DELIVERANCE AND HEALING
By PBS Ministries
Would you forgive someone who has caused you to become bitter, angry or full of rage?
Yes? No? Don’t know? Well, by human nature, it is not easy to forgive someone who hurt us. Our first instinct is to get even with that person, by repaying evil with evil. We hold fast to feelings of resentment or vengeance toward that person. To choose not to forgive is to hold a grudge, malice or hatred against the offender. The Word of God tells us anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer and you know that no murder has eternal life residing in him.
As we live according to the Word of God, God commands us to forgive a person seventy times seven. And if a person sins against us seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to us and says, ‘I repent,’ we are to forgive him. (Luke 17: 3-4)
The Gospel according to Mark, Chapter 11 verse 25 admonishes us that when we stand praying, if we hold anything against anyone, we are to forgive him, so that our Father in heaven may forgive us our sins.
When we choose to live in unforgiveness and refuse to repent of that sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth of the Word of God is not in us. How can we bear fruit when we dishonor God by not obeying his command to forgive. Many of us fool ourselves by saying, yes we forgive but would not forget. That my friend is not forgiveness. When Jesus forgave us of our, it is completely forgiven and forgotten, washed in the sea of forgetfulness. You can never say that you love someone and have not forgiven him/her. We claim that we love God, who we cannot see but hate our brother, sister, husband, wife or even our enemies who we see, in some cases daily. The famous English Poet, Alexander Pope said, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” The Bible reminds us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave us.
When Stephen, who was full of the Holy Spirit gave his speech to the Sanhedrin in the Book of Acts, Chapter seven, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. They rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
When Jesus was crucified for the forgiveness of our sins, the just for the unjust, He said, Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.
Jesus commands us to love our neighbours as ourselves, love our enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.
The Word of God tells us in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Love covers over a multitude of sin, and Jesus demonstrated this love to many in the Bible. According to the Gospel of John, Chapter 8, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said.“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Therefore, when we choose to sin (unforgiveness is a sin), we must also examine ourselves to see who we have sinned against. The Bible says to us in Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
The late American author Mark Twain said, “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. While we may not be able to change the past when we forgive, we can definitely change the future.
A TRUE STORY ABOUT FORGIVENESS
JO BERRY– UNITED KINGDOM
Jo Berry’s father was a member of the British Parliament. He was killed by an IRA bomb in 1984. Jo was 27 years old at the time. Jo remembers knowing that she did not want to blame and become bitter. She knew that she wanted to find a way to bring something positive out of the death of her beloved father.
Berry tells that she started a journey with no map but with a trust that step-by-step she would find her way. In November 2000 she met Patrick Magee, the man responsible for her father’s death. He had been released from prison as part of the Good Friday Peace Agreement.
When Jo looks back on that day, she remembers being scared. Would she regret meeting him? Then the door opened, Patrick arrived and they sat and talked together for three hours. This visit had a sense of intensity that Jo had never felt before. Finally Patrick said, “I have never met anyone like you before. I don’t know what to say. I want to hear your pain.” Although there were many difficulties, Jo and Patrick continued their meetings and became friends. This made a profound change in both of them. Jo came to realize that if she had lived Patrick’s life, she might have done what he did. Patrick came to realize how many innocent victims were created by his violence.
This friendship has been healing for both Jo and Patrick. They now travel the world telling their stories. A play, The Bomb, has been written about them. Jo often does workshops after the play is shown, especially for young people.
Jo and Patrick now work together for peace. They speak for The Forgiveness Project. They have spoken in Spain, Austria, South Africa and Palestine/Israel.
Patrick Magee and Jo Berry
Several medical studies have found that people who have forgiven others for a major transgression have lower blood pressure and heart rates when compared to those who have not. Kathleen Lawler-Row, who heads up the psychology department at East Carolina University, has studied the effects of both hostility and forgiveness on the body’s systems extensively. In a 2005 Study, she found that sleep quality—which has a known effect on various bodily systems—was positively correlated with forgiveness and negatively correlated with the motivation for revenge. In other words, forgiving someone will make you sleep better at night, but holding on to resentment is likely to lead to insomnia.
Let us therefore purpose it in our heart to forgive. We just may live longer. The Bible says if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. My friends, do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Amen