…I wonder

And Now I Must Forgive (TFM 8)

Heart in ChainsThe Fighting Man (Part Eight)

Wow! What a journey so far. I hope these articles have been a blessing to you in some way or other. I have to warn you about something, though. Unfortunately, this article turned into quite a long one. Why? Because it is one of the most crucial moments in my life that helped me get rid of The Fighting Man (TFM)!

Would you like to go grab a cup of coffee, tea or water first? Maybe a little snack? Curl up on the couch? I think you will enjoy this one…

So Far…

We’ve discussed what The Fighting Man looks like and what resides in his heart. In articles 3-6, I shared with you how I became The Fighting *wo*Man, and described my journey to healing and filling that God-shaped hole in my heart. The last article talked about how God did some refining as I finally commit to trusting Him in ALL things – not just the things that are good. This article deals with one of the major steps taken to get rid of The Fighting Man.

Weeding

Now that I had accepted His Redeeming Grace and developed a trusting relationship with the Lord, I opened myself up completely to God for his in-depth weeding.

There were a lot of weeds, but as my Dear Friend Cindy Fernau teaches, you have to dig deep to get the roots out in order to stop those weeds from coming back.

My weeds grew from a lot of damage done to me by the men in my life. They also grew from parents that were not perfect. And then many weeds were planted by my own seeds.

I had to remove the weeds from the garden in order to enjoy the good planting that God had already begun in me. How to do it?

I had to forgive…

Unforgiveness

This is how it kind of went. I’m paraphrasing here because this appointment with Cindy took over two hours and was quite an emotional one.

“Okay honey, now that you’ve made a list of every major hurt that you have received, we are going to walk through an exercise of forgiveness for each and every one. Are you ready?” Cindy asked.

“Not really. It’s hard to let go. I feel like if I forgive, then they are free to continue hurting without receiving punishment.” I replied, feeling the bitterness in my heart just simmering.

I was thinking that if I forgive, I cannot hold anything against them. They can do their horrible actions and get away with it. They are free. I don’t think that is fair. But since I believe Scripture, then I must forgive and let go. After all, God has forgiven and forgotten every one of my sins!

Psalm 103:12 NLT He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.

Colossians 3:13 NLT Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Luke 6:37 Amplified Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released.

In all actuality, forgiveness is not for the person who hurt me. Forgiveness is for me. Remember the State of TFM’s Heart? Hurt turns to anger, anger to bitterness, and bitterness to hate. I was angry, bitter and hated those who had hurt me.

“Are you ready?” Cindy asked gently.

“Yes… I think so.”

“Start with the first one. Now remember, we are going to sever that hurt and release them from it to be remembered no more. Okay?” she directed.

I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and held her hands as I started. “I forgive my… I forgive my… I can’t Cindy, I can’t say that I forgive my Dad.”

“That’s okay,” she softly said with understanding in her voice. “We’ll come back to that one later. Just go on to the next one.”

“I forgive my first love Raul for telling me that he had slept with a wh*re the night before and for boasting how good she was. I forgive him for taking off with my best friend and getting her pregnant. I sever that hurt and release him from it.”

“Great!” she encouraged! “Go on to the next one.”

“I forgive Carlos for cheating on me with his old girlfriend and for inviting me as a second thought on his little vacation with her. I sever that hurt and I release him from it.” I started to cry. It hurt, but it felt good; like a release of something heavy.

I continued severing hurts and releasing all the men that had been unfaithful to me, had anger issues, controlling personalities, or abusive behaviors. When I reached the part of my ex-husband taking my children away from me and poisoning their minds against me, I faltered. I couldn’t do that one yet, either.

“Just move on,” Cindy said, “just move on. We’ll come back to that one, too, sweetie.” She squeezed my hands tighter, her tears beginning to flow.

I plodded on, forgiving each and every man who had hurt me; severing that hurt and releasing them from it. I was starting to feel a freedom.

Cindy encouraged me with another smile, “Let’s go back to the ones you missed, the ones that were too painful to forgive at the time. If you don’t get all of the roots out, the weeds will just grow back. We’ve got to get every single root out of that ground. See how good it feels to forgive these other ones? Think how much better you’ll feel when you forgive the biggies! It’s important that you forgive every one.”

I went back to forgiving my Dad, “I forgive my Dad for having mistresses, for not being there for us, for gambling money away and not providing correctly for his family, for not loving my Mother they way that she deserved. I forgive him for not coming to my graduation nor to my performances. I forgive him for not being there for me when I needed him. I sever that hurt and I release him from it.”

That wasn’t so bad. I went on, “I forgive my ex-husband for brainwashing my children and telling them that I was crazy, and that I had abandoned them, and wanted nothing more to do with them. I forgive him for telling them that I just wanted a new family, and didn’t want my old family anymore. I sever that hurt and I release him from it.”

By then, I was crying pretty hard; but it felt good to release.

Release.

Release – that is an important factor here. Releasing means that I no longer hold them to that hurt. It is over, I need to forget it and move on. I don’t need to keep bringing it up and reliving the hurt over and over again. It is done! God has given us that gift, too:

Jeremiah 31:34 Amplified …For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will [seriously] remember their sin no more.

An Old Love is Discovered

I felt new inside. Forgiveness is a powerful concept. It releases me from bitterness and wanting revenge on the one who hurt me. It purifies my heart. Jesus sure knew what He was talking about when He asked us to forgive others. He recognized the fact that forgiveness is for the one who hurts, not the one who hurt. He is so wise. 🙂

A few weeks later, during one of Cindy’s classes, she talked about fathers and the void that they leave when they are not Godly fathers. She started with the list:

“Maybe some of you have had a father who was present physically, but not emotionally.”

I had my mental paper ready, and my mental pencil poised when she said that. Then I mentally checked that little box and told myself, “Check!”

“Maybe some of you have had fathers that were not there for you when you needed them there physically.”

“Check!”

“Maybe you’ve experienced a father who did not provide for the family like he should have.”

“Check!” My little mental boxes were filling in quite nicely here.

“Maybe your daddy never placed you on his knee and held you…”

My mental pencil tip broke as it almost checked that box. No, I remember sitting on my Daddy’s lap and him calling me Sugar.

All of a sudden, that pent-up flood of love that I thought was gone, came gushing forward and filled the empty reservoir in my heart reserved just for my earthly dad. I did love him!! I sat back stunned and amazed. I had spent most of my life with bitterness and resentment in my heart towards him. Now I felt a warm, engulfing love for my father; I never thought that possible!

See… forgiveness had not only released me from bitterness, anger and hate, it had also released the natural love. He was imperfect, and I loved him. He was also gone and I could not tell him. But when I get to Heaven, I will make sure that I do!

Forgiveness is a Lifelong Service

Surprisingly, after that exercise in forgiveness, I found that The Fighting Man had retreated. Do I still have him? Yes, he pops his ugly head up every once in awhile. But I have a secret weapon now.

I read a very good book by Joseph F. Girzone, Joshua and the Children. The story is about Jesus coming to the 20th century as a man named Joshua, and teaching the children how to influence the adults. He wanted the adults to learn, from naturally forgiving children, that prejudice, anger and fighting is not the way that God intended for mankind to live.

When Anwar asks if Joshua thought it was too much to forgive seventy times seven times, Joshua replied:

“What Jesus was trying to do was not to issue an impossible commandment, but to offer the key to true inner peace. He came to bring peace to troubled souls and to show people how to live in a way that would not only lead them to God, but help them find a meaning to life that made sense. He was deeply concerned about people’s inability to find peace. His secret, which He lived Himself, was in forgiveness, a forgiveness so complete that it never even allowed itself to take offense. And that is the key to peace, personal peace and peace among peoples – do not allow yourself to take offense. Always try to understand why people say and do the things they do, the inner anguish that gives rise to those things, and then it is hard to take offense. Indeed, you can pity them. You may be wary, so you can protect yourself, but you can still reach out and be a brother and sister to those people, never despairing of trying to heal their troubled, tortured souls. Jesus himself lived that way. He never took offense, and his last words were ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they have done.'”

What powerful, written words! The basics are beautiful. Let me line them out, so you can savor them, meditate upon them, and teach them to your children. 🙂

What God Wants

1. God want us to have inner peace.

When Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared before his apostles in the room where they were staying behind locked doors. What were His first words? “Peace be with you!”

After Jesus showed them His hands and His side, He repeated, “Peace be with you!..”

Thomas was not there, but when he heard about Jesus’s resurrection, he doubted. Jesus appeared to him a week later and greeted him with, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19-26)

2. God wants us to live a life that will heal troubled souls.

Life is about people, relationships. We are placed on this earth to walk with each other and help each other out. We are not created for us just to exist for us! There is such joy when your life intertwines with another’s, and both of you become better people for it.

James 5:16 NLT Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

3. God wants us to live a life that leads others to Christ.

Matthew 28:18-20 NLT 18Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

4. God also wants us to live a life that makes sense.

John 10:10 NLT The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

What We Can Do

5. Do not take offense.

How? Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, if possible. We don’t know what road they have walked; what difficult situations they have grown up with; what their parents did or did not teach them. If you remember that we are all broken people walking around looking for healing, it is easier to not get offended.

If someone walks around wearing The Fighting Man, more than likely they have had a difficult past that has caused them to behave the way that they do.

As Girzone wrote it, and I reiterate because it is so good:

Always try to understand why people say and do the things they do, the inner anguish that gives rise to those things, and then it is hard to take offense.

There are people in my life who could very easily raise my rage meter quite quickly. But by looking at where they come from, and the trials that they deal with, it is easier to comprehend why they are angry, why they fight, why they need to be best. By understanding this, it is so easy to pray for their healing and deliverance, and it is easier not to get angry.

After all, I was there myself, so who am I to get upset when TFM rears his head within another person?

6. Be wary.

This doesn’t mean you need to be best buddies with everyone. And it doesn’t mean that you are their punching bag either!

If someone in my life tends to be a fighter, then I do not engage and I love from a distance.

2 Timothy 2:23-25 NLT 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.

Proverbs 20:3 NLT Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.

7. Help them.

This distance is marked with an extra dose of prayer. For myself, because maybe I’m doing something to instigate the problem and I want God to point it out to me. And for them – they obviously have a God-shaped hole that needs to be filled, or need deliverance from a stronghold that holds them captive, or need Healing from the Great Physician.

In addition, if they have a need that I am aware of, I will try to fill it.

Matthew 5:44 Amplified But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Proverbs 5:21 Amplified If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

8. Forgive… and forgive again.

It is possible to walk in forgiveness! Every time you get hurt, say that prayer of forgiveness and release. It is powerful and effective and ensures a heart full of peace.

Sometimes it is hard, but God will help when you ask for His help. You may need to forgive more than once! And it’s okay…

How many times has My Lord forgiven me for the same insult over and over again? Thank the Lord He has not tired from it, or just gives me a limited amount of pardons! I’d be in serious, big trouble!

For more on forgiveness, check out the article I Hate You, Dad at Kids-Faith.

By forgiving as soon as possible, you ensure that your heart does not begin to be full of hate, bitterness and anger again. You keep it pure and at peace.

Matthew 5:8 NLT God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

2 Timothy 2:22 NLT Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

May God bless you with Peace and a Joy that surpasses all understanding. His peace, His joy and His everlasting Love!

Colossians 3:15 NLT And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

3 Comments
  1. Thank you so much for sharing this message. I’ve been stuggling with forgiveness for a long time now. The bitterness and resentment I felt toward the person who hurt me was physically making me sick and turning me into a person nobody wanted to be around. The more I read the bible and pray, the more I understand that letting go is what God requires of me. I was actually listening to a discussion about forgiveness before I posted this. I’m attaching the link below and I hope it is a blessing to someone out there who is struggling with forgiveness as well. God Bless You!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXlx2K-8O5Q&feature=relmfu

    • Dear Malcolm,

      I apologize for not getting this out sooner! For some reason, I never got the notification of your post.

      Praise God for His goodness and guidance. Thank you for sharing the link. I pray that it will be helpful for others.

      God bless you!

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