Forgiveness is like the key to a locked door of heartache, behind which you squat, imprisoned, paralyzed by the shackles of non-forgiveness, anger, and manifestation. We all have that key, but do we all dare to use it?

Deliberate non-forgiveness, when you do not forgive, stay sour inside, angry at the thought of your abuser, and you think you are punishing your perpetrator in this way by drinking the poison for him. Without forgiving you poisoning, unfortunately, yourself and only yourself. But there is also the unconscious non-forgiveness, that I will talk about today. You don’t even know clearly that he’s in you, because he’s squatting quietly in the corner of your heart as if it doesn’t affect your current decisions, but he is and he is poisoning you! 

When I was 10, there were RE at school where religious subjects were taught. The teacher was an angry woman. I don’t remember the reason why, but during one lesson she hit with the book over my head and concluded “brownie”. For some reason, my ginger-brown hair was a constant obstacle for everyone, I suffered from strong bullying of children from a young age but bullying of an adult - this is another level. My heart broke in that class. Since I did not have anyone to share my experiences with at home, I couldn’t comfort myself, so I decided – never go back to school anymore! And I didn't go all month until my plan was finally exposed... I came home after imaginary lessons, and in the kitchen, there was a real court hearing waiting for me: an angry mother and her son were sitting at the table, and I was interrogated in the doorway... Of course, I tried to avoid punishment saying that I was at school, but soon realized it was pointless. I had to lay out the truth and even repeated it at least a dozen more times, that the teacher beat me with a book and nicknamed „brownie“ so I didn’t wanted to go to school anymore. My mother didn’t believe me, even though I cried, begged for mercy and told the truth. I was punished and beaten in that corridor so that I got wet in my pants, my mother called me "a liar with brown eyes". Well that was my middle name, she always kept repeating that I was a liar, a gypsy with a brown eyes, a killer and a thief, when I didn't even know, how to lie! So, the wall of truth, the port of trust, and my heart shattered, and it made a big impact on my entire future.

The next morning, I was dragged to the school to apologize the teacher to take me back to class as a "criminal". At home I was already taught how to beg her forgiveness. Crying all the way to school I tried to convince my mother, repeating that it was an injustice - the teacher hurt me, and I wasn’t the one who should to apologize. No one listened to me, I had to apologize and give a gift (bribe) to soften the teacher's heart...

27 years later I asked God, why am I afraid to express my opinion out loud? Why am I panic afraid to talk in public? Why am I afraid to be myself? For a year and a half, I searched for myself in the bosom of the Lord, He returned my real name, my stolen identity, it was time to find those "Why?". He raised this memory of mine, carved through non-forgiveness deep into the heart plate, because what happened then tore me apart. I stopped telling the truth, I only spoke what others wanted to hear, a lie became my and others ’truth. I stole, because I was a gypsy with brown eyes, I became what I was called. I never said what I felt, what I thought, how I lived, because I knew – I was nobody, my opinion didn’t matter. I was always afraid that people would condemn me, reject me, and will not believe me! God raised those faces from the past, those memories that I could FORGIVE them, because I had the key to my freedom. I had to forgive my mother again, my teachers, I had to go back to let Christ lead me further, to the brighter future, where the truth is above the lie, where He BELIEVES in me and invites: “Come to me, do not be afraid to speak, do not think what others will think, do not be afraid to express your opinion, do not be afraid to be yourself. Even if thousands of people do not believe in you again, Sandra, even if they will distance you, humiliate, reject, my daughter, I am God, I will accept you with your wonderful brown eyes, because I have given them to you!”

FORGIVENESS liberates, FORGIVENESS revives rotting bones, FORGIVENESS gives a new life, washes away that rot fumes that linger inside. Forgiving does not detract from what has happened and does not reduce the guilt of the perpetrators, but this decision unlocks you and others from heavy chains. By forgiving you trust in God and allow Him to be your personal shield, protecting you from launched arrows. There will always be those who will hurt, reject, laugh, or something else. We‘ll are hurt, and we‘ll be hurting others too, but it‘s time to learn to forgive immediately a child, a spouse, a neighbour, a teacher, a passer-by, God, ourselves! It is time to live as you are forgiven - with a grateful heart there is no room for poison. We are all wounded and yet we are all acceptable. Concluding it‘s worth thinking about how much I am forgiven, so that I can walk freely on this earth and be called the daughter/son of God. For "The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18). Let us go to sleep and get up remembering this Scripture: “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11: 25-26).

Sandra Bušmienė

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