Forgive, Forgive, Forgive and Forgive AgainOct 31, 2021
Hello, sweet friends.
I am blessed to live at the base of a mountain, so I often escape to the forest to get alone with God through nature. Walking through the brightly colored trees at this time of the year always soothes my soul and resets my mind. As I watch the leaves gently dance on the fall winds, I find myself feeling playful like a child and often twirl around as the leaves take their final resting place on the forest floor at my feet. It is such a joyful thing, this fall season, and I just love living in this part of the country where I get to enjoy it to its fullest beauty.
I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy this life in its many splendered glory. There was once a time in my life when I had no appreciation for life at all, if you can even imagine that. But God heals and restores on such foundational levels and brings us to the things that will draw us closer and closer to Him on our journeys.
Last night I had such an experience. I was blessed to go to a concert with five amazing sisters in Christ. We went to the Maverick City Music concert in Philadelphia and just enjoyed great fellowship on the way down and back, as well as at dinner beforehand. The music was amazing and just so powerful to be there, live, as The Holy Spirit poured through His chosen vessels for the message He had for the ones in attendance.
I also had the pleasure of meeting a new sister in Christ last night and hearing some of her life story. She brought up a few things that triggered responses from me surrounding old wounds and I ended up responding in a way that I can honestly say I am not proud of. I ended up speaking ill of some individuals from my past that she is presently connected to and responding from a place of woundedness, revealing places of unforgiveness, anger and bitterness that I was still harboring towards these individuals. It was unexpected since I really felt like I had healed from the past situations and the responses that came from me surrounding these circumstances last night took me by surprise.
But this morning, I was able to sit at the feet of Abba and confess my wrong in responding in that way. I was able to go another layer deeper in my healing and offer forgiveness to these individuals on a deeper soul level.
One thing that I have learned about this healing journey is that it rarely happens all at once. It happens in layers.
As our spirit gets stronger through a deeper union with God, we are able to explore the depths of our soul more and more. As we explore the depths, we will need to excavate hurts and roots of bitterness and anger on a continual and habitual basis. Being in constant communion with Him and allowing Him to shine His light into the dark spaces is a key on this journey.
I also RECEIVED the forgiveness of my Abba for my part in what happened in the past.
The fact is that we ALL struggle with the old sin identity - there is NOT ONE person that does not do things out of that old space.
In my past, I lived most of my life from that space and I know that I did not handle the situations in my past in a way that Jesus would. I asked my Papa to forgive me for that. And I sat under the flow of His Love, as He washed me clean. I asked for strength to live out of the new identity that He gives me as His daughter towards these ones.
I want each and every person, even the ones from my past that I feel hurt or harmed me, to come to the light and to know the love of my Father that I have come to know.
When I speak out of woundedness about these people and I talk ill of them or I speak word curses over them, I am engaging with the darkness and perpetuating the evil.
But when I choose to pray for them and release them into the Hands of God, the Great Judge, and I say a blessing and not a curse over them, then I am engaging the light and I am perpetuating love, joy, peace and all of the wonderful forces that engaging with the light releases into this dark world. And isn't that what it is all about? Being a light in this dark world?
But the one thing I wanted to expound upon further today is this concept of forgiveness. What is it anyway? It is such a “Christianese” catchphrase and we often hear people saying, “well you just need to forgive them”, but no one really explains what this actually means or how to go about doing that.
One of the things I teach in my program is this concept of forgiveness. I found myself doing a word study on the word forgiveness because the concept was so elusive for me. What I discovered is that the Greek word apoluo is found in Matthew 18:27 when Jesus was talking about forgiveness in the original Greek text of The New Testament.
This Greek word literally means to release or set free or to divorce. This made sense to me. Through this word study, I realized that the English word "forgive" means to “give completely”, which we as humans do not have the capacity to do. But we can release or set free into the Hands of the One that does have the power to give completely. And this needs to be done on a habitual level.
I realized that in Matthew 18:22 Jesus says this about how often we need to forgive: “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times”. To me this means that every single time the past comes up regarding a person, we need to habitually release our feelings of hurt, anger and bitterness into the Hands of God the Father and continually set them and ourselves free from the prison of unforgiveness.
Some people think, “oh well, I already did that, and it did not help”. Well, the key here is that you need to keep doing it, over and over again until you get to the point where any time you encounter this individual, whether in conversation or in person, you can be free of the hate, hurt, anger and bitterness towards them.
You need to do it until you can look in their face and not feel any of those things. And if their name comes up and these feelings come up too, then you know you need to go through the process again.
One of the individuals I had to "forgive" this morning was my ex husband. Friends, let me tell you, that I have forgiven this man SO MANY times!! I have gone through this process regarding what happened in this relationship well over 490 times, which is the number that Jesus references in Matthew (70x7). I could have just brushed by it today and said, "I don't have to do that, I have already forgiven him". But have I though?
If talking about circumstances from the relationship still bring such strong feelings from me, have I really forgiven him? The answer is yes and no. I have, but I have to KEEP ON DOING IT!!! YES!!!!
I will not be done with this process until all that comes out of me is light and love WHENEVER I hear his name or talk about ANY circumstance from our relationship - EVEN THE ABUSE!
This process does not have to be anything flashy or showy, you just need to have an honest conversation between yourself and God and say something like this:
“Father, today, I felt hurt and anger and bitterness when I heard _________’s name. What _______________ did to me still makes me feel betrayed and so angry. I do not want to feel like this anymore. I release these feelings into Your Hands and I release any judgment I am holding against ______________. I also release any vengeful acts that I am plotting against them and any word curses that I have spoken over them or about them. I repent for these things, please forgive me, Father, and teach me to love them like you do and speak a blessing over them when I hear their name or see them”
It does not have to be this exact prayer, but you can use this prayer. I suggest just having a real and honest conversation with God about it and using your own words, but if you have a hard time doing that, please feel free to use this prayer. And it doesn’t matter how many times you do it. Jesus says seventy times seven, which really is an idiom to mean unlimited.
Last night when those old feelings of hurt, anger and bitterness arose out of me, I was really surprised! I thought that I had resolved all of that! But apparently I did not. So I processed through it this morning and I felt a huge release in my soul. And I was also able to use the incident as a way to be open, authentic and transparent with my friends. I also shared with them what God did in my heart and asked for their forgiveness for speaking about these individuals in my life from a place of woundedness. It was a beautiful thing.
And now I am able to share this story with you all and hopefully help you understand that “forgiveness” is an ongoing and habitual thing, and something you will have to do over and over and over again, usually in layers, until you feel that you can be released from any anger, hurt or bitterness in your heart.
Healing is a journey and forgiveness is a process.
Do not get upset or frustrated with yourself. Just keep going forward, and dealing with the stuff that comes up when it comes up. As you keep going through the process, one day you will hear the person’s name or you will see them at the supermarket or at a family gathering and you will realize that the only thing left in your heart is the love of God the Father for this person.
I hope this article blessed your heart as much as it blessed me to write it for you. Go out and engage the light today and dispel the darkness! Forgive, Forgive, Forgive and Forgive again.
Love and Light,
Coach Mandy Leigh
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