Sword of Forgiveness and Restoration
The Sword of Silence we yield, keeping it in its scabbard but at the ready. The Sword of Forgiveness and Restoration we lay aside altogether.
It is one thing to have a sword and refuse to draw it, and quite another to have no sword at all. (Fencing Manual, p. 169)
Just as 2 Corinthians 10:8 reminds us that we are empowered in order to build-up people, Galatians 5:1-22 lists all the “dirty, human weapons” we too easily wield upon others. Things like hatred, rage, strife, dissension, division, and envy. It’s important to keep in mind the power our words and actions have and to recognize there are moments we’re called to silence but times we are called to lay down all weapons to simply forgive.
If you don’t have the Girls with Swords book or access to the Session 7 video, try to. Lisa’s story of the journey with her father is an incredible one of hurt, hope, faith, and forgiveness, and freedom. In short, their relationship was strained. Lisa held years of disappointment and bitterness toward her father who seemed to hold no interest in her or her children.
Through an amazing, God-led series of events over several years, she was able to trust God enough to forgive her father. Her forgiveness freed her and restored him.
Lisa’s journey, faith, and transparency led our group into some incredible revelations of past hurts…many of them inflicted by fathers. Our morning together was one of the most holy moments I’ve experienced. I think we all began to see the power of laying down those “daggers of disappointment and bitterness,” the resentment that builds over the years, and of forgiving the one who has hurt us.
There’s nothing easy about acknowledging a hurt, a wound. There’s nothing easy about laying down all our defenses. There’s nothing easy about stepping out in faith and letting God work in us to the point of forgiveness. Here are some of the take-aways we tucked into our hearts — some are “ah-ha” thoughts; others are instructive and encouraging:
1. God loves the unlovely and unloving (not their actions, but the person). Here’s the ah-ha… He loved them before…before you knew them, before they were wounded themselves, before they hurt you! (FM, p.171)
2. God gives us promises in His Word, such as Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” In Lisa’s situation, she tried to carry the sword of salvation for her dad and her family. What she finally realized was that God promised salvation to her house. Salvation wasn’t up to her. That promise extends to our families! We are called to LOVE them! That is not to say we don’t set boundaries or foolishly endanger ourselves or our loved ones, but it does mean we can trust God to be good to His Word.
“Our faith is placed in God, not in people.” (FM, p. 172)
3. If we ever feet orphaned, another promise we can trust in and claim is God’s love, His adoption of us into His family. Lisa says God “adopted us long before we were abandoned.” (Another before…) We’re never alone. And don’t forget our enemy would just love for us to forget that!!
4. “Daggers of disappointment or bitterness” may threaten to misdirect the sword you wield. Lisa’s long-time hurts kept her wound open, her bitterness ready to lash out at every opportunity. Her reactions to her dad’s meanness and indifference were hurtful to her dad, so wounds remained unhealed and further injury resulted. When we lay down those daggers and trust God with our hearts, He will heal us, and in the process we are freed. Lisa’s exact words, “I still judged my father until the moment I spoke the words God gave me. When I released him, I was released” (FM, p.174). But she had to trust God with those words. She didn’t FEEL like saying them, but she trusted God enough to know if those were the words He asked of her, she would speak them. And the healing began.
Will you be brave enough to lay aside the daggers of rejection and disappointment? Will you allow our Father to remake them into instruments of adoption, restoration, and divine appointment? (FM, p.175)
If you have ever asked these kinds of questions,
- Why didn’t my father or mother love me?
- Why don’t they want to be with my children?
- When will Your promises come true? (FM, p.172)
Then…take all the feelings wrapped up in these questions and lay them at the foot of the cross. Give them to God and trust that no matter your situation, He has healing and restoration in mind for you. And the vehicle for such restoration is through the Sword of Forgiveness.
Be aware of those disappointments and the bitterness that lie in wait of a chance to lash out. Lay those down and find freedom. Let “our Father remake them into instruments of adoption, restoration, and divine appointment” (FM, p.175).
And when that happens, watch for ways God might want to use you as an agent of restoration. Where can the King send you to speak the words others need to hear so that they can receive His healing and life?
Let’s learn how to speak His counsel rather than rehearse our hurts! (FM, p.175)
Mother Teresa once said, “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway” (FM, p.176). Our group resonated with Lisa’s experience because her act of forgiveness was not based on a feeling. It was based on faith and obedience to God. Her act of faith freed her from decades of bitterness and resentment and hurt.
Here’s what I’ve learned about forgiveness: Forgiving DOESN’T mean saying to the person who hurt you that what they did doesn’t matter. It doesn’t excuse their actions, but it does free YOU from their tangled bonds.
Another thing I’ve learned about forgiveness… We don’t offer our forgiveness with any expectation on that person. It’s given without strings, without a hidden agenda. It’s given freely, unconditionally. What that person does with the forgiveness is between them and God.
Here’s what you can trust. God loves you. He loves the one who has hurt you. He wants freedom for you. He has gone before you to make a way.
“You may have had a horrible beginning, but with God, you can choose your ending” (FM, p.177).
Like Lisa, “I don’t know your story, but I can tell you God is faithful.” My prayer for all of us sword-sisters is that we put to use all the swords we’ve been learning about, and none is as pivotal as the one we’re called to lay down.
We meet for one more chapter next week. Till then, talk to God. And I’ll be praying that we can each lay down our hurts and forgive those who’ve inflicted the pain.