects us to be holy.
David was publicly punished for the things he did in “private” (2 Samuel 12), but then again, nothing is private because it cannot be hidden from the Lord. David had slept with another man’s wife, gotten her pregnant, and still had not repented after the baby was born, presumably nine moths later. The length of time David went without repenting, basically parading his transgressions for the world to see, contributed to the Lord allowing David’s son, Absalom, to have sex with ten of David’s concubines in the open. If you try to publicly make a mockery out of the Lord He may make a public spectacle out of you. Again, God is not mocked and you will reap what you have sown (Galatians 6:7-8).
That above reminded me of how Laban deceived Jacob, and how the impacts had lifelong consequences. However, lest not forget that Jacob was also a deceiver. He had previously partnered with his mother to deceive his father so he could steal his brother’s blessing. Jacob’s efforts to deceive his brother had lifelong consequences on his Esau. So, when Laban deceived Jacob into marrying Leah, it was payback, poetic justice, for what he had done to Esau. Jacob had dressed up and went into his father’s tent under false pretenses, similarly to how Leah would later pretend to be her younger sister Rachel in the tent (Genesis 27, 29).
I will be somewhat transparent with you, translucent to be more accurate. I have received payback that was so well played so to speak that I had to admire the Lord’s work, even while reaping the consequences for my actions. I know what it’s like to receive the Lord’s forgiveness but still had to pay a price that was at least commensurate with my actions. There were times when I laughed because of how well the Lord paid me back for my transgression, true poetic justice. However, my laughter was not because I was mocking the Lord, it was because He paid me back better than if someone had tried taking revenge. The last time the Lord disciplined me there was no laughing on my part though, and He did not delay the administration of justice. To this day, I have been scared straight, without having been behind bars. But it takes maturity to accept one’s punishment, and to even say, “I deserved that.”
There was a time when David got in trouble for taking a census so the Lord gave him a choice of three punishments. David chose to have the Lord punish him instead of falling into the hands of men, because they can be ruthless. David was correct because the Lord punished him, but He displayed mercy towards the end (1 Chronicles 21). However, do not think the Lord is someone for you to take lightly. Study everything that happened after David’s transgressions with Bathsheba and you will see severe impacts on David, and his family. The wages of sin truly is death, and those who hate God love death. The Lord is merciful, but please do not think you can manipulate Him with your tears and fasting. David’s efforts did not spare the life of the first son he and Bathsheba had conceived. That child would have been a constant reminder of David’s sinful actions. Unfortunately, many people are carrying around the fruits of their transgressions, as if it is something to be proud of.
We do not always do something to deserve going through certain challenges. But there are times when we need to learn and grow when we receive poetic justice from the Lord for our transgressions (Hebrews 12:2-11).
Social Aloe Ministries: “Glorifying God. Exposing the devil.”
In your quest to seek prophets for a prophecy, consider the fact that Jesus died to speak directly to you instead. Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.’ ~ John 10:27 (KJV) Prophets have their place, but don’t ever let a prophet take the Lord’s place in your life. Prophets have voices, but they are not always the same as the voice of your Lord.
In closing, consider the following invitation from the Lord, Jesus, ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.’ ~ Revelation 3:19-21 (KJV) Knock! Knock!
Social Aloe Ministries: “Glorifying God. Exposing the devil.”
It is one thing to forgive, but forgetting is a much different battle, yet they are like conjoined twins. Jesus told us to forgive but He never told us to forget (Matthew 18:21-22). The Lord also basically said those who are forgiven of much tend to love more than those who are forgiven of little (Luke 7). By the way, He said those Words to Peter among others, and little did Peter know how much he would need Christ’s forgiveness after denying Him thrice. In addition, there is the important warning from the Lord to forgive others or the Heavenly Father will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15).
While it is possible to separate forgiving from forgetting, it is important to not let holding on to memories cause you to hold on to unforgiveness, which could result in a cancer called bitterness. I purposely used the word cancer because I have seen someone with cancer and the root of the issue was unforgiveness that led to bitterness. One of the tests to see if you have forgiven someone is if you can pray for him or her, even if the person is unrepentant, and more importantly, pray that the Lord blesses the individual. For as Jesus also said, ‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’ ~ Matthew 5:43-44 (KJV)
A person’s repentance or even admission of guilt is not a condition for you to forgive those who transgressed against you. The Lord demonstrated this because even though David was going to suffer the consequences of his sins, the Lord had forgiven David before he had asked for His forgiveness (2 Samuel 12:13). Also, being unrepentant is not a reason for you to mistreat them. However, don’t forget who they are based on the true colors they have shown you, or especially if they Lord has revealed their true nature to you. It can be like having a venomous “pet snake”, if you keep it in your house, keep it in a locked container and never trust it, regardless of how well you treat it. By the way, I know some people make it hard to forget what they have done because they repeating their errant actions. Sometimes you forgot what they did but they do one thing that reminds you of every other thing they have done. They sabotage themselves…
One of the many incredible things about Jesus was how He treated Judas, even though He knew Judas was going to betray Him. The Lord made him an apostle and gave him full apostleship. The Lord sent Judas on a missionary trip with another apostle and gave them equal power over unclean spirits (Mark 6:7). Jesus also knew Judas was a thief, yet He “entrusted” him with His ministry funds, which Judas would steal from (John 12:4-6). Jesus kept Judas around because he was going to betray Him, so unless you also want to be betrayed, I don’t recommend that you keep a “Judas” around like that. Jesus was not caught of guard when Judas finally did what he had shown the propensity to do. See people for who they are and don’t forget it until you see evidence of repentance.
Don’t be fooled, despite how well Jesus treated Judas, which would serve as an indictment against him on the day of his judgment, Jesus never forgot who Judas truly was. The Lord did not publicly ostracize him, but Jesus let Judas know that He knew who the apostle truly was. For example:
When many of Jesus’ disciples turned away from Him stopped following Him, “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, ‘Will ye also go away?’ Then Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the Words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray Him, being one of the twelve.” ~ John 6:67-71 (KJV) Jesus did not call Judas a man of God, like what goes on in many churches today, but rather, He told the truth about him. We oftentimes think of Romans 2:4, regarding the goodness of God leading to repentance, without realizing that abusing God’s goodness also leads to a hellish eternal life sentence (Revelation 21:8).
During “the last supper”, even though Jesus did not call Judas out by name, He let the disciples know one of them would betray Him. Somehow, the disciples were oblivious to the fact that it would be Judas, even after all the time they had been together, and when Judas left the upper room that night. Maybe the apostles were too good at forgetting, to include when Jesus answered, ‘He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it.’ And when He had dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.” ~ John 13:26 (KJV) I cannot overstate it, do not let the Lord show you someone who means you no good, and then forget about it. The other apostles even made the following errant assumption when Judas left the room: “…Some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, ‘Buy those things that we have need of against the feast’; or, that he should give something to the poor.” ~ John 13:29 (KJV) Be careful about trying to cast a devil as a saint. Jesus is full of love, as demonstrated through His mercy and grace, but He still said, ‘The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born.’ ~ Mark 14:21 (KJV)
When you hold on to the memory of a person, ensure you don’t hold on to bitterness. Forgiveness does not require the person to repent, but I say trust requires repentance. Judas did not change his ways (repent), so at the opportune time, he did what any snake would do, and that is strike. Judas was an apostle, but Jesus referred to him as a devil, so don’t be alarmed when I call him (or any other errant or false minister) a snake. I have had to tell people that they were practicing witchcraft, and those who realized and repented were restored, but those who continued are now called witches. I forgive very easily, and there are some things I have chosen to forget, but there are those cases where it is important that I hold on to the bad memories without being bitter. But it is all done to stay out of a “snake’s” striking distance. One of the reasons why I sometimes choose to forget about things some people have done is because the Lord said:
‘For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.’ ~ Hebrews 8:12 (KJV)
‘I, even I, AM He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.’ ~ Isaiah 43:25 (KJV)
“Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” ~ Micah 7:18-19 (KJV)
There is more I could say, but I will hand the “microphone” over to the Lord, who said, ‘For I say unto you, ‘That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, ‘Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment’: But I say unto you, ‘That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca’, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool’, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. [Some people will end up in jail or prison because they refuse to let go, to forgive.] Verily I say unto thee, ‘Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.’ ~ Matthew 5:20-26 (KJV)
When waging war against the enemy, we oftentimes refer to the following:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (KJV)
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” ~ Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
But spiritual warfare sometimes eventually gets resolved in the physical realm. Such was the case in many of the battles that are recorded in the Bible. The battles were not simply battles between two nations. Oftentimes, they were battles between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. In one example, the king of Moab sacrificed his son as an offering to his god (2 Kings 3:26-27). However, as a case study, please examine the following events leading up to the battle between David on Goliath:
“And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, ‘Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
And the Philistine said to David, ‘Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.’
Then said David to the Philistine, ‘Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.’
And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.” ~ 1 Samuel 17:42-49 (KJV)
Goliath was representing his god and David was representing ours. Do not get too comfortable thinking the Lord is always going to fight your battles to the point where you won’t have to do anything. Even though He is with you, you may have to join Him in the fight. David said the battle was the Lord’s, yet he was the one who placed the rock in the sling and dispatched Goliath.
In addition, lest not forget the following incident at the Red Sea:
“And Moses said unto the people, ‘Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.’
And the Lord said unto Moses, ‘Wherefore criest thou unto Me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get Me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I AM the Lord, when I have gotten Me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.’” ~ Exodus 14:13-18 (KJV)
Many people are crying out to the Lord for help but He has already equipped them for victory, they simply need to face the giants that are in the way (see Luke 10:18-20).
The following is also another example of a battle, which has not taken place yet, that will epitomize a spiritual battle occurring in the physical realm:
“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
‘Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.’
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” ~ Revelation 16:12-16 (KJV)
Now, despite the physical acts of violence I cited, this exhortation is not about resorting to violence. Sometimes we pray for our enemies and we ask the Lord to have mercy on them, after all, Jesus said we should bless and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). We also know that the Lord does not want anyone to perish but that everyone should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), plus it is the goodness of God that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). Sadly, sometimes people have to learn the hard way, so rather than praying and asking the Lord to have mercy on them, ask Him to judge them and reward them for their deeds. That gives an explanation of what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote: “…deliver such an one unto satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” ~ 1 Corinthians 5:5 (KJV) Some people mistake the Lord’s grace for consent that He approves of their actions, seemingly ignorant of the fact that they are heaping judgment on themselves. Jesus makes it clear that some will receive greater damnation (Matthew 23:14).
If what I was inspired to tell you to pray for, if necessary, does not sit well with you, just know that the Lord is slow to anger but He does get angry. The Lord will not tolerate sins indefinitely, or accept prayer requests for mercy when judgment is indicated. For example:
‘Thus saith theLordunto this people, ‘Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore theLorddoth not accept them; He will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.’
Then said theLordunto me, ‘Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.’ ~ Jeremiah 14:10-12 (KJV)
Some people will say the devil made them do something, as if they won’t have to suffer the consequences for their actions. Keep in mind that the devil misled Eve and Adam to sin but that did not exonerate them from the Lord’s judgment; they were cast out of Eden, among other things (Genesis 3). A part of why spiritual warfare plays out in the physical realm is that the human vessel will have to pay the price for not ruling over the spirit(s) that influenced him or her. It is written, “Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; but if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.” ~ Proverbs 6:30-31 (KJV) A person is liable for his or her actions, despite what influenced those actions; sometimes a person must pay now or the consequences will be worse later.
Have you ever noticed how some criminals are tightly knit, but when arrested they turn on each other? Well, that can happen when a person who is being demonically influenced is facing incarceration for his or her actions. If things get bad enough for the individual, peradventure, the person will finally make the decision to divorce the devil. In addition, a criminal who has never gotten caught or punished may be more inclined to seek the Lord and come to true repentance from inside of a jail or prison cell. Facing the consequences for one’s actions may be the well overdue wakeup call.
Quite frankly, many people have repetitively tried to save people whom the Lord has been trying to correct. However, because of their fervent prayers, the Lord had mercy on the offender, even though He knew what was going to happen. But there came a time when the Lord knew that mercy would probably lead to the person’s condemnation. I know I have sinned (a few times) in my life, and one of the deterrents from committing those sins in the future is the price I paid. In one case, I thought the Lord was giving me a warning dream when I saw the pits of hell open and more demons than I could count started coming towards me. Well, I soon found out that it was not a warning of what the Lord was going to do because it was already done and trouble was on the way. I paid dearly for my sins. That was years ago but I am still paying today. A part of my discipline comes from much suffering, and not wanting to relive those things. Hebrews 12 describes how the Lord chastens those He loves. On that note, sometimes when you pray, it is time to ask Him to discipline those who have gone astray and abused His grace. It is better for a person to suffer on earth and come to repentance, like I did, than for the Lord to keep showing them mercy and have to send them to pay the price in hell later. But when you ask for the Lord’s judgment, ensure you are in right standing with Him, and that you do so with the right spirit. Vengeance is the Lord’s and He will avenge so, “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.” ~ Proverbs 24:17-18 (KJV)
On a final note, throughout the process of waging a spiritual war against the enemy in the physical realm, ensure that whatever happens, you forgive the person.