The Problem with Unforgiveness. The Forgotten Message, Part 10


Worship in Africa

Last time we discovered that our Heavenly Father not only wants to heal us, but He also wants to forgive us. After all God cares for our whole being: spirit, soul and body. I love the following verse: "for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Rom 10:13, NIV2)

At first impression, this verse speaks of salvation. When we dig deeper into the Greek (The original language of the New Testament), however, we discover that the word "saved" in Greek is "sozo". This word refers to much more than Salvation. It refers also to rescue from danger, to saving one suffering from disease, to restoration to health. We could literally read this verse: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved and healed." (Rom 10:13, NIV2) This is confirmed by another Bible verse: "By his wounds we are healed." (Isa 53:5b, NIV2)

We either believe or we do not. However, according to our belief, we either experience our Heavenly Father fully or we don't.

We are truly completely healed through Jesus, who carried not only our sins, but also all of our illnesses to the cross. They have been nailed on the cross, all of them!

How else could we interpret this Bible verse: "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven." (Jas 5:15, NIV2)

Here we discover that healing and forgiveness are interrelated. If we do not pursue forgiveness towards ourselves and others, healing will not come forth. In fact, unforgiveness is detrimental to healing. "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matt 6:15, NIV2) In other words, if we cannot forgive, healing becomes impossible!

This can be clearly illustrated by something that happened in Mozambique on October 2003. This is written by Roland Baker:

What does revival look like among our churches here in Africa? Big crowds, exciting meetings, singing and dancing until all hours? Sometimes, but here's one portrait that focuses clearly on what is different about the heart of our God.

Iris Africa has hundreds of churches in South Africa, mostly among the very poor, and a few weeks ago we were having a youth conference in the town of Slauslau, just east of White River near Mozambique. Surprise Sithole, our African director, and our five South African commissioners were holding three days of meetings in the town's community hall, Friday through Sunday.

On Saturday night, September 27, the meeting was going beautifully until late. Many older Christians were there to support the youth, and everyone was having a wonderful time. Then a gang of drunken teenagers showed up outside the hall to cause trouble, throw rocks and do what violence they could to disrupt the meeting. At midnight one of our commissioners, Franse Shongwe, a young married man of 28, went out to lock the gate to the hall and prevent more trouble. The gang jumped on him and began to beat him without mercy until he stopped breathing and they left him for dead.

They all fled into the night, and the horrified church began to pray earnestly. The police were afraid to come out and pursue the case that night. An ambulance was called and called, but never came. Finally someone took Franse's body to the hospital himself in his small car. As they were checking the body at 1:15 a.m., Franse suddenly began to breathe again. The doctors injected him with painkillers and sedatives, and he was out for the night.

Surprise went to the hospital at 6:00 a.m. to visit. Franse's eyes were swollen shut, and his whole body was swollen and covered with bruises. He was a tragic mess, and he could hardly think straight and communicate through his lips. It looked like he would take a long time to recover. Meanwhile the church kept praying, and considering what they should do with the gang if the police caught them. Before long it was agreed that the church would forgive the murderers. Later in the morning the police did catch one of them, and at 2:00 p.m. they called the church to ask someone to come down and file charges at the police station. The church announced their decision that no charge would be made, which thoroughly agitated the police. This would encourage more crime, they said, and the teenager should be jailed at least eighteen months. No, the church was firm. The boy was forgiven.

As that decision was being made at the church, Franse's body was totally healed. Just after the police called, the hospital also called to ask someone to come and pick Franse up. Surprise went to the hospital and found Franse totally well, with no swelling, no bruises, no scars and no problems whatsoever. It was as though he had never been touched and nothing had happened the night before. Patients were not supposed to be released on a Sunday at this hospital - they were always kept through the weekend and watched until Monday. But there was nothing wrong with Franse, and they had no reason to keep him. Surprise did have to run out and buy new clothes for Frans, whose own clothes had been torn to shreds in the beating.

The next morning, Monday, Franse himself went to the police station with Surprise to pick up the teenage criminal, who had been released into the church's custody. Do whatever you want with him, the police said. The church ministered to him with compassion, and within an hour the boy gave his heart to Jesus.

Three weeks later, the boy is attending church, Franse is doing perfectly well teaching in Bible school, and the Kingdom is advancing!

Thanks to Http://www.irisglobal.org/news/newsletters/view/on-we-go-in-jesus

Unforgiveness is truly more toxic than smoking! Our soul, spirit and body suffers big time by it. Why not release this toxic bondage and experience complete freedom instead!

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36, NIV2)

Yes we can be healed through forgiveness, thanks to the merits of the One who died for us on the cross. Hallelujah!

Rob Chaffart

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