Introducing you to another friend from 40 years ago. Shirley Wright has now gone to be with the Lord. Colin and I were very blessed to pastor with Ken and Shirley Wright in our church in New Zealand. Ken ministered around the world with YWAM back in those days, but was based in our church, Christian Center in Palmerston North.
I am posting this article Shirley wrote about Forgiveness 40 years ago! THE PRINCIPLES ARE JUST AS POWERFUL TODAY Please read it:
EVERY TWO MINUTES!
How do you respond to pressure in your daily life?
It depends on whether you have a clear conscience and a peaceful heart. Can I hear you say, “Is that possible?” What a joy to be able to say, “Yes, yes, yes.”
We as women are more sensitive and tend to get hurt more easily than men so we need to be extra watchful. The key to a clear conscience is forgiveness. I know it is almost a forgotten word today as we hear of so many broken marriages and rebellious children.
But God has the answer. All through the Bible forgiveness runs like a golden thread. I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I received God’s forgiveness and oh, how clean I felt.
It says 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.” However, we are so prone to looking back and blaming ourselves for things we have done in the past. But remember, when you confess your sins, they are wiped out through the blood of Jesus.
Because Jesus has forgiven you, you can forgive yourself! And don’t feel guilty for not feeling guilty!
Because Jesus has forgiven me, so I must forgive others. And so must you. Matthew 6:14, 15 says: “Your Heavenly Father will forgive you if you forgive those who sin against you; but if you refuse to forgive them, He will not forgive you.” These are strong words and leave us no excuse.
I think Jesus must have smiled when the disciples asked Him: “How many times must we forgive?” He replied, “Seventy times seven.” That means 490 times a day. In a day of 16 working hours it would mean 30 times an hour or once every two minutes. Wow!
PULL OUT THE WEEDS
As We counsel people, my husband and I find unforgiveness is the root cause of breakdown in relationships. Words are spoken that hurt and wound, but unless you forgive, it gives ground for some awful weeds to grow.
Do you do much gardening? We have couch grass and it keeps springing up just when I think the ground is clear. Unless I follow the root to the end and pull it out with all its little roots, my garden soon looks as though I never weeded it.
Unforgiveness, if left, leads to resentment, self-pity, bitterness, and “everyone else’s fault, not mine.” When it is embedded in your soul, it affects your body.
YOUR HEALTH IS AT STAKE
A lot of sickness is caused by hurts that are harbored and nurtured instead of letting them go in forgiveness.
I remember my husband, Ken, praying with an older lady who was crippled with arthritis and very depressed. He told her how much God loved her. Then God revealed to him that she had been terribly hurt and rejected by some close relatives and this was keeping her sick.
When he asked her if she would forgive them, as it was hurting her more than them anyway, she said, “Yes.” She asked the Lord Jesus to forgive her first, and then said, “And I forgive them.” Immediately a wave of peace washed over her as she sank back on the pillows and smiled. “I feel better already,” she exclaimed with a new light in her eyes.
A week later he went back to see her and she was up, dressed, and excitedly lifted her arm above her head to show what she couldn’t do before. She went to the window and pulled the blind up and down. “I couldn’t do that before,” she said. “Every day I do something new. I am so happy.”
We know that not all cases of arthritis are due to resentment and bitterness, but we need to examine our hearts, don’t we?
Another story comes to my mind of a young lady who had moved from apartment to apartment because of her job and for some reason she seemed to get offside with her landlords. She was a girl who had not known real love in her home and already felt rejected. All these blowups caused her to go into real self-pity. She was very unhappy.
One rainy day she decided to clean out her basement—a job she had been putting off. As she went down the steps she found the dark basement all lit up. No, she had not reached the light switch!
God was giving her a vision. As she looked, she saw many faces– her old landlords and they were all pointing to her and sneering. She recoiled in her heart. At the same time, she saw Jesus looking at her with much love and compassion. Then He turned and looked at all the mean faces of her landlords.
She knew without saying that Jesus wanted her to forgive them and she cried out, “Lord, forgive me for harboring the hurts. I forgive them.” In a moment those sneering, angry faces changed and smiled at her. God restored peace to her heart and she felt His love and presence surrounding her.
She slowly came out of that basement. It was still untouched, but inside her heart the clean up took place. She was a different girl to the one who went downstairs. She had not only met Jesus, but experienced an inner healing as she forgave.
Hebrews 12:14, 15 reminds us to be watchful and guard our lives against a root of bitterness springing up which brings torment to our minds and hurt to others.
Do you feel you have been badly treated? Perhaps you have. Yet Jesus says, “Forgive, as I have forgiven you.”
Perhaps a tragedy has hit you. Maybe you have been terribly disappointed and subconsciously blame God for it. I did this once and used it to take out my frustrations on those dearest to me. Things changed I asked God to forgive me I noticed in a few days that things were changing as I accepted my circumstances instead of resenting them.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Will you freely forgive others as God has forgiven you? You will then know the wonderful blessing of a clear conscience and perfect heart rest.
SHIRLEY WRIGHT, Palmerston North