Teaching tracts were produced by the ministry and are free to be downloaded by clicking on each of the topics below. The topics for the four tracts are as follows:
Sixteen thousand copies of these tracts were printed and are being regularly distributed at the mission trips, conferences and empowerment programs of the ministry. The electronic copies of these tracts are available for download on the ministry website. For the coming year, we believe that new tracts will be produced and reprints of existing tracts will be needed.
TRUE SPIRITUAL FORGIVENESS
THE FOUNDATION OF SPIRITUAL FORGIVENESS FOR OTHERS
There is indeed a direct relationship between love and forgiveness. Sadly, the most unforgiving hearts are among those of us who profess to be strong Christians. Some of us would say they love the one who has hurt them badly but will never forgive and forget the offender and the offense. They would even stop speaking to the offender as long as they live. Many of us have neither spoken to nor have anything to do with either parent or both parents and their siblings for many years. Imagine eating yourself up in bitterness and anguish of unforgiveness for so long. Now imagine this, if the Lord comes this moment and you are caught up in such evil and unforgiving heart, what will be your fate? For it is written that only those who are pure in heart shall see God (see Mt 5:8). A bitter and unforgiving heart cannot be said to be pure as unforgiveness is sinful and the worst form of witchcraft. A heart that finds it hard to forgive is not a heart of flesh and not of God. It is this newly given spiritual heart that makes one who is born of God a new creature, with a heart of God. This is a heart of love, compassion, mercy, grace, peace, meekness, gentleness, forgiveness, and reconciliation. It is not a hardened and stubborn heart (heart of stone), but a peculiar spiritual heart that is capable of loving and forgiving even the worst enemies.
Forgiveness of others is a pardon for all their wrong deeds. It is a total release from and discharge of all debts. It is simply an act of setting an offender free from the yoke of our bitterness, resentment, and hatred. However, on the other hand, spiritual forgiveness is such pardon or discharge that leaves no trace or residual bitterness in our heart. It is an act that sets both the offended and the offender free from bondage. Spiritual forgiveness is not only one of the highest levels of divine maturity; it is a profound fruit of the Holy Spirit. There may not be found up to one percent of us who possess and practice true spiritual forgiveness. The spiritual forgiveness from the heart for others, as commanded by God, is a total liberation from the heart.
THE LORDS DEMONSTRATION OF SPIRITUAL FORGIVENESS
(a) Responding to the woman caught in adultery, the Lord forgave her without condemnation, but rather pointed her to the way of salvation (go and sin no more) (see Jn 8:11). We must take note that the woman in this case sinned against God;
(b) While on the cross, being crucified, He forgave from the heart and prayed the Father to forgive all, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Lk 23:34);
(c) In dealing with Apostle Paul (then Saul) on his way to Damascus to persecute His disciples and church, the Lord not only forgave Paul, but He also
graciously told him what to do to obtain life (salvation). “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6). In the three cases above, our Lord demonstrated two significant
- His only mission: to seek and save the lost. And as the light of the world, He would teach and impart knowledge to the ignorant, show the way to the lost, and heal the sick. By so doing, He fulfilled the prophecies of His mission (see Is 61:1-2)
- We cannot win a soul for the kingdom of God through hatred, resentment, unforgiveness, judgment, and condemnation but rather through love, compassion, forgiveness, mercy and grace.
It is certainly obvious that the people we hate, judge, condemn, and bear grudges against stay far away from us. They fear us because we exhibit imperfect love by our works. But as a light of Christ in the world, we ought to let it shine so that people may see the good works we do in Christ’s name and glorify our Father (see Mt 5:16). But if what we do runs contrary to the mission of the Lord, we are none of His.
HOW TO FORGIVE
Since unforgiveness is a sin, we must begin our walk of spiritual forgiveness from point number 1—us. We must ask the Lord to forgive us for any trace of unforgiveness in our heart, pray and confess our absolute forgiveness of any and all those we harbor unforgiveness and resentment against, ask God to give us a new spiritual heart and a new spirit from then on, and pray to God to forgive and deliver us and the offenders from the domain of darkness.
WHOM DO YOU FORGIVE?
We must forgive from the heart any and all persons who have wronged us at any time. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him/her, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses” (Mk11:25).
Asked by apostle Peter how often he should forgive his brother, the Lord answered him thus, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22). In other words, we are to forgive all, all the time. There is therefore no limit to forgiveness as there is no limit to love.
SOME CONSEQUENCES OF UNFORGIVENESS
Unforgiveness has both spiritual and physical serious consequences, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Hinders God’s forgiveness — If we forgive, we will be forgiven by God (Mt 6:12, 14-15). If however, we refuse to forgive others, no matter what the justification may be, God will not forgive us.
- Hinders prayers — When we pray to God with unforgiveness in our hearts, He will not hear us (Ps 66:18, Mt 5:23-24).
- Grieves the Holy Spirit daily — An unforgiving heart is for all purposes a wicked heart. The Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a blemished house, because an impure and wicked heart grieves Him (Gen 6:5-6, Is 63:10, Ps 7:11, Eph 4:30).
- Puts you and the offender in perpetual bondage – Unforgiveness is a deadly form of witchcraft that eats up both the offender and the offended.
- Hinders spiritual healing and liberty — We cannot obtain complete spiritual healing, liberty and maturity, where there is a trace of unforgiveness in our heart.
- Promotes physical ailment — Kills both the spirit and the flesh. It is a deadly poison.
- Leads to temptation — Unforgiveness is a spiritual weak point, which gives the devil easy access to tempt us. We ought not to lead ourselves into temptation (see Mt 6:13).
THE TRUE SPIRITUAL FORGIVENESS
This profound fruit of the Holy Spirit is FORGIVENESS from a spiritual heart that is poured out to the offender in love and sees him as one who is perished and needs knowledge of God. As gods, those who are born of God must forgive completely from a heart of God; our heart and mouth must necessarily be in harmony.
FORGIVE AND FORGET
Forgiveness is not spiritually effective unless we forgive and forget. Those who are born of God are spirits of God and gods to unbelievers and, therefore, must be perfect in love and forgiveness as God is. “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jer 31:34). “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins” (Is 43:25).
But can any person forgive and forget the evil perpetuated against him or her? After all, we are humans, and ugly memories cannot easily be erased. The answer I usually get from congregations is no. It is indeed almost impossible to forgive and forget who and what hurts you so much. If we profess forgiveness but each time we see or remember the offender we become angry, bitter, and resentful, have we truly forgiven that person? We have not. But if and when we remember the offender and/or the evil deed, our hearts glorify God for His mercy and how He used the incident to teach us, then the Spirit of God indeed dwells in us. For no evil can happen to one born of God unless God allows it.
A WALK IN THE SPIRIT
If we are consumed by unforgiveness and resentment, or negative feelings, we will not appreciate what God has planned for us to become as a result thereof. This is not to say we may not remember the forgiven past, but if we remember it, it is manifested as a testimony of glory and thanksgiving to God; then we have entered a higher or more perfect understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. If and when we remember, and our hearts have no trace of hatred and bitterness but instead, mercy, grace, compassion, and love toward the offender are found, then in truth, we have become gods and perfect in love as our heavenly Father is (see Mt 5:48). A walk in the spirit is not about what we have accomplished or the affliction, persecution, or hurt we have suffered but rather it is what we have become as a result. Did we pass the test for the next promotion, or must we, to the extent is necessary, repeat the lesson? I am mindful of some readers who may still not fully comprehend this point, but we all agree that with the Spirit of God, all things are possible and that all things work together for good to them who are of God (see Mt 19:26; Rom 8:28). All Christians should therefore pray for this profound fruit of the Holy Spirit (spiritual forgiveness) for their own good.
THE MYSTERY OF SPIRITUAL FORGIVENESS
Does God retract His forgiveness once He has forgiven a sinner? Put another way, when God has forgiven a sinner today, can He, at a later date retract the forgiveness? That was the question the Lord asked me during my recent stay in Africa. My answer and the answer given by every congregation which I had posed the same question to was a resounding – NO.
That may be your answer too. Once God has forgiven us, He has forgiven, period. Right? No, we are all wrong, not comprehending the mysteries of the kingdom of God. The Lord told me that I was wrong, that He would retract His forgiveness when the one He has forgiven hardens his heart and refuses to forgive another. Wow! What a devastating consequence of unforgiveness.
In the Gospel of Matthew 18, our Lord gave a parable of an unforgiving servant whose master forgave so large a debt but who refused to forgive a fellow servant of a small debt owed him. As the master mercifully obliged the ungrateful servant’s pleas for forgiveness, he (the unforgiving servant) ought to have done the same to a fellow servant. But he would have none of it. Rather, he committed his fellow servant to prison until he could pay the debt. When his master heard what his wicked servant did, he was wroth and said to him, “Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’” (Mt 18:32-33). And then the master who forgave him previously changed his mind and retracted his forgiveness and committed the wicked servant to prison until he paid the debt. The Lord then said, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (Mt 18:35). It is certainly true that most of us have read these scriptures many times without the understanding of the revelation of the mystery surrounding spiritual forgiveness. For it is written, “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Mt 7:2). Those who have ears of the heart to hear, let them hear.