This Saturday, April 30th at 9am, I am holding a session at Webster Recreation Center on Forgiveness. It’s a big topic, messy and complex. The issues in people’s lives where a need to forgive is the pathway to healing, is so varied, certainly there is no quick and instant formula that applies to all. There is a path though led by Christ. He longs to lead each one by His vision, not our own.
His vision has clear sight into broken nature. Scripture says because of what He saw; He would not find his confidence in people, John 2:23-25. Seeing as He saw and not putting confidence in people is a golden key unlocking the path to walking in the life of forgiveness which is Christ himself.
Key #1- Seeing as He sees. You are broken and so is everyone else, so don’t place your self-worth on your self-assessment or on anyone else’s assessment, whether it be praise or criticism.
There have been a handful of situations in my life and in the lives of others with whom I’ve prayed that I’ve learned the necessity to seek out what God sees. I now ALWAYS ask for His perspective. It doesn’t always come immediately, so I keep asking until the answer comes.
I was married once; and was it not for God helping me see what He saw, I would have stayed. I was not in my right mind when it came to “love”. God knew this; and He reached in to heal. This situation was my first big lesson about engaging with spiritual weapons. I had only been a Christian for a couple of years. Fasting, prayer, scripture and worship were essential components to hear from God on what was real and what was a lie. God confirmed what He was telling me by speaking the same message in Christian counseling sessions, bible study, asking for prayer, steps of obedience, and through the spiritual authority of my pastor. Additionally and most especially, the LORD stepped in with His power. He did amazing things to reveal lies and show me truth. God made it clear that I was following His will to leave a situation of serial infidelity by someone who would not repent. I was able to forgive in this situation because God kept the emphasis on choices of will. One form of forgiveness in this situation was letting someone else go on as they were, but I was to go on with Christ.
Seeing as Christ sees also was necessary for forgiveness to be transacted between God and my self-destructive choices. In order for me to heal, He first showed me, in that marriage, I was worshipping an idol in the form of a human. Christian psychologist Larry Crabb describes idols as, “things that we legitimately want becoming more important than knowing and trusting and following God...” In the conviction, the LORD affirmed there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus and showered amazing mercy on me. Though I got myself into the trouble, by repentance, confession and surrender worshipping God above all, He delivered me out of the stronghold.
Seeing as God sees reveals these strongholds that block our path to forgiveness. I was absolutely blinded to that idol until God revealed it.
KEY #2- Being able to hear the affirming words of Christ is another golden key to walk in forgiveness and love from the life of Christ… who is Himself forgiveness, Ephesians 1:7.
We must be like Christ, who did not find his sense of confidence and self from others. Whether parents, a spouse, an employer, often their opinion of us is our stronghold. Their criticisms, demands, and rejection, or praise is the basis of our self-assessing thoughts corrupting our perception of God and ourselves. Our sense of self is rooted in the lies of false affirmers who have no power to put supernatural life in us. We need to be able to see as God sees and transact Christ’s supernatural life in us. Are you open to Him showing you areas where you are living in a human stronghold? He must become your supernatural stronghold, Psalm 18:2.
The very first place to yield who we really are and receive acceptance is with God. If you have never done that, you are missing out on a huge measure of the only love with power to supernaturally transform you. If you are seeking acceptance from anyone else first, this is out of order to the first commandment that puts life in order, Deuteronomy 6:5. Voices other than God’s are skewed and imperfect. Jesus operated from this truth. It can’t be repeated too often, the Savior of the world saw broken nature and did not entrust Himself to others.
John 2:24-25, the Amplified version says, “But Jesus [for his part] did not trust Himself to them, because He knew all [men]; and He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man [needed no evidence from anyone about men], for He Himself knew what was in human nature. [He could read men’s hearts.] [see also 1 Samuel 16:7].
In the above setting, were they yelling at Him and accusing Him? No, they were praising him, many believing in Him because of the miracles He did in their midst- John 2:23. But He could see that selfish demands and unreasonable expectations were behind their praise. He knew not to find confidence in their accolades because it was a trap. Is your value rooted in the assessments of a parent, a spouse, an employer, a mentor, a close relationship? Is your need to forgive tied to a person whose words or actions leave you feeling unworthy, unloved, unredeemable, a failure?
Your value isn’t determined by the assessment of others. You died, and your life is now hidden in Christ with God, Colossians 3:3.
Jesus started ministry, continued in ministry, and finished ministry confident of the Father’s love for him. Forgiveness himself, he did not entrust himself to anyone but His Father.
The first words we hear from Jesus as a young man are about His deep need for His Heavenly father, NOT his earthly one. To his parents he says, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”- Luke 2:49.
The first words we hear from the Father was at Christ’s baptism. Heavenly Father publicly inaugurated Christ, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” – Luke 3:22
God the Father speaks affirming words of His Son again, interrupting Peter’s nervous chatter on the mount of transfiguration, clarifying Christ supremacy above all others. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” – Matthew 17:5
This week I was in a few situations praying with men. I asked each one whether or not they could hear the affirming words of their Heavenly Father. All admitted struggle. In some, immediate emotion welled up in their eyes just hearing the question. It revealed a deep and personal need and a soul God longs to affirm. But there is a block. The internal voice with all its arguments and lies is often too loud and obnoxiously blocking the affirming voice of their Heavenly Father.
With these 2 keys, 1) seeing as He sees and 2) hearing His affirming voice, we can forgive and be forgiven. We can live through His supernatural life, not our flesh-based, broken nature.
Here is a practical example. A prayer partner and I brought similar hurts to God. As we discussed what God was telling us, we realized He was taking us through a similar process of forgiveness. The first thing He did was console and validated our feelings. Then He started to whisper, “Forgive.” We both had similar reactions to our situations. “Why should I? They haven't apologized or changed their obnoxious behavior.” Instead of leading us to cut and run, He gave insight on what was going on in the other person. In our separate situations, God was letting us know that “the offender” was reacting from a broken place within and not to take it personal because it wasn’t about us. These people were lashing out because of how they felt about themselves. Their internal voice was not one of affirming words from the Father; but words based upon lies of self-loathing and shame. This insight diffused our feelings of personal rejection. Their words lost power because they were revealed as a strategy they use to block anyone from getting closer. It’s a smoke screen. God saw it, we didn't.
God helped us see the soul cries of “the offenders”. He's done it many times since. He also repeatedly reminds of our own need for forgiveness. Assistance from on High helps release expectation, stay in relationship, know how to intercede, and represent Christ to people again. We were to continue to express grace in terms “the offenders” didn’t deserve. This reveals Christ, Salvation himself. In my friend’s situation, her obedience to keep risking and keep forgiving saved her marriage.
Your pain transcends you. It has divine purpose. It’s not about you, that would be such a small story. It’s about a Savior’s heart seeing all people across all span of time need redemption. He saw misfits needing to be adopted and loved and made His own. So He became forgiveness, your adoption papers sealed with his own blood.
Again quoting Larry Crabb from his book Soul Talk, “We cannot experience the love and joy of real life until we’re connected to another at the level of our soul. We cannot know the freedom to be who we truly are until we yield who we really are to another and experience that person’s acceptance. We cannot move into our world with other-centered energy and noble purpose as long as we remain alone- unknown, unexplored, undiscovered, and untouched. The life of God is not pouring out of us into others. We rarely speak with power into a person’s life. Or, if we do, it’s divisive power, destructive power. But it could be different.”
When you grow in your ability to hear the affirming words of the Father, and to see yourself and others they way He sees, you become a vessel He uses to speak words of life to people.
Yield first to God, the master affirmer. See as He sees, hear Him affirming and forgiving you! Learn to speak words of life to people. A few spots are left, come to Saturday’s session if you struggle with forgiving yourself, others, or God. He is the Way to forgiveness. Blessings!
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Into the Waters Ministry is a 501(C)3 public charity. Our mission is to inspire you to linger longer with God, to draw near and know Christ. For those willing, it is a place of supernatural hope and healing. I know this first hand. My name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 20+ year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and receiving His life in greater measure! I've experienced radical healing in mind, body, and spirit and believe God for more! I long for others to position themselves for the same! Into the Waters' resources help you spend quality time with God to enter His rest and receive His divine provision. Let us help you experience more of God! Read the blogs, try the exercises, participate in online sessions! His promises for life and wholeness are offered to all! But you have to say "Yes!"