We hear the word "Peace", and the world's view of it is not the same as God's view.
In Hebrews 12:14 it says, "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many".
This peace mentioned is that which comes from forgiveness - another word and action that is highly confusing. When we hold someone in unforgiveness, it opens the door in our hearts to a root of bitterness taking over. When that happens, everything and everyone in our lives is affected by it.
How do I know? I lived in that state of unforgiveness for many years. As a child, I was abused in many ways, held in the prison of silence, unable to share what had happened to me out of fear of my abusers. Not only did bitterness take hold of my heart, I also developed a hatred for those who hurt me.
I was at a women's prayer meeting in Orlando, FL in 1986 and the speaker changed the message she was going to deliver right before the meeting was to open. She said the Lord told her she needed to speak on forgiveness. I was not thinking that this message was going to be for me or my benefit, but BOY did I get a rude awakening! As she spoke, she began to tell a story which every detail sounded like she'd interviewed me, or had seen a movie of my life and all it's hidden and dark secrets.
I thought I was going to shake right out of my chair! How did this woman know this about me? Was there anyone else in the room, because I felt like I was the only one there and was glued to every word she spoke.
At the end of her message, she gave an invitation for anyone who needed prayer in this area. I literally JUMPED up out of my chair, sobbing like a baby, and said, "That was for ME! I am that person you were talking about". Little did I know that one of my older sisters had also been seated in that meeting; she was towards the back and I hadn't seen her come in.
As I made my way toward the front to get prayer, I felt my knees buckle and the presence of God overwhelm me. My sister joined me at the altar and confirmed to the speaker that everything she had said was in fact, the story of her little sister's life. A small group of women laid hands on me and prayed for me to let go of all the hurt that I was carrying, and for me to be able to forgive my abusers.
When they were finished, I felt like some kind of giant Q-tip from heaven had been inserted into my body and my heart.....I felt this freedom that I'd never known before - I felt CLEAN! I knew the Lord was telling me that I was to go to one of my abusers that day and tell him "I forgive you".
I found someone to watch my two young children, and drove the 40+ miles back to where my abuser lived. I approached him - the man whom I hated with a passion, and told him that I forgave him, and the look on his face and the physical demeanor of this man changed before my eyes. He broke; crying and telling me how sorry he was.
Did that make the things that he did ok? Hardly - but what it did do was free me from being eaten alive by that root of bitterness and hate. Those things are a wall of division between one and God, and on that day - the Lord broke down that wall and set me free. I was then able to worship Him in holiness, as is mentioned in verse 14.
If you are walking through life with unbearable hurt, unforgiveness and bitterness, I beg you today to take it to the Lord. He wants to free you from that prison and give your life a new meaning; a new direction, and a peace that passes all understanding.
He's waiting on you to ask Him to be your deliverer.
May July 1, 2008 be your day of deliverance....may your life be changed and be filled with the Peace of the Holy Spirit, now and forever more.