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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

don't walk in darkness

One way we walk in darkness is by holding bitterness in our hearts toward others—bitterness that creates confusion in our minds and oppression in our hearts. You may say, “Oh, but I am having fellowship with God.” No, you’re not. You’re just claiming you are having fellowship with God if there is bitterness in your heart. And if we claim to have fellowship with God but walk in darkness, we lie.

Walking in darkness is the consequence of unforgiveness. When I don’t forgive, I might spend hours a day in prayer, but I am not having genuine fellowship with God. If I can’t forgive the person who hurt someone dear to me, I am walking in darkness. If I can’t forgive the person who lied about me to others, I have lost my intimate relationship with the Father. I can even continue to preach, and people may even say, “Oh, what a wonderful sermon! You must be so close to God!” I can sing praises to the Lord with my hands in the air, and you may say, “Oh, look at how RT is worshiping the Lord!” I could put on such an act that you would think that I am the holiest person in the church. But if I have bitterness inside or am holding a grudge against someone else, I am a liar. I cannot walk in the light when I am really in darkness.

Jesus tenderly shows us in the Lord’s Prayer that we will be hurt—and by people we never dreamed would hurt us. We might think, “Well, yes, I can imagine so-and-so hurting me, but I never thought it would be you!” Psalm 41:9 candidly predicts what Jesus warns us of: “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” We will be hurt by the people we love. What’s more, Jesus calls the acts that they do against us “sin.”

R. T. Kendall, Total Forgiveness: When Everything in You Wants to Hold a Grudge, Point a Finger, and Remember the Pain - God Wants You to Lay It All aside (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2010).

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