The Spiritual World – Part 5 (Unforgiveness and Spiritual Progression)
This note is an excerpt from Peter Tan’s book “The Spiritual World” which can be downloaded for free here: The Spiritual World
(Other parts in this series can be found by following the links at the bottom.)
In the spirit world unforgiveness is like a spiritual tie which binds a person to the one they do not forgive and pulls them down. I saw in the spirit world how those who live in unforgiveness are dragged down to the lowest spiritual level of those who have sinned against them. No matter how hard they try to progress upwards, it seems like a gravitational force pulls them downwards to those who have sinned against them and whom they have not forgiven.
In the Lord’s Prayer we are taught to pray that we be forgiven as we forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 6:12). It does not mean that our Heavenly Father will not forgive us if we do not forgive others, for our Father in Heaven is most loving, gracious and merciful and forgives us through the redemption of Christ; rather it is because we are not released from being bonded to the gravitational pull of the sin of the one who sins against us unless we forgive them.
The emphasis in the Lord’s prayer is on the “forgive us AS we forgive others.” The AS emphasizes the connection of our ability to forgive and our reception of forgiveness rather than the Father’s ability to forgive us. In a sense, our Heavenly Father is blocked by our own free will from blessing us with His forgiveness. Thus the intent, the willingness, the ability and the power of our Heavenly Father is never questioned; rather our ability to receive His forgiveness is blocked by our free choice.
In a similar manner, neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any created thing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38, 39); yet from a free will perspective, we can choose to reject God’s love. In this situation of rejection via free will, the ability of the love of God to reach us is not blocked from God’s perspective but rather from the human perspective. The moment we forgive those who sin against us, the bondage of that sin over our lives is broken and we are indeed freed spiritually from its downward pull.
In the spiritual world, people are not only dragged down by their sins but those who do not forgive them of their sin are also spiritually dragged down by its gravitational pull. Sin causes damage to the character and spiritual body of its doer. It also causes the same damage to those who cannot forgive others of the same sin thus preventing spiritual progress. Our personification of love, Jesus, forgave those who crucified Him; we should also be able, through God’s love, to forgive those who sin against us.
One is not healed inwardly until one forgives. Not desiring revenge or harm on our enemies is only half of unforgiveness; we also need to grow to the point that all we desire is good and love towards our enemies. Great is the impact of all our love and hate in this world upon ourselves. Progress in the spiritual world is not possible until all our hate turn into pure love and benevolence.
Progression in the Spiritual World
One continues to grow and progress even in the perfection of the Spiritual World. Progression is through love and service to others. Self-interest is a hindrance to spiritual progress. This applies to both self-centredness in self-seeking, self-preservation and even spiritual self-seeking. There is such a thing as spiritual selfishness where one seeks only to progress oneself spiritually. Sadly, this in itself hinders growth. True growth comes by being God-like, with pure love and benevolence towards others.
In the spiritual world, spirits progress by helping others. Unconscious of one’s own spirituality or glory, the motivation of love and care towards others transforms a spirit internally into a greater and higher glorious state. He who seeks his life will lose it but he who loses his life will find it (Luke 17:33). There is no place for self-centredness in the Spiritual World. It is the source of sin, iniquity and darkness.
Humans who live on this earth are so used to self-interest and self-preservation that we do not realize how contrary it is in nature to our true inward selves and the reality of the Spiritual World. The true moments of glory that shine in human events are when the self is forgotten in an act of pure love. There is a form of self-sacrifice that is still selfish (1 Corinthians 13:3), and there is another form of pure self-sacrifice that is born out of the power of God’s love in us (John 3:16; 1 John 3:16).
The best spiritual state of being and mindset to be in is to be completely absorbed and in union with the presence of God’s love and be living our lives out of the propulsion and energy of love that consumes us and causes us to love and care for others. The transformation of glory is greatest in this state of being just like Moses was completely unaware of the glory affecting him as he talked to God and ministered to the people under his charge (Exodus 34:29, 30). The apostle Paul who speaks about the glory of God that transforms from glory to glory also spoke of the love of God that moved and constrained him to do all that he did (2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:16-18; 5:14).