1 Corinthians 13 New Living Translation (NLT)
13 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Good afternoon and thank you for joining me another time as I share part of my journey as a prison wife. It is still April 2013 and I am enjoying another day that God has made! Since I wrote last I have been met by my Heavenly Father and I am so very humbled and grateful for His time and attention. The fact that He loves me so deeply and really cares about me and all that concerns me – is at times overwhelming. God that created the universe cares about my worries, concerns and problems. What a great God we serve!
When we last left off I asked the question: When others look at me, do they really see Jesus or just a warrior bride defending her love?
As I prayed and read I Corinthians 13 – the thing that stood out strongest to me this week was from verse 5 – …and it keeps no record of being wronged. This is the forgiveness part that my wonderful husband was trying to explain to me. During this same time, I was privileged to attend a Women’s Retreat that was organized by my current congregation called – “Daughters of the King – Royal Retreat”. The theme was taken from the book of Esther with close to 100 women in attendance out at a place called “Messiah’s Ranch” near Bryan, TX.
On Saturday evening our wonderful Pastor Bev broke open the Bread of Life to all of us ladies and talked about “ Whose Scepter Do You Hold?” Now in my last writing I talked about doing an Arsenal Inventory – in which I found that I had some weapons of the enemy in my collection! However as I sat there and listed to my anointed sister share God’s revelation to her and us – I began to cry when she shared about “Releasing Forgiveness” as being one of our Spiritual Weapons for warfare. As one of the scripture passages she gave II Corinthians 2:8-11, let me share it with you here:
2 Corinthians 2:5-11 New Living Translation (NLT)
Forgiveness for the Sinner
5 I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. 6 Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. 7 Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. 8 So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. 9 I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. 10 When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, 11 so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.
After our Pastor Bev went over many weapons of warfare that our Lord wants us to use as we do spiritual battle she asked, “What area or areas are hindering me in spiritual battle? Which weapon(s) am I not using?” The one that I feel to share and write about today is FORGIVENESS.
I was able to take time and be still and quiet before our Lord, after our large group was over I went straight to my cabin, dressed for bed and climbed in my bunk (wiping out everyone and everything in one fell swoop) to be alone with the Lord. One advantage for sure in being at a retreat and not at home with the regular schedule of work, household responsibilities, family interactions, etc. that can get in the way of us stopping and just being quiet before God and letting Him minister to our souls.
As I lay in my bunk I relaxed my body and mind and opened my heart up to God as I quietly prayed to Him asking Him to reveal all that He wanted me to know about Forgiveness and how He wants me to walk that out in my everyday life.
Several scriptures came to me as I was reminded of God’s forgiveness to us. I will share the first 3 in this segment. (For your knowledge I was raised only reading the KJV – King James Version of the Bible, however when I arrived home I wanted to be diligent and to ensure that I really understood what I know God was speaking to me. Here are the scriptures in many different translations/versions of the Bible for greater clarity to everyone including myself.)
Psalm 32:1 (KJV) Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Psalm 32:1 (ERV) It is a great blessing when people are forgiven for the wrongs they have done, when their sins are erased.
Psalm 32:1 (MSG) Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be— you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean.
Psalm 32:1 (NLT) Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
Psalm 32:1 (CEV) Our God, you bless everyone whose sins you forgive and wipe away.
Psalm 85:2 (KJV) Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.
Psalm 85:2 (AMP) You have forgiven and taken away the iniquity of Your people, You have covered all their sin. Selah [pause, and calmly realize what that means]!
Psalm 85:2 (ERV) You have forgiven the bad things your people did. You have taken away the guilt of their sins! Selah
Psalm 85:2 (GNT) You have forgiven your people’s sins and pardoned all their wrongs.
Psalm 85:2 (MSG) You lifted the cloud of guilt from your people, you put their sins far out of sight.
Psalm 86:5 (KJV)For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
Psalm 86:5 (AMP) For You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our trespasses, sending them away, letting them go completely and forever]; and You are abundant in mercy and loving-kindness to all those who call upon You.
Psalm 86:5 (CJB) Adonai, you are kind and forgiving, full of grace toward all who call on you.
Psalm 86:5 (ESV) For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Psalm 86:5 (NLT) O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
First and Foremost – God has forgiven me. Not only has He forgiven me, He has covered my sin. He no longer sees my sin, it is wiped away I have a clean slate with Him! Why? Because God is full of kindness, abundant mercy and steadfast, unfailing love for all who call upon Him! Not conditional forgiveness or conditional love! No where did I find where He said in His Word, oh I will forgive you only the first time that you ask me but if you do it again – no way! Nor did I find that he was keeping a ledger and when I went before Him, He checked the ledger first to see if I had committed that particular sin before and thus the amount of His forgiveness would be weighed against previous offenses!
Wow as I kneel at the cross of Jesus and pour my heart and soul out to Him, asking for His forgiveness – it is freely given! Even in the midst of Jesus being crucified He asked our Father God to forgive those killing Him!
Luke 23:33-35 King James Version (KJV)
33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
This is the God that I serve. He has freely forgiven me and to be His servant, His child and a disciple sharing the Good News of Salvation – I am to be like His Son and to Freely Release Forgiveness to people in my own life. By holding on to the “weapon of un-forgiveness” I was imprisoning myself and using a weapon formed by the enemy of my very soul!
Oh God please forgive me of my ignorance in this matter! I don’t want to be held back or lesson the call that is on my life. I don’t want my good to be evil spoken of – for people to say, “Yep, she said she is a Christian but she has a lot of bitterness and un-forgiveness. Better not get on her bad side or cross her!”
When I arrived home I was able to search out the scriptures and see what Jesus specifically had to say in what we as His disciples are to do in the area of forgiveness.
Matthew 6:12 (KJV) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Matthew 6:14 (KJV) For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Matthew 6:15 (KJV) But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 18:21-22 (KJV)Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
No doubt at all – God has been speaking to my heart over the past couple of weeks. I need to change out some arsenal – I need to Release Forgiveness, not launch Un-forgiveness. The enemy of my soul and yours is a sly one – thinking that we are protecting our hearts we are really putting ourselves in a prison of un-forgiveness that then grows into the mutant root of bitterness!
Oh Lord, thank you for shining Your light on the darkness that was still lurking around my heart! Thank you for Your healing balm and anointing oil, for such a time as this.
Yes, I hear you, yes you – skeptics, doubting Thomas’ and the like.
- Sure this all sounds “great” now how does it really apply? How can releasing forgiveness be healing?
- How can it be from God – I am already hurting from people who have done me wrong.
- Now I’m supposed to just put myself out there and let them hurt me again? Yeah right!
I am not just writing empty words here to feel important, holier than thou or any such non-sense. You see I know about hurt and pain. I know what it is to have “dream killers” in my life that every time I have tried to share about things about my life or things that I know God shared with me – I heard…
“God didn’t tell you that!”
“God doesn’t work like that!”
“No way God would want you to do that!”
Too spiritual, Ok let’s get down to where most of us live on a daily basis. “Genie, if I were you, I would _________”. I have left the blank empty because it has been filled in with so many things over the years. Here is a short list of examples
- cut that person off
- change jobs
- not take that from them
- give them back what they gave you
- get rid of that man
- not have that baby, what kind of future will you have
- leave that guy, I’m sure there is someone better out there
- put my foot down
- let them have what for
- turn my back on them
Each and every one of the things that people have strongly suggested are not things that build up another person, show love, encourage healing, kindness or forgiveness. They are all very selfish words of advice – I would, I should, I better…
Now since I am being honest here – I have more times than not taken the advice given to me and ran straight forward into the fray! Mind you the same people who gave the advice are not out front running interference for me, they are standing on the sidelines calling their audibles!
A few times they have been there for me when I come back to the bench broken and bloody with my wounds of battle. However, more times than not I found myself alone, in the dark with my heart hanging out of my body, bleeding out, tears flowing like Niagara Falls, body mind and soul wracked with pain and no one, no one around at all.
So alone, very alone, severely wounded trying to piece myself back together without of clue of what really went wrong. I followed the advice given to me, yet something went terribly wrong and the outcome was nothing that I had heard about or was prepared for.
Now here, in my life today, over the last couple of weeks are my husband and Pastor Bev both speaking to my mind and heart about “Releasing Forgiveness”. A weapon that I have rarely ever received on this human realm in which we live, let alone heard of as even being a viable weapon of war! Yet God and His Son Jesus both freely have given it to me and countless others. To top it off Jesus said that if I did not release forgiveness then I myself would not be forgiven from His Father!
I know what it is like to be the recipient of un-forgiveness – to ask someone that you deeply love to forgive you but yet they cannot find it in their heart to do so. A chasm is formed that seems as large as the Grand Canyon in which there is no bridge long enough to get you from one side to the other. Each of you standing on your horizon – looking and calling across to the other but never able to really connect again.
As each minute, day, week, month and year pass it seems that the distance keeps growing, the gap never closing. Besides the initial pain and sadness, bitterness and sometimes hatred become so great – the initial reason for the rift is not clearly remembered. Then the thoughts, well if they aren’t going to forgive me, I won’t forgive them either! The hatred gaining wings and growing so great that it colors and clouds our vision, after time passes hatred and un-forgiveness it is all that is seen when the person’s name is even brought up in passing. Imprisoning not just the person who wronged you, but yourself. The enemy is tricky like that – in thinking that I will protect myself from so-n-so I really imprison myself and make the heavens like brass where God will not hear my requests; my own sins will go un-forgiven.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be free! No more shackles! No more chains of un-forgiveness holding me down or back. I want to dance and sing and fly upon eagles wings with my husband and my God! I am choosing today, yes today – God’s mercies are new every morning as we repent of our sins and we forgive those that have sinned against us. I choose life! God’s abundant life that He has for me. Life has not been easy, I have had many trials and tribulations – However today I choose to release forgiveness.
- I forgive my parents for their bitter divorce when I was a child and bringing so much pain and misery into my life.
- I forgive my father for not being a man of his word, thus giving me a false image of a truthful and trustworthy God.
- I forgive those in authority at a private college that said I could not date someone that was not the same “race” as me.
- I forgive my first husband for raping and beating me.
- I forgive myself for running from God when it seemed that my whole world and everything I had been taught about Him was a lie.
- I forgive my mother for hurtful things that were said when I was not living life as she would have liked, demonstrating conditional love.
- I forgive my in-laws for allowing the spirit of prejudice to speak from their lips.
- I forgive myself for having an abortion just so I would not bring a child into this world with parental un-certainty.
- I forgive my second husband for not providing for our family as a husband and father are supposed to according to God’s word.
- I forgive those bosses that demoted me, transferred me and fired me.
- I forgive those who told me to walk away and have nothing more to do with my beloved when he was arrested.
- I forgive those who said I was a bad mother and did not love my boys enough.
- I forgive those that said because of my past I was not “qualified” to be a missionary or a minister of the Gospel.
- I forgive myself for not walking in my calling sooner.
- I forgive myself for not standing up for what I know God was doing, saying or working in my life.
- I forgive …
Lord, I thank you for giving me this revelation. I thank you for setting this captive free and allowing me to walk in forgiveness by releasing it to myself and others. In Matthew 10:7-8 Your Word says, “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”
Lord You have freely given me forgiveness – now I freely give it to myself and to others. I now know that for me to have a clean slate I must keep a clean slate – no ledger or account book listing all those who have wronged me and weighing in to see if they deserve my forgiveness today. I want to be pleasing in Your eyes Lord, I want to walk in Your Love and Your Forgiveness, I love You and want You to be pleased with me Your servant. I want Your love to shine out from within me – I want to be a beacon of Your love to others. I want to be Your light on a hill – shining brightly.
For those of you still reading, BEWARE… I have not arrived! God is not done showing me what all that this warrior bride should have in her arsenal of weapons. Love is a multifaceted weapon to be sure and I need to know more. There is a war on – a spiritual war for souls – mine, my beloveds and yours.
God is good, faithful, just and true. He loves me and He loves you. He wants us to be spiritually healthy as we serve Him. He does want not our fruit to be so bitter that others get sick when they try to sample what we have to offer. He does not want us to be barren either, if we are a mature tree yet do not have His Fruit growing on our tree of righteousness.
I have some more growing and learning to do, I hope you join me on this journey of faith, love and salvation. I hope that I have encouraged someone today and that you will continue to follow me as I learn to follow Christ more completely. I will be learning and sharing about other weapons that God wants us to have in our arsenal as we fight this good fight of faith!
Sincerely Warrior Bride of Christ,
Mrs. Donnie W. Ojemann,
All I am, All For HIM!