"I will say it again, it is impossible for you to forgive."
No, no…not me, I didn’t say that. The Preacher on my car radio made that absurd claim.
In a huff about what I had just heard, I silently questioned the Lord. Who is this man? He sounds like a nutcase, when yet again; this unknown speaker had the audacity to repeat his claim a second time.
Now speaking to myself in a muffled whisper, I counteracted with, no way, am I going to continue listening to this distorted preaching.
I smugly jolted forward reaching for the off knob on my car radio, to send this false teacher into a deafened oblivion. However, just as I touched the knob, I heard the Lord speak to my heart. “Be still and listen.”
Taking a deep breath and exhaling a perplexed sigh, I released my grip from the knob, slowly reclined back into my car seat and whispered, okay Lord.
The radio preacher continued, “Please don’t dismiss what I'm going to tell you next, hear me out.
I’m asking you to honestly think about those people who’ve hurt you. I don’t mean just naming those who’ve hurt you and simply “saying” you’ve forgiven them. I mean, have you forgiven them to the point where you no longer cringe at even the mere thought of their offense?"
Well, no, I couldn’t really say “that,” I thought to myself.
He had now, captivated my complete curiosity. With one eyebrow raised, I looked at the radio, waiting for whatever it was he was going to say next.
He continued, “That’s because it is impossible to forgive others, in our own power.
Many of us are wandering around in the confusing aftermath of holding onto the pain others have inflicted upon us, despite our confessions of forgiveness; and it is this very struggle which holds us back in our Christian walks.”
Wow…okay, go on. At that point, I had begun to audibly converse with my car radio.
“If you want to receive that complete forgiveness that the Bible teaches us, you have to first admit that you are in fact incapable of truly forgiving those offenders and let someone forgive them, for you. Jesus.
Admit that you just can’t do it on your own. Ask Jesus to forgive those people for you, and then pray that prayer through, until it is accomplished. Not just once, or twice, but in every waking moment that it is brought to your mind, until it is done.”
So begins my story. A story I pray will be your story also, if you too, struggle with any unforgiveness in your life.
Although I knew with certainty, that God’s hand was upon me in my newfound endeavor to “pray through,” I went to the Word to substantiate this newly discovered instruction; and found it in Philippians 4:6 (NIV).
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Knowing that it was God’s will for me to forgive those who have trespassed against me, of which I wasn’t able to achieve on my own, in its fullness, I did exactly what that servant of God on the radio, suggested. I prayed that prayer with thanksgiving, from that moment forward. I prayed it at work, at home, and even took it right into the bathroom with me.
I never felt anxious or expecting. I just knew that God would in fact finish what I had started but was incapable of completing.
In faith, that prayer became a part of my everyday, every waking moment, part of my life, and when I was least expecting it….it happened.
Almost five months later, while I was sitting in my car, yet again, eating my lunch, I was absorbed in a message Charles Stanly was giving.
When it was over and time to return to work, I got out of my car and began the short jaunt back to my office building. Caressed in the enveloping but gentle warmth of that spring day, I was thanking God for such a wonderful message and such a faithful servant as Mr. Stanley.
Oh, yeah and please, Jesus, forgive my brothers, for me, because I just can’t really do it myself and I thank you.
At the very moment I finished my prayer, and this is the best I can describe it….a silent yet forceful wind tunnel, like a vacuum, attached to my shoulders but without actually touching me; and I could feel, yes, honestly feel, the ugly, haunting, and erosive residue of emotions that had scarred my memory cavity…sucked out of me.
I lost my breath, and not yet turning around, but stopping my walk, realized I couldn’t move a muscle. It wasn’t frightening at all, but soothingly peaceful and only lasted briefly.
When this “action” for lack of a better description was finished, I was free to move. Immediately, I turned around, looked up into the brilliant, aqua blue sky at the angle of which I felt this phenomenon had taken place, and heard God’s Holy voice saturate my inner being with, “It is done.”
As a torrent rip current, vigorously rushes back to the depths of the ocean that releases it, so too, were the suffocating misgivings I had sheltered for so long, forcefully whisked back to the sweltering pit of decay, belonging to Lucifer and his rebellious followers.
Supernaturally purged of debilitating memories that had stifled who God had created me to be, I was now free to walk in the true experience of God’s love.
Yes, I still remember those acts of indecency forced upon me, but no longer do I wrestle with the emotional turbulence associated with those memories. Instead, I have become victorious as an over comer through our Messiah’s love, and now see my offenders with His love and compassion; releasing me from years of oppressive bondage that hindered my walk with God.
I now thanked God that I was the victim instead of the perpetrator and was able to pray for both their salvation and their release from bondage to the enslavement to the wicked wiles of the devil. I now saw them as God’s children in need of deliverance, just like me.
Regretfully, I never did discover the name of that brother in Christ that God used to teach me about prayer and absolute forgiveness.
However, as I continue my walk in this earthbound journey toward my Heavenbound destination, I know that because God knows each strand of hair on that servants head, He also has given him the affirmation of his stewardship touching and changing the walks of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, just like me.
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