"I don't think I can forgive him." Perhaps you have used or have heard this phrase used when it comes to the topic of forgiveness. If we rely merely on our own strength to forgive others, forgiveness will seem impossible.
Recently, we had the privilege of hosting a retreat for Shiloh Ministries who equips men to conquer addiction. Throughout their classes here, God revealed, healed, and delivered these guys from so much! The story you're about to read is about one man who was able to claim his freedom as God walked him through the process of forgiveness...
My name is Stephen. I served in the military in the army as an engineer and I did a tour in Afghanistan. I was injured there. Going through life there’s been a lot of storms that started to rage since the beginning of my early childhood.
I was brought up in a broken home. My father was an alcoholic, he was really abusive, and he was a really dark man who struggled with many demons! I think of Mark’s Gospel in chapter five, where the man was consumed by a legion of demons. Which is the best way I can describe to you what he was like.
My dad really was what you would call a maniac. He caused me, my brothers and my mother a lot of hardship. My life became a storm and I just had no control. It followed me everywhere!
I don’t know if you’ve ever walked through a storm in your life where the wind is blowing so hard you couldn’t hear. The lightning and thunder were just so intense around me.
I just wanted to run and hide but I couldn’t escape the noise.
I was overwhelmed to the point where all my strength was gone, and I didn’t want to deal with any of my pain.
Like I said, my father was a wicked man. The things he had me and my brothers do to my mother⏤he made us intentionally hurt her. I don’t want to put too much light on that, but he caused us to have a lot of post traumatic stress. But I’ve carried this in my heart for so long and I've gone through life having five children, I didn’t want to deal with it or my fear of man.
But what I feared the most was that I would be just like him to my kids.
I continued to push it to the side and didn’t want to deal with it. But after coming here we did a class, and we were presented with an assignment. And it started out with asking the Holy Spirit who you need to forgive and I still pushed it to the side.
But I finally asked the question⏤Holy Spirit speak to me, ‘Who in my life do I need to forgive?’ He spoke to me and I began to weep with tears flowing down my face. I just couldn’t stop.
Anthony, the retreat leader, recognized what was happening to me. He came over to me and said, "Let’s work this out." So I began to talk through my trauma. It was then the Lord began to move in a mighty way, and the storm began to settle. And before it was over with, I had my hands up and I began declaring life over my father. And the only thing I could speak out was thankfulness towards the Lord for calming the storm and He has shown me that I am a child of God. And acknowledging this has uprooted every fear of being like my father. I can be the father that Christ has called me to be. - Stephen
Shilo Ministry - FULLY ALIVE RETREAT at YWAM Tyler
Have you grown accustomed to the storms in your life? This isn't the life God planned for you. Forgiving others isn't easy, especially when you try to do it alone. Living in unforgiveness only limits you from walking in freedom. Don't let another day or even a second stop you from claiming your freedom. Like Stephen, it is time that you lift your hands and call out for God to help you with forgiveness. Your freedom depends on it!
Our Discipleship Training Schools are comprised of teachings to help you discover the freedom Jesus has for you. If you want change, perhaps today is the day.