Perry Stone

B. Childress
Jun 03 2012

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your
Father forgive your trespasses
.  (Matthew 6:14-15)

HAVE YOU EVER PRAYED and felt that the ceiling of the church was a sheet of brass?  Has your worship ever felt as
though you are speaking into a hollowed log?  Or have you ever prayed for a specific need to be met and felt like your
words were lost in outer space?  Biblically, prayers can be hindered (I Peter 3:7), delayed (Daniel 10:11-13), and under
some conditions, not heard by the Lord (Mark 11:25).  If prayers can be hindered, then so can the manifestation of your

Communication with God (prayer) is the verbal umbilical cord that connects us to God.  Under the old covenant, male
circumcision sealed the covenant between God and Abraham’s seed.  The altars were places of sacrifice where God’s
covenant promises and man’s future blessings were sealed with the blood of animals (Genesis 15:1-18).  Obedience to
God’s Word was the key that unlocked the blessings promised by the Lord. God instructed Israel:

    Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto
    me above all people: for all the earth is mine.  (Exodus 19:5)

If Israel obeyed God’s commandments, He would abundantly prosper and bless them.  If they disobeyed, God permitted
trouble, distress, and anguish to come upon the nation (Deuteronomy 28).  Israel could release the favor of God or
hinder the blessings of God by their words and action.

The new covenant was cut with mankind at Christ’s crucifixion but was sealed at Christ’s resurrection (Hebrews 12:24).  
Circumcision of the male foreskin (Genesis 17:11) was replaced with spiritual circumcision of the heart (Romans 2:29).  
The new covenant also requires that conditions be met in order for the blessing of the covenant to be released.  Jesus

    If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.        
    (John 15:7, NKJV)

The Greek word for abide means, “to stay in a given place; to remain in relation with.”  All new covenant blessings are
based upon
an active relationship with Christ, not a mental knowledge of God or an intellectual understanding of
certain spiritual concepts, but an inner working of the Holy Spirit that comes through confessing Christ as your Savior
and Lord.  Some people receive Christ as Savior because they want fire insurance (they want to escape hell), but a true
covenant believer will also accept Christ’s lordship, meaning, He is the master – the boss, if you please – and you are
His obedient servant.

Abiding and being obedient are the power twins of the covenant.  If you obey, you will abide; and if you are
abiding, you are obeying.  Yet the greatest commandment given to new covenant followers is very simple, but at times it
is difficult to keep.  It is the commandment to walk in continual love.  It is easy to love God, but at times it is difficult to
love people.  Yet Jesus taught this was the greatest commandment.

    A new commandment I give unto you.  That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one
    another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.   (John 13:34-35)

In the Bible there are five different Greek words for the English word love.  Each describes a unique expression of love,
and each has a different meaning.

When our loves ceases for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, a door is opened for the adversary to work, and the
door is closed for God to bless.  
The greatest hindrance in the body of Christ to walking in love is a spirit of
strife, bitterness, and unforgiveness


When Christ healed the sick, He often linked forgiveness with the healing.  When a paralyzed man was cured at the pool
of Bethesda, Christ instructed him to go and sin no more lest a worse thing come upon him (John 5:14).  Here,
forgiveness, freedom from sin, and healing are linked.  Here is another occasion where Christ connected forgiveness
and healing:

    Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.  When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic,
    “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”  And at once some of the scribes said within themselves,
    “This Man blasphemes!”  But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?  For
    which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?  But that you may know that the
    Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go
    to your house.”  And he arose and departed to his house.  (Matthew 9:2-7, NKJV)

James, when addressing his letter to believers, said:

    Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him
    with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he
    has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses [faults] to one another, and pray for one
    another, that you may be healed.  (James 5:14-15, NKJV)

James instructed believers to confess their faults in order to be healed.  The Greek word for faults alludes to a “slide, a
slip, or a willful or unintentional transgression.”  To confess and ask forgiveness is the only method established to
release a person from sin.  The danger is that unforgiveness is not only a sin against a person; it is also a
transgression against God.  If believers persist in housing an unforgiving spirit in their heart, Scripture gives strong
repercussions that will follow.  Understanding this reveals how unforgiveness is the greatest hindrance to receiving


Jesus told a parable of a king who had a servant that owed him an amount of money comparable to about fifty-two
million dollars.  The servant came before the king and begged to be released from his debt.  In comparison the king
responded to the request, releasing the servant of this burdensome debt.

This servant left the king’s presence and found a fellow servant who owed him about fifty-two dollars.  The forgiven
servant seized the man and demanded that he pay the bill.  When the king heard of the inhumane treatment by the man
he forgave, he sent his soldiers to arrest the man and place him in prison.

    And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.  
    (Matthew 18:34, NKJV)

The King James translation says he was turned over to the “tormentors.”  In ancient times a prison tormentor was a
guard who would beat the prisoner until he released information or submitted to the will of the king.  Imagine this man
being chained in the king’s prison and beaten until he repaid his enormous debt.  What a high price to pay for walking in
unforgiveness.  However, the next statement that Jesus made is even more shocking:

    So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brothers
    their trespasses.  (Matthew 18:35)

What exactly does it mean when Jesus said that an unforgiving servant would be turned over to the tormentor?  The
apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy may help unlock the warning Christ gave.  Timothy was a pastor and had certain elders
who were causing him difficulty because he was a young pastor.  Paul wrote:

    In humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may
    know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken
    captive by him to do his will.  (II Timothy 2:25-26, NKJV)

Strife and confusion are a breeding ground that creates negative feelings toward others.  Those feelings can lead to a
root of bitterness that, when matured, produces the fruit of unforgiveness.  Abiding in unforgiveness can give Satan and
his operatives an open door to take the unforgiving servant captive.  In this passage, the Greek word for
captive means
“a prisoner of war or to ensnare.”

An example of how a wrong spirit can open the door to a tormenting spirit is in the life of King Saul.  In ancient Israel,
Saul was appointed and anointed king.  Because of pride and disobedience, God’s Spirit departed from him, and God
raised up David to replace him.  After David killed Goliath, he was permitted to marry Saul’s daughter and live in the
palace.  A spirit of jealousy overcame Saul, and he began to physically attack David and attempted to slay him with a
spear.  The Bible says:

    But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.                      
    (I Samuel 16:14, NKJV)

This distressing (evil) spirit is mentioned in three passages (I Samuel 16:14; 18:10; 19:9).  When it overcame Saul, he
attempted to kill his opponent, David.  The bitterness in Saul’s heart opened a door to the enemy in the same manner
that an unforgiving spirit will open the door to the adversary.

Jesus made a bold declaration related to unforgiveness when He said:

    For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their
    trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  (Matthew 6:14-15)

The picture is clear.  Our own forgiveness is contingent upon our willingness to forgive those who have offended us.  
Christ took our sins for us and would not die on the cross until He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what
they do.”  (Luke 23:34).  Christ Himself would not die with unforgiveness in His heart toward His enemies.

When Stephen was being stoned by religious zealots who believed they were doing God a favor in removing the
scourge of Christian leaders from Jerusalem, Stephen cried out, “Lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7:60).  If Jesus
could forgive those crucifying Him and Stephen could pray for those murdering him, how much more can we forgive and
release people who have offended and wronged us?

If we willfully refuse to forgive, God cannot forgive us.  Christ’s warning implies that if we pray prayers with
unforgiveness, our prayers will be hindered.  I believe the same is true with our spiritual warfare.  How can a believer
resist the enemy (James 4:7) and attempt to bind the powers of Satan (Matthew 18:18) when the heart is holding
grudges toward others in the body of Christ?
 If God does not hear our prayer, then Satan is not obligated to
hear our rebukes!

After more than thirty years of full-time ministry, I believe the greatest hindrance to a believer receiving healing is when
unforgiveness blocks his or her spirit.  When you do not forgive, you are holding people behind imaginary bars in your
mental prison.  Christ released you from a spiritual prison and an eternal destination of darkness and death.  Yet we
tend to take the offenders captive, refusing to talk to people, not fellowshipping with them, and even making negative
comments in the presence of others.  This is displeasing to God and a roadblock on your road to health and healing.


At the temple on the Day of Atonement, when the two goats were offered, the scapegoat was led into the wilderness
after the high priest laid hands on the goat’s head and transferred Israel’s sins onto the goat.  Jewish tradition says the
goat was led outside of Jerusalem and pushed off a huge cliff, where it plunged to its death.  The reason was that Israel
did not want the goat to live so that it might wander from the wilderness back into an Israeli community.  It would indicate
that Israel’s sins returned to them once they had been forgiven by God.  Once the sins were forgiven, they were never
to be brought up again.

When Jesus was on the cross and prayed, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do,” the word
forgive He
used means, “to send forth.”  In the time of Moses, it would refer to sending forth the scapegoat away from the people
on the Day of Atonement.  Christ was actually asking God to remit the sins of His enemies in the same manner that the
high priest sent the atoning goat into the wilderness of Judea.

After Christ’s resurrection He commanded that His disciples be willing to forgive others.  He said, “Whose soever sins ye
remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:23).  The Greek word
remit is the same word as forgive that Christ used on the cross.  Using the analogy of the scape goat and the Day of
Atonement, Christ was saying that if you forgive a person, then you have removed the goat from your presence and it is
now in their house (“whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them”).  But if you refuse to forgive, then the sin
(old goat) is in your house!

When you live with unforgiveness toward a person, you open a door for the very thing you are criticizing to come upon
you.  David said it this way:

    Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
    From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity,
    Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
    And bend their bows to shoot their arrows – bitter words,
    That they may shoot in secret at the blameless;
    Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear.
    They encourage themselves in an evil matter;
    They talk of laying snares secretly;
    They say, “Who will see them?”
    The devise iniquities:
    “We have perfected a shrewd scheme.”
    Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep.
    But God shall shoot at them with an arrow;
    Suddenly they shall be wounded.
    So He will make them stumble over their own tongue.  
    (Psalm 64:2-8), NKJV)

Bitter and angry words are compared to a tongue like a sword and arrows.  When a person in secret shoots unfounded
and critical words against another person, God says that He will make them stumble on their own tongue and they shall
be wounded.  As an example, many years ago a noted evangelist was exposed for a moral sin.  Most Christians were
saddened and hurt.  However, another fellow minister spoke out and called the brother a “cancer in Christ’s body.”  
Within two years, this man was caught in a similar sin.  Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He said, “Judge not, that
you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be
measured back to you” (Matthew 7:1-2, NKJV).

When we judge a person for their problems, God can permit those bitter arrows to return to us and remove our own
hedge of protection.  It seems the Lord allows us to experience the very things we are criticizing others for!  When you
are critical of a family whose son is on drugs, your own family hedge may be disrupted by a child who has a similar
problem.  One former church member of my father was outspoken and negative toward a woman in the church whose
daughter became pregnant out of wedlock.  Months later the critic was grieved as both of her daughters, who seldom
attended church, became pregnant outside of marriage.  What she judged in others came back on her.


Forgiveness is also linked to freedom from temptation.  Matthew 24 lists several signs that will occur prior to Christ’s
return.  Christ mentioned wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilence, and earthquakes (Matthew 24:3-7).  Jesus said, “He
who endures to the end shall be saved” (verse 13, NKJV).  Was He speaking about enduring the terrible conflicts and
disasters that were coming?  I believe that enduring to the end refers to something more than enduring the stress of the
End Times.  If you read the verses just prior to this statement, Christ said:

    And then many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Then many false
    prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  
    But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  (Matthew 24:10-13, NKJV)

Jesus revealed that believers will experience offenses prior to His return.  The Greek word for offense is skandalon,
which means “to set a trap; to entice to do wrong.”  When an offense spreads, it can create a church scandal!  People
gossip, imaginations run wild, and everyone has an opinion.  Rumors breed rumors, and where there is strife, there is
confusion.  Soon offended people are “prophesying” false words to influence others to join their offense.  You’ve heard
them say, “The Lord has revealed to me…” as though they are seeing something others aren’t.  Soon division splits the
church, and two groups are offended at each other.  The offense grows like a cancer, killing the joy and life in the
church.  Some people quit attending church and vow never to return again.  They have not endured the offense, and
they will lose out on God’s blessing.  More people have left a church because of offense, and more people will miss their
healing because of an offended spirit.

Forgiveness is required before you can enjoy emotional, spiritual, and physical healing; forgiveness is also linked to a
person’s freedom from temptation.  We can see this connection in the Lord’s Prayer that Christ taught His disciples to

    Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in
    heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And do not lead
    us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory
    forever.  Amen.  (Matthew 6:9-13, NKJV)

In the parable of the unforgiving servant, the servant owed a debt to the king that was forgiven.  Jesus said, “Forgive us
our debts, as we forgive [release]” the debts of others.  Jesus continued, “
And do not lead us into temptation, but
deliver us from the evil one.”  If unforgiveness can cause a tormentor to come against us, then this tormentor can also
create temptations against us.  When one minister railed against another minister who was caught in a sexual sin, the
accuser succumbed to his own temptation, confessing that he had prayed but could not get delivered from his sexual
addiction.  I submit to you that he judged another, and the same judgment came to him.  He did not forgive and was
turned over to a tormenting spirit.  He did not release the brother who had fallen, and he himself fell into temptation and
was not delivered from the evil one.

We must endure, or maintain our walk under pressure, in order to be victorious in the end.  To restrain the tormenting
spirit, resist temptation, and live an overcoming life, we must practice forgiveness.  This is one reason why daily
Communion and receiving the blood and body of Christ is so powerful.  Each day we examine our motives, our hearts,
and our relationship with God and with man.


Part of the spiritual self-examination before receiving the Lord’s Supper involves the willful choice we make to forgive
others as Christ forgave us.  His willingness to shed His blood and expose His body to a torturous beating for our
atonement is a reminder for us to crucify our own fleshly desires and be willing to take up our own cross and follow His
example.  He released the guilty, and we must, in our hearts, release the offenses.

When I receive the Lord’s Supper, I first give thanks to God for Christ’s redemptive work.  I then do an inward
examination of any actions of disobedience I may have committed in thought, word, or deed.  I confess any action and
ask God for His forgiveness and cleansing.  I proceed to search my heart to sense if there is anyone whom I have an
offense or negative feelings toward.  This process keeps my body, soul, and spirit clean before God and man.

This process also releases any condemnation that the adversary might place in your mind.  There is a difference
conviction and condemnation.  The Bible says the Holy Spirit will reprove you when you sin.  Reprove means,
“to convict; to reprove or strongly admonish.”  If you sin, the Holy Spirit will convict you with a strong burden and feeling
that you did something wrong.  That needs to be corrected. Once you confess, repent, and receive forgiveness, the
conviction ceases.  The enemy, however, will often attempt to bring condemnation, or accuse you with a false verdict.  
Condemnation is a powerful weapon.  This spiritual emotion can destroy your confidence in God’s willingness to bless
you.  Without that confidence, your faith is weakened.  Scripture says:

    There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh,
    but according to the Spirit.  (Romans 8:1-2, NKJV)

God wants us free of condemnation.
    For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.  Beloved, if our heart does not
    condemn us, we have confidence toward God.  And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His
    commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.  (I John 3:20-23, NKJV)

Guilt creates condemnation, but freedom from condemnation produces confidence in our prayers.  Through the self-
examination of Communion, any sin, guilt, and condemnation will not remain in us.  When I understand the admonition
to, “Let a man examine himself,” then this examination can uncover the areas where the enemy is attempting to gain
entrance in our lives.  Once I confess my sins, He is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

If we allow bitterness to rule over us, it can literally make us physically sick.  Many Christian physicians acknowledge that
hospital beds are full of sick people whose biggest problem is not what they are eating, but what is eating them.  Let me
say it this way: it might not be what they are eating but
whom they are eating.


The apostle Paul warned the church in Galatians 5:15 not to bite and devour one another.  The Greek word for devour
means “to eat down.”  We would say they are gnawing on each other, like an animal gnawing at a bone and attempting
to extract the last piece of flesh from it.  This “eating one another” figuratively referred to speaking against or railing
against each other.  We would say they were critical of each other.  According to Paul, some church members were
attempting to force the church back under certain Mosaic laws and were underestimating the grace of God.

The children of Israel exemplified what can occur when people eat the wrong flesh.  God sent the people manna, but
they lusted after flesh and complained that they wanted meat to eat.  God sent a strong wind across the sea and
dropped thousands of quail in the camp of the Hebrews.  They fell two cubits deep, which translates to thirty-six inches
high around the camp.  The Bible reveals that the quail fell for two days (Number 11:31-32).  Six hundred thousand men
stayed up for about thirty-six hours to collect the fallen birds; “he that gathered least gathered ten homers” (verse 32).  
According to Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, one homer was ten and one-half bushels, so ten homers would be one
hundred five bushels of birds.  After gorging themselves with flesh, God smote the people with a plague.  They got what
they wanted, but they later didn’t like what they got!

There is a spiritual parallel for us in this story.  You can choose between the heavenly manna and the flesh.  You can
devour the blood and body of Christ (the bread and fruit of the vine), or you can choose to make a diet of people you
don’t like, relatives you despise, and folks who have offended you.  Just remember that there is life in the manna, the
bread from heaven who today is Christ!

    Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.                    
    (John 6:54, NKJV)

If you have lived with an offense and have allowed unforgiveness to rule your spirit, this will be a hindrance to your
spiritual blessings and a stronghold that stops the healing power of God from flowing to you.  Jesus said that we should
ask for our daily bread.  This refers to our provisions for life. But Christ is the bread from heaven.  Participating in daily
Communion provides us with our daily bread.  When we receive the daily bread of the Lord’s body, it causes us to
examine ourselves, thus keeping our spirit and soul clean and clear.

The manna extended the life of the Hebrews in the wilderness.  Your willingness to forgive others and receive the
spiritual manna through the Communion can be a vital key to extending your life and strengthening your spirit.


I once heard Pastor Franklin Hunt from Fayetteville, North Carolina, explain the four things a person must do to begin a
process of deliverance from bondage and addiction.  This same process holds true for receiving deliverance from
bitterness and unforgiveness.

    1.  Face it.  Do not deny your feelings, and don’t blame others for your negative emotions.  Face it as a man or
    woman who loves God.  You will never change what you permit and never face what you deny.

    2.  Trace it.  Get to the root of your conflict.  Was it pride on your part?  Did you reject godly advice?  Was it the
    enemy attempting to create a rift?  Did you misunderstand someone’s comment?  Identify the root and deal with
    that instead of the surface circumstance.

    3.  Erase it.  By asking forgiveness, and at times facing the person directly to ask their forgiveness, you are
    erasing the offense.  God will also blot it from any record in heaven and will cleanse it out of your spirit.  The
    enemy may attempt to bring back a memory for a season, but the Holy Spirit will raise up and remind you that you
    need not remember a sin that God has forgotten!

    4.  Replace it.  Old images can be replaced with new pictures.  Make fresh memories.  Build new relationships.  
    Get on with your life as you leave your past behind.

Get rid of unforgiveness before the seeds of resentment breed a root of bitterness that will choke the blessings of God
from your life.


THE MEAL THAT HEALS, by Perry Stone, Copyright 2008, Whitaker House.
To love in a social or moral sense (John 15:10)
To love as a friend, be fond of, have affection and feeling for (John 21:15))
A fraternal brotherly love and affection for (Romans 12:10)
The affection of a man and a wife (Titus 2:4)
The love for one's children (Titus 2:4