Do you ever have a time where a picture pops up on your memories that says “Two years ago today” but it brings sad memories and not happy ones? Where the picture are a memory of what was lost? Freedoms, friendships, a time of peace and safety?
I’ve had a lot of those moments in the past.
We were forced out of a church and “shunned” by many of its members five years ago today. It was hands down the most confusing and painful experience of my life. Afterwards, there was period of time where seeing pictures of my old best friend or even driving past our old church would literally break me into a sobbing mess.
A time when a worship song would come on and it reminded me of them, so I couldn’t sing.
A time when opening my Bible brought pain, because I used to read it with those I loved and they had rejected me. Gods word reminded me of them, and it was too painful to read.
I’ve been reading the book “Seven Woman” by Eric Mataxas and yesterday I got to my favorite of the women – Corrie Ten Boom.
At one point she outright says these words: “We need to realize that forgiveness is the ONLY pathway to freedom from our tormentors.”
My heart was warmed as I remembered how much healing her story brought to my life when I faced my own path to forgiveness. How I learned from her that I could forgive, even if I never received one apology from the church. That journey brought me freedom.
It brought me peace.
Our world doesn’t see things this way anymore. On the news the other day, a mother got a chance to speak to her daughter’s killer on the air and she said these chilling words: “I hope you NEVER get another moment of peace.”
My heart broke for this woman, not only for her loss, but for the undeniable truth that until she forgives that man, it is SHE that will never have another moment of peace. Bitterness isn’t going to bring harm upon your perpetrator, it will only harm you. Likewise, forgiveness isn’t setting them free, it is setting yourself free from the continual torment of the past.
I see much of what is going on in our world in the news and I have to say, we have a real problem with forgiveness. We are becoming a very bitter and hardened people because of it.
Today this passage is on my heart:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”
Isaiah 61:1-4 NIV
There’s a lot of rebuilding that needs to happen in our world right now.
As the truth about our history comes out, my country has a lot of rebuilding to do. Canada can no longer pretend that the residential schools weren’t in our history. We tore innocent children from their parents arms, abused them and covered them up in unmarked, forgotten graves which splatter our land with the guilt of the past.
As the ugliness of our church split comes out, my church has a lot of rebuilding to do. We can no longer pretend that all is well. We can no longer act like we have everything figured out and are all put together. The sheep that are scattered all over the place should break our hearts, should cause us regret and self reflection.
As the ugliness in my own heart comes out: attitudes against people, against leaders, against government policies, against rules upon rules upon rules – that bring so much division – I can no longer pretend that I am any better than anyone.
I need a Saviour.
Father, rebuild the ancient ruins and restore what’s been broken along the way. Somewhere along the way we have lost sight of the mission, of the simple gospel. We have gotten caught up in the mess and refused to come to you for forgiveness, love, hope and freedom. We need your healing.
Every single one of us.