FORGIVENESS

Release from Spiritual Bondage

Colossians 3:13

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you. so you also must forgive.

Life can seem to get a little bit messy sometimes. I grew up being very resentful, angry, and bitter toward my parents. I suffered emotional and physical abuse from both of them. My parents separated and growing up I spent most of my time with my mother. However, whichever parent I was with; I often received blame and shame for something that I had done. I was told I was not good enough and accused of always doing something to make them angry. Sometimes the physical assaults and the mental abuse was quite severe. Rarely was it explained to me why I was being punished, just that I had done something they didn’t like. Eventually, I would learn that childhood is for children to be children, not for a child to have to be the adult in a family. For me to get over the abuse and move forward I had to forgive myself and learn to understand and forgive them for the pain that resided within my heart space.

I carried quite a bit of anger and resentment toward them, but slowly over time, I began to realize that they did not have the proper training or tools to do things much differently than what they had done. Their dysfunctional childhood family dynamics were all they knew and so they repeated the behavior because that was the way they believed you raised a child. We can’t change the past; however, we can change the effect the past has on us. One breaks the cycle of abuse when they decide that going forward they can change how things are and not carry the dysfunctional training to others. 

Christian Carried A Huge Burden 

In 1678 John Bunyan wrote the Pilgrim’s Progress. This is a allegory about a young man named Christian and his Spiritual Journey. Christian begins his journey from his hometown, the City of Destruction, his goal is to find the Celestial City. Christian carries a great burden which weighs him down heavily. His burden makes it impossible for him to travel much distance and he must stop and rest frequently. Along the way, he encounters an Evangelist and others who tell him how to get to the Celestial City.

This allegory holds an important message. Christian carried a huge burden on his back. I imagine his burden is a heavy bag so filled with shame, doubt, lacking forgiveness of himself, and others; that it takes two hands to hold it over his shoulder. It must have been taxing and difficult to bear. Then one day, Christian realizes that he isn’t the cause of his pain, his burden is what others have heaped upon him. He begins to realize that it is Faith that saves him from his misery. All Christian had to do was to let go of his burden and let it fall to the ground. Let go, Let God as we say today. Once Christian did that, he became instantly transformed and light-footed. Soon after, Christian finds he is able to enter the Celestial City. Dancing in tremendous gratitude for the awesome liberation he has experienced!

I have paraphrased the story to fit the discussion. But my point is this we as men and women absolutely must do the work. We rely on the Ministry and Ministers to inspire us, but it is not their job to save us. It is their job to guide us and help us to find the center of our being. From them we learn to walk the walk with God on our own.

Pray for Them

Some years ago, I had a live-stream TV studio that was broadcast on the Internet. We hosted several live shows and programs throughout the week. I had asked my Minister at the time, The Reverend Marshall Norman to come on as a guest and be interviewed. Over time we held several interviews and discussions on Prayer & Meditation techniques. A question that I often asked of The Reverend Marshall went something like this: “Suppose in our minds, and it may not even be true, we suspect that someone has been harboring ill will toward us. That quite possibly they may have been practicing things like black magic against our person, what should men and women of God do?” His answer was always the same, and it was profound: Pray for them, and forgive them. I knew this in my heart, but it still shook me to my core, because I realized that I was holding onto some very old grudges against people who I judged to be less than perfect and created a lot of pain for my journey.

When we hold grudges and judgment against other human beings, we are giving them free rent in our heads, they control us like a bit in a horse's mouth. Even though they have probably moved on and couldn’t care less about the rancor we hold against them. It should be a daily practice to forgive and forget, to move on, letting go of situations and letting God be our course.

Simply Forgive

In her book The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, Edwene Gaines writes a simple guide to unlimited abundance. The Reverend Gaines makes the bold claim that harboring a grudge completely blocks our ability to have peace of mind. An unwillingness to forgive is like stabbing ourselves with a knife and expecting the person who did us wrong to feel the pain. Forgiveness is not something we do for the sake of another person; forgiveness is something we do for ourselves. Think of forgiveness as emotional house cleaning, it allows us to make room for the good we desire. Edwene Gaines goes on to say that if we refuse to forgive; we cannot, and will not, receive God’s gifts. We must love one another, and we must forgive one another. We must learn how to let go of long harbored resentments and finally just forgive. Reverend Gaines goes on to say: When you have a problem with someone, it’s almost always because they are not behaving the way that you want them to behave. They are going to behave the way that they are going to behave, no matter what you think. 

Forgiveness can be a lifelong process. Laying blame is a cultural norm in today’s world. It’s none of our business what another person does or doesn’t do unless it is illegal or harms another. It should not matter the type of clothing they wear, or the lifestyle they live, if a person is not directly involved with a situation, it is best to just stay out of it: we must Let go, let God. 

Many Churches and believers pray the Lord’s Prayer. It contains the line forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Reverend Gains in her wisdom acknowledges this as a good and powerful statement, but asks do we want to be forgiven in the manner and to the same degree that we forgive others? She states I don’t think so. I think we want to be forgiven in a deeper way because in truth, many of us are not yet forgiving the other people in our lives deeply and completely.

Seven Times Seventy-Seven!

Some of my mantras during my prayer time have been things like Peace Be Still used when I am feeling agitated. When someone pops into my mind who causes me consternation, regardless of whether I am praying or not, I say to myself Seven Times Seventy-Seven. A play on words; Which according to the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter Eighteen, Verses Twenty-One and Twenty-Two; then Peter came and said to him Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times? Jesus replied, Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven times. I keep saying Seven Times Seventy-Seven until I breakthrough and feel that burden toward another lifted. If they come back to haunt me again, it is just a reminder that I still have work to do. And so I begin to Pray again. Learning to release and let go is a process.

Be Gentle with Ourselves and Others

We as men and women of God must learn to forgive ourselves too, we should not constantly beat ourselves up emotionally over the past. When we have prayed about forgiveness and found our center in that topic, we must let sleeping dogs stay there. Move on, the past is in the past and we cannot change that. What we can and should do is focus on today, to do our best to not repeat the mistakes of our past. We need to learn to be gentle with ourselves, to forgive and forget, so that, in turn, we can obtain forgiveness for others. Then all will be well within our soul. This is the mystery of Repentance. To turn away from that which no longer serves us.

I encourage everyone to go to anyone that you may have hurt and ask for forgiveness if they can. But first Pray and Meditate on their healing and preparation for your arrival. If they do not accept your apology. Then it is no longer your work to do. With the exception of continuing to Pray for their healing, wholeness, and well being. It may not be acceptable or safe in all situations to go to someone to reconcile a situation. It is my Prayer that one locates and obtains the wisdom of discernment in these situations before going to them.

May the grace of God keep you, may you discover ways to do justice, to have mercy, and walk humbly with your God. But more than anything else, forgive yourself as God has done. Then forgive others, as God has done. Amen.


 

Further Reading:

Pilgrim's Progress on Wikipedia

The Four Laws of Prosperity - Edwine Gaines

What Does The Bible Say About Forgiving Your Enemies?

How Often Should You Forgive?

Video: 

The Nature of Forgiveness - Is it Different from Compassion?

Matthew West - Forgiveness (Lyric Video)

I Forgive You - Karen Drucker (Music)

 


 

Document Created On May 5, 2020 By AJ White-Wolf

Document Edited And Revised On May 5, 2020 By Ghost Writer

Document Updated And Revised On May 6, 2020 By AJ White-Wolf

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