by Tonja Taylor
I am so thankful the LORD only shows us what we can handle at the time. If He had shown me all the junk at once--the bitterness, anger, guilt, unforgiveness, envy, fear, shame, unworthiness, and such--that was in me for years, I would have surely just been so overwhelmed that I would have just passed out and gone on to Heaven!
"How are you?" our church friends and others ask. "Fine," we learn to say, for when we actually do bare our hearts and share the not-so-fine stuff in our lives, we quickly realize that, besides glazed looks and "uh huh, uh huh," and such mean that those words were often just polite greetings and that they listener doesn't really want to hear what's not fine about our lives. Then, as I and many have experience wayyyyy too many times before we finally learned to keep things to ourselves, we sometimes realize the funny looks and attitudes we get from others can come from the fact that the person or people we confided to have, well, "confided" our secrets to others; sometimes these gossippy bits are disguised as prayer requests.
And so that just makes things worse. It doesn't solve our problems; it just adds to them, and then we don't want to trust anybody.
Many times, I've had the thought--after being burned by trusting others that are supposed to be strong trustworthy Christians--I've thought, Who can I talk to that I can trust, who will really care, and really pray?
To be fair, we are all busy. And I truly do believe my pastors and other ministry leaders with whom we partner, plus church acquaintances and friends, do pray for us. And do we really want to hear the garbage in the lives of others, especially as we're rushing in the door to get to the sanctuary before worship starts--or rushing out the door to get home for lunch, especially if the service went "over"?
I don't. I tried counseling a couple times, and withdrew, after I realized I was being bogged down and not coming out of it, although I did care about the people and truly interceded for them.
God bless pastors and Christian counselors and other ministers! Double Grace to them, amen!
So, we really can't blame anyone, cause we usually feel the same way they do--busy, coming to get personally taught and encouraged and prayed for. It can be a form of selfishness, but that's the core of human nature, without God--and even with God, until we learn to recognize and overcome it.
But you probably know all this, right? You know what the problem(s) are; you want the solution!
One internationally-known minister taught this technique to hundreds of us at one of her conferences. She asked if anyone needed to forgive someone, and a woman came forth. The minister asked her who she needed to forgive, then had thej stand on stage, and she handed her a full water bottle. She told the woman that the water bottle represented unforgiveness, and had the woman extend her arm and hold the full water bottle.
The minister continued to teach for several minutes--while the woman stayed on stage, holding the full bottle, with her arm extended. Eventually, the minister turned back and asked the woman if she was ready to let the unforgiveness drop. The woman nodded. The minister led the woman in an oral prayer of forgiveness, then had her drop the bottle. It was a prophetic, physical act of what was going on in the woman's spirit.
The woman dropped the bottle, and if I remember right, there were tears--and healing and freedom.
Anyway, months ago, I was struggling with forgiving someone--and it was pretty intense, even after a couple of decades!--the LORD brought this example to me. I did it, while in a waiting room in a hospital, and, by the Grace of God, with no other people around. God is faithful! I went through the exercise, water bottle and all, and felt the breakthrough. I had tears. I asked the LORD to heal my heart and help me forget so these things did not hold me back.
He was faithful.
The enemy sometimes tries to bring things back and re-open old wounds. But by the grace and help of God, we can speak out and say, "No, I have forgiven him/her, and find no fault in them. They are not the accused, devil--you are! By faith in the Blood of Christ, I and they are the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, ruling and reigning with Him! I may not like them, but I am not their judge. But you are already judged, and you can never be forgiven, devil. Now, be gone, in Jesus' Name!"
Tonja K. Taylor is the author of many works, including THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCESS PEARL, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! series. She and her husband Clayton minister the Word through teaching, preaching, and the arts, through River Rain Creative Arts on You Tube, God Tube), their church, and beyond.