by: Dr. Allen Domelle
“And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
Imagine the guards taking you to a prison cell and locking you inside. The thought of those doors closing behind you has to bring chills down anyone’s back. Imagine that same guard who just locked the prison cell door saying to you, “Here are the keys to your prison cell. You can leave anytime you choose.” It would seem unfathomable for anyone to sit inside that cell for several years holding the keys to their freedom, but refusing to use them to unlock the prison door.
In the verse above, it seems as if Job held the keys to his own prison. The prison in which he was incarcerated was the prison of unforgiveness. When you read the whole book of Job, it’s easy to understand Job holding a grudge against his three friends. After everything they said about him and his children, it’s easy to comprehend Job not wanting to have anything to do with him. But, he refused to sit in the prison of unforgiveness. In the verse above, it reveals that Job chose to unlock the doors of his prison by praying for his friends. The verse above says, “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends…” The moment that he knelt to pray for his friends was the point when he put the keys of freedom into the prison door of unforgiveness.
If you have lived life for any length of time, you will certainly have a reason to hold a grudge against someone. Everyone is going to be hurt by someone at some point in their life; however, to not forgive that person for what they have done to you is to place yourself in the prison of unforgiveness. You have a choice, either you can sit in the lonely prison cell of unforgiveness, or you can take the keys of forgiveness and open the doors of your prison cell and live the life of freedom from grudges and revenge. It is your choice! What you do with those keys will determine how much you enjoy life. There are two steps you must take to unlock the prison doors of unforgiveness.
First, you must see yourself compared to a holy God. Job said he saw the LORD in verse 5, and afterwards he said in verse 6, “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” You will never be able to forgive others until you stop comparing others to yourself. It doesn’t matter if you were right and they were wrong; life is not about you. When you see yourself as you really are, you will find it easier to forgive. The only way you will see your true self is by seeing a holy God. The only reason you are imprisoned in unforgiveness is because you have chosen to keep your eyes on yourself. Friend, at some point you need to take your eyes off yourself and see God. You will never be able to take the next step towards freedom until you see your real self.
Second, you must choose to forgive those who have hurt you. Nobody made Job pray for his friends. God didn’t tell him he had to pray for them, but he chose to do it. You can open the doors to freedom from unforgiveness and the desire to get revenge if you choose to do so. It is a matter of you taking the initiative to forgive the person who hurt you. You will only be able to do it through prayer. Don’t be so foolish to stay incarcerated in unforgiveness. You hold the keys to your freedom if you will forgive. What are you going to do with those keys?