Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Witness of Forgiveness


Please read this.

If Christianity is not forgiveness then it is nothing. A man, his wife, and his son Hosea moved to Libya over one year ago. He was teaching chemistry and prayed God would use him to share Christ with the lost people of Libya whom Ronnie loved. He was shot and killed while jogging this week. But as you can read from the article his wonderful wife Anita expressed love and forgiveness to his killers and made it clear that they could find divine forgiveness through Jesus. What a testimony! What a witness!

I admit I was moved to tears as I read the Christ exalting spirit through this widow’s heart and lips. This, my friends, is Christianity. While the fallen kingdom of men argue over the politics of terrorism and just recently another tragedy in Benghazi, this young widow lifted up Jesus for all the world to see. How Christ is glorified when someone who has been the victim of such a tragedy steps forward even within two weeks after her husband went to be with Christ God strengthens her with a grace that allows her to forgive and desire redemption for his killers. Is this not the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?

This, my dear friends, is a glimpse into what Christianity should believe and exhibit in heart, lips, and life. It is a most difficult path but then again our master told us it would be difficult. The church has laid out such a self serving path that presents a yellow brick road of humanism and earthly pleasures, but here this one widow demolishes all the fake religion by her selfless expression of love and forgiveness for these killers. Oh my. I am convicted.

Let us allow the Spirit to take her witness and impress it upon our hearts and lives.
This is Jesus.

Ronnie edited a book entitled “The History of Redemption” and all the proceeds of that book will go to help Anita and Hosea. May God continue to use her for His glory. Here is where you can purchase that book.


Cherie c. said...

I am truly grieved and I am not going to say anything else.

Steve said...

I remember the killing of the five Amish girls in their school-house in 2006. As the Wikipedia article writes, "The emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation in the response of the Amish community was widely discussed in the national media."

It brought me to tears to hear that one of the first responses of the Amish was to minister to and comfort the family of the killer.

Some say the media is evil: that may even be true, especially of Rupert Murdoch's worldwide disinformation empire. But Christ's love, forgivesness, and healing is so great even they are forced to tell it...when they see it in us.

Praise to our King, who rules now and forever !

In Jesus, Steve

Rick Frueh said...

I remember it well, Steve. that expression of forgiveness impacted their community and many around the world. In the midst of their legalistic structure they exhibited a level of forgiveness that seems foreign in today's politically charged evangelical community. They even sent people to the murderer's funeral. Wow.

michael said...

I was molested at 8 years old. That singular event ruined my life! I've never ever trusted humans in sixty years! I don't look at this natural inclination as a curse. No, rather I see it as a blessing because the experience opened a unique opportunity of True trust for me in the Holy Spirit! I don't listen to anyone's thinking unless I hear the Holy Spirit's voice in the thinking or opinion. Unless I can hear the presuppositions of Scripture in your thinking or opinion you're wasting your time with me.

I say that to open up and share with this group two stories. Both true. One story was told to me by a sound Bible believing Pastor friend. The other I received directly from one side. Both are stories about raping by men, girls. Both show Truth about the power of Christ and forgiving.

First the story I heard about.

Some years ago a girl was deceptively led into an immorality where this 16 year old was raped by three men old enough to be her father in an upstairs "man cave" while these three men's wives were downstairs have a "church" social!

The girl ran downstairs to these women crying. She was dismissed by them as being overly emotional and dramatic! She left and went home and her mother took her to the police. They took her to the hospital. Indeed she had had sex that day but there was no signs of any force either with her flesh or cloths. The police immediately opened an investigation going immediately to the residence to question those accused. When they arrived they found the women downstairs and the men upstairs. The men were asked to come to the police station. They interviewed each man and each woman. The men denied rape. The women confirmed the girl's story that she came into the house with the men and after "something" happened upstairs she came downstairs claiming their husbands raped her. Their stories all matched. So no one was arrested!


michael said...

The girl withdrew stopping to go to church meetings. After a period of months she simply ran away. Her parents filed a missing person's report and that was that! Three years later she showed back up. She looked terrible! She was received back into the home but she refused to go to church or even leave home. She stayed in her room most of the time. After about six months her mother got her to attend church every now and then. Finally she agreed to visit with the Pastor but only on her terms and at her home.

They began meeting weekly. After a period of time the Holy Spirit began healing her soul. After awhile the only issue was her refusal to forgive the men and their wives.

One evening the Pastor received some inspiration from God about this reading from Matthew's Gospel and focused on it when he came for his weekly meeting with her.

He read this to the young lady:

Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

He then said he told her there was no earthly power in her to forgive these men or their wives so he recommended she accept that reality and just give this whole struggle of unforgiveness to Christ and let do all the forgiving for her!

He said as soon as she heard that she lite up! He saw some new spark in her eyes! They prayed and this time she got up and hugged the Pastor smiling and thankful. He left.

The following Sunday when she came into the Sanctuary the Pastor notice a brilliant glow within this young lady. He also noticed a sense of hunger on her as he brought the Word! She didn't flee out the building afterwards but hung around and fellowshipped with others.

He met her again and asked her what was going on with her having acknowledged this remarkable joy of Christ was apparent to him about her? She said something he said to her after reading those verses from Matthew 6 got her to focus off her inability to forgive and onto Christ's ability to forgive for her then she said that earlier that day her found newness of life from reading Matthew 11 and especially the part of Christ asking her to come to Him and take His yoke onto herself.

She's been fully restored to Christ's love leaving all the heavy lifting to Him!


michael said...

Now the other story.

I came back from Africa on medical leave because of Malaria. It nearly killed me! In fact while up country in a region called Koiadu, Sierra Leone and on what I was told was my deathbed the African Pastor who was helping me with the severe malaria attack said he believed I did died but after he prayed for me from an unconscious state I came back to life! This was back in early December1996. I'm back home now and a friend suggested I get a computer and discover the world of the internet.

So I did and have been using both ever since, the computer and the internet. In fact I marvel that right now I'm using my IPhone typing away which has more speed and memory than my latest computer and I have my electronic Bibles and Hebrew and Greek tools on this phone too!

Anyway back then I also was sworn into the Police Chaplaincy program for the City I'm from and live in. One area of ministry that also opened up to me was the chat room. Of course my preference was the "Christian" chat room where I could counsel anyone and use my computer tools to teach the Word of God to those who wanted to receive what I wanted to share.

As time went along back then, 1996, 7, 8 ect., I was approached by two brothers, Christians from Nevada who asked if I would be one of their administrators on their site? They had been watching me and how I was interacting on their chat site. After paying them a visit in person in Nevada so as to get to know them I agreed. They gave me certain codes and levels of access to their realm so I could do things and "know" things about those coming onto their site so that when there was a need to block unwarranted comments I could being an administrator.

One unique feature was the ability to know or rather see the computer addresses of those chatting and leaving comments and by addresses I mean I can see the sequence of numbers of the computer used and associated with the one making the comment. Sometimes people would start up several accounts using different chat room names. If you were not in an administration position you could not know that those several comments just made by three different chat room names were from the same computer whose computer ID number I could see was the same.

Well I lay all that out to tell this story.

I began doing administrative duties on this Christian site and began to see this phenomenon. I noticed a particular commenter make a comment about rape. Then another commenter would ask questions of this commenter. Some other chatters would come in and get involved with the chat. There were three particular chatters using the same computer. This caught my attention because on some days these three and me were the only ones chatting!

After chatting with one of the three another of these three would ask me how I'd deal with the other's issue about being raped? I'd respond appropriately. It was at this time I was told the other story by my Pastor friend. So I began ministering along the lines of this other girl how she was healed by The Lord letting Him do the forgiving through her for her.


michael said...

This wasn't going over to well with this person. They were very bitter because the man who raped her was her best friend's father. He raped her when she was on a weekend sleep over. She was 12 years old!

Now the rape occurred in 1994. I was a sworn Police Chaplain. It is January or February of 1997. That year the legislators changed the law that if any clergy were informed of any "felony" committed upon a "minor" they now were required by "Law" to report it to the District Attorney of the jurisdiction where the felony was committed even against the protest of the minor or your duty to keep private their personal if requested. This became a troubling issue for me and this girl who I'd won her trust with and was ministering to her. She didn't want any of this brought to the authorities. She was gaining confidence that she could her personal life with me in confidence and get counsel from me. She trusted that it would remain in confidence. She had started to open up about the devastation she was experiencing emotionally everyday. How after being brutally raped, torn open, she couldn't stop bleeding so she had to tell her parents only part of the story, that she was continually bleeding. She didn't want to tell them why. They took her to the hospital and after being examined and after the doctor's focused inquiry it came out what caused the injuries! Things didn't go so well because her parents couldn't believe the next door neighbor did such a thing. This was a rural farming community where everybody knew what you ate for dinner every night!

She was withdrawing, suicidal and cutting herself. She was being tormented by spirits. And now being fourteen she began sleeping around and got into another more horrible circumstance where she was gang raped by a half dozen neighborhood boys!

All this was happening and her way to deal with it was in this chat room. I came into it by that novelty of seeing chat with herself even when it was just her. Little by little I was gaining her confidence.

She started using drugs.

I'd sought some counsel from the Pastor friend and he got me now focused on another area of Scripture from Matthew 18.

Matthew 18:35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

He began to see a connection between members of his congregation struggling with tormenting spirits and their unforgiveness toward others.

I began to as well.

This young girl was crying out for help and was using the chat room as a place to discuss her innermost feelings of guilt and shame! It was personal yet impersonal because of the nature of the internet and anonymity.

The Lord began giving me more and more insights into His Word and His Grace for why people in general suffer mentally.

Here's another area that opened up understanding to me:

Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.


michael said...

So I share these things to say I too have had a very difficult time forgiving others who have offended me. I've noticed sometimes the emotional struggle goes away when I just give it up to The Lord and enter into unrestrained praise and thanksgiving to The Lord that where I utterly fail and fall short He doesn't and didn't!

That's not always the case though, that the harassing spirit/s go away. No sometimes I'm backed up against the wall ready to explode! Sometimes the only thing I can do after praise and thanksgiving is more praise and thanksgiving and that doesn't work I then just have to praise and thank The Lord more earnestly!

Maybe these verses will touch soul as they have me when your back is up against the wall and you feel like you are about to explode?

Psalm 143:1 A Psalm of David. Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge.[fn]
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
11 For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.

Rick Frueh said...

Thank you for sharing, Michael. Really, thank you for sharing your heart.

Annette said...

A dear sister in Christ Jesus stopped by my home and visited today.....a true blessing from our LORD.

And then another true blessing from our Father.....reading and pondering your post on forgiveness and waiting in earnest for brother Michael to finish his testimony. The power and wonder of Almighty God at work bears witness to my soul this day. Praise God! Praise God!

Praising our LORD for you Michael as you minister to many of us. Those Scripture verses are powerful.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the two adjectives harassed and helpless. Let's not forget that the unsaved are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Let's not forget that they need us to introduce them to the good shepherd.

David had a unique witness! Truly the life-giving Lord of the Old and New Testament can bring our soul out of trouble. Truly His cleansing love can restore our soul, so that we can forgive fully from our heart.

Reine Gnade

Anonymous said...

Amen Michael. Amen!