He Is in Bondage
What does this mean? Just as it sounds, he has cords, chains tied around his life and he is unable to escape from his sins. They pursue him, overtake him, enslave him. He tries to understand. He explains to himself, rehearsing what he will say if confronted, all to very little avail. It is a rut. He is stuck, tortured, crippled. There seems to be no way out. The power of God over sin seems to be for everyone else.
Solution #3: How does this happen? Sometimes (most times) this condition in someone who claims Christ, comes from unforgiveness.
In Matthew 6:15 the Lord tells us that God’s people must forgive others in order to receive forgiveness from the Father. The man who holds others in unforgiveness places himself in grave spiritual danger. He shows that even greater sin lies dormant within himself, awaiting a moment to manifest. He proves his a need for the grace of God and, at the same time, risks forfeiting that a grace. In fact, he refuses grace. He fails to go for grace when he is needy. He becomes enslaved. It is such a potential for great loss.
There is little you can do if your husband’s unforgiveness is plaguing your marriage. If he is sinning, you can hardly stop sinning for him. Your patience and prayers are the best you can give.
It’s a different story, though, if the wife is holding him in bondage through her unforgiveness. In Matthew 16:19, we find that if we forgive someone, he is forgiven. God gives us that authority. This means that when your husband is going too fast on the highway, you can forgive him and free him to receive grace to conquer lawlessness. When he overeats, you can forgive him and free him to receive grace to conquer gluttony. When he neglects to pay bills, you can forgive him and free him to receive grace to conquer laziness.
This makes an enormous difference. Hard to believe? Look at the Apostle Paul. When he called himself “Saul”, he was one of the Romans who helped kill Christians. This was hardly a small sin, hardly something you could forgive if you found it in your husband. Yet, Stephen forgave Saul, freeing him for the ministry. Read about it in Acts 7:58 – 9:1. It really happened: A Godly person forgave the unforgivable. He released the sinner to receive Christ’s ministry and become Christ’s minister. What Stephen forgave on this earth was forgiven in heaven. Stephen was like Jesus in his death.
We are called to be like Christ. That is what the word “Christian” means. If Jesus Christ could love and forgive you when you were His enemy, if Stephen could forgive his murderous enemy, how much more should you be willing to forgive the husband of your heart, your beloved, the one you chose to share this life with!
This two-sided commission also gives us authority to hold a man to his sin, to hold him in bondage. Before you shrug this off, remember that if your husband is bound to a sin, you are too, because you are bound to him in marriage. Taking this lightly is dangerous because God takes it seriously. You bind your husband to his sin, yourself to him, your children to you both, to the third and fourth generations of them that hate the Lord. Yes, I said hate. You cannot serve two masters. You love only one and hate the other. Whomever you serve, is your master. If you serve the god of unforgiveness, I fear for your family.
There is one more fearful facet to this truth: If you hold your daddy in unforgiveness, binding him to his sin, you need to realize you are bound to him, too, as his daughter. Are you seeing some of his same sins in your husband or in your children? Is it beginning to make sense? Forgiveness IS the key, just as God said. The joyful thing is: you hold the key. Read Matthew 16:18-19 and rejoice.