Forgiveness Series – Part 3: What About Me?

As I’ve mentioned previously the key to our release is forgiveness and this comes firstly in repentance (asking for our own forgiveness) and then forgiveness of others. The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) states: ‘Father forgive me for my sins’ and then continues with us asking for forgiveness for those who have hurt us. The second part of that prayer is hard, but I find the first part the hardest. I can quickly and easily see the faults of others but when it comes to my own faults and wrong doings I can be so blind and arrogant. My moments of sickness left me bitter towards myself I didn’t like being trapped in my failing useless body, in fact I resented it. But to discover that some of the issues were because of choices I’d made meant having to take a good long hard painful look at myself. I didn’t like what I saw. Growing up I had brownish red hair and people around me took delight in saying things like: “look at that red hair and fiery temper to match!”. In my teens it was a rule around my house to not talk to me before I had breakfast because all you’d get was a grunt. I had attitude issues and it was commonly said that I regularly gave people “the look”, you know the one where you throw ‘daggers’ with your eyes! Not a nice picture ay.

I tried hard to work on all my anger issues but they flared up when my kids were young. I’d often not handle a situation with the grace that was required of me. I remember attending a women’s event and they had a fountain as the focus, we were invited to hand something to God and wash our hands in the water to symbolise the cleansing. I remember feeling prompted to drown angry-Keona in that fountain because I desperately wanted to stop being a fool by allowing anger to dwell in my heart (Ecclesiastes 7:9). I proudly came home and promptly apologised and declared to my family that the angry me was gone!

I have to admit I’ve unfortunately had my moments still, but overall God has done and is doing a great work in my life. But as I reflect upon forgiveness I identify anger as a by-product of my unforgiveness towards myself. In 1 John 1:9 we are promised that when we freely confess our sins God will forgive us and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness, He will remove all that does not conform to His will and purpose from our life. My experience has been that this cleansing process is a painful one. When issues flare up I feel like I’m stuck back in that place of anger, but as I allow God to work I find that He is actually pulling up the roots of anger and other issues.

In Colossians 1:13-14 we find a promise that Jesus has drawn us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of Light because through Jesus we find redemption, forgiveness of sin and the cancellation of sin’s penalty.

Micah 7:19 promises that the Lord has extended His great compassion to us for He has destroyed sin’s power over us! He has cast all of our sins into the depths of the sea where they no longer have a hold on us!!! But again this can be a process of continually pressing in and trusting God to outwork this glorious promise. For example I am healed, I truly believe that, but it is taking some time for the physical weakness to leave my body.

Mark 11:24-25 is the wonderful promise that when we ask and pray with great faith then we will receive and have the things we have asked for (in accordance to God’s will). But we are reminded that when we are praying and asking for these things if we are holding unforgiveness towards anyone we are to forgive, drop the issue and let it go, by forgiving others God will also forgive us.

There are some pretty tough challenges contained in those verses but as I reflect upon them I’m also comforted to know that the Holy Spirit longs to assist me to live a life that reflects them.

It has been a process that God has taken me through and I think one of the things that broke through my hard veneer was to know that I was fully accepted (Romans 8:15), God called me His child despite all my faults and failings. That truth for me brought me so much hope and healing. As I allowed that truth to fix itself in my heart I allowed God deeper and deeper into my life to fix that which needed correcting. As I found deep forgiveness I discovered that forgiving others became so much easier.

I found that as God’s love bloomed in my heart I was able to move into a closer alignment to Romans 12:9-10 which urges us to not pretend to love others but to REALLY love them. We’re to despise evil, which I interpret here as a call to refuse to hate and reject others, and embrace everything that is good and virtuous. We’re to love with genuine tender love that delights in respecting and honouring others. It’s a HUGE call and one that I fail at time after time but as I allow God to grow and mature me I believe that genuine, truthful and appropriate love for others will grow.

“Admitting we are wrong, acknowledging we have hurt others and asking for forgiveness is not easy, but essential for authentic relationships.” Christine Caine

If you’re struggling with unforgiveness of yourself here is a prayer that you can pray:

Thank You that for the promise that when I freely confess my sins God will forgive me and cleanse me continually from all unrighteousness, He will remove all that does not conform to His will and purpose from my life. (1 John 1:9)

Thank You Lord Jesus for drawing me from the dominion of darkness and transferring me into the Kingdom of Light. Through Jesus I have been redeemed, I find forgiveness from my sins and the cancellation of sin’s penalty. (Colossians 1:13-14)

God I praise You for extending Your great compassion to me, thank You for destroying sin’s power over me! I believe that You’ve cast all of my sins into the depths of the sea where they no longer have a hold on me!!! (Micah 7:19)

Empower me to ask and pray with great faith, stir up my faith Lord. I long to receive and have the things that are in accordance to God’s will. When I pray and people are brought to my mind that I need to forgive, please enable me to forgive them. Lord, also help me to drop the issue and let it go. Just as I’ve been forgiven I need to forgive. Holy Spirit assist me to live a life that reflects Jesus’ character and nature. (Mark 11:24-25)

I thank You Abba that I’m a fully accepted Child through Jesus (Romans 8:15), help that truth to penetrate deep into my heart to bring hope and healing. I invite Your great transforming love deeper and deeper into my heart to fix that which needs correcting. Let forgiveness flow readily and freely from my life as Your great love blooms in my heart.

Let me not pretend to love people but genuinely love them. Enable me to despise evil, refuse to hate and reject others, and embrace everything that is good and virtuous. Let me love with genuine tender love that delights in respecting and honouring others (Romans 12:9-10). I praise You for forgiveness Lord. I pray all of these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

But my heart still cries: ‘what about me!”

When it comes to the subject of forgiveness there is a part of us that cries out: “but what about me?” because there is a deep desire for justice and even revenge. It is our human nature that screams out in protest as soon as we begin to think about forgiving others.

But remember Matthew 6:14-15 reminds us that when we pray we are to forgive the faults of others so that our Father in Heaven will also forgive us. We are warned that if we withhold forgiveness then God also withholds forgiveness to us. Ouch! That hurts doesn’t it?! What about the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35) and the call to forgive from our hearts so that forgiveness is not withheld from us. But it’s hard, right? I don’t think I’m alone in my struggle. But as Christians we are to be Jesus’ example to the world and when He was being crucified He cried out:  “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34 New King James Version)

I know that at times I’ve felt ‘crucified’ by people – I have felt like their words have pierced my heart with pain; I have felt my hands shake as the rage of injustice builds in my heart; I’ve felt my stomach churn as accusations were thrown at me; I have endured bullying which felt like shred of dignity being torn off me. I know people fail us and they hurt us deeply. I’ve had hurtful words thrown at me when all I was trying to do was comfort and assist someone through their pain. I can tell you right now in each of those situations my first words were not “Father forgive them”. I know that we can get into the habit of comparing our pain and feeling like ours is far greater than others. I know that people don’t fully understand our pain. BUT I also know that God never fails us. I know that Jesus FULLY understands because He faced life here on earth; He battled rejection and pain; faced disappointment and betrayal; and as I mentioned He has endured the most extreme pain a person can face – crucifixion. When I think about all that He endured I actually cannot begin to imagine His pain and suffering. I’ve watched the Mel Gibson movie The Passion Of The Christ and I can tell you right now it was brutal. So many times through that movie I felt physically sick at what was happening but I also think that it was important for me to watch it because when I’m having a bad day I can think about all Jesus endured. I can reflect upon that and I can know:

  • My day isn’t anywhere near as bad as that.
  • That when I ask for His help and He says that He understand I know that He truly does and in fact He understands human nature far better than I.
  • That even in the hardest of moments Jesus cried out for the forgiveness of others.

There is a warning to not hold a grudge or try to get even, we’re not to seek to repay evil for evil, rather we’re to see and plan for ways that we can be gracious towards others. We’re urged to endeavour (focus all energies possible) to live in in peace with everyone. We’re not to be obsessed with taking revenge but rather hand the matter over to God and allow His righteous justice to prevail, for He states: “Vengeance is mine, and I will repay” (Romans 12:17-19).

There is an even harder call, to bless our enemies. Yes, I know not the kind of news we want our hurting heart to hear is it?! But God challenges us to feed our enemy if they are hungry and if they’re thirsty we’re to offer them something to drink (that is not laced with poison). When we do this we’re conquering evil with good. Now the next bit we can get excited about for all the wrong reasons and even think of doing that as we offer them food because it says when we are kind towards those who have hurt us we will heap burning coals of shame upon their heads (Romans 12:20-21). This is a confusing statement to put in and all I can really think to say is that when we respond with kindness to cruelty we reveal the nature of God that is contrary to the human nature. When we reveal God’s grace we invite His presence into the situation which can cause people to think carefully about their actions because one of the roles of the Holy Spirit, and it is His divine work alone, is to convict us of our wrong doings.

Therefore, as God’s children we are to have hearts full of compassion; display kindness; walk in humility; have a gentle and loving heart; and patiently endure injustice or unpleasant circumstances. We are to be gracious towards others by willingly and completely forgiving them because just as we have been forgiven we are expected and required to forgive. Through the help of the Holy Spirit the forgiveness extended to us can flow through our lives into the lives of others (Colossians 3:12-13).

“You can focus on the person who hurt you or the God who healed you. You will talk most about the one on whom you focus the most!” Christine Caine

My prayer:

Lord help me to cry out, from my heart, “Father, forgive them.” (Luke 23:34)

Holy Spirit help me to not hold a grudge or try to get even, to not seek to repay evil for evil, rather enable me to see and plan for ways that I can be gracious towards others. Let me endeavour (focus all energies possible) in living in peace with everyone. Let me not be obsessed with taking revenge but rather hand the matter completely over to You God, I’ll step back to allow Your righteous justice to prevail, for You state: “Vengeance is mine, and I will repay”. (Romans 12:17-19).

Therefore, as God’s child I ask for a heart full of compassion; let me display kindness as I walk in humility; grant me a gentle and loving heart that patiently endures injustice or unpleasant circumstances. Empower me to be gracious towards others by willingly and completely forgiving them because just as I’ve been forgiven I’m expected and required to forgive. Through the help of the Holy Spirit the forgiveness extended to me can flow through my life and into the lives of others (Colossians 3:12-13). I praise You for forgiveness Lord. I pray all of these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

I pray that this has encouraged and helped you. Many blessings, Keona

Note: The Passion Of The Christ (2004) is a movie depicting the final twelve hours of Jesus’ life with some flash backs to His entire life. Directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus; Maia Morgenstern as Mary; Francesco De Vito as Peter; Luca Lionello as Judas and Monica Bellucci as Magdalen. Other cast members include: Christo Jivkov; Mattia Sbragia; Toni Bertorelli; Hristo Shopov; Claudia Gerini; and Fabio Sartor.

Image – Pixabay modified

Forgiveness Series – Part 2: Captive vs Prisoner

Is there a difference between a captive and a prisoner? In the Bethel Sozo training dvd they state that there is and refer to the following Bible verse:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” Isaiah 61:1 (NLT)

Here we read the reference to captives and prisoners and my interest was sparked. In Luke 4:21 (NLT) Jesus reads the above scripture and declares that: “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”. Therefore, Jesus came to release the captives and free the prisoners. But what is the difference? My research has led me to the following:

As a captive we are taken from being free to having constrains or bondages placed upon us. Although we might still be in a familiar place we are restrained from being able to move freely. Captives are usually dealt with harshly, they receive no mercy, and are usually abused therefore suffer horrific treatment. The Israelites were led away in chains from Jerusalem to Babylon (Jeremiah 40:1) physically but we can find ourselves in such a state spiritually. As a captive we may be bound but still able to move around a bit. Captivity usually entails moving from a familiar place to an unfamiliar place where we become a prisoner. As a prisoner we don’t have liberty (freedom) we may be still restrained but we are also now confined and or contained in an unfamiliar place. Not much movement can happen if any at all. As a prisoner we move from being captured and shackled to now being in a prison cell.

God highlighted to me that as a:

  • Captive we are restrained
  • Prisoner may still be restrained but are now also confined

My story, about being imprisoned, was written to try and convey the idea that someone has taken us captive, put us in chains and done unspeakable things to us. Then thrown us into a prison cell leaving us to die in great pain. The person who has hurt us may think of us no more or they may come back to taunt us each day. Whatever the case is we can be free.

 Liberty and Freedom

Oxford Living Dictionaries defines liberty as: The state of being free.…from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life or behaviour…

Bible Study Tools explains liberty as the opposite of servitude or bondage, hence, applicable to captives or slaves set free from oppression.

Oxford Living Dictionaries defines freedom as: the state of not being affected by something undesirable; and a special privilege or right of access.

Bible Study Tools states that the theme of freedom rings loudly in one of the most crucial sections of Scripture, namely the narrative of the exodus. God’s people were enslaved in Egypt, they were suffering and He desired to see them set free. God longed to see His people reconciled to Him and He wanted them free so that they could love and serve Him. But the people found it hard to obey God and love Him with their whole hearts. Psalm 106:43 states that God rescued them many times but they continued in their rebellious ways, they chose to ignore His warnings which meant they sank lower and lower into wickedness and were destroyed by their depravity. Romans 8 (5,7) explains that our human minds fix upon things which satisfy the flesh, we have a mindset that is actively hostile towards God’s plan and refuses to submit to His direction; laws and instructions because it simply can’t. This reveals that there was a deeper issue than just physical captivity. There was a divine liberty that was needed.

But what is this divine liberty?

In Luke 1 we read that redemption has come and that Jesus brings us salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us (Luke 1:68,71).

They prophesied he would come one day and save us from every one of our enemies and from the power of those who hate us.” Luke 1:71 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Romans 8 explains that God sent Jesus to accomplish what the law was unable to accomplish, because the law was limited by the weakness of human nature. We were imprisoned and held within the fierce grip of sin. To experience freedom we need to be clear about who has authority over us, if we are captured or imprisoned we need to understand who we are in bondage to. We need to ask ourselves the tough questions such as: Have I given full authority of my life to God? Have I asked Him to release me from the bondage of sin? Have I claimed my redemption through Jesus?

In 2 Peter 1 Simon-Peter refers to himself as being a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ. Another way of describing this is that Peter chose to be a loving servant of Jesus, he acknowledges Jesus as having authority over him. Peter committed himself to serve Jesus in any way that he could, and we know that he served to the point of death!

For a captive to be released or a prisoner to be freed someone has to speak in their defence, a proclamation of freedom needs to be made and proof provided to show their innocence.

The wonderful news is that Jesus has and will always speak in our defence, He has proclaimed and will forever proclaim our freedom!!!!

His scarred and nail pierced body is the eternal evidence that paid the price; Jesus’ blood claims our redemption; and Jesus provides the evidence we need for innocence!!!

Jesus bore the price for all of our sins. WOW! Isn’t that just too wonderful?

Let’s look at that some more and try to fully understand this truly wonderful Good News:

We are liberated:

Romans 8:2 declares that the law of the Spirit of life flows through Jesus Christ to us as His followers and we are set free (liberated) from the law of sin and death.

Because Jesus has paid the price:

Jesus was sent in human form (in the likeness of a sinful man) to identify with human weakness and as an offering for sin (Romans 8:3b).

Jesus personally carried the sins of the world in His body upon the cross, that is our past sin, any present sin and any sins we may commit in the future. They are ALL covered because Jesus willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice for us! Jesus’ great sacrifice has made us dead to sin, which means that we are immune from the penalty of our sins, and we are no longer held with the power of sin. With Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we can live a life of righteousness. Jesus’ body was beaten, whipped and wounded so that we can declare: ‘by Jesus’ stripes we are healed!’ (1 Peter 2:24).

When Jesus becomes our Lord and Saviour we can hold to the following promises:

  • No longer live a life according to our flesh chasing after worldly things
  • Live our lives guided by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit
  • Have a brand-new mindset which brings us life and peace
  • we have spiritual wellbeing because we walk with God
  • The Spirit of God empowers our lives and directs and guides us
  • The Spirit we receive is one of full acceptance, we are adopted as God’s children because we receive the Spirit of complete sonship which means that we are God’s consecrated children! (see Romans 8:4, 6b, 9, 15 &16)

Forgive others

Because we have received God’s grace and complete forgiveness we’re required to forgive others. God can, and wants to, enable us to forgive; to let go of all of the emotions and strongholds; and to leave that place of imprisonment behind!

We can be truly set free!

Forgiveness may not change the person we’ve forgiven. But The power of forgiveness sets us free! When we forgive the person who hurt us they no longer have any power over us, we’re out of that prison cell and we NEVER have to go back!!

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy.

We have to fight for our freedom every step of the way.

We have to deny that part of us that wants vengeance.

It’s going to be tough BUT the reward is freedom!

The reward is walking in right relationship with God which will put us in a place where we can receive all the healing balm we need!

“The question isn’t how much forgiveness do they deserve. The question is, how much freedom do you desire?” Pastor Steven Furtick

Here is my prayer:

Lord Jesus, You came to bring the Good News and I ask You to come and comfort my broken heart. Lord whatever is binding me I ask to be set free because You came so that the captives could be released. Lord whatever is imprisoning me I ask for You to release me because You came so that the prisoners could be freed (Isaiah 61:1 & Luke 4:21).

Lord Jesus I believe that you personally carried the sins of the world in Your body upon the cross, that is my past sin, any present sin and any sins I may commit in the future. Thank You that they are ALL covered because Jesus You willingly offered Yourself as a sacrifice for me! Jesus Your great sacrifice has made me dead to sin, which means that I’m immune from the penalty of my sins, and I’m no longer held with the power of sin. With Jesus as my Lord and Saviour I can live a life of righteousness. Jesus’ body was beaten, whipped and wounded so that I can declare: ‘by Jesus’ stripes I AM healed!’ (1 Peter 2:24).

Because Jesus is my Lord and Saviour I no longer live a life according to my flesh I will no longer chase after worldly things; I will live my life guided by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit; I have a brand-new mindset which brings life and peace; I have spiritual wellbeing because I now walk with God; the Spirit of God empowers my life, leading directing and guiding me; I have received the  Spirit of full acceptance which means that I’m adopted (through Christ Jesus) as God’s child, I receive the Spirit of complete sonship which means that I’m God’s consecrated child! (Romans 8:4, 6b, 9, 15 &16).

I desire to walk in the abundant life that you promise (John 10:10). In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen.

Many blessings, Keona

Forgiveness Series – Part 1: Imprisoned

I’ve awoken shaking with fear tightly gripping my heart, I can hardly breathe. I gasp for air and look around my bleak prison cell. My eyes feel heavy and my heart is weighed down. I try to sit up but my injuries prevent me from moving without pain. I struggle over to the wash basin to try and splash some water on my face. As I stand my head swims and I struggle to stay upright. I slowly drag myself to my bed and gently ease my weary body back down. I lay on my side because the bruises make it too painful to put pressure on my back. Tears flow without restraint as the sorrow overwhelms me. I lie there for hours battered and bruised feeling feel just as black and blue on inside as the outside. I feel dead and completely void of life.

I hear a faint whisper and slowly sit up wondering if my prayers have finally been answered. “Lord?!” I cry out “please speak to me!” I hold my breath waiting for a response.

Child listen

I sit up straight with my heart beating fast

the key for your release is near

I sit there stunned looking around trying to find where a key could be hidden. I stop my search and cry out: “where is the key Lord?”

Forgiveness rings out in my ears and I shrink in fear.

“How can You possibly expect me to forgive? Do you not see my pain, have you not heard my cries? How can I possibly forgive them for all the brutality?”

I cry bitter tears and hide under the thin blanket. A warmth spreads through my cold body and I peek out from the covers “Lord?”

I’m here child, will you please listen?

I slowly sit up and hang my head, “yes Lord I’ll listen”

Take a deep breath and listen carefully

I inhale and exhale a few deep breaths and wait with my heart feeling heavy

Is there anyone you can forgive?

“No Lord I simply can’t”

I will help you, will you trust me?

I shrug my shoulders and hang my head lower as the pain increases in my heart. I feel sick at the mere thought of having to forgive, as my stomach churns I wonder how it can even be possible. “Lord how can You possibly condone what they did?”

Child, I DON’T condone what they did, forgiveness is not about that.

“Why didn’t you stop them?” I sob heart wrenching tears and curl up on the cold hard bed. I lie there for ages wondering if God has left me alone, “So You’ve abandoned me again?” I whisper to the wall.

No child I promised that I would never leave you nor forsake you. I’m right here where I’ve always been and where I’ll always be!

I cry more and blubber “Then why can’t I feel Your presence? Why do I feel so alone?”

That is a lie my child, don’t allow those feelings to put the wall up between us.

“How Lord can I believe? How can I trust You?”

Allow me to love you, allow me to comfort you, to strengthen you and allow me to enable you to forgive.

“But Lord how can I possibly let them ‘off the hook’ for what has happened? Why don’t you punish them?”

Child what they did was devastating enough, don’t allow the feelings of hatred, bitterness, judgement, discouragement and anger fester in your heart and mind any longer.

I feel sick again and wonder if I might throw up, but then rage takes over and I yell: “I want to be angry, I want to hurt them back!”

Child, NO! Don’t give the enemy a foothold in your life. You must let go!

I curl up and sob “I don’t want to Lord, I simply cannot”

Child will you trust me to help you?

I shrug and think for awhile. I go through all my options and weigh them up. I finally decide that I don’t want to stay in this place any longer. “Ok Lord I’ll trust You”, a great warmth surrounds my heart and I let out a huge sigh. The weight of pain has started to lift. I softly pray:

“Heavenly Father dwelling in the heavenly realms

Hallowed be Thy name

Thy kingdom come

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven

Grant me this day my daily bread

Please forgive my sins, as I forgive (my throat catches but I push through the pain and the strangling of my vocal cords to continue) those who have sinned against me

Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen!”

As the words reverberate around the room I feel as if the walls are shaking and shifting. I open my eyes and look at the door as it begins to creak and groan.

Well done child!

I smile for the first time in a long time and I feel the pressure lift from my heart. “Ok Lord what now? The door is still locked tight”

Laughter fills the room and the quiet voice cries out: patience child

I sit in the silence and allow the warmth to spread into the very depths of my being, “Ok Lord, I’m ready what do I do now?”

Begin to name and forgive each person as they come into your mind, don’t be afraid I’m right here

Faces begin to flash in my mind and as each one comes into focus I cry out: “Lord help me to forgive”, the pain intensifies, and I double over as great sobs of grief wash over me. As the faces build and build I cry out: “Lord, it’s too much I cannot continue”.

Child you are far stronger than you realise, draw upon My strength not yours

I take a deep breath and allow the pain to subside before I continue, “Ok Lord strengthen me”. The faces turn into moments and as the memories race through my mind the pain stabs at my heart, “Lord I forgive! Lord I release the pain to You, please take it away. I let go of hatred, bitterness, judgement, discouragement and anger. Take it all away. Lord please fill me with compassion towards those who have hurt me.” A peace falls upon me like I’ve never known before and I feel stronger and so full of life.

“Thank You Lord” I cry and jump up with great excitement. I hear the sound of metal on concrete and I look down. I gasp as my gaze falls upon a beautiful large key lying on the floor, I bend and gently pick it up.

Open up the door my child for you’re now free.

I walk over to my prison door and I find that the key fits perfectly into the lock and easily turns. As the door swings open I take a final look back at my cold prison cell. I stand there in amazement but also with grief gripping my heart, “Lord I’m so sorry for sitting here feeling hard done by and sorry for myself. I wallowed in my grief and didn’t cry out to you for so long”

It’s ok my child, move forward now with My great compassion burning bright in your chest.

I lift my head and look down the hallway. I can see others trapped in cells just like mine, “Lord shall I share with them what I’ve learnt?”

Of course my child! Your freedom is only one part of the story, now you must go and tell others how I can set them free.

As I walk away from my prison cell my heart fills with God’s great compassion.

“Lord help me to always display kindness, grant me a gentle and loving heart. Teach me how to walk in humility, knowing that it is Your strength alone that enables me. Grant to me a steadfast nature that can patiently endure injustice or unpleasant circumstances. Lord help to be gracious towards others by readily, willingly and completely forgiving them. May I always remember to forgive others not just because You command me to, but because You long to bestow forgiveness upon me and others. Holy Spirit flow Your great forgiveness through my life into the lives of others.”

As I move along the corridor I have a new sense of purpose!

The Bible urges us to forgive and to release blessing upon those who have hurt us. Forgiveness is such a hard issue to deal with and time after time I know I’ve gotten it wrong. I desire to not continually keep getting it wrong. I recently watched the training dvd from the Sozo ministry and they explained that we can be imprisoned due to unforgiveness, that really sparked within me a desire to know how to completely forgive. I wanted to truly and fully forgive from my heart. I looked up the Bible verse they mentioned and then others and I spent time allowing the words to wash over me. As I pressed into God I wrote this story. Please note that I haven’t been physically abused or imprisoned in the traditional sense – I haven’t committed a crime that has resulted in me being in jail. But I have been imprisoned in a physically debilitated body; I have felt imprisoned because my mind has experienced depression; I have felt emotionally imprisoned and I have felt spiritually imprisoned. I wrote this story using those elements as my inspiration.

As I’ve journeyed upon deep inner healing my need to ask for forgiveness has burned in my heart. I’ve had to address my failing and wrong doings.  Acts 3:19 issues a challenge to repent, that is to change our inner self which includes dealing with our old ways of thinking, our regrets and past sins. We are to turn to God and seek His purpose for our life so that our sins can be wiped away, completely erased, we will then experience a refreshing which comes from the presence of the Lord.

I absolutely loved the idea of being refreshed and was pleasantly surprised to discover that as I allowed God to bring up issues, that really needed to be dealt with, I found a real release and refreshing through repentance and a commitment to change.

Daniel 9 contains a wonderful prayer and here is my paraphrased version: I pray now and confess my sins to You Almighty God. Lord You are so great and awesome, a faithful God that keeps His covenants and extends lovingkindness towards those who love You and keep Your commandments. I acknowledge that I have sinned and done wrong by You, I have behaved badly and rebelled from obeying Your commandments. There have been many times I haven’t listened to You, I apologise now and ask for Your forgiveness. Lord God You are merciful and I beg wholeheartedly for Your forgiveness and seek Your favour by turning away from my old ways. I long to pay attention to Your instructions and I place great value in Your truth. Almighty God Your mighty hand has delivered in the past and I ask that You would extend it now to me. Please let Your face shine upon me; incline Your ear to hear; and open Your eyes to my situation. I present my life before You and ask for Your mercy and compassion. O Lord please forgive me. O Lord please act.

Ephesians 1:7 declares that in Jesus we have redemption, we find deliverance and salvation, because of the blood that Jesus shed for us. We can find forgiveness and the complete pardon from our sins in accordance with His amazing grace that is lavished upon us!

As I studied I cried out: ‘Lord God, I come before You now and I ask for Your forgiveness. As Your child I ask that You would grow within me a heart full of compassion. Help me to display kindness to myself and those around me. Teach me to walk in humility. Develop within me a gentle and loving heart. Build a steadfast spirit within me so that I can patiently endure injustice or unpleasant circumstances. Enable me to be gracious towards others by willingly and completely forgiving them because just as I’ve been forgiven I’m expected and required to forgive. Through the help of the Holy Spirit the forgiveness extended to me can flow through my life into the lives of others (Colossians 3:12- 13). In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen.’

I pray that this has sparked within you some hope and encouragement.

Many blessings, Keona

Picture – Pixabay