"Importance of Forgiveness" Program Agenda – Session 5 Sept 30, 2014
1. Open each session with prayer; asking God to open your understanding as to the areas in your life which needs to be healed and give you understanding of each session. The goal of each session is to help you to heal everywhere you need to be healed so you can become whole.
2. Discussion (30 min):
“Importance of Forgiveness”- Part II
Armor of Bitterness – Part 2B-2: There are differing levels of authority and power in Satan's realm. Each specific evil spirit answers to another spirit higher up the line of authority. Just below Satan in this pecking order are his principalities. It is through this hierarchy of evil spirits and principalities that Satan continually seeks to draw us into captivity, taking control of our lives.The evil spirit who presides at each step up in the hierarchy of a principality is more evil than the ones below him. Remember what I said a couple months ago that we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places? Eph. 6:12 lets us know we are in spiritual battle whether we like it or not. What is a principality? A principality is a ruling demon that has several lesser demons answering to it. Bitterness is a ruling demon. Answering to it, giving it protection and providing its armor are: 1) Unforgiveness, 2) Resentment, 3) Retaliation, 4) Anger, 5) Hatred, 6) Violence, 7) Murder – these are the powers which Ephesians 6:12 talks about. In the hierarchy of the principality of bitterness, resentment is worse than unforgiveness; unforgiveness answers to resentment. Retaliation is worse than resentment; resentment answers to retaliation, and so on. Each lower demon protects the armor for the next higher demon.
Armor of Bitterness – Part 2B-3: We are going to look at each part of the armor of bitterness separately:
- Unforgiveness- Bitterness gains entrance to us through unforgiveness, this is the first piece of the armor surrounding the principality of bitterness. Unforgiveness whispers in our ear, "No, you're not going to forgive them, you don't need to forgive them, there's no way you need to forgive them." Unforgiveness keeps a record of wrongs against another person. It reminds, rehashes, projects and torments us with past negative events. It reminds us of what others have done to us, and what we have done to others. Unforgiveness is a smaller entity, a lower spirit. It's just the beginning.
- Resentment - After unforgiveness has done its work, the strong man (principality of bitterness) sends out the spirit of resentment. Resentment builds on the foundation laid by unforgiveness. The record of wrong ferments and resentment begins to grow. Resentment generates a feeling of ill will towards a person who has wronged us.
- Retaliation - After unforgiveness and resentment have gained a foothold in our minds, the strong man (principality of bitterness) sends out the spirit of retaliation. The spirit of retaliation is much more dangerous than the spirits of unforgiveness and resentment. Retaliation's presence shows progressive demonization.
- Anger - Unforgiveness first gains a foothold, and then resentment gains a foothold. Next, retaliation gains a foothold. Each of these manifests itself in ways that are progressively worse than the prior spirit. When retaliation wins its foothold, bitterness sends out anger and wrath. Anger and wrath are outward expressions that remind others that we are not going to forgive them, that we resent them, and that we plan to get even. With anger, we have crossed a line. Anger gives the evil spirit a voice. Unforgiveness, resentment, and retaliation can be kept unspoken, eating away at a person's own spirit through self-deception. Once the line is crossed to anger and wrath, the demons start to show themselves physically.
- Hatred - Hatred starts a process of elimination. Retaliation ferments anger on behalf of bitterness. Anger vocalizes bitterness, and next comes hatred to act out bitterness. Hatred reveals your feelings toward an offender, tells them that they don't belong in your world, and you absolutely hate their guts. Hatred says, "I will do what it takes to get even. “Hatred provides the fuel for the final victimization by the devil.
- Violence - The sixth level of bitterness is violence. Violence is anger and hatred set into motion. Our emotions erupt into physical or sometimes hate-filled verbal attacks. At this point, we see pots and pans thrown across the room, wrenches fly and punches being thrown. Fights erupt. Physical, sexual and verbal abuse result.
3. Handout: Armor of Bitterness Chart; Bitterness Affidavit for 10-7-14
- Murder - The seventh and worst spirit in the principality of bitterness is murder. The spirit of murder includes more than taking someone's physical life. God's Word teaches how we can murder someone with our words. Murder starts in the heart, because the ultimate level of the spirit of bitterness is the elimination of someone's person-hood. Murderous hate-filled speech, driven by bitterness, kills a person's own spirit. Whether it is the person who is doing the screaming and his speech crucifies his own sense of decency, or a person who receives a verbal attack, whose spirit shrinks in fear, the end result is a death of a Godly, peaceful spirit.
5. Close each session in prayer; asking God to continue to reveal the areas in you which needs to healed and the things you need to deal with.
Dr. Dorothy E. Hooks
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