17 Apr “Forgiveness”
You need to understand the poison that is dropped into your life when you live with bitterness, anger, and an unforgiving spirit. I have listened to the stories of people who have been terribly abused and wronged by other people. Others have experienced terrible physical abuse. It is sometimes worse to live with a person, or have a boss, who is verbally abusive.
I would just like tell you how I was able to totally “forgive and forget.” I know Jesus gave us the greatest example of a forgiving spirit, when He cried out from the Cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” That incredible act of asking Father God to forgive His persecutors led the Roman Centurion in charge of the crucifixion detail to respond after Jesus had died, “Truly, this was the Son of God.”
Let me share with you the wondrous burden that is lifted from your shoulders, when you truly forgive and forget. We had a couple who came as mentors to us as we pastored a church in New York City. They spent the better part of the week with us, and they were so complimentary. Then they gave some good positive, constructive input, as they went on to tell us, “We have noticed that you and your wonderful wife are quite hurt.” We both admitted we were indeed hurt by a situation in ministry, but assured them we were over it. Our wonderful mentors didn’t agree with us and asked us to pray about it. Five years later, I was in a class that we were providing for a church group called “Cleansing Streams.” During that time, I personally came face to face with the hurts our family had experienced.
So, I began to pray, “God, this is a history of all the people and incidents that have hurt us in ministry.” Would you believe it took me two and half hours to get it all out in prayer? The next 90 days, I kept on repeating this same list of hurts. However, I always ended with this prayer, “Father I forgive whomever did whatever to me or my family.”
Included in that prayer was the time a High School football team chased my 12 year old son through a stop sign where he was hit by a AWD vehicle. My son had his head run over, lost most of his teeth, and had several broken bones. He lived, although the medical tech said she lost him 3 times on the way to the hospital.
I faithfully prayed that same forgiveness prayer for 90 days! I noticed the amount of time it took gradually was reduced to 5 minutes. Then one day I prayed, “God I’m tired of this prayer about the same thing.” Believe it or not, God spoke back to me in words so crystal clear in my mind, I will never forget them. God said to me, “I’m getting tired of hearing it, too!” Something broke in me that day. Every hurt was gone, every wrong was dissolved. Never since that time have I ever allowed myself to have a bitter, unforgiving spirit.
You will never be free to go on with life until you are able to lay down the burden of hurt, anger, and an unforgiving spirit. I earnestly recommend you follow the same pattern I did. Our wonderful Father in Heaven will help you. It is great to be truly free from negative stuff. If you need help with this, I am available to pray with you.