Friday, July 25, 2008

Total Forgiveness V: More Struggles With Unforgiveness

As Pastor Rusty and I began the process of digging deep into my past feelings, hurts, offenses and every corner of my mind…I was praying and asking God to reveal anything or anyone that I had hard feelings toward. At this point, I still didn’t consider any of this as unforgiveness. The Holy Spirit began revealing areas of my life that I had forgotten about or chose to forget. The pain and sorrow was enormous. The emotions were overwhelming and the pain ran very deep.

I discovered several childhood situations that had always caused me so much anger from the time these incidents occurred until I faced the anger and unforgiveness head on. It was very difficult for me to put these hurts behind me because they seemed to be continually linked to other events with a certain person in my family...I didn't see there ever being a healing in this relationship. However, never underestimate the healing power of God when you submit everything to Him. I put each of the incidents that occurred during my childhood with this person behind me, forgave them, dealt with my anger and let it go. I never confronted this person with the issues that I had with them because of who this person was and how they would have would have just created more problems that I would have had to deal with. In this situation, it was the best thing for me to do.

I also realized that I was very angry, bitter, and felt a lot of hatred toward another member of my family because of things that were said to me, said to my husband, my children, the mistreatment of my children and many other personal family hurts that this person caused for me and each member of my immediate family. This one wasn't as easy to deal with. The person that I am talking about now had been very close to me prior to my marriage to my husband, Roger, plus she was very helpful to me during my disastrous first marriage, my divorce and the four years of being a single parent. We are more like best friends than family members.

Christmas was fast approaching and there was another situation that involved my family and this person. We managed to get through Christmas day at my mother's but what happened after I went home to our house was the final straw in our relationship.

I am not a controversial person nor do I like confrontation but I would rather avoid them and let it go. That is the one thing that got me into this mess.

I was informed of the events on Christmas night after we left my mother's and what she had to say about my family. It was a month later when I was told this and I was livid. I was so upset and knew that I had to confront her in some manner...once and for all. Because I was so angry, I chose to write her a letter. The letter started from the very beginning and went all the way through to the current events of Christmas '06. I can put my feelings into writing better than I can into words...mainly because I don't trust myself to watch what I say and not let the emotions take over.

I wrote a very lengthy letter, called Pastor Rusty, emailed it to him and waited for his reply. He called me back and said they only thing he would change was not specific enough and the way that I closed it...appeared to be childish and final...not leaving any room for reconciliation. I had already changed the closing of the letter before Pastor Rusty's call, but took his advice to change the generalizations in other parts of my letter to be very specific and told it just like how I felt it. I sent it back to him for his final stamp of approval. I mailed the letter to this person and never heard a word in reply.

There was not one word spoken, not one word was emailed, not one word was exchanged between this person and myself after I mailed this letter to them in January '07. What do you do then? For me, just writing and mailing this letter brought closure and forgiveness for me.

When I saw her again this past Christmas...she acted like a different person, she interacted with one of my children, talked to my husband and tried to strike up conversation with me. Still, there was never a word mention about the past or the letter. I let it go too rather than bring it up. I knew that the letter had been received and she knew she received it and made an "effort" to change her actions. I forgave her in my heart but still don't want much of a relationship with her. I did what I needed to do to receive the healing in this area that I needed but no where in God's Word does it say that I have to enter into a relationship and subject myself or my family to any further abuse in the future. I am not closed minded about the future but very cautious and skeptical....I will approach with caution!

The next area of my past that needed my attention had to deal with someone very close to me that had died. My anger and the issue of forgiveness was only associated with my father's death and didn't have anything to do with hurts or offenses that he had caused me. I was angry at my Daddy for dying and leaving me alone. I was divorced and struggling to raise a 3 year old on my own...I needed my Daddy. I wanted my Daddy...the pain still runs as deep today as it did 18 years ago. I wish my Daddy was still here with many, many things would have been different if he was still alive.

My Daddy was my best friend, my rock, my confidant and my biggest support during one of the most difficult times of my life...the failure of my first marriage...then he was gone.

The more that I examined my feelings, my hurts, my pain and my grief....16 years after his death...I realized that I had some residual anger toward God for allowing him to die and not healing him. The feelings that I was feeling toward God and my daddy not being healing had caused me to doubt healing for a long time. I had prayed and prayed that God would heal him and yet, he died anyway.

There were areas in which I had to forgive myself before I could forgive others. God began to break me...cell by cell and I cried many, many tears throughout this healing process.

Next Entry: Total Forgiveness VI: So Much More

Friday, July 18, 2008

Total Forgiveness IV

Until about 4 years ago, I never gave a single thought to having unforgiveness to deal with…I thought I had dealt with every issue in my life but undoubtedly…I hadn’t.

As time went along, it seemed that I had grown accustomed to living in chaos, dealing with what life had thrown at me/us, failed 1st marriage, remarrying, issues that arose with children/step-children and teenagers and what seemed to be “just life”. I thought I was handling it as best I could but undoubtedly, I wasn’t.

As I shared in Sunday School a couple of weeks ago while Pastor Rusty was headed to Ecuador, total forgiveness is sometimes a painful process, difficult process and can also be a lengthy one. However, it is the most joy reviving, peace restoring and amazingly life freeing experience you can go through.

I became a very angry person who would explode with the slightest of irritations…within my family and home only. The anger and rage continued to grow over time and at some points…was out of control. I sought advice, help from a friend’s husband who was a therapist…but no one wanted to find out what the source of my anger was…but rather…wanted to help me manage my anger either through counseling, an anger management course or prescriptions to “tame” my anger and mood swings. Even if I could control my anger, the source was still there, even if medication helped control my anger…the source was still there…all waiting to rear its ugly head again in my life. I knew that the process of finding the source of my anger would be a painful one but the anger had already caused me enough pain and there was no end in sight. If I found the source, the pain would be on the right path to healing.

I would ask them to help me dig down deep to find out what was making me so angry so that I could deal with it once and for all and not learn to control it and the angry outburst. I was completely unsuccessful in this endeavor for many years. All the while…it was still growing inside me…little by little.

Ephesians 4:26 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry--but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry.

I was so miserable at time and trying to always put on a “happy face” for all the world to see…became a hard chore and I slowly withdrew from all the outside interest that I loved so much. It was easier to hide out at home, have minimal interaction with those around me, go to church and leave when it was over, not attend the extra functions that we had…not only at church, but with work as well. I was also hiding it from my mother. My ultimate goal was discover the source of my anger not mask the true issues.

My family suffered the most because at home...I was just me. They saw the good, the bad and the absolute UGLY! But, they loved me regardless of the ups and downs. The hardest thing of battling with anger is that you try to hide it from the entire outside world. You hide it from your friends, your co-workers, your family and your church family. It got to be so hard to put on a front every time you went out in public...especially to church. You had to smile, talk to people, laugh, socialize and act like your and your family were the happiest that you could possibly be. After years of this was wearing me down and it began to seep out for a few others to see. I was determined that I would not let that happen. This became a source of fear and anxiety for me...when would I become overwhelmed again by all the anger that weighs you down. Fear, anxiety, anger and depression are feed off of each other...but this is not of God.

II Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

When this started happening...I began to stay at home all the time. I quit going to church functions, quit intermingling with others, stayed to myself at work which started the silent suffering that I would do in my own little world. The more that I hid, the more the anger burned inside.

The more that you isolate yourself, the deeper the hurts dig in, depression will start to creep in to your life, your temper can become shorter and then the vicious cycle starts all over. If these issues go unresolved and the situations that arise out of your pain, hurts and offenses continue to will bleed over into every area of your life regardless of how hard you try to keep it out. The old saying...sweeping it under the rug...becomes the mission statement to your life.

Next Entry: Total Forgiveness V...there's so much more to this story...stay tuned.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sharing The Love from Beloved Mama

Beloved Mama gave those of us who have joined her prayer team that prays for all the request that are sent into her blog...Beloved Mama Prays, this award....Sharing The Love. That is what her ministry is all about. It is a blessed ministry that I am honored to be apart of. How awesome is it to request prayer from someone that you will probably never meet and have the confidence that not only is Beloved Mama praying for you, your family and your specific need...but there is a team of prayer warriors across the country that doesn't know you but prays for you like you are their best friend. It is awesome. Please check out Beloved Mama's personal blog at and her prayer blog at She truly has a heart for people and a burden to pray for others. She is contagious:)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Total Forgiveness III: What Forgiveness IS

More segments from "Total Forgiveness" by R. T. lettering are my words and all the rest are from Mr. Kendall's book...Total Forgiveness.

Total forgiveness seems to be a complex action that we must get right if we want to heal ourselves, receive God's blessings in our lives and release that one who offended us, for God to deal with them in His own way...not ours. Well, it is very complex but you have to take one step at a time...starting with the basic understanding of what it is and what it is not. We covered what it wasn't in the previous entry and now we are moving on what it is.

1. Being aware of what someone has done and still forgiving them...There is no spiritual victory to think we are forgiving people when we are only avoiding facing up to their wrong behavior. It is if anything, evading true forgiveness. Total forgiveness is achieved only when we acknowledge what was done without any denial or covering up---and still refuse to make the offender pay for their crime. Total forgiveness is painful. It hurts when we kiss revenge good-bye. It hurts to think that the person is getting away with what they did and nobody else will ever find out. But when we know fully what they did, and accept in our hearts that they will be blessed without any consequences for their wrong, we cross over into a supernatural realm. We begin to be a little more like Jesus, to change into the image of Christ.

2. Choosing to keep no records of wrong...Love "keeps no records of wrongs" I Cor. 13:5.

Why do we keep track of the times we are offended? To use them. To prove what happened. To wave them before someone who doubts what actually happened.

Many marriages could be healed overnight if both parties would stop pointing a finger. Love is a choice. Total forgiveness is a choice. It is not a feeling---at least, not at first---but is rather an
act of the will. I can truly testify to this statement because I had to choose to forgive according to God's Word, certainly not my will. I went through the motions for quite a while before I felt anything. They were empty words which I didn't mean and I told God that from the beginning but I promised Him that I would be obedient and He would have to do the rest. He will ALWAYS keep His Word.

3. Refusing to punish...Refusing to punish those who deserve it---giving up the natural desire to see them "get what's coming to them"---is the essence of total forgiveness. It is not our human nature to forgive or to think that the one who wronged us goes our human nature will fight it, therefore, we have to fight this in the Spirit.

If we harbor the desire to see our enemies punished, we will eventually lose the anointing of the Spirit. But when perfect love---the love of Jesus and the fruit of the Holy spirit---enters, the desire for our enemy to be punished leaves. Total forgiveness is refusing to punish.

Vindication is God's prerogative and God's prerogative alone. Deuteronomy 32:35 tells us, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay." Romans 12:19 and Hebrew 10:30...Vindication is what God does best. He doesn't want our help.

4. Not telling what they did...There is often a need to talk to someone about how you have been hurt, and this can be therapeutic if it is done with the right heart attitude. If it is necessary, you choose the person you will tell very carefully, making sure that person is trustworthy and will never repeat your situation to those it does not concern. Anyone who truly forgives, does not gossip about their offender. If we talk about our offender to others, it is not for therapeutic reasons, but so others will think less of them.

Remember when you are truly exercising total forgiveness...
1. I won't be punished for my sins.
2. Nobody will know about my sins, for all sins that are under the blood of Christ will not be exposed or held against me.

If you share your pain and offenses with someone else, examine your motives and be sure you aren't doing it to punish anyone by making them look bad.

5. Being merciful...Matt. 5:7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy".

Because He is merciful, God does not want to punish us; because He is just, He must punish us because we have sinned against Him. Mercy is the opposite of wrath or justice. One difference between grace and mercy is that grace is getting what we don't deserve (favor), and mercy is not getting what we do deserve (justice). So when we show mercy we are withholding justice from those who have injured us, and that is one aspect of godliness. The benefit that we receive is when we show mercy, we are shown mercy.

6. Graciousness...Do not make a rigorous stand against your enemy even when you clearly in the right. Graciousness is shown by what you don't say, even if what you could say would be true. Self-righteous people find it almost impossible to be gracious; they claim always to be after the "truth", no matter the cost.

7. It is an inner condition...Total forgiveness must take place in the heart or it is worthless, for.....
"out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" Matt. 12:34.

If we have not truly forgiven those who hurt us in our hearts, it will come out sooner or later. But if it has indeed taken place in the heart, our words will show it. When there is bitterness, it will eventually manifest itself; when there is love,
"there is nothing in him to make him stumble" I John 2:10.

If I have forgiven him/her in my heart of hearts, but he still doesn't speak to me, I can still have the inner victory. It may be far easier to forgive when we know that those who maligned or betrayed us are sorry for what they did, but if I must have this knowledge before I forgive, I may never have the victory over my bitterness. If it is a genuine heart-experience, I will not be devastated if there is no reconciliation. Even if they don't want to have a relationship with me after I forgive them, it isn't my problem because I have forgiven them.

8. It is the absence of bitterness...Bitterness is an inward condition. It is an excessive desire for vengeance that comes from deep resentment. It heads the list of the things that grieve the Spirit of God. Bitterness will manifest itself in many ways---losing your temper, high blood pressure, irritability, sleeplessness, obsession with getting even, depression, isolation, a constant negative perspective and generally feeling unwell.

We must, therefore, begin to get rid of a bitter and unforgiving spirit; otherwise, the attempt to forgive will fail. It is true that doing the right things, even when you don't feel like it, can eventually lead to having the right feelings. But the very act of trying to do right shows that the bitterness is not as deep as it could be.

The absence of bitterness allows the Holy Spirit to be Himself in us. When the Spirit is grieved, I am left to myself, and I will struggle with emotions ranging from anger to fear. But when the Holy Spirit is not grieved, He is at home with me; He will begin to change me into the person He wants me to be, and I will be able to manifest the gentleness of the Spirit. Relinquishing bitterness is an open invitation for the Holy Spirit to give you His peace, His joy and the knowledge of His will.

When bitterness is gone there will be no desire to get even or punish the offender, when I do or say nothing that would hurt his/her reputation or future and when I truly wish him well in all he seeks to do.

9. Forgiving God...Although we often don't see it at first---and for some it takes a long time---all of our bitterness is ultimately traceable to a resentment of God. This may be an unconscious anger...many would be horrified to think that they are harboring bitterness toward God. But we often repress this, too; such knowledge is too painful to admit.

Many times, deep in our hearts, we believe that He is the one who allowed bad things to happen in our lives. Since He is all-powerful and all-knowing, couldn't He have prevented tragedies and offenses from happening? He has allowed us to suffer when we didn't do anything, or so it seems, to warrant such ill treatment. What we ultimately believe is that God is to blame for our hurt.

Only a fool would claim to know the full answer to the question, "Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue when He has the power to stop it?" But there is a partial answer: He does so in order that we may believe. There would be no need for faith if we knew the answer concerning the origin of evil and the reason for suffering. I only know that it is what makes faith possible.

Romans 8:28 All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.

God does turn evil into blessing. He causes things to work together for our good. God did not send His Son into the world to explain evil, but rather to save us from it and to exemplify a life of suffering. Jesus, who was and is the God-man, suffered as no one else has or ever will. One day God will clear His own name from the charge of being unjust, but in the meantime, we need to trust Him and take Him at His Word that He is just and merciful.

As for all the unhappy things He has allowed to happen to me, I affirm His justice. He is God. He knows exactly what He is doing---and why. For all of us who struggle with God's right to allow evil to exist in the world, there still must be a genuine forgiveness on our part, for any bitterness toward God grieves the Holy Spirit. We must forgive Him---though He is not guilty---for allowing evil to touch our lives.

10. Forgiving ourselves...Total forgiveness, then, means forgiving people---totally---and also forgiving God and it must include forgiving ourselves.

There is no lasting joy in forgiveness if it doesn't include forgiving yourself. It is anything but total forgiveness if we forgive God and those who hurt us, but we are unable to forgive ourselves.

As research has concluded in an overwhelming manner that the first person to experience delight when forgiveness takes place is the one who forgives. I again can testify to the truth in this statement. When true forgiveness finally took place...I was free, happy, at peace and full of joy...something that I hadn't been in years!

I pray that these last 3 entries that have been written about forgiveness...what it is not and what it is...will challenge you to examine your heart, seek the Holy Spirit to search you, so He can reveal any hidden unforgiveness we might be harboring. I pray that it will help to motivate you for forgive those who have hurt you, wronged you, offended you...forgive God for letting this happen to you and to forgive yourself...totally and completely. After which, you will experience the fullness of peace and joy that God intends for us to.

Next Entry: Total Forgiveness IV: Back To My Story


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones