Dear eNews Friends & Family,
Welcome to day 4 of prayer and fasting
What an amazing time we have had already. Each power hour has been significant with strong prophetic words coming with such encouragement for the year ahead.
Today as we come to pray, Pastor Dave is writing to encourage us in our focus and faith which you can read below.
Keep praying, keep fasting, keep reaching.
Soon we will be setting in elders, Sunday on 5th Feb, and pressing on into the year ahead with great expectations.
This Sunday we continue with our series Victory Over The Darkness.
Look forward to seeing you in a power hour or over the weekend.
Take time to read over the reflection below from Pastor Dave Thomson:
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
These are the words of Jesus spoken from the cross. The brutality and the treatment of this innocent man was cruel and unrelenting, from the moment He was arrested till the point of death. Yet He calls out to Heaven and the Father forgives all. All of people who abused and tortured His own Son and all of us. Soon afterwards Jesus breathes His last, bearing our sin and there is forgiveness for all. No bitterness, no price to pay just the love of Christ who sets us free.
Faith in Jesus is enough to see us saved from the eternal consequences of our sin.
Our Spirit is free.
The most terrifying people I’ve ever met in my life all carried bitterness.
Holding on to bitterness and resentment is like a stranglehold on your soul.
In the Lord’s prayer we hear:
‘Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”
What Jesus is saying is that to be a Christian, is to be a forgiver. I really believe that if you don’t own that part of this new life in Christ you can’t be Christ-like because to be a Christian necessitates being a forgiver, it is part and parcel of the deal. Of course, in human terms that seems almost impossible, that’s why we have the Holy Spirit who leads us to become more and more like Jesus.
We all want to be like Jesus, right? When we have been hurt, sinned against, abused, treated cruelly, abandoned or rejected in our lives this is where the rubber hits the road.
Maybe you have had some terrible things happen to you, even in childhood, and you have been carrying that pain in your soul all your life. I am sure we can push it away sometimes and not feel the bitterness and anger for a while at least, then something happens that triggers our pain, and we react out of the broken part of ourselves. It shows up again and again in times of stress or threat or sometimes the pain just appears seemingly out of nowhere.
I was brought up in a family where there was a lot of shouting and yelling and it was scary as a small boy, because often after the shouting came the punishment. It was terrifying and I believed deep down there must be something wrong with me. All the masks we wear through life are so often to cover the shame we feel about not being enough. We cover our perceived or felt vulnerability.
We defend the vulnerable parts of ourselves with all kinds of defence mechanisms. We use our ego to protect ourselves and there are so many ways that we defend or hide our broken parts. Maybe we become achievers, super helpers, or think that money and prestige will protect us. Some people have been so damaged that they display behaviours that keep people at a distance, yet others the trauma becomes overwhelming and the only way to put out the pain is to succumb to drugs or in fact all kinds of addiction to give us relief from the pain. The number one offender in relapse is caused by resentment. The deep-rooted anger at the injustice experienced.
So let me say from here that forgiveness is not easy, and you may need help to come to the place of forgiveness. But first we need to decide whether of not we align with Jesus in our desire to be forgivers, that’s the starting point. Forgiveness is a decision of the will. Since God commands us to forgive, we must make a conscious choice to obey God and forgive. The offender may not desire forgiveness and may not ever change, but that doesn’t negate God’s desire that we possess a forgiving spirit (Matthew 5:44). Ideally, the offender will seek reconciliation, but, if not, the one wronged can still decide to forgive.
The Bible never tells us to forgive and forget. Jesus carried the physical scars beyond the grave and we can often carry psychological scars into our Christian walk. It’s the deep-rooted memories that don’t go away and the parts of me that hold on to the pain need acknowledged not ignored, once acknowledged we make another decision not live out of our pain. However, when we bring the Christ Jesus into these broken parts, He can bring healing and we experience His love in the depth of our souls.
If someone has hurt us, forgiving does not mean that we trust all over again. Trust needs to be earned and that might take time.
Holding on to the anger and resentment only gives the perpetrator free space in our souls and unforgiveness defiles the vessel thar carries the bitterness.
if we are bitter or walking with unforgiveness our volume increases but our effectiveness decreases.
The bible tells us to be angry but sin not.
So, the idea that Christians are not supposed to feel anger and have neutral emotional response to things is not Christianity in fact it’s more like Buddhism.
Anger is a normal response: but we don’t carry it, we need to let it go.
Ephesians 4 tells us not to let the sun go down on our anger.
This means we start each morning with a desire to be a forgiving person. Decide that you are not going to be controlled by the sin of another person.
If I hold on to past resentments, I cannot be effective in my world.
When bitterness takes root you can be sure the enemy will do all in his power to justify your holding on to it.
If I say that I love God and hold on to bitterness at someone, and if I say I forgive but don’t change my attitude or behaviour towards them, then I am a liar.
That doesn’t mean I allow those who have hurt me deeply to come back into my life and hurt me all over again. Remember that trust needs to be earned.
I remember a woman who came for Counselling. Her relationship with her partner was very toxic. He was very controlling and daily he would criticise her. Sometimes putting her down in public.
This was an educated woman with a good career, yet she simply felt like a wreck when it came to her husband.
The couple had separated several times. But each time he would ask for forgiveness and be full of promises that things would change. They would get back together and within two weeks the control and critical accusation would start all over again. She was at the place where he was out of the home and had once again asked her to forgive him.
Anyway, she was asking what should I do? God tells us to forgive so we can be healed. I encouraged her to continue to forgive. And she prayed a heartfelt prayer of forgiveness towards her husband. Then I asked so now that you have forgiven what next. She seemed to think that meant letting him back in…
I asked what your expectations are moving forward. “I think I forgive him, but I don’t trust him”
That trust will come in time when there is evidence of change on the part of perpetrator. I think its wise to witness the change over time before we allow people back into our lives.
But forgiveness is our responsibility. What happened to us may not be our fault, but we must take responsibility to move towards our healing.
Finally, the most difficult person to forgive is ourselves. We carry guilt and shame for our sins. Maybe it’s time to be a forgiver of yourself. If you cant, then are we saying that Jesus shouldn’t either?
We must come off the judgement seat and let go.
In conclusion, forgiveness is central to the gospel. Without forgiveness there is no salvation. If you want to experience the joy of your salvation, be a forgiver. Seek help from others and of course from the Holy Spirit who will lead us in peace towards the very heart of Jesus.
Join us this evening online as we pray together online via Zoom at 7pm.
You can connect using the details below:
Meeting ID: 843 3511 0895