Today I write out of the overflow of my heart. I write to singers, musicians, worship leaders and anybody who will listen. Forgiveness is one of the greatest weapons in our spiritual arsenal and it is also one of the most important decisions we can choose to make every day of our lives. Forgiveness is a gift.
I speak from my own personal wounds when I say forgiveness, true forgiveness, is the best route to any healing and to growing in Christ. I can think back on times in my life when I was done wrong by others. There were times when this wrong came upon me not for anything that I did, but just because God allowed it. The person, whether aware or unaware, was used to sharpen my character and test the nature of Christ in me. How much do I really look like Jesus or more importantly how much do I want to look like Him? How much of me am I willing to give away to see His light shine through?
I can recall a time when I was dealing with a situation when a person had hurt me. I was holding this hurt in my heart and I was at the point of not wanting to release forgiveness to them. This person was distant from God and the challenge was presented to me to pray for them so they would be restored to Him. God wanted me to ask for mercy. I thought to myself “You have got to be kidding me! All the pain they caused, heck no!” There was nothing in me that wanted to help make right the wrong that someone else had did to me, but this was the challenge from God. God had presented me with a challenge to help restore a person who had hurt me. God was more interested in this person finding Him then me getting my vengeance. God was displaying what Jesus did on the cross and asked me to join in that. My hurt was embittered and I did not know that it was, but God revealed the essence of my heart in a rebuke. He led me to a passage of scriptures that cut my soul and flesh like a knife and showed what sin was still bleeding through me—the sin of un-forgiveness.
One day while praying and reading the Word I was reading through Romans. I stopped at Romans 2 and the words pierced me:
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?”
God clearly spoke to me through His word and let me know that “by choosing not to forgive this individual, you yourself are in sin and if you are in sin then I will judge you for that sin.”
Matthew 7 says it this way,
““Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
I was angry at this person and did not want to forgive, but God quickly reminded me that I would be held accountable for my unwillingness to forgive. In a moment He leveled the playing field. It did not matter what this person did to me. I still had a responsibility to keep myself holy and clean before God in my heart and actions. He let me see that sin was sin and if I chose to walk in un-forgiveness it was sin. He was not interested in petting my “demons” or my issues. He wanted me to deal with this head on. It was not an option, but a command to forgive and in this moment I was challenging God on the commands He had set into place. I was disregarding His nature and putting myself above Him. I was in sin.
So what does this have to do with you? What does this have to do with singers, musicians, worship leaders and those in the Body of Christ? It is very simple: EVERY Christian Must Choose to Forgive! We must forgive often and always. I find that almost daily I am presented with an opportunity to be offended, angry, bitter produce any of the other bad fruit listed in scripture. I also realize that each day I am presented with a way of escape. I can escape walking in myself and choose to put on Christ.
Singers and musicians I specifically speak to us now. Our worship is to be grounded in the Word and Spirit led. For this to happen we have to live what the Bible speaks. I do not say this as if we will be perfect, but we must strive daily to give ourselves over to God and ask for His help to live this life as Jesus did.
Even now, ask God to make your character. Ask Him to conform you to the image of His Son. Ask for His grace to forgive often and always.
I am happy to say that I chose to forgive and pray for that person! We have a great relationship that the Father restored when I chose to forgive. Prior to forgiveness, I did not see restoration in our future, but God did! He knew that as the offended and “victim” in this situation I had to be the one to extend forgiveness to bring them closer to God and to myself. If I did not forgive this person my entire life would have been negatively affected. I would have continued living in un-forgiveness and my heart would have turned cold. In addition, my calling as worship leader and witness of Christ would have also been tainted.
Our ability to obey affects the call on our lives.
To this day, I am presented with this challenge. I must say I still fail at accepting it, but I am getting better day by day. I ask Holy Spirit to help me to forgive and each time He does! This helps me to realize that for me to really forgive I need Holy Spirit’s help.
Here are 4 basic steps I take in the process of forgiveness:
- Recognize the wrong done
- Take it to the Lord, and ask for His help
- Choose to forgive, and ask for His help
- Ask God to heal you of the pain, and ask for His help
- Follow the Biblical steps for conflict resolution and reconciliation.
- Oh and ASK FOR HIS HELP
Asking for His help is the safest way to be led by the Spirit of God and to become whole in areas of wounding. You will be so glad that you did!