Thursday, January 26, 2012

Forgiveness, Freedom and Peculiar People

I am privileged to work for a Christ-centered recovery center. Although some of us here may 2-Step and Do-Si-Do - we don't 12-Step. You might say we One-Step: we believe if you step up to the Cross and give your life to Christ, He will take care of the rest.

One of the great perks of being a part of this ministry is watching God move, and hearing "God Stories." Every day a new miracle....

Early this morning, a brother in Christ shared one such "moment" with me. As he told his story, I reflected on how a passerby might view such an event. It was a sobering realization that illustrates once again, how foolish and wrong it is for us to label and to judge.....Walk with me for a moment, and "view" his story:

My brother had been battling bitterness and forgiveness. He was wronged in an affair of the heart and his pain was very raw, and very real. He realized that in order to heal, he must forgive.

You know, it's very easy for us to tell someone "you have to forgive." It is quite another thing to actually DO some my brother struggled. He shared with me that he had often taken his bitterness and unforgiveness to the Altar, only to be unable to even speak the names of those he needed to forgive. So...many times he had walked back from the Altar carrying the same burden he had wanted to leave behind.

He shared how, in his heart he KNEW he had to be rid of this thing...he KNEW he had to forgive...and he WANTED to do this, but he could not. He simply could not.

But guess what, guys? God could see his heart. And here's what God did:

My brother purposed in his heart to find some quiet place and pray about this thing. On his way to doing just that, he felt compelled to sit down on a bench under a tree. So, he sat. He sat and he decided to pray. But he could not. God spoke to him and said, "Be Still." He obeyed.

What happened as a result of his obedience was that God began to minister to his spirit. He explained to me how he felt the "rain" (no it wasn't water from the sky)....and how he felt something deep within himself burst open and release a "flowing" throughout his body. (Now, those of you who do not believe in Spiritual Gifts such as speaking in tongues, please close your ears on this part.) He opened his mouth to try to pray again, but instead heard utterances (yes, in his own voice) that were in a language he did not understand. Momentarily, when the words ceased, he said he tried to repeat them, and could not, because he did not KNOW them. But this is what he DID know: When he got up to leave the bench, he was FREE. Free of the bitterness, free of the anger, free of every emotion associated with unforgiveness. In releasing this thing to God, he himself had been set free. He went on to say that he began to earnestly pray for the person he had forgiven....praying for his salvation...praying that God would bless his life.....and my friend was flooded with an indescribable JOY... ( what does the Bible say about where our strength comes from? Hmmm)

A beautiful story of release. A "God" Thing.

The Post Script is my reflection:
As the story unfolded before my "eyes" I began to wonder how I, we, anyone, might have viewed this scene had we been passing by. Think about it. In the early morning hours we see a man seated on a bench near a place that houses addicts in the "inner city" (somewhat). We see him looking for invisible rain that he feels on his shoulders, and we hear him "mumbling" incoherent words........

I wonder guys, just how many times in my life I may have passed by a "God" moment, and brushed it off as some "crazy" person talking to themselves......some addict having hallucinations...never stopping to consider that I just might be seeing one of God's "peculiar people."

As I said earlier, this is another prime example of why God did not appoint us to judge (nor did He call us  to inspect fruit...a Judge by any other name is still a Judge)....I'm just sayin'.....

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