June 4, 2010
To grow as God desires, I must forgive those who hurt me. I already knew that about forgiveness, but tonight God showed me how to forgive like Christ. He took forgiveness to a new level, and I experienced peace and joy as never before. I cannot forgive as Christ forgives on my own; I have to have the help of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness frees the heart and allows healing and growth that will not take place without it.
Pastor John went to Gardner Webb last week and heard Fisher Humphries speak on forgiveness. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was harboring a lot of anger over the week mama died. I thought I had dealt with the pain and moved on, but I realized that I had a great deal of what John calls inner seething over the hurt and abandonment I experienced that week. That’s what happens when you let things simmer inside. Forgiving like Christ clears the heart and calms the spirit.
I depended upon Pollyanna to get me through the service on Wednesday evening. The children were having a musical, so I put on my happy face knowing I could count on her to help me out. She is an old friend who offers a comfortable solution to everything, and I needed a quick fix.
On Thursday morning, my anger grew worse, but I decided to seethe. Sometimes, seething satisfies as nothing else, and Satan uses it to slow cook my anger. I asked John when he came in from breakfast to tell me what he learned at Pastor School. I needed a distraction, and I love learning about God and His Word. He told me about absorbing the hurt, pain, and anger while giving up the right to retaliate. This wasn’t the forgiveness I knew about. I couldn’t believe my ears; it was exactly what I needed to hear. I’m always amazed when God does that, but I shouldn’t be since He is God:)
I knew the source of my anger. I had hidden the anger away and never faced it because that’s the easiest way to deal with hurt. I was tired of pretending and wanted to hear more about this new way of forgiving. I asked John to walk me through the process of absorbing the hurt, pain, and anger. He said to first name the pain and hurt along with the person who hurt me. Then, ask the Holy Spirit to help me forgive completely and let God absorb the hurt so that it never bothers me again and do the same for the anger. The final step offers the most healing. Pray for the person who hurt me and sincerely ask God to bless them. Give up the right to retaliate.
I was dumbfounded because I had never heard anything like that before. I knew I would go through the process as soon as I got home. I got ready to pray and took down my Emmaus candle. I figured the pain would be as bad as the initial hurt if not more considering all the anger that had simmered for so long. I got mama’s prayer shawl, lit the candle, and began to relive the day mama died. As I sat on the bed and started to remember, I got on my knees and asked the Holy Spirit to please help me because I didn’t want to hurt anymore. The sweetest and most beautiful thing happened. I had tears in my eyes as I looked up at the candle.
I held a small wooden cross as I prayed, and beautiful rays of light came from the candle, through the cross, and right into my heart. I could feel my heart healing. The hurt, pain, and anger was replaced with God’s love. I repeated the process with the anger, and it was even more powerful as I let God transform it. This went on for about a minute. I continued to stare at the light as I absorbed the pain and anger from another hurt before blowing out the candle and thanking God for love that transforms hurt and anger into love. What a difference it made in my heart. I completed the process by asking God to bless the person who hurt me.
Pastor John is doing the address at the Baccalaureate service tomorrow. It’s called “The Challenge,” and it’s on forgiveness. I’m looking forward to hearing it and passing it along to others who need the kind of healing I received.
Forgiveness brings such joy Lillyann, and I thank God for the pain and hurt that allowed me to grow nearer to Him. There is an old Spiritual called “Wade in the Water” about God troubling the water so He can free us from illness and oppression. I’ve been listening to that song all week. God does stir up the water, and His healing comes with the stirring.
That stirring reminds me of a story in John 5 about an angel stirring the spring where people came to be healed. Those who got in the water were healed, but those who waited until the waters calmed were not. A crippled man who had no one to place him in the water met Jesus one day. He was healed without even getting into the water.
(John 5:2-9) NASB “Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted. A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “ Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.”
I love this beautiful story of healing because Jesus asked the man if he wished to get well. Sometimes, I wallow in my hurt because I don’t want to get well and stop hurting. The pain becomes a part of who I am. It becomes harder and harder to let go. This man came to the pool for thirty-eight years; I remained stuck in my hurt longer than I should have and didn’t let go until I was ready to be healed. Jesus waits for me to want to be well before He heals me, but He heals immediately when I am ready. Forgiveness is the same way. Forgiving like Jesus isn’t easy, but the healing that occurs when I do is well worth the risk. I convince myself that I have every right to be angry and retaliate. He convinces me to love, forgive, pray for those who hurt me, and move on. His plan is always much better than mine:)
In Christ’s Precious Love, Gigi:)