This exercise is based on a principle my mentor taught me, the gist of which goes something like this: Release debtors. But to experience true healing, we must also receive the Lord’s wealth in place of the wound remaining. In other words, if we only forgive someone for lying to us without receiving that God is true and never lies to us -- the wound left by the lie will go on untreated. Until we really believe what we have received, we will try to treat the wound in other ways - going to other “saviors” for wholeness. So instead, we learn to savor the Lord’s truth as salve for the lie-wound so that He can be all He is in that hurting place. The same goes for forgiving our own debts. Until we learn to receive the wealth of the Lord in place of our debts, we will continue to rely on other remedies to soothe our shame and regret.
I’ve personally found this exercise to be both humbling and healing, I wonder if you’ll find it helpful as well...
First, note a time when you were at odds with someone, maybe it’s a time that often haunts you with anxiety - or you can apply a tense relational situation that has recently occurred as you read on...
1. CONFESS & REJOICE: List all the ways that God is who you were not in that situation. (i.e. Confess: I didn't listen, I was defensive, I was bitter, and passive aggressive - Rejoice: but the Lord listens to us, God's Son is silent before His accusers, God is forgiving, God is slow to anger and forthright in His word to us.)
2. LAMENT & REJOICE: List all the ways that God is who they were not in that situation. (i.e. Lament: they were dishonest, self-serving and judgmental - Rejoice: but Jesus is the truth, humble servant and even though He has every right to judge He seeks to show mercy instead.)
3. RELEASE & RECEIVE: Now reflect on your list...
A. Release personal debts of sin. In their place, receive the truths of His character, savor them as you seek to believe in His sufficiency to take the place of your insufficiency.
B. Now release the specific sins of others. In their place, receive the truths of His character, savor them as you seek to believe His sufficiency can cover their insufficiency.
-Search for Scriptures that emphasize the aspects of His character that counter the specific wounds of your heart - meditate on those passages until they reach past your mind and fill your heart.
-Ask Him to heal and fill in the voids left by both your sin and the sins of others against you so that He might be found sufficient in place of all human deficiency.
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This is my prayer...
"Lord I have not shown love like You. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Please make me more like You. Fill me with Your all sufficient love and character. Where others have wounded me, I release them to Your merciful judgement and care. Please, heal all my wounds with the truth that You are for me what no one else, myself included, could ever be...You are humble servant, merciful judge, quick to forgive and a kind listener. You are more than enough for me. I believe that...can you help my unbelief? Where I go to other people and things to fill in those gaps instead of to You and Your all sufficient friendship - oh Lord, forgive me. I surrender those things to You. Remind and guide my heart to rejoice in You alone. Let it be in Jesus Name. Amen."
P.S. Much deserved photo credit: Starlights_ "Johnny Cash Hurt" @ Flickr, http://bit.ly/1x1NKhb. Text and layer mine. Used with permission.
P.P.S This post was also shared with Holley Gerth and her friends, join them by clicking on the cute couch: