Personality Disorder – “A set of behavior that is judged to be enduring, inflexible, maladaptive, disturbing, and impairs social functioning.” – Meyers
In English: those hurtful things we do that drive people away that we just can’t stop doing.
It is interesting how, sometimes, even certain areas of town seem to have a “personality disorder”. This article is about where they come from and the solution. The contents of this article aren’t part of a theory, I’ve seen it these principles work on a daily basis, and I didn’t invent these ideas either, they all come from the Bible, from passages we are all familiar with.
The Deep Discussion of “Forgiveness”
There is a lot written on the subject of forgiveness, though most of it never actually deals with the subject itself. We may tell stories about lost loved ones and then convince ourselves that we need to forgive our parents or friends who do hurtful things to us.. then we have trouble doing it, so we tell the stories again. Other times we talk about how “forgiveness is powerful”, but we never explain in enough depth to make sense of the matter. I am suggesting that forgiveness can solve many problems we did not know how to solve and I intend to explain exactly why. Also, while it is good to tell stories that help us understand our need to forgive; my aim here is to help with those times when we want to forgive, but just can’t for some reason. Hurt from sin must be acknowledged of course, but more importantly, it is a debt that must be paid, not just massaged.
Forgiveness – a term applied to debt
First I want to consider that the term “forgiveness” is foremost a financial term. It means “to end a debt obligation”. The concept of forgiveness stretches back through the ages. When one person harmed another, monies for damages were due. In the Old Testament it was considered “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” If you forgive someone’s debt for what they did against you, then they no longer owe that eye or tooth. The remaining problem is that you may still be missing an eye. And this is where the completed work of Jesus Christ comes into focus.
Isaiah 53:5 explains that Jesus suffered in different ways for different things. But he also rose from the dead, showing the power He has in his resurrection (Rom 8:34, Col 3:1, Heb 1:3; 10:12). Here is why I emphasize the “full, finished work of the Cross”. I don’t often throw around terms like “the Blood” or “death of Jesus Christ” because these are too specific and can sometimes thereby exclude other important things to pay. I think many people use these terms when they pray without knowing what exactly they mean. When I pray, I may say, “Lord, I claim the blood, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.. for that matter I just claim the entire finished work of the Cross..”
If we must first understand that forgiveness is a term that relates to debts, then we must second understand that Jesus’ completed work at the Cross is rich enough to cover all debts we owe and that are owed to us. If we are angry and want to see someone bleed for what was done to us, then the blood of Jesus is more enough for us. If we forgive the person, but still have suffered great loss, then the resurrection of Jesus is more than rich enough to cover the cost. God says, “To Me belongeth vengeance, and recompense…” (Deut 32:35). This is because Jesus bought all of our sin and debt at the Cross.
“The Full Work of the Cross”
I’ve been asked if it is necessary to “pray technically” the complete, finished work of the Cross, rather than simply praying for forgiveness “in the name of Jesus” or “by the blood of Jesus”.. “After all,” many people say, “God knows my heart.” This is important to understand. Some may think it is a kind of pointless ritual or perhaps “legalism” to explain that we have to pray a certain way. Though, we know it isn’t legalistic to know that Jesus is God and that Baal isn’t. “After all, God knows my heart,” doesn’t apply to salvation if we decide to worship Baal or some other false God with “good” intentions, and in the same way it doesn’t apply to the subject of forgiveness. We must show our “good” intentions through diligence and submission to what the Bible teaches us about this subject. Since “forgiveness” is an issue of debts and obligations, Satan, the accuser of the brethren is involved. If we pray, “…by the blood of Jesus… release the bondage of this person…” and if the problem more relates to the resurrection and the need for damages to be paid back, then Satan can claim a loophole. As Satan stands before the Throne accusing us (Rev 12:10), he looks for loopholes, like a lawyer might do in his position. The work of the Cross was necessary and is explained in detail throughout the Scriptures for a reason, because those details matter. It is necessary that our prayers are in agreement with the Scriptures or they may not work. After all, Jesus wouldn’t have taught us “how to pray” in Luke 11 if it didn’t matter; “how we pray” does matter. This is my Scriptural basis, but I’ve also seen it work. As you explore these ideas, I encourage you to examine the Scriptures, then honestly examine the results of your own prayers, and genuinely try what I am suggesting. It may be results and not Scripture that convinces many people, unfortunately. I’m sure you will find that these suggestions here are supported by both, the first of which, for me, was Scripture. Especially in deep issues of truth and all the more with spiritual warfare, our view of both reality and Scripture can be confused. Remember, Satan likes to twist Scripture, and he doesn’t want God’s people believing that our weapons against him will work. Even in Ephesians 6, after the detailed description of spiritual armor, Paul then expounds on the importance of prayer in everything.
Two Recipients of Forgive: Sinners and Sin
There are different ways in which forgiveness can deliver us. But before we look at specific areas, the key is to understand that forgiveness is what Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord’s prayer (Luke 11:4). What Jesus teaches on prayer here is phenomenal and profound. He says, “forgive us our sins since we forgive all indebted to us.” Different Bible translations try to explain this in different ways, but first note that, for Jesus, the One preparing to die for the sin of the world, the term “forgiveness” applies to both debt and sin, of course. But in the second part of the verse, Jesus uses very broad language. In a very literal sense He says, “and for we forgive to all indebted to us.” He doesn’t say, “people indebted to us”, He says, “…all…“ We can forgive aperson, but we also can forgive a debt. Don’t overlook the difference.
A relevant passage is John 20:23 and Matthew 16:19. Jesus teaches that we, as Christians, have the ability to forgive or not forgive the sins of other people. This may sound strange and it needs to be clarified. Jesus is not saying we have the ability to grant or deny people Eternal Life.. He said we have the ability to forgive or not forgive their sin. That is very different from the person being forgiven by God. John 3:16-19 also explains this, that Jesus died for everyone’s sin, so the sin of every person can be forgiven, but eternal life is an issue of believing in the name of the only Son of God who died and rose for each of our sins. Eternal Life is an issue of belief in Jesus (John 20:31), forgiveness of sin is an issue of accepting forgiveness, repenting, and granting forgiveness according to the Lord’s prayer (Luke 11:4). Jesus bought all our sin with his completed work at the Cross… as well as the cost to rebuild from the damages our sin caused. That doesn’t force those sins to be forgiven… it allows them to be forgiven.
Prayer and Fasting
Prayer and fasting are also relevant. You may recall the story in Matthew 17:21 and Mark 9:29 about the demon that Jesus drove out after the disciples had proved that they couldn’t. [Because God knowing our intentions in spiritual warfare aren’t enough.] Jesus said, “But this kind never comes out but by prayer and fasting.”
Before diving into this, there is some textual question as to whether or not the teaching on “prayer and fasting” is even in this scripture. We don’t want to be preaching from something that is not a part of God’s Word. So I need to address the legitimacy of this part of the Bible before proceeding. I am convinced that this is part of the Scriptures. The passage in Mark only misses “and fasting” but says that [this kind] only comes out “by prayer” according to the ancient manuscripts that all agree. Matthew is missing verse 21 entirely. Also, it isn’t the same list manuscripts that are missing both passages. Also, it wouldn’t make sense to say, “this kind only comes out by prayer” when Jesus didn’t pray on the scene in Mark 9. The phrase “prayer and fasting” also appears all throughout Scripture (do a search, it is quite fascinating) and makes sense to be used here. If some demons “only come out by prayer” then prayer and fasting cannot hurt and wouldn’t be wrong or unscriptural. Also, this doesn’t seem like something someone would add to the Bible, it is more likely that it is something someone making the original ancient copies would accidentally leave out or think that is was a mistake (because it is counter intuitive and doesn’t seem to fit with conventional thinking.) There would be no motive for adding this. But since the phrase appears throughout the Scriptures, this is another reason why it might be overlooked, or why simply “by prayer” would be copied rather than the full phrase “by prayer and fasting”. Also, there are a few key older manuscripts that are missing the text, but many younger manuscripts (still ancient, just young compared to the two main older ones) have “prayer and fasting”.. where did they all get that from? It must have been from some manuscript that was older which may not be around to defend itself. Also, is a cross-Biblical-historical factor, in Acts 14:23, they chose elders “by prayer and fasting”.. where did they learn to do this? They could have gotten the idea from Matthew 17:21 or Mark 9:29, or they may have gotten the idea from tradition, which Jesus is also referring to in Matthew 17:21 or Mark 9:29, or they may have gotten the idea from the immense teaching on prayer and fasting in the rest of Scripture. All that to say, I think it only makes sense that these passages include “But this kind never comes out but by prayer and fasting.” This may seem boring, but it is the kind of discussion that does on behind the scenes when people write a Bible translation and it is why we even have English translations to read. If you don’t understand, it’s enough to simply respect the discussion.
When Jesus says this, the common question comes up about the fact that Jesus did not pray and fast on the scene. There are different explanations for this. One of the better explanations is that “the demon can only be driven out by someone who has a lifestyleof prayer and fasting.” But this also has some flaws, because Jesus could have said “lifestyle” or “way of life”, but He didn’t. I offer another explanation that is similar: Jesus already prayed and fasted during his time in the wilderness. His lifestyle of prayer and fasting covered the need to pray and fast for this specific instance. It is as if Jesus is saying, “Some only come out through prayer and fasting [since that’s my lifestyle, this situation is no problem for me].”
I’ve had situations where I would need to pray for the forgiveness of a friend’s or family member’s sin and I, frankly, didn’t want their sin to be forgiven because I was too upset about it. So I fasted. I did this a few times and fasted for different amounts of time in different situations. But, at the end of each fast, I actually felt like praying for forgiveness of the sin the person had committed. The fasting helped me get past the limits and issues of my humanity so I could even pray for forgiveness for specific sin from others. And in some cases, the sin wasn’t even against me, I was just disgusted by it. This makes perfect sense with what Jesus teaches, and further supports the idea that Matthew 17:21 and the “fasting” part of Mark 9:29 are a genuine part of Scripture. Jesus had “fasted” His way past His humanity so that he could more clearly and effectively command certain issues of sin. As we read from Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness, even the sinless Jesus Christ was not above the human need to fast in order to be effective in this life and on this earth. The night before He was crucified He prayed and didn’t sleep. If Jesus needed to pray to do some things, we certainly do! For those areas where we don’t want to forgive… whether someone who did it to us or just to pray for someone to be released from something they did to someone else… perhaps a short fast should come first. Seek God on the subject anyways.
Two Areas of Application
There are two specific areas of sin and forgiveness that it would be good for us to look at in detail. One is sin and a specific place on the earth, the other is a sin passed down from one’s father. Of course there are other sin issues that require forgiveness, especially those committed against us personally or against someone else that somehow matters to us personally. We’ll look at forgiveness and prayer in general after addressing these two specific areas. The first involves our feet.
1. The Ground and Blood
In Genesis 1:26, the Lord grants dominion over the earth to humankind. I’m sure we’ve all encountered the concept of a “territorial spirit” or particular geographical locations being “jinxed” or “cursed” somehow. There have been several different ideas that try to explain this sort of thing. I have a simple suggestion: humans designate locations of persistent sin.
There are numerous passages that address the idea of cursing something or a land through bloodshed (Gen 9:6, Deut 19:10, 13; 21:8-9 and many more) or cleansing through blood (Heb 9:22). If one human murders another, the place where that human was murdered was cursed for evil on the basis that humans are rulers of the earth and can “set zoning” or designate an area for something. I understand that this may sound strange to conventional wisdom. But remember, since humankind has dominion over the earth, an evil territorial spirit cannot simply “set-up camp” anywhere it chooses, it must first have permission from the stewards of the earth: humans. Looking at the strange correlation between crimes, freak death-accidents, and geographical locations is a study to itself that I won’t address here, but it is eerie. Certain places on the map attract crime and death because someone first committed a crime in that location thereby granting Satan a legal claim to that territory in God’s courtroom. The significance of bloodshed and territorial evil has been known since Genesis 4, where in Gen 4:10 Abel’s blood is crying out from the ground for justice. This verse does not describe some mystical happening, but simply reveals that bloodshed matters as does the ground it is shed on. Jesus also died for this.
2. The Ground and Our Feet
As Christians, we can “cleanse” (if you will) the ground of it’s sin through prayer. Many skeptics might say, “Jesus died once and for all, there is no need to pray over a specific area; that would be legalistic.” But going to church isn’t legalistic.. if we understand the value it has. And “asking Jesus to forgive your sins” isn’t legalistic simply because you need to “confess with your mouth” to be saved (Rom 10:9-10). The same is for evangelism. Simply because Jesus died on the cross does not mean that the good news of the gospel does not need to be spread; humankind still needs to hear the message, as does the ground over which humankind has dominion. As Paul explains the need for evangelism, he also talks about walking on the ground (Rom 10:15, Is 52:7). The connection of our feet is important and seen throughout the Scriptures. Just “laying on of hands” appears throughout the New Testament in regards to praying for people through the work of the Cross (Acts 8:18, 1 Tim 4:14; 5:22, 2 Tim 1:6 and many others) so does the Scripture emphasize the significance of “laying feet on the earth” (Nah 1:15, Ps 47:3, Is 52:7, Rom 10:15). And Paul even mentions our feet bringing the good news of Peace in the context of spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:15. This is because Peace comes when we are released from the contract of debt through the forgiveness that is made even possible through the full, completed work of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Sins of Our Fathers
The other specific area were forgiveness applies is for sin from our earthly father. When your father conceived you, whatever sin issues he had in his life that had not been dealt with were passed on to you genetically. They are as permanent for you as the color of your hair and can only be changed but by the work of Jesus Christ. As Isaiah 53:5 says, “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquity, and by his stripes we are healed.” A wound is an injury on the outside, and likewise a transgression is something we ourselves have done. A bruise, however, is on theinside, and iniquity is passed to us from our earthly father on the inside, genetically in a sense. The Scriptural teaching about sins from earthly fathers is clear (Ex 34:7, Num 14:18—in the context of God’s Love for us; Ex 20:5, Deut 5:9—in the context of Idolatry, Ps79:8—in the context of desperate prayer.) It is the nature of a father to pass on his sin to his children as a permanent part of our character (except for the finished work of the Cross.) Mothers only pass on sin though nurture and it doesn’t always have to be permanent. This is why the virgin birth resulted in the sinless Son of God being borne of a sinful human. This also explains personality disorders, those issues we have that hurt ourselves, our relationships, and that we just can’t seem to get rid of. The issue is prayer, and perhaps also fasting, for forgiveness of our father’s sin that is based on the finished (completed) work of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
I’ve taken this perspective in prayer for people, for me to be able to “forgive in my heart”, for others to be released of the debt they have acquired for what they have done to others, and I have seen amazing things happen. As I said, I don’t share specific testimony in this article, but I do in other compilations and works. How I’ve seen it work might be described this way: Imagine a drug dealer who has wrapped himself up so much in crime that no employer wants to hire him for honest work, because of his debt owed to society (that society still holds over him,) the only way for him to make money may be to keep selling drugs… thereby acquiring only more debt owed to society. And this isn’t a case for sympathy to the drug dealer, society is right to consider the person dangerous. My point is that we can only have a self-perpetuating cycle if there is justice but nothing to fund the payment to restore what was damaged. By praying for the drug dealer’s sin to be forgiven, (or for his debt to bepaid), because of the complete work of the Cross, he no longer has a “spiritual/religious-legal” “need” to go to the streets to sell drugs for a living. When this happens, the drug dealer “finishes”… as in, he comes to the end of dealing drugs and either makes an honest living or he keeps trying to sell drugs that he no longer has a “religious-legal claim” to need and is easily caught and goes to prison. Whereas he may not have repented of his sin himself, the sin was still forgiven, and prison may be his own “law” experience that leads him to repentance so that he can receive forgiveness for his sin. Either way, by “forgiving” his sale of drugs (his sin/debt), his future sale of drugs ends (in this illustration.) A good word picture might be a rocket. It propels itself with a flame behind it. If you simply shut off the flame then the rocket looses it’s propulsion and slows down very fast. The sinner might be like the rocket and the sin like a flame. Forgive the flame (starve it of oxygen or fuel) and it no longer can burn, the cycle ends. This also explains in an easy-to-understand way, “love the sinner, hate the sin”.
How I Pray
When I see a location I feel led to pray for, usually it has experienced a strange history of freak accidents, death, crime, and often trash that strangely seems to cause “extra clutter” in a specific area. I walk around the location, or I’ll walk through the area, often I’ll do my best to place my feet on places of interest, I’ll make sure it is acomplete circle.. and many times I’ve had to walk for extra hours just to do so (testing my resolve to finish a prayer.) Sometimes I’ve had to forgive my father for issues he chose not to deal with, other times I’ve had to forgive people who injured him emotionally in ways that he did not know how to heal on his own. And I’ve never “wanted” for repair for injuries done. I am in touch enough with the rich resurrection of Jesus Christ that I already know that He can repay me for anything I’ve lost or missed out on.. so I am free to forgive.
A Simple Approach
There are many books on the subject of “deliverance” and talk of “revivals” where these kinds of things happen. Generally we have seen them referred to as “miracles” when there is a revival in a town and then all the drug lords get thrown into prison, or when a person prays after reading a book about demon possession and sometimes is delivered of personal issues and sometimes is not. I think the best explanation is this issue of forgiveness. When we find an area on the earth or in someone’s life where we think there may be a spiritual stronghold for evil, don’t pray that the demonic forces or evil or whatever would be forced to leave. Just pray for the sin to be forgiven (or technically ‘ have the debt payment remitted’ or ‘remit the sin by the finished work of the Cross’.) Then the stronghold is broken and it doesn’t matter if it is just evil or an actual demon or whatever… the whole complete situation is finished. This explains more that does (and doesn’t) happen in prayer and revival, and it is much more simple to understand. That seems Biblical to me!
Closing and Summary
When I believe I’m dealing with a territorial spirit in a certain geographical location, I don’t ask God to “remove the evil spirit”, because then it may just come back; I simplyforgive the sin that gives it a legal right to be there in the first place. There are many “deliverance” prayer systems that give people lists upon lists to pray through for ancestral sins, but sins of fathers are only passed on for three or four generations, and it all came through your father, so just forgive him because for not applying the finished work of Jesus Christ to his own sin issues. If you want to start dealing with personal issues and don’t know where to start, don’t rattle through lists of things that may not apply to you, that causes more problems and may give Satan an excuse to accuse you of other stuff, just “claim the finished work of Jesus Christ” to forgive your earthly father in a “general sense”. That in itself will release many issues and specifics that require your attention will naturally surface for you. I know that I only forgive the sin and a stronghold for a person or particular location, the actual people who committed the sin have their issue between themselves and the Lord Jesus Christ whobought their sin and to whom they owe their eternities, one way or another. By praying the Lord’s prayer of forgiving debt, I am simply acting as God’s “agent” in releasing any Satanic claim to a specific area or person that a specific sin claimed. Jesus paid the debt, it is cancelled, it is finished. My role is to spread that good news in all the earth as an ambassador of Jesus Christ; each individual must make the choice to accept Christ’s forgiveness for themselves. The sin-debt can still be forgiven either way.