This is a copy of the speech I gave yesterday at The Courage Conference. I hope it is a blessing to those who read it.
Good Afternoon. My name is Rowena. It is a privilege to be here today. Let us begin with prayer.
I would like to start with a story of a young man, sentenced for crimes he
didn’t commit. Here is a list of his perpetrators:
A.) A friend betrayed him
B.) The rest of his friends abandoned him.
C.) Religious and Community leaders conspire against him to murder him.
D.) Government officials use the legal system to sentence him to death, knowing he was innocent.
What did man say about forgiveness?
As we continue our time together, we will explore how forgiveness is the day to freedom from the strongholds that bind us tightly. We will discover the Author of Forgiveness and His commands to follow in His footsteps.
You might be wondering if I know what its is like to be told the I must forgive. My life story is one of redemption and forgiveness. Let me share with you parts of my story. I will start with a list of sinful actions that I have had to ask forgiveness, followed by a list of sins committed against me.
Here is the list of my sinful actions for which I have had to confess and ask to be forgiven of:
>Being a sinner in general. My salvation was at age 5.
>Hating my dad for abusing me.
>Hating my childhood mom because she didn’t protect me.
>Hating my real mom because she didn’t believe or protect me.
>Hating my step-father because he raped me.
>Being unfaithful to my husband by having sexual conversations with
another man online.
>Giving in to same-sex attraction desires by participating in inappropriate
behavior with other women while being married to my husband.
>Threatening to leave my husband and children in anger.
Here is a list of the sinful actions of others against me which I have extended forgiveness:
>The first 10 years of my life consisted of sexual abuse by my dad, older brother and uncle.
>At age 4, it was revealed that my older sister was actually my mom.
>At age 10, I was told the truth of my dad also being my
grandfather because he raped his daughter and got her pregnant.
>My dad was a pastor of a church.
>When I was 10, we escape my dad’s grip and move to a small town in
>During ages of 10 and 11, sexual abuse started by my future step-father.
>The pastor of the church we were going to, blamed me for my future
step-father molesting me, saying that I had a demon that made men
>Molestation turns to rape and all types of sexual assaults at the hands of
of my step-father from ages 10-16.
>Raped at age 20 by a stranger, in my home, while my husband away for
>After my 30th birthday, I found out that my husband struggled with porn
This list isn’t complete, but it give you a glimpse of the path of forgiveness in my life.
I share this list with you to give you a foundation to help answer the question, “You want me to forgive ‘Who’?”.
I will demonstrate four key points on forgiveness. The are:.
1. How Christ extends forgiveness on the cross and commands us to forgive too.
2.What forgiveness is not and what it is.
3. Name the “Who” (and “What”)
4. Practical way to work through forgiveness (Pray, forgive, bless)
To move forward, let’s start wth the young man in the introduction.
Main Point 1. He had plenty of wounds inflicted on Him. Have you guessed who this person is? It is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Here are verses from the Bible about forgiveness:
A. Mark 11:25
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
B. Matthew 6:14-15
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.
These verses are commands from Jesus. He commanded forgiveness, but do we
see Him forgive? YES!!! Let us look at the Scriptures. Luke 23:33-35 says,
“33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”[a] And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”
He forgave them in the middle of causing him harm.
Now that we have examined Christ forgiveness and His command to forgive…
Main Point 2. Let us dig deeper into what forgiveness is not and what it is
A. Forgiveness isn’t saying that sin is okay or allowing it to continue.
Jesus died for the forgiveness of sin, so the sin did happen and was wrong. It was so wrong, that Jesus shed His blood for it on the cross. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” Other verses that speak to Christ forgiveness through the shedding of His blood are Hebrews 9:22 and 1Peter 3:18a.
Forgiveness comes after repentance. Repentance is “turning from sin.” Mark 1:4-“John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
B. Forgiveness isn’t waiting to receive an apology. Refer to Luke 23:33-35 and
Jesus forgave having no apology extended to Him.
C. Forgiveness is not forgetting.
example: How many of you have heard “Forgive and forget!”? I have
heard this from family members who harmed me. I have forgiven them,
but I cannot forget.
D. Forgiving doesn’t stop the pain.
example: I can tell you that the pain of my sexual assaults is very real.
Feeling pain from your memories doesn’t mean that you haven’t forgiven. I will discuss forgiveness and painful memories in a session tomorrow.
E. Forgiveness isn’t trusting again quickly or reconciliation.
example 1: I forgave my father for sexually abusing me. Should I let him
meet my children and hug them? NO WAY!! There is not trust there.
example 2: My older brother molested me. I have forgiven him, but
do I have to have a trusting relationship with him? Nope. I can be kind
and love him with the love of Christ and my relationship ends there.
F. Forgiveness and Justice
1. In talking about forgiveness, justice is not neglected. Although I
forgave my abusers and rapists, I pressed charges on them and
pursued justice through the legal system.
2. Ultimately, justice will come through Christ Jesus. The person
who you forgive will either come to faith in Christ and justice will
be met at the cross of calvary, or they will receive the ultimate justice
in eternal separation from God in hell for being unrepentant.
G. Forgiveness is an ongoing event.
1. Sometimes you forgive someone and they keep on sinning, so you
continue to forgive. (Remember Jesus said seventy times seven.) Now if
you or your loved ones are in danger, remove yourself(s) from danger.
2. Other times, you forgive a person or persons, but then memories or
triggers happen. Forgiveness may be needed again to block bitterness
from taking root.
example: My husband puts is hand on my knee when he is driving.
All of a sudden I remember my step-father hurting me. I quickly
pray a prayer to forgive him in that memory. I release him to God
and pray for his salvation.
Main Point 3. Where are you on the path of forgiveness?
A. New-never herd about forgiveness before.
B. Informed-You have heard about forgiveness but haven’t
put it into action
C. Starting to apply the knowledge of forgiveness to your life.
D. Been forgiven and following Christ command to forgive.
E. Walking in freedom.
Main Point 4. Name the “Who.” (and “What”)
A. As you have listened to me talk, “who” came to mind?
B. What was the circumstance?
example: I choose to forgive my dad for raping my mom and getting her
pregnant with me, for causing me to have a huge hole in my heart,
and for sexually abusing me too. I pray that he finds faith in you,
Jesus, for his salvation.
Thank you so much for your attention.
I know that this topic has been intense and painful for many of you. My heart is with you. I love you and have prayed for each of you as I prepared to speak on this topic. I can attest to the fruitfulness of forgiveness. I have been forgiven by God and my significant others for many things. It is freeing to have the debt for those wrongdoings forgiven. Because I have experience forgiveness, I know that my key points are a way of working through forgiving others. Again, these points are : 1.) Christ forgave and commands us to forgive like He did. 2.) What forgiveness is not and what its is. 3.)Where are you on the path of forgiveness? and finally, 4.) Name the “who.” (and “what).
I hope that this session has been a benefit to you on your journey with Christ. Thank you for taking the time to attend this session. If you would like more information on my story or have questions about forgiveness, I will be available after this session. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More of my info is on the slide above.
I pray the peace Christ dwell with you.