Last week we finished the weekly message with this truth:
What most victims are left with is a feeling of guilt, falsely allowing the blame to fall and remain ON them—so that— the person who needs forgiveness never feels the full effect of their sin.
So, again, if you’ve taken on guilt that isn’t yours—no matter how big or how small—and if you’re unsuccessful at ridding yourself of it (being unable to be set free from it), then, this week, I am excited to share even MORE truth, both amazing and profound. You'll see why the enemy is able to continue to torment the VICTIM, so that the person who has sinned seems unaffected.
On the flight home, after my hostess and I drove to where she was raped, where this guy used to live, and other locations that she was unable to go anywhere near prior to the Lord healing her of her false guilt, He told me:
There is only ONE SET of negative emotions per sin. So if you take them falsely then the real sinner feels no remorse. And without remorse there is no need for a sinner to repent—hence the sinner remains a sinner and worse, often repeats the sin and offense again and again and again.
We are told again and again to forgive, right? And not only when someone is sorry, but immediately. God who created the world and all the principles and laws, told us how important this was and it was for many reasons. We are unable to heal from what has happened to us is first and foremost. Though our minds may not forget, I have experienced being able to think about it and use my experience with others, but without any negative emotion attached. There is no pain or shame at all.
The other reason that is equally important to forgive is so we can express love to the one who has sinned against us. Because when we forgive, then we are freed from the guilt (of what we should have or should not have done), and then with forgiveness given, the sinner can fully FEEL the weight of their sin.
There are so many examples that are flying through my mind, but let me take just one of my favorites that I hope will help you gain the ability to forgive even the worst of sinners.
When our family was living in Pensacola, where RMI was founded, there was a 3-mile bridge that was very dangerous. Even my brother-in-law lost his cousin when hit by a drunk driver on the bridge the year before he too passed away. So whenever we heard about an accident on the 3-mile bridge, it was big news.
The tragedy hit a dear family who was very close to us and who was in full-time ministry. It was this couple who God used to teach me so much about ministering. One day they got the call that all parents dread: their son had been in a car accident on the 3-mile bridge, had been life-flighted and the police were at their home to take them to the hospital. As they drove on the other side (the oncoming traffic due to the other side being stopped by the wreckage of cars involved), with sirens blaring, they saw what was left of their son’s car and believe he could not have survived. It was nothing short of a miracle that he did survive—but now walks with a significant and pronounced limp and is unable to use his right arm.
BUT it’s what the news said (both on television and the newspaper headlines) and what was repeated in the headlines across the nation that got everyone’s attention. The man was not only drunk but was also on drugs and was a repeated 7 time DUI offender, and was driving without a license. Yet these parents asked to speak to the man in jail— to let him know that they had forgiven him and that even if their son didn’t make it, that he shouldn’t blame himself. The news reported that the man broke down and wept, and the father of this man clinging to life reached toward him and embraced him as he wept. Because these parents were able to forgive this repeat offender—he felt the full effect of what he had done. And during the trial, these parents made a statement and asked the court for mercy.
This outrageous act of forgiveness allowed the press to also hear the way to be saved, which happened on one of the later visits to the jail. Each day after visiting their son, as a couple, they would go visit this man in jail, in order to: assure him that their son was out of the coma, was speaking, and when he began moving his limbs again. And due to their example of compassion, when released from the hospital, even though he could not walk, their son’s first stop was to the jail to forgive this man personally—which also made the news!
Most of us will never be called to do something so amazing and so public, but each and every day we can live the way He says we should and change the lives of the people who observe our lives, who are reading the epistle of our lives.
Side note: This couple had a restored marriage! When I met my friend, her husband had been in full-time ministry for years, running the local soup kitchen that also had a shelter and program for women who had lost their children through court intervention (where I volunteered and taught). My friend shared with me that she had been saved from a wild life, while married, then afterward, she prayed for her husband to have a “Damascus” experience. He did. When God touched him, immediately afterward, he began to carry their huge family bible around wherever he went. And the most amazing thing happened—God gave him the gift of retaining word-for-word everything he read.
At the time he owned a small diner and began giving food to the homeless when it closed each night. It led to opening a soup kitchen and later the city gave them all the land under the freeway to expand. Yet, as they told me, “Erin, you won’t believe the blessings and how your life will change once you begin ministering full-time. But just remember, this is when your trials begin, not when they end.”
It’s again time to STOP now (or make a date later) to selah what you’ve learned, in other words, meditate on everything. AND be sure that you just don’t think about what you’ve learned, but you set up a date with your Husband to be alone with Him and ASK Him to share with you how this message applies to you and anything else you can ASK Him. Then sit quietly and listen 😉 And keep your love alive by living like this daily.