The best way to end 2017 for me!
The Fog of Unforgiveness
The pulse of the room was quiet, and the faces of the girls in the recovery center were stern. Some appeared angry and others less than pleased to be in the service. While some smiled, but the heaviness in the room shouted at me—like a thick fog.
Our praises and prayer time began, and right off, one of the girls said, “Please pray for unity and forgiveness.”
Another nodded, clutching her Bible. “We need healing. It’s been a rough week.”
To my left, a girl wept like she might break into a thousand pieces. Her eyes were red, and she clutched the wadded up tissues in her hand.
A girl sitting next to the “weeping one” asked for prayer, and it’s like she caused everyone to stop breathing when she spoke. All eyes were on her.
Lifting of the Fog
She announced, “I judged someone severely, and lashed out at this person, and didn’t show compassion. I was the worst. I didn’t offer her love or forgiveness.” She glanced at the crying girl to her right. “I need to say this, I am not that person anymore, the one who holds grudges. I want to love ‘you’ like Christ, and I need to ask for forgiveness from you and from everyone. Let’s support her, and forgive.”
The breathing resumed, and the praise and prayers took a new twist—as a healing of hearts lifted the fog.
Several girls who never ask for prayer or say anything out loud, used their brave voices for the Lord. They recited scripture. And encouraged the “weeping girl.”
One girl said, “I want God to see that my actions show my faith in Him, not just my lips saying it. I want to obey Him, no matter how hard it seems.”
Moving to Forgive
Then a movement of chairs startled me, and a group of girls carried their chairs from the back of the room, and each placed their chairs behind the “weeping girl” and they sobbed along with her.
(I learned they had been wronged by her—yet, they loved her and showed it by sitting with her.)
I have to say, that moment was like a sermon for me—for the verses I followed with were: Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19: 23-26).
Behold! Forgiveness Heals!
And then I shared: Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19).
For you see, the rescue for Lot and his family came with angels dragging them to safety, a favor on their lives. And thankfully, the Lord rescues even now. He so rescued the girls in the service from bitterness and hate. Maybe not with “much-angel-dragging” but rather a gentle guidance from Him.
The girls could have held onto the past, and they could have kept looking back, but instead a new thing unfolded, and it was God who made a way! Who restored life to the girls!
The entire room noticed the movement, but it wasn’t the physical we gravitated to, but rather, the spiritual healing that followed. For the “weeping girl” saw love in action—and she was the guilty one.
That scene, for me, was a most significant statement to my own heart. And to think, I prepare each week, but the girls often teach me about God—in ways, I never expect.
I love how the Lord continues to rescue, to redeem, to surround us with His care! May I forgive and not look back, and may I move toward someone (even if they’ve wronged me) and show compassion like my girls! Like Christ would!