The work is solid, expansive, and true, due to the heart and will of the Lord. At Capturing Courage International Ministries we have been faithful with a little for a very long time. Faithful with the intent and heart of God as we have understood, and then faithful with the work, with the invites and fellowships, in bringing what we are mandated to bring; establishing a safe culture that precipitates deep healing and transformation of hearts and lives.
It appears, from the over 250 villages churches that I’ve been to in the last years, that unforgiveness and bitterness have locked up hearts and minds and lives, and nations. We simply cannot move forward if we are gripped to the past in heart hatreds, profound disappointments and a waiting for God to make it right. In this we are stuck.
I would go so far to say that poverty is compounded by a refusal to forgive. I do not mean that those in poverty are the makers of their own poverty; poverty is far more complicated than this. What I mean is, that when we refuse God’s ways we are not able to receive from the bounty of the Kingdom of God that would over-ride (sins covered by a multitude of love) all that has gone wrong.
It comes down to agreements. Are we agreeing with accusation, condemnation, retribution, revenge, or are we understanding that we all live in a broken world and that we have all been caught by brokenness in some way. Our grieving is a corporate lament.
We are not alone in our sorrow. Our sorrows are of the same material. Despair, hopelessness, discouragement, wondering if there is any way out or beyond our current pain — this is the human experience. While it is unique to each of us in our own ways it is not special per se; everyone has hurt and harm and pain.
Yet, we have a choice to how we will respond to these things. If we return hate for hate, evil for evil, pain for pain, we merely continue the cycles of despair and upset, to put it mildly. This would be the intent and wish of Satan. He would love that you hate… perhaps this is his plan of abuse against you, after all. Are you going to play his game?
Or, will we choose a different way? To enter into the arena where tears are dried requires that we agree to forgiveness and that we put down our sticks of revenge and we cease to demand retribution or recompense even.
Now, must criminal activity be held to account? Absolutely. Of course. Those who perpetrate evil must be brought to an admitting of wrong-doing. But even this is for their ultimate freedom and healing. You see, freedom and healing is the heart of the Lord. Restorative justice is the goal, the end mark, the thing by which we know if we have played the game well.
How do we measure ourselves? By our compassion, by our empathy, by our forgiveness, by our freedom to wish our enemies well, and to back this up with actions or prayers in some way.
Beyond our pain and the assessment of who has done what to whom is the opportunity to come into an expansive broad meadow reaching as far as we can see, where the sun shines warm, where water flows easily and fresh, where tears are dried and hope is restored, where we are healed and the chains of all things done against us are removed forevermore.
To come into this place requires that we know the standard by which this land of bounty operates. And one of the primary ways this land operates, is according to forgiveness.
Now, forgiveness is not something we do so that our enemies might go free. No, we forgive so that we might be free. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. Primarily because it enters us back into shalom, the weaving of communities and lives and peoples, where all of creation and systems is restored to the original image as God created all of it and us to be.
This is done by the power of Jesus and then by our agreement. The point of Jesus hanging on a cross was restoration, forgiveness, a returning to the beauty of this world and the strength that was to mark every single one of our lives. We either agree with this or we do not. There is no middle ground.
If we want to live from bounty we must come into the bounteous heart of God, and one of the standards of God is forgiveness. As we agree to forgiveness, first for ourselves but then for our enemies, we will see the increasing freedom of God, the heart of a very good, good Father, in our lives.
Forgiveness ushers us into the Kingdom of God, where there is justice, where there is recompense (by God’s hand!), and where shalom (peace in the land and people) is restored and established once more. And we are made new. It’s pretty sweet.