God’s Perspective of Forgiveness
One day as I was sitting in my office, I heard my next appointment in the waiting room. This lady had made an appointment a week earlier. She had a fulfilled marriage of 18 years, with three teenage children, and all was going well. Or so I thought… The waiting was over and she stepped into my office.
“Hi Sarah, please have a seat. How are you today?” I asked.
“Oh, I’m fine.” She said, with an apprehensive hesitant tone.
Sensing the struggle in her, I asked, “What is on your heart today?”
She hung her head, sat down in the chair said, “I need your help. I need to forgive my father. For some reason …I am not able to do that.”
My first response was rather candid, “Well, you know what the scripture says about forgiveness, don’t you?”
She says, “Yes, and I have said ‘I forgive you’ over and over again. I have prayed it. I have spoken it out loud, but somehow feelings of anger and rage keep coming up inside me, and pain comes up with it.” Her pain surfaced and I could see the conflict building. She tried to brush it off, but it would not be denied.
In that moment I realized that I was missing something. So I asked, “Do you want to tell me what you need to forgive him for?”
She looks down again, and sighs, “Ok…, I love my dad… but when I was 12 years old my dad started coming into my bedroom at night and sexually molesting me. This continued maybe two or three times a week until I was sixteen and I ran away from home. Our relationship has been now been reasonably restored, and I have tried everything to forgive him and let it go, but I can’t seem to do it.”
I thought to myself, “Give me a gun and I’ll take care of it for you.” I’m glad I didn’t say that out loud. No wonder she is troubled with forgiveness. Her father; the one man who was to establish her identity, watch over her, protect her, and be the strong moral foundation for her family; began to lust after her, touch her inappropriately, and gratify his lustful desire with her violently. This action is so demeaning that it crushes the spirit. The closest description to the way she would feel is as a black hole that is so dark and lifeless that it sucks up every good feeling from her life.
As she is pouring out her heart, I began a conversation with God in the back of my mind, “Oh God, please help! The trite answers that everyone would give for forgiveness will not work in this situation. I need your wisdom Oh Lord. What do you want me to tell her?”
Then I heard a still small voice that I know as the Lord’s whisper, “She needs a picture for her life that is bigger than herself.” While I was talking to her in my office, this conversation between me and God continued in the back of my mind. “I agree Lord, but what picture would that be?”
He said, “Take out a piece of paper. I want you to tell her a story and draw a diagram. Write on the right side near the top, ‘Jehovah = I am that I am’ and tell her that I am Jehovah, which means ‘I am that I am.’”
He then said “Draw a triangle, representing God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as the originator of this plan, in the top left corner of the paper. Now share this with her, Jehovah = I am that I am, and that everything adds up in my universe.”
As I wrote this on that piece of paper, my hand went right under the ‘I am that I am’ and wrote 1+1=2, and then under that equation to write 2+2=4. Then he said, “Tell her that since ‘I am that I am’ is my nature, what you see is what you get. Everything adds up in my universe and everything has to add up in my universe. I am perfect, and I created everything perfect in its original state.”
Then the still small voice said, “Now, draw a short line from the left side of the paper, about half way down.” As I drew, my hand moved as if I knew what to draw. For an hour or more I talked to her about God’s eternal plan for her life, and his eternal purpose to forgive and redeem his creation back to him. On the line at the left side of the paper, I drew two trees with two people (stick figures) standing under these trees.
And then he said, “Now tell her… Into this perfect environment I planted a garden full of fruit trees. But in the midst of this garden, I put the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then I put Adam in the garden and told him “…of every tree in the garden you may eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof thou shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
Then He said, “Tell her that Adam and Eve chose to eat from this forbidden tree and disobey me. And when they acted in disobedience, they sinned and fell from the original state of perfection they were created in, to a state of legal separation from me and a total commitment to self as the source, causing the curse of death and the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil to pass as an inherited curse to every man woman and child.”
As I was describing the fall, I drew a vertical line down to the bottom of the page, and drew two stick figures, lying down in a position of death. Next, I drew a circle around them with slash marks around the circle coming from the outside of the circle in toward Adam and Eve; illustrating the anger of God that was directed toward them for their act of disobedience and that the integrity of his nature required when a breach to his Holiness is activated. This circle that looked like an explosion illustrated his nature being an all consuming fire, that cleanses as it consumes.
Then he said, “Tell her that in the moment of their decision, they sinned and fell from perfection. For the first time in earth’s creation, everything did not add up in my universe any more. But everything must add up in my universe, and someone has to pay for sin and death. Therefore, I was presented with two choices.
First, I could totally annihilate them; making them pay for their own disobedience and causing them to bear the full weight of my righteous anger. If I annihilate them, everything will be atoned for, and everything will add up in my universe again. This was my first choice, but I had another.
Second, I could take all that they deserved in judgment and death, anger and accusation, guilt and condemnation, offence and betrayal onto myself, and then take all of that righteous and holy justice of destruction and death out on my Son on the cross.”
As I said this, my hand drew a circular line starting from the explosion of death at the bottom of the left-hand section of the page; around to the top of the page right into the triangle I had drawn in the beginning, representing God. Next, I moved about 2/3’s of the distance across the page and drew a cross on the timeline. And then I drew a straight line on an angle from the triangle to the cross, representing the place where God put all that Adam and Eve deserved on his Son. Jesus was made “…to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Then he said, “When I chose this, Adam and Eve, and with them all of humanity, was given grace and mercy to be lifted up into life again; not because they deserved it, but because I loved them.” As I was saying these things, I drew a line from the circle of death and judgment up to the straight timeline that was completed to the right of the page. Then, I drew the stick figures of Adam and Eve on the line.
He continued, and I continued, “Now, in this state of grace they would be given many opportunities to hear my story of salvation, see Jesus on the cross, and exercise their free-will to believe in my Son Jesus. If they choose to receive and believe, they will receive eternal life and walk in forgiveness. But if they choose not to believe, they will die in their sin, and be sent to hell with the fallen angels.”
Tell her “I took the second choice, and took her sin on myself, and took all of my righteous anger and justice out on my son on the cross. And now, everything adds up in my universe again. I and my Son paid what she could not. It was her sin and her father’s sin that I took to the cross.”
We then said, “Now your father is lying in that fallen place of death and condemnation, deserving total annihilation. When you were in this same place of sin, I took your offense on myself, carried it to the cross and left it there. Will you take your father’s sin on yourself, carry your father’s offense to the cross and leave it there? This is how she can act just like me.” Her tears started to roll down her cheeks. She hung her head to think and process what she had heard.
After a few moments I asked, “Do you want your father to be condemned to hell forever for what he has done to you?”
It felt almost like an eruption when she exclaimed, “No… He is my dad!” Then I saw a light come into her eyes. She lifted up her head and said, “Thank you, I can forgive him now.” When she chose to forgive, her burden was lifted, and she was free. Through wisdom, this lady received an entirely new perspective of her life purpose and she was shown how to forgive. She built a foundation for truth and wisdom for her life when she chose to act.
This is an story taken as a segment out of Steve’s new book coming out soon entitled: Imagine… unlocking the power to create