Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Exercises in Forgiveness
After an unexpected incident, which led to more opportunities for healing and growth, I knew we needed to seal our hearts a little tighter. The wounds needed mending. It was also a good way to release the wounds of and say goodbye to, August and hello to September, a new month, a fresh start.
One exercise I have developed and found helpful in aiding the work of forgiveness involves actual fire.
I had my children join me in an exercise I have done myself. We make a list, two actually. One side is all the offenses, hurts, and wounds we can think of, remember, or the Lord reveals, that have been perpetrated against us. It doesn't matter if they are real or only perceived. Whatever it is, it gets written down.
The other side is creating a list of offenses, hurts, wounds, we have perpetrated against others. We take these lists and bring them before the fire. We say a pray confessing these wounds and declaring FORGIVENESS of every offense. We physically tear the paper to bits and pieces and we throw it into the fire. We set our hearts free from resentment, bitterness and or unforgiveness.
We do the same for ourselves, we repent and receive forgiveness as our 'sins' are torn to shreds and burned in the fire. We verbally speak aloud, forgiveness, release from repayment or obligation, repentance and freedom.
At the end, we make declaration of life and blessings on our offenders and over ourselves as we watch the evidence of our wounds disintegrate into ash. It is a raw reminder of God's promises of restoration to us:
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
Beauty comes from the ashes. God created man from the dust, the dirt, perhaps even the ashes of the earth. He created something remarkable and breathed His life and image into him...into us.
My children will walk in freedom. They are free to love, to forgive, to laugh and be themselves. They are free to know their value and worth in Christ...enough that they will not harbor bitterness nor tolerate the weakness of another mistreating them.
It's a symbolic gesture. A gesture of our commitment to healing and freedom.
Always moving forward.