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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Power of Forgiveness

The book of Ephesians talks about 'our weapons of warfare' but did you ever realize that 'forgiveness' is a powerful weapon of warfare?

In Matthew 18:21, Jesus talks about forgiveness, saying,

"the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a King forgiving the debts of His slaves."  

Jesus goes on to tell the story of a king who forgave a man of a very large debt.  The man left the King's presence thankful for this forgiveness but when he encountered a man who owed him a very small debt, had him thrown into prison.

Jesus then explains that when we refuse to forgive others, we ourselves are thrown into prison until all our debts are paid.  Jesus also prays in "The Lord's Prayer" (Matthew 6)

"...forgive us our debts AS we forgive our debtors..." 

When we have unforgiveness towards others, God does not forgive us our sins.  And our sins can destroy us.

We are hurt the deepest by those closest to us.  The deeper the love and intimacy, the more powerful the wound.  And maybe there's someone in your life that hurts you over and over again.  Did you realize that you can set them free, break this pattern in their life, and enable God to change them, by your forgiveness?

The Word tells us that we are to overcome evil with good.  (Romans 12:21)  Anger feeds anger. Unforgiveness feeds unforgiveness.  But love and forgiveness break the pattern, destroy the bondage, and bring the Kingdom of God into the situation.

We've all had to forgive.  And some have had to forgive things that have done great damage in their lives.  God is not without compassion.  Jesus Himself was betrayed and abandoned by those closest to Him.  He experienced the pain of rejection and knows how deeply it can go.

Forgiveness breaks bondage, heals wounds, sets the captive free and brings physical healing.  There is a saying that when you forgive someone, the captive you set free is 'you' but you also set the other person free.

Forgiveness is a decision.  It doesn't mean that the moment we make this decision that our heart will be healed.  But it begins the process.

When my daughter was 3 months old, I worked full time. I came home one day to find her face bruised all around her eyes. Our babysitter explained that she had dropped her face onto her 'baby box.'  (a learning toy that was popular then)  I had no reason to not believe her. I even wrote this injury into her baby book as her 'first.'

About a year later this same babysitter called me, crying. She confessed that Laura's injury had been because she (the babysitter) had hit her repeatedly. I was heart-broken.

I was home by then with Laura but my worst fear was realized. Every mother fears that she will leave her child with someone that will hurt them and I was horrified that the very first person I had chosen had abused my baby.

I not only had to forgive this person - I had to forgive myself.

I grieved for 10 days. I couldn't eat and I made myself sick. I cried and prayed and hugged my daughter and implored God but could find no peace. Finally one day, on my knees in my bedroom, I cried out to God and asked Him if He would please remind me of something horrible I had done so that I might have mercy on this lady and be able to forgive her.

And in that moment God transported me into outer space. I could see that I was in an endless black void. I could see stars all around me that spread into eternity. I experienced how vast and infinite God's universe was. And God spoke to me.

He said,
"I can't remind you because I don't remember."  

And He brought to my mind the scripture, "As far as the East is from the West - so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalms 103:12)

And the anger and hatred in me broke in the face of His immeasurable mercy.

I was overwhelmed as I understood that the God of the Universe CHOSE to completely forget all my sin. As I cried and cried, speaking and declaring my forgiveness and blessing over this lady, God poured out an anointing of Joy and healed my heart.

Wounded people wound people.

Those who have been abused, abuse others.

Praying for those who have hurt you is the quickest way to forgiveness.  As we go to the Father on their behalf, He causes us to understand their weaknesses and have compassion on them.  They have been hurt too. And we may not know how deeply.

And yes, you're doing it for them.  Not just for yourself.  Just like Christ died for your sins, you die to your right 'to be right.'  And in all honestly, none of us is completely 'right.'

I never got a chance to speak to this lady again.  She did not leave me her number or call me again. But I spoke blessings over her life.  I prayed that she was able to forgive herself and be the person God called her to be. It took great courage to call me and confess her sin.  She didn't have to do it. But she did it because the Word commands us to confess our sins.  I know that God will bless her for obeying His Word.

She also had a daughter and both our children are grown now.  My daughter has children.  My daughter is deeply loved by God and I trust that He has healed any wounds that have been done to her.  He is Faithful and True.  He is able to do over and above all that we would think or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) And as I release these things and the people in my life to Him, He is merciful and loving.

None of us has received what we deserve.  Jesus bore what we each deserve and extends to each of us His forgiveness.  We need to walk in His ways, extending our forgiveness to others.

love and blessings~

"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions." Mark 11:25

I'm linking up with:
Imparting Grace - Grace at Home