Do you enjoy doing laundry? Do you enjoy wearing clean clothes? I’m so thankful that the “Pure White Robe” that Jesus gives us to wear, His very own “Robe of Righteousness” never has to be washed, never gets soiled, and always stays spotless. But sometimes, our feet get dirty and we need to have them washed by Jesus. John Ch.13 helps us to understand more about being forgiven and cleansed by Jesus and then doing likewise to our family and friends, even our enemies.
All of us at one time or another in our lives have done things that we are ashamed of, things that may have wounded our own hearts or an others deeply. Sometimes, even though we have already confessed our sins and faults to God and asked for His forgiveness, the emotional pain can still linger on. Sometimes we are able to let go and be free and other times it seems like an invisible burden still rests upon us, feelings of sadness or sorrow, shame or remorse. I have prayed and asked my Heavenly Father…Why? And it seemed as though He asked me two questions. This was the first question…
1 – “You are forgiven, have you accepted my forgiveness?”
As I sat there thinking on these things I started to search His Word, and this is what I read… “ I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee” Jeremiah 31:3. When I read this I thought “how loving are you Lord, I didn’t draw myself to you but out of your great love for me you drew me to yourself. I couldn’t contain myself, I rejoiced in my heart and just had to speak and say “Thank you Lord, Thank you, so very much.”
Also I read in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Just think about this for a moment, He loves us soooo much, so very much, we are His little children, His precious ones, the apple of His eye. When we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, He doesn’t wait to see if we are sorry enough, or if we have repented enough, or if we have suffered enough. Oh no, He doesn’t wait to forgive us. He calls out to our hearts in love; “Daughter, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.” What kind of love is this….We are loved by our Heavenly Father sooo much!
I also read in Psalm 103:12 “As far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Do you realize just how far that is! East and West never ever come face to face, they never meet, which means that we will never meet our sins again. Can it be any clearer than that! When I read these words at that moment I was in such an amazing heartfelt and emotional place, even to the point of crying tears of gratitude and joy that I started thanking and praising Him out loud with my whole heart… At this point I had to say, “ Yes Heavenly Father, I have received Your forgiveness, with all of my heart I have received it. Thank you sooo much for loving me and forgiving me.” What a merciful God we serve! This was the second question it seemed like my Heavenly Father was asking me…
2 – “You are forgiven, have you forgiven yourself? “
I knew right away what my answer was. I was struggling to forgive myself. I was wanting to do it but for some reason It just wasn’t happening. I knew that at the time there were two people who were praying for me to be able to forgive myself. Then my Heavenly Father brought to my attention something I had failed to do. As I searched His Word this is what I read “ Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” James 5:16. As I thought about this, I realized that there were several people that I had wounded deeply, directly and indirectly, that I needed to apologize to.
I have to admit that this was a very humbling experience for me. But I realized that it was something that I needed to do, so that I could be at peace with myself. So, I started making my list. Thinking back over my life I started adding the names of people from my past and present. Hearts and souls that I have wounded. I have to be honest with you, this was a hard thing for me to do. I entered into this with much prayer. I felt that I could do it only if the Lord was standing by my side. And I have to tell you, Jesus didn’t fail me, He strengthened me, supported me, and encouraged me every step of the way.
Almost all of these people forgave me and continued to love me, but there was one person who avoided me. The Lord Jesus helped me with that one to, He brought me right back to the verse that says “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.
To this day I am so glad I followed Gods leading and did this. By doing this, I was setting myself free. Free to forgive myself, free to let go, and free to know by personal experience the promise of God, “So If the Son sets you free you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36.
Forgiving and Praying For Others
How hard is it to pray for someone who has said or done something to you that has wounded your heart? The answer to that probably depends on the circumstances.
This is my “Journey Of Forgiveness” and through it all my Heavenly Father has led me step by step. Unhurried and at a pace that my emotions and feelings in the deepest part of my heart could handle. There, In a place of complete privacy, with my Heavenly Father and Jesus, I poured out my heart with deep weeping and crying with groans that cannot be uttered. Memories, and deep painful emotions that had been suppressed for so long, now came freely to the surface. I was in a safe place, I was enveloped in the presence of Jesus. I now took my pen in hand and started to write down the names of people who had hurt me. My list was long. Next to each name, I wrote the terrible words describing the things that person was guilty of doing or saying to me, things that tore at my heart. I had my Heavenly Father’s full and undistracted attention, sympathy and love. With heart sobs, tears and deep emotional turmoil I wrote things down on paper. When I was done, I looked at my list, and cried some more. I cried in full awareness that I was filled and surrounded with the presence of Jesus. I cried till there were no more tears left to cry. I then drifted off to sleep feeling comforted in the loving arms of my Savior Jesus Christ.
The week went by as normal except for one thing, all the emotional pressure that had been building up and pent up inside of me was for the most part gone. Talk about relief. I had so much relief that I could actually physically feel the difference.
The following week I found myself once again in the private place with my Heavenly Father, i’m not talking about my morning and evening time with Him or the prayers that seem to rise spontaneously up to Him from my heart on a daily basis. This was no ordinary private place. This was a place of meeting, I was by faith, spiritually before His throne once again, and this time to do business. The Holy Spirit was impressing my heart through the Word of God. I had been reading the Word every day throughout the week like usual but scriptures like these were speaking to my heart in gentle but profound ways…
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “ Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.”
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Here in my heart, in the deepest place of all. In the peace and quiet of resting by faith in the very presence of God is were the reality of what God was asking me to do, truly hit home with me. I knew God was asking me to forgive it all! But how to do it, I didn’t know how. I prayed, I thought, I wrestled in my heart trying to make the feelings of true forgiveness happen. And try as hard as I could, it didn’t happen. I prayed and asked my Heavenly Father “please make it happen in my heart, please, because I don’t know how. Father it’s just not happening. Then as this realization started to set in, I started to panic, “Heavenly Father, I pleaded, I really need your help, If I can’t forgive others, you wont forgive me.” Heavenly Father, I really want to forgive, please help me… then as I waited, a Bible scripture came to mind 2 Corinthians 8:12 “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” That was just what I needed. The Word of God came to my rescue yet once again. God’s precious unfailing love for me filled my heart and surrounded me, as I grasped the magnitude of what I was reading. God was asking me to just have a heart willing to forgive. And that’s exactly what I had! Peace replaced panic as my heart understood this great truth and rested once again in the knowledge that my Heavenly Father had made provision for every emergency that I faced. “I’m willing to forgive Father, I choose to forgive everybody that has ever hurt me. I choose right now to forgive every person on my list! Praise God for His Word, His wonderful Word has helped me once again! I now understood that forgiveness was a choice not a feeling. Feelings can come and go, but a choice is a decision. And joy flooded my heart as I chose with all my heart to forgive, asking and trusting my Heavenly Father to make it happen in my heart that someday my feelings will match my choice.
The following week was the start of a new beginning for me as I experienced a feeling of lightness and joy deep in my heart. A feeling of burdens being lifted and sorrows being replaced with peace.
But the next week, I was once again brought close to my Heavenly Father by prayer and faith. I was in my quiet place, alone with God and as I looked at the piece of paper in my hands, the one with all the name written on it I took my pen, and next to each and every name I wrote the word “forgiven.” During this time, my Heavenly Father lead me to the book of Job 42:10 “ And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” and as I read the words that God spoke to Job during his struggles, I realized that’s precisely what I felt my Heavenly Father asking me to do.
I had a new mission! God wanted me to pray for those on my list. God wanted me to pray for my friends, family members, and even my enemies, etc.. I set about to do this in my quiet place with God. I prayed for each and every name on my list. I prayed that my Heavenly Father would forgive these people who had wounded and abused my heart. I said that I had chosen to forgive and asked for Him to forgive them too. I pleaded the precious blood of Jesus Christ to cover their sins. I prayed for their hearts, and lives, and health, and asked God to bless them with the blessings they so greatly needed most. I asked for My Heavenly Father to draw them closer to himself in love through Jesus Christ His Son. All in all I was praying for several hours, lifting each name up to my Father individually. I was interceding for these people as if their lives and salvation depended on it. I was praying fervently. I was surprised by the tears that poured out of my own eyes uncontrollably. But I was even more surprised at what was happening in my heart as I prayed. Love, Love in it’s deepest, purest form started to swell up and overflow from my heart. Love for these people and a true heartfelt forgiveness. A love and forgiveness that came from God’s heart to mine. It’s true, It really happened.
Forgiveness is truly a gift from God. It’s a gift that God chooses to give us! God has set me free through forgiveness and love and I have learned by experience what God’s Word means when He says in John 8:36 “ if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
This brings me to the last thing. I want to ask you a question. My question to you is: Is there anyone in your life or out of your life that you need to forgive?