The Apostle Paul speaks of an exercise or discipline that we don’t normally hear of, he speaks of exercising himself to produce a spiritual healthy outcome… that will produce freedom from the bondage of an offence.
Acts 24:16 16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
[T] An injury or wrong done to one ( 1 Samuel 25:31 ; Romans 5:15 ).
A stumbling-block or cause of temptation ( Isaiah 8:14 ; Matthew 16:23 ; 18:7 ).
Greek skandalon, properly that at which one stumbles or takes offence. The “offence of the cross” ( Galatians 5:11 ) is the offence the Jews took at the teaching that salvation was by the crucified One, and by him alone. Salvation by the cross was a stumbling-block to their national pride
Offences – we all experience them and because of our own pain we also knowingly or unknowingly inflict them upon others, and usually those within our closest circle and whom we love the most.
I am not an expert on this topic, far from it, I personally hate any type of conflict, pain, argument or disagreement. I’ll run from it rather than face it. If someone offends me, depending on the depth of the offence, I’ll try to just – “let it go”… but in doing that, I’m not really dealing with it, I just bury it under the surface until another offence occurs with that same person and the pain begins to build until I finally avoid all contact with that person.
The pain is real, it’s raw, and it needs dealt with.
Over the last couple of months Bro. Mitch McQuinn and I have been involved with a group of Pastors, Missionaries and Evangelists – as present, 44 men and woman from Canada and across the world. They are coming together for one purpose – revival, and they are willing to personally sacrifice and do whatever it takes to bring revival about in their own lives, in the lives of their families, in the churches they pastor and in their communities and various countries, world wide – I call them, “the group”.
The group has one goal – revival and world evangelism with an emphasis on Canada – and that revival, they believe, will come through spiritual healing, specifically through forgiveness, restoration and healing that produces unity.
In beginning the process for revival, the month of January has been a month of intense prayer, fasting and revelation both personal and collectively. This last week has been like BOTT on steroids – the messages have been heart wrenching, gut wrenching and to me at times, if I can be transparent, completely overwhelming!
But…True biblical revival is like that – revival is for the church – it is a time of spiritual reflection, introspection and deep spiritual cleansing.
Revival produces the digging out of the wells, the digging out of the offences we have let pile up within our spirit, offences that completely block the free flow of the living water of the Spirit of God. Offences that block the love we have for the Lord, our selves, our families, our church family and our neighbour!
If we are going to be the church, the real, true, and Biblical church… we need to face some things:
Face the offences.
Face the pain.
Face the process of forgiveness.
Face ourselves, repent and heal.
Like the Apostle Paul said, to practise and exercise the art of forgiving, forgiving others, forgiving self and forgiving God to the place that his conscience was completely clear from holding on to… any pain, any grudge or thought of revenge to wards self, others or God. His conscience had become completely free of any and all offences; that is a powerful exercise, but Paul knew about offences, he knew offences could lead you to a place that was dark indeed:
A place where,,,
you couldn’t even discern right from wrong,
you couldn’t even feel or know God anymore.
you would hurt the very people you loved, the people you grew up with, the people of your faith and the people within your community.
Yes, Paul knew about offences.
At first the very gospel of Christ offended him, the very nature of Christ offended him, he saw Jesus as a charlatan and false prophet, healing and performing miracles to deceive the people into following another god.
The Apostle Pauls zeal for his faith and his misguided perception of truth, led him to greatly persecute the church, hauling men and woman off to prison!
Then, when the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus, and revealed the truth unto him, the grief and pain he felt was overwhelming. He had been persecuting the very God he professed to love. How could he ever even forgive himself?
Yes, Paul knew about offences.
When he was healed, baptized and began to preach the gospel, then the Jews turned on him.
The very men he had worked with now wanted him dead and not just in an intellectual way, they craved his death, they became fanatical and made covenants with each other and the devil to do whatever it took to kill and destroy him. These were friends, colleges people he had fellowshipped with, worshipped with, argued with, broke bread with, laughed and cried with. These men wanted his total and utter destruction.
Yes, Paul knew about offences.
As Paul journeyed to the very nations where the Lord sent him to preach the gospel of peace, many rejected him, they threw him into prisons, beat him, mobbed him, withstood him, and greatly offended him. The Apostle gives us a glimpse into his suffering here.
Paul’s Many Trials
From 2 Cor 11:23b-29 NIV
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
Yes, Paul knew about offences.
The Lord had told Paul when he was saved he would suffer great things because of the Lord.
So how did Paul stand it?
I feel, we sometimes get the impression the early church was somehow mega spiritual superstars with hides like rhinos that could withstand just about any amount of pain and pressure, from physical torture, to deep emotional pain, and crushing and immobilizing spiritual offences; but that is just not the truth!
They were just like you and I, they experienced the same raw human emotions when offences occurred, they felt the denial, the anger, the revenge.
They experienced the bitterness, the blame, and the deep sorrow of disappointing themselves and God.
They then began to “come out” and began the healing by participating in the process and exercising themselves through acceptance of the offence, forgiving the offender and releasing the offender and themselves them from need to execute judgement, or revenge, or punishment, and finally forgiving themselves and forgiving the Lord until they came to a place of great victory, healing. and freedom.
These lessons are something that we, as the endtime saints need to recognize, we need to practise them – and we need to exercise ourselves in them daily!
When offences happen we need to allow ourselves to go through each step no matter how long or short a time it takes.
An offence can produce a real list of symptoms and pain in your life that may include…
Denial – that the offence happened.
Anger – at the situation and the person, which may create the, ”who do they think they are?” type of questions.
Revenge – when anger and flesh takes over and may begin to plot what to do with the situation and person(s).
Bitterness – amy begin to take root when you realize you really can’t do anything about the situation or person.
Blame – you begin to lay blame at the door of the situation, the person or persons involved, yourself for being drawn into the mess in the first place and even at God for allowing it to happen.
Sorrow – deep powerful sorrow, you may begin to feel as though you have come to the end of yourself and your personal resources and want to begin the process of healing to forgive all and to the clearing your conscience of the offence.
Acceptance – knowing that the offence is real and it occured and that ridding yourself of the offence is the only way to be healed and to be used of God again, and so the painful process of forgiveness begins.
Forgiving and Releasing
Forgive the Offender(s) – forgiving and releasing the need for justice, or revenge, or punishment, forgiving the situation, forgiving the person or persons involved, releasing them from any judgement or punishment by the Lord on your behalf.
Forgive yourself, one of the hardest things to do.
Forgive the Lord! Stop the voice that lies and says, “God could have stopped this”, forgetting that each of us has free will and free choice.
Restoration of fellowship with God, and man through complete forgiveness and release.
Restoration of worship and a free flowing of the Spirit with joy, peace and complete freedom.
It was in this that Paul was the expert…he practised and exercised the clearing and cleansing of his conscience, it became a way of life for him.
Just yesterday, we were in the group room for revival, we were given the keys to forgiveness, we watched as an precious Apostolic Indigenous Elder on behave of all Indigenous people in Canada prayed the prayer of forgiveness and release over Canada for the horrific abuses perpetrated against the children and their families of the residential school holocaust.
The prayer was powerful, heart wrenching, with the most intense spiritual pain I have ever experienced, we were being made conformable to the Lord’s death.
Philippians 3:10 King James Version (KJV)
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
King James Version (KJV)
The crucifixion of every ounce of human frailty contained within our body, soul and spirit was being exposed. The moaning and groaning of the Spirit which could not be uttered within each participant was deep and powerful, we witnessed and experienced deep spiritual healing and freedom was accomplished.
It is my firm belief that this prayer began the freedom for Canada and as we continue to exercise true forgiveness and release to all who have offended us in word and deed, true revival, true peace, true joy will be our’s and the outcome will be the most powerful and successful season of evangelism that was ever launched in Canada. The multitudes of those who will be saved through this forgiveness and healing will be the beginning of the end time revival prophesied throughout the word of God.
So how does this apply to you and to me?
We, like Paul must exercise and clear our conscience from each and every offence.
You will find below resources for you to begin to exercise the clearing of your conscience.
It has a video to help you begin the process (warning this is very intense and should be watched with caution) and only when you are truly ready to begin the process of healing. It is followed by a condensed version of the video by Sister Tara Brown – see the down loadable file, – The Steps of Forgiveness.
The goal for this blog is to bring us to the place to commit to learning these skills, and do the hard work of forgiveness – yourself.
We are here to pray for you to help you begin, but this is something you must do for yourself.
I plead with you to do it, for you sake, for your family’s sake, for your offenders sake, for the country’s sake, and for Christ’s sake…
Let us pray.
Our dear Heavenly Father, I’m asking now for the precious person who is reading this material that you would give to them the courage and determination to follow through with the cleansing of their conscience, the cleansing that will no doubt be painful and difficult but you and I also know that it will produce such freedom and joy and peace, and I crave that and covit that for the reader, help them Lord to make the commitment to continue on to healing, in your precious name, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
The Video where to Begin your Journey
Steps of Forgiveness
A compilation by Sister Tara Brown
Here are the steps. (I broke a couple of them down and added an extra at end) I will say them as if I am talking with someone who needs healing. Note: Some people have already worked through certain ones so you may skip one or two. But the first 3 are important not to skip. They’re all important. Just depends on what level they’re at spiritually.
- Tell God who/what has hurt (Not every little thing. The deep things. If they can’t remember ask them about their life and the Lord will show you.) I usually start out by asking the person if they want to be free from the things that hold them captive. From shame. Guilt. Abuse. Etc… Also, I have asked most “even though you don’t know me well (or maybe they do) can you trust me right now to lead you in prayer?” If they respond yes then we proceed.
- Tell God you forgive those who hurt you. * Name them. People. I was praying with someone once and the person couldn’t say the man’s name that abused her. So I paused and we prayed until she was able to move on. She did eventually say she forgive him and named him. Very important to be sensitive. Some people have carried these hurts for decades! You will know it is sincere when you get to step 3 The Bible talks about a root of bitterness and I have prayed with people that literally felt that pain in their stomach. Sharp. Hurting. And when it comes out….wow! It’s amazing! *
- Ask God to not hold them accountable or punish them for what they have done. * Like Stephen in the Bible…Lay not this sin to their charge…I tell them it’s almost like you’re begging God not to punish them. I also clarify. If God chooses to punish them that is God’s business! It takes the “revenge” out of it. This is always the hardest section to pray.
- Forgive yourself. We don’t have power to forgive sins. But lay down the guilt and shame. Tell God you’re giving it to Him! It’s not yours to carry!
- Forgive God. * In other words. Tell God you are no longer holding him accountable for anything! Release the anger toward Him. (God why did you let this happen…)
- Thank God. I always think it’s a good idea to give thanks after God has done a miracle/deep work.
I keep a copy of this in my phone. I hope this blesses someone. All I know is that it works! Brother Shatwell definitely heard from God. This has transformed my own life. Also, it may help to pray through it yourself before you pray with someone else.
- I sincerely hope these resources will be a blessing to your personally and to those within your circle- God Bless
Steps of Forgiveness download
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