Hi, my name is Bruce Wilkinson. On behalf of Teach Every Nation, I would like to welcome you to a brand-new course called 70X7: Finding Peace by Forgiving Others…And Yourself.
From the feedback from people who have taken this course, your life may never be the same. People have discovered how to be free from the torment of unforgiveness. They have forgiven other people who have deeply wounded them, and released them from their inner Heart-Prison. You’ll probably shake your head in wonder as you learn the 7 stages in the slide of unforgiveness. You’ll learn how to forgive by following Christ’s 5 requirements for full forgiveness. Most people, they try to forgive over and over again because it never seems to work. Do you know why? It’s because they don’t know God’s powerful process of complete forgiveness.
Then you’re going to learn how to forgive yourself. You see, many people can’t find peace no matter how hard they try because they’ve never been able to forgive themselves. But this series will set you free -- just like one of my friends who texted me last week; he said, “I officially forgave myself for everything over the last 2 days. I haven’t felt as free since I was 14 years old”. “34 years”, he said, “wasted in shame, in self-pity, in condemnation, and fear. During the process, God remained faithful every second of the way, and I’m finally back. Thank you for caring enough about me to make the course, my good friend.”
Isn’t that something? My goodness, just think about that.
Well, in a few seconds, you’re going to join with me and a group of people in South Africa, where we videotaped this powerful course, 70X7.
In fact, we simulcast that taping to over 20 different nations, to thousands and thousands of people who were searching for joy and freedom that only comes from forgiveness.
And even as I tape this brief introduction to the course with you, we’re translating this very course into the Arabic language, to broadcast it to the 66 nations in the 10/40 window on our globe; focused in the turbulent Middle East. Because, you know, everywhere around the world the need for forgiveness couldn’t be greater than it is today.
But not only for the world, my friend, but how about you? So how about you open your workbook and read along with us in the course textbook, The Freedom Factor: Finding Peace by Forgiving Others and Yourself.
So thank you for joining with me as we discover one of the greatest gifts Jesus came to give the world -- the gift of forgiveness. Open your heart, because forgiveness is knocking, and it’s time for your miracle.
Unforgiveness Delivers You to the Torturers
I want to deal with an opening story that happened a number of years ago when Darlene and myself took a trip on a sailboat over in the Mediterranean -- right? -- and we traced through Paul’s missionary journeys in the Book of Acts.
There was about 30 of is on this sailboat with great big sails. And they flew in a physician for the week; in case one of us got sick. We came mostly from America, but this physician flew over from Australia. And she was looking for a very different experience. And when she found out there’s a bunch of Christian leaders on this ship, she was not too happy. And she was looking for kind of a wild party during the trip -- and we had a party, but it wasn’t wild.
So, the first night we sat down, and there were long tables on the dining room, and she… I introduced myself, and she found out that I’m the leader of the group. And she was anything but a Christian. She wanted to fight on the first night. So Darlene and I sat right here on this table, like right here and right here, and there were other people on the other side of the table, and she came right over and sat right next to me. And she had an edge on her.
And there was an older couple right there -- I noticed that they immediately enjoyed her, and she began to control the conversation, which was fine. She started asking really tough questions about Christianity -- hard ones. And everybody around the table kept looking at me like, “It’s your turn to answer that one”. And I didn’t want to answer it. I wanted to see what the group did. So I kept eating. And, finally, one person answered that question. And then, another person got a hard question, and that person answered it.
And then she got more frustrated. She asked another hard question to the older couple opposite from her, and they, with love in their heart, answered the question. And she was getting more and more frustrated. She wasn’t eating. I was eating. And I was the only one at the table eating at that moment. And finally, out of frustration, she turns to me and, “Well, you’re the leader here. What do you think about all this?” And I said, “Well, I think you’re asking very good questions”, which surprised her, “But I’ve been listening to the answers and they’ve answered every one of your questions. And it’s not satisfying you, is it?” “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, do you want the truth?” “Yes.” “All right, you can’t believe.” “You’re telling me I can’t believe?” “No, you can’t believe in Jesus Christ today.” “I can’t believe in Jesus right now?” “No, you can’t.” “What do you mean by that?” “Well, go ahead and believe.” And she said, “No, I can’t. I don’t want to.” “I know.” And I kept eating. “What do you mean you know I can’t believe?” “I know you can’t believe. And if you ever want to talk about why you can’t believe, I’m here all week”, and kept eating.
So, the conversation changed, and I noticed the couple across from her, the older couple, were kind of praying a little bit for her without her knowing it. They didn’t say, “Dear God, bless this woman on the other side of the table”.
Well, the next morning we got up for breakfast -- and our room was downstairs -- and we walked up the back, and we were to go along the back of the boat up the stairs to breakfast. And when we came out the door, guess who was sitting there on the side waiting for me? It was our doctor. And she had an edge on her.
And I said, “How are you?” “I’ve been waiting for you.” And I said, “Oh”. And I kind of nodded at Darlene – because oftentimes this will happen in meetings, where you just kind of miss meals for people. So she went up, and I sat next to her, and I said, “What’s the matter?” “I couldn’t sleep much last night.” “Why not?” “Because you said I couldn’t believe, and I couldn’t, and I want to know why.” I said, “You do? You really want to know why?” “Yeah, I do.” “All right. So, who hurt you the most?” “What?” “Who hurt you the most?” “Well, it wasn’t my mother.” “It wasn’t your mother?” “No, it wasn’t my mother. I love my mother.” “I see. What did she do that hurt you?” “No, no, no. No, I understand why she did it.” “I didn’t ask that question. What did she do?” “No, she didn’t do anything. I love my mother. My mother loves me.”
And I said, “Stop defending your mother. I’m not attacking your mother. I’m asking what she did that hurt you.” “Well, what does that have to do with me not being able to believe?” “Believe it or not, it has everything to do with it.” “It does?” “Yes. So tell me one thing that your mother did.” “Well, she was an alcoholic. And when she drank too much, she would beat me. But I knew why she was doing it. It wasn’t because she didn’t love me, but she just lost her head.” “Okay. So she beat you. How else was it with your mother?” “She never hugged me.” “She never hugged you?” “No, she never did. Not once. I know she loves me, but she never showed it.” “Oh. How did that make you feel?” “I don’t want to talk about it.” “Okay. Did you feel happy about that?” “No, I cried myself to bed many nights.” “You did? I understand. How else did she hurt you?” “That’s enough.” I said, “Okay”.
I stood up. She said, “Where you’re going?” I said, “You just told me it’s enough”. And I said, “If you really want to get free, why don’t you take your pad -- because she had a pad on her lap -- and write down all the ways your mother hurt you -- not if she wanted to, but she did -- and write it down on a pad”. She said, “Well there will be 3 or 4”. “No ma’am. There will be a couple pages.” “There’ll be couple pages? No. there won’t.” “Yes, there will. And if you want, I’ll help you.” And then I walked away, and ate some breakfast. After all priorities are priorities, and it was time for some coffee.
Well, I didn’t see her all day; and she didn’t sit at my table at dinner that night. And I just was praying, “Lord, release this lady”. So, the next morning we’re going out the same door for breakfast, and lo and behold, there she is, and she’s red-eyed. And her pad – excuse me -- is on her lap, and it’s all crumpled, and there was stains of her tears. I said, “Oh, how are you?” “I didn’t sleep at all last night.” “Would you like to talk?” “Yes.” “Okay.”
So I sat down next to her and I said, “How many?” “It was two and a half pages. I couldn’t believe it.” I said, “Each one of those wounds are in your heart. And you can’t get them out. And you’ve been stuffing them, and denying them, and running away from them all of your life, because you loved your mother. Is that true?” “Yes.” “Would you like this infection to get out of your heart? Because, once that infection is out of your heart, you’ll be a different person.” “I don’t’ know how to do that.” I said, “I know how to do that.” “You know how to do that?” “Believe it or not, I’m an expert at that.” “You’re an expert of helping people forgive?” “Yes.” “I would.”
And in the next period of time, through many tears, she forgave this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, -- and this one not; I had to help her later about that one – and the rest of them, the rest of them. And I watched the woman change before my eyes. All the deep lines in her face were going. The anguish that was kind of hanging right underneath the makeup was going away. And by the time she was done, I said to her, “How do you feel about life now?” “I don’t hear any more voices in my head.” “You don’t?” “No. I heard voices in my head all my life. They were hard. They were…ah, I didn’t like them.” I said, “Where are they now?” “Well, they’re gone. It’s quiet inside my head.” “Yeah, that’s right, you’re going to like that quietness.” “And I have peace like I’ve never had in my life.” I said, “Well, this is just the beginning. Wait till you see what’s coming on the rest of this journey we have this week.” And I excused myself and went to eat.
We went out on our tour that day. And the next night we were in our room downstairs, and my wife said to me, “Sweetheart, you know what I’d love if you would do for me?” “What?” “There’s that soft ice-cream machine up in the kitchen; they said we could take any time we wanted, would you go up and get me a little bowl of ice cream?” I said, “Sweetheart, I’d be glad to. I may come back with two of those bowls”.
So, I went up, was at the machine, when I heard somebody coming up the stairs back here. And I turned around and, lo and behold, it was the doctor. Much different, radiant person. And she came up, and I said, “Oh, how are you?” And she said, “Oh, I’ve never lived like this”. Then, out of these stairs, came that old couple. And they came walking over. And I then realized God was doing a setup. I hope you know He does this all the time.
By the way, you’ve been set up. You’ve been set up. And wherever you are, God is giving you a massive gift today. He’s bringing you something that will change you forever.
Well, I turned to the lady and I said to her, “You can believe, can’t you?” “Yes”, starts to cry, “Would you like to believe in Christ right now?” I said, “Well, the perfect people to do that -- to introduce you, is this older couple, because I noticed they loved you from the beginning.” And I said, “Besides that, my ice cream is melting”. So, I walked right past them and went downstairs. Why? Because the Holy Spirit brought her up, brought me up, brought the couple up -- why? -- it was her time.
Could it be that many of the things you wish could be true about your life, no matter how hard you try, isn’t true about your life? And no matter how much you prayed and how much you tried, it just didn’t fit together. Well, you’re going to find out unforgiveness has roots beneath the surface of your life that spreads out, and grows up another thing here. And you don’t ever realize that thing you don’t like, or it’s painful and won’t work, or that relationship, or the money problems that keep on coming -- you’ve never understood that root goes all the way back over here to your unforgiveness -- just like believing in Christ is related to that person.
So, where did this idea come from? So let’s go back and deal with a passage that Christ reveals The Shocking Revelation About Forgiveness. It’s in Matthew 18.
And its under Part 1: Why Forgiving “70 times 7” is a Brilliant Idea.
Whoa! It’s a brilliant idea. Well, here’s what takes place in Verse #21 of Matthew 18: 21Peter came to Jesus and said, “Lord, how often -- how often -- shall my brother – another human being; not his literal brother -- sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Now when Peter said that, he was expecting an affirmation from God, “You forgive somebody seven times; that’s a lot”.
But what Jesus said shocked Peter. Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, --comma -- but up to seventy times seven”.
Was Jesus Christ exaggerating? That’s a good question. When Christ said 70 times 7, what was He trying to say to Peter? “Peter, there is no limit to how many times you’re supposed to forgive.”
Now why should I keep on forgiving somebody? That’s the question of what Christ did next. He answers the question why a person should forgive somebody who hurt them -- like the mother of the doctor. Why should I forgive my mother for two and a half pages of wounds?
I don’t know what you think His answer is going to be. Maybe you think it’s going to be because God forgave you. It’s not. Jesus Christ gave the shocking answer why a person who understands this will forgive everyone from now on once they understand it. So what Christ did is what He frequently loved to do; He made up a story called a parable. This wasn’t a real story. It was a fictional story. And He put in that story the answer to why a person should forgive 70 times 7, and put it in the middle of the story, and it carried it along. And the zinger, the part that is the point of the story, doesn’t happen until the end of the story. But let’s take a look at it.
So in Verse 22: …”I do not say to you seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Therefore -- okay, now He’s going to tell them the story that answers the question: Why should I forgive seventy times seven? Therefore the kingdom of heaven -- how heaven works with earth -- the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. -- A big fortune! -- But as he was not able to pay the king, his master commanded that he be sold to pay off the debt, and his wife – be sold to pay off the debt – and children – to pay off the debt -- and all that he had that payment may be made.
Whoa, the servant is traumatized. He doesn’t argue that he owes it.
“The servant therefore fell down before him saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.”
The truth of it is he couldn’t pay it all. The amount of money there is impossible to pay off.
“The master of that servant was moved with compassion, “-- Whoa. Why? Because he fell down on his knees and was begging, and he responded with compassion. You see somebody begging right in front of you on their knees…
I did this once -- not for something that I had done to the man, but in which another man had done to that man, and he wouldn’t forgive. And this was a big thing; and God was going to judge him severely for not forgiving him. I, with five other men, spent the day with this man, at his request. And, at the end, I was so fearful, because he wasn’t going to forgive and was going to sue the man, that I got on my knees in front of him in my office. I literally got out of my chair, I got on my knees, I grabbed his knees, and I said, “Bobby, I beg you to forgive that man”. And I was so moved I was weeping. I said, “Let me be the man, and let me apologize to you for him. Please forgive him”. When that happened, that broke my friend, Bobby’s, heart and he forgave.
When a person humbles themselves like that, it can powerfully impact you. Have compassion.
“Then his master” -- verse 27-- “of that servant was moved with compassion, -- now look at these words -- “released him.” -- Whoa. He released him. And then, after he released him, he forgave him the debt. So there’s two separate parts here -- you release the person and you forgive the debt.
But that servant -- who was forgiven -- went out and found one of his fellow servants. -- Probably a person who worked with him or for him -- who owed him a hundred denarii; -- not very much money -- and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will pay you all’ --because he probably could have. But he would not, -- He would not let him have the time -- but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellow servants --who were watching all this and – saw -- the first man beg at the king’s feet and get forgiveness, go over to the other person who owed him a little bit and throw him into prison -- saw this -- they were very grieved, -- they were upset-- and came and told – the king -- their master all that had been done. Then his master, – oh, boy -- after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant!’
Do you realize unforgiveness is wicked? Whoa. The last person you didn’t forgive; you were wicked. That repositions it, doesn’t it?
I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you –now look at this -- should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?
Now here’s the question: What’s the king going to do now? And his master -- the king -- was angry, and delivered him, -- now underline this -- to the torturers -- for how long? -- until he should pay all that was due him.
Now here’s the zinger; here’s the point of the parable. This is the shocking part. Jesus now pulls back the veil between heaven and earth and lets all of us find out what the kingdom of heaven does to somebody on the kingdom of earth when they will not forgive. And it’s not good news.
“So -- said Jesus, just like the king threw him to the torturers, until he paid all that was due him -- so My heavenly Father will do to you -- What’s that? Throw you to be tortured if each of you -- underline these next three words -- from his heart, does not forgive his brother, -- another human being -- his trespasses.” --the things he did wrong against you.
Do you realize what Jesus revealed? That as the king threw the man to the torturers -- listen carefully; he didn’t throw that man into prison. He threw him to people that would torture him until…the torture continues. Listen, the torture continues until that is paid off.
Then Jesus gives the answer, “Peter, you want to know why you should forgive seventy times seven? Because if you don’t forgive, my Father will do that to you. He will deliver you to the torturers”. “For how long, Jesus?” “Until you forgive the person for every single thing he did that hurt you.” “You mean, I get tortured until I forgive?” “Yes, you do.”
And just imagine if you have two people that you don’t forgive, and three people, and four people, and ten people. And that’s why life doesn’t make sense. We don’t understand the torture that comes from things emotionally, physically, financially, relationally, could be related all the way back because the Father said, “Nope, she won’t forgive. Let’s encourage her to forgive by sending her to be tortured all this time”. And then she doesn’t forgive another person; the torture increases. Then the person prays for that, asks people to fast for that and it doesn’t work. Why doesn’t it work? Because we didn’t connect it, that’s still going on. And here’s a person who couldn’t believe in Jesus because they didn’t believe and didn’t forgive their mother. Just imagine what’s happening in your life.
So let’s make some points about this as we get into this session.
Number 1. God desires that everyone forgives everyone for Everything.
Number 2. God describes people who don’t forgive as Wicked -- as wicked. Therefore, if I don’t forgive you, I am wicked.
Point #3. God delivers everyone who chooses not to forgive to the Torturers. I want you to understand something. God doesn’t torture you. Look here. God doesn’t torture you. God delivers you to the torturers. God doesn’t do that. And I want to make a real point here. God doesn’t want to deliver you to the torturers. It grieves Him that you won’t forgive.
So, there are two exceptions to this that I want you to understand.
Exception #1 is the Window of Grace – the window of grace. What is the Window of Grace? When a traumatic wound hits you that you could barely cope with – it’s so painful and traumatic -- God gives you a season of grace to cope with that and then forgive. He gives you some time. I don’t know how long He gives us, but He does give us some time. I’ve had a couple of times in my life where the wounds were so severe to me that I actually asked the Father, “Would you give me some time to cope? I will forgive,” and had peace, and then forgave. There was no delivery to the torturers. Don’t ask for ten years.
Number 2, exception 2, the Season of Childhood. You and I know about the traumas of childhood. All of us in this room have had various wounds from parents, from relatives, when we were young, and we couldn’t cope with the wounds that happened to us.
What does God do? God postpones the torturers in a child’s life, because they are innocent, until a period of time passes and they cross a barrier. We don’t know when that barrier is. It’s different for every child, by their maturity, in which God then convicts them, “Okay. I wanted you to forgive what he did to you”. And you’ll know it. You’ll feel it, and you’ll be convicted you should. And, depending upon what you do there, changes the next period of your life, because it will bring it around to you again. There is that series of innocence that He says, “I won’t judge you for this. But when you pass that innocent period where you can make up your own mind now, I’m going to invite you and tell you it’s time to forgive this person”. If you don’t, that’s when the torture begins. Make sense?
Number 4. God is not abusive -- that is my big fear of Session 1, that you will misunderstand the heart of God. God does not want you to be delivered to the torturers -- but He has little tolerance for the sin of Unforgiveness -- little tolerance for it. We’ll talk about later on today why God has little tolerance for this.
Point #5. You probably are wondering, “What does it mean to be tortured?” That comes from a Greek word. As you may know, the Old Testament in the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, and we translated it into the language that we’re from, like this is English. And the New Testament is written in mostly Greek. And, therefore, when people like myself, who’ve studied hard and learned some about Greek and some about Hebrew, I always want to know myself, “What’s the Greek word behind torture literally mean?” I wanted to know, “What does it mean?”
And the word is basanizo -- b-a-s-a-n-i-z-o. That’s the Greek word, basanizo. I then took that Greek word and I looked all through the New Testament for every place basanizo was and saw what was taking place, so that I knew what could happen to me if I don’t forgive. Because this is what will happen to me. I’ll be thrown to those people who do this to me – who torture me. And I didn’t include all of them on your notes, but I included many of them underneath this.
Point 5. “To Torture” means to cause another person distress and Suffering. Torture is always suffering, but suffering takes different forms.
So I’ve given your four verses that have basanizo in it.
Matthew 8 says: 5Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, -- a city -- a centurion -- a leader -- came to Him, pleading with Him, 6saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented”.
Well, that’s physical, isn’t it? That’s basanizo. So that can happen. Do you know how many people are physically ill because of unforgiveness, and when they forgive they are healed? And when you – listen -- when you have a physical illness directly related to a major sin of unforgiveness, no matter what you do, you will not be healed. Because the cause of that sickness is unforgiveness.
That’s why so many of you…so many Christians lose faith in God over this, because they don’t understand. They say, “God can heal. I want to be healed. I have faith to be healed”, and then they pray, and they get their friends, and God doesn’t heal. Well, there may be a number of reasons why He doesn’t. But after 40 years around the world, I’m utterly convinced the #1 reason He doesn’t is because it’s a judgment of being tormented because the person will not forgive; and they are acting as a wicked person. Does this make sense to you? Good.
Second verse, 2 Peter 2: 7And delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8(for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds). What is that? That’s emotional suffering -- emotional suffering.
Then Revelation 12:2: 2Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain –that’s basanizo -- to give birth.
And probably the most serious one that I found was in Revelation 20 at the end of the Age when: 10The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Look up here, so you hear this sentence very clearly. Not all suffering -- physical, mental, emotional, financial, relational -- is from the sin from unforgiveness. But having talked to psychologists and psychiatrists, and done a great deal of research, it appears a safe guess would be between 60% and 80% of all of that is related to unforgiveness.
One of the best classics ever written about this was by a secular man, who did research and found out that 92% of everybody that are in a mental institution, 92%, would be released if they forgave other people. But they would not.
Number 6. The “Torturers” apply discipline…the torturers apply discipline until forgiveness is fully Granted. What happens when you forgive? The contract is ended. The Father says, “That’s enough. They finally did what was right. No more torture”.
Number 7. Circle this one; put it in red: Fear of the “Torturers” is Christ’s reason to forgive without Limit. Christ, why do you want me to forgive? Because you don’t want to be tortured, do you? Good.
The Basics of Forgiveness is Part #2.
And I want to quickly help you understand this, and I’m going to use a physical illustration and a heart illustration. Let’s say that last week I fell down at the game park and I got a big cut in here. And we had a physician on the game park and, let’s say, he came and cleaned up the wound. And what would happen in about a week or two? It’d heal itself. The doctor doesn’t heal anything. They can’t heal it. They have no power to heal it. They just want to get it ready so the body can heal itself. That’s because how God made the body.
Well, what would happen if you missed a bunch of dirt way down deep inside of it, and he put stitches in it, what would begin to happen to that wound? It would become infection, then it would become real sore. And, let’s say, that I just saw this man here today, and he didn’t know I had an infected sore here, and he said to me, “Hey, how are you doing?” What would I do? Watch this now; I would overreact, and he would wonder, what did he do wrong? This happens with unforgiveness all the time, where you do something or say something to somebody and they over react, and you said, “Where did that come from?” Something going on inside that wasn’t even related to you.
If I do not take care of this, soon I’ll have a line down here, and I’ll get a little bit of a temperature. Then my head will begin to become a little cloudy, and I’ll start to get a big temperature. And, I could eventually…if I left this alone, that infection could spread everywhere in me. But if I go back to the doctor and say, “There’s something wrong in here,” and he cleans it up and takes it out, what happens to the wound? It heals up. It may take a little longer this time. And, in a month, when I see this man, and he says to me, “How’s he doing?”, and he goes like this, guess what, won’t even feel it. Wait. I won’t even feel it. Wait. I won’t even remember it.
Now apply that to forgiveness. Because forgiveness doesn’t take place in your arm. Where does it take place in? And, guess what, it’s hidden. You can’t see it. And when somebody hurts me, whether intentional or unintentional, where’s my wound? It’s not in my head. It’s not in my will. It’s not in my big toe. Where is it? It’s in my heart. And, if I clean it out and make sure there’s no unforgiveness in that wound, guess what happens to the wound. It just closes and heals. It heals by itself. And, I don’t have anything there, except a scar that I don’t even feel. And the next time I see you, I don’t think about you did because it’s already healed.
But if I have unforgiveness -- that’s the dirt -- and it becomes infected, then it starts affecting my emotions, and I start not trusting you anymore, and I start wondering, “Well, you acted like him. Maybe I shouldn’t trust you anymore”. And then I become afraid about what she may do to me, and I have new fears and anxious thoughts. And then at night time I get a terrible nightmare about you.
Wait. It gets much worse than that, doesn’t it? And until you go back and realize ‘I have wounds that are real, and they’re still there’, and until you clean out the dirt, called unforgiveness, your heart will never heal. And if these wounds are longstanding, like this lady -- man, she was a hard woman. No man wanted her. She was hard. She was angry. She was filled with infection from her heart. I didn’t know who the woman was when I met her. It wasn’t until she forgave, and her face changed, and her heart opened. Because she had walls so high nobody could get in, and she was afraid of everybody, and ‘I’m hurting you so you can’t hurt me’. And, when she forgave for the first time, she found out who she was -- and I liked her. But I didn’t like -- whoa, I had to love her, but I didn’t like her. But I liked her. It’s different, isn’t it?
So could it be you’ve never found out how you really are? And all that torment – whoo.
So let’s see if we can’t sketch that out. Is this helping and making sense this morning?
So we left a blank there, because I want you to draw this yourself. And here’s the first thing that happens. It’s a wound. It’s a wound. Now that wound is something that may be intentional – intentional; somebody wanted to hurt you -- and that came, and it may be accidental. And that wound takes place where? In my heart. So put a heart right there.
When that wound happens, the next thing that occurs is you have a choice. This is usually out of your control, isn’t it? It’s out of my control. But the choice is 100% in my control. It’s, ‘What am I going to do with the wound?’ And I have two choices here, don’t I? There’s not three. We think there is, but there’s only two.
The first choice I have is I can obey, and I can forgive. Because Christ tells me to forgive -- He commands me to. The other thing I can do is I can disobey, and I can choose ‘not forgive’. What happens when I forgive? Wonderful things happen -- I heal, my heart heals, and then God blesses me. He always blesses a person who forgives -- always. If I don’t forgive, I get torment. Instead of God blessing me, God judges me. That’s how forgiveness works. It’s pretty simple.
Now, how do you know -- because I’ve helped people many places, many groups of people, many individuals forgive -- how do I know if a person needs to forgive? So let’s say you and I sat down, and we were talking, and you were sharing some things, do you know what I would say to you? If I thought it if was unforgiveness, I would say something like this, “Would you say you experience torment from time to time?” Why do I say that sentence? Because, what does Jesus say will happen to 100% of us if we don’t forgive? We will experience what? Torment.
Look up here for a minute. Follow through this carefully. Jesus says, “If you don’t, you will” – not, ‘if you don’t, some of us will’ -- all of us. If each of you, from his heart… So, when I’m trying to help somebody, you don’t know what the cause of something is. And, if you don’t know what the cause of it is, how can you really set them free?
So, what you must do is to figure out the cause. And this is a shortcut. So, when I’m thinking to myself, “All of this trauma in their marriage, where they’re at the edge of getting divorced, is because of unforgiveness in the both of the people’s lives. And if I help them forgive, their marriage will come back together again.” I will test this -- just like a doctor comes in and says, “Open your mouth, let me look inside. Let me look in your ear”. What’s he doing? He’s validating what he thinks you probably have.
So how do I do this? I use what Jesus revealed, that you will be sent to the torturers and be tormented until you forgive. So, because God wants everybody to forgive, and wants the person that you’re helping to get free of this, I give God His moment to confirm and verify that’s the problem. And so, I simply say to them, “Would you say you experience torment from time to time?”
It is shocking. God Himself makes the person tell you the answer. They are unable to lie to you. The person will bow their head a little bit and say, “You know, I never thought of it like that. Yeah, I do…I do experience torment” -- even before you talk about unforgiveness. In my life, to this moment, there’s never ever been one exception to using that sentence. If the person says, “No, I don’t have any torment. I really don’t.” “So you don’t ever experience really bad anguish, or anxiety, or terrible thoughts?” “No, I really don’t.” Aha. It’s not from unforgiveness.
So at the bottom, in the conclusion, I have The Forgiveness Verifier: “Would you say you have experienced torment?” You don’t have to teach this passage to them.
Since Jesus reveals that unforgiveness always results in being delivered to the “torturers” then asking the person “if you experience torment” (that’s the result of torture) is the correct protocol or method to verify that the person indeed has unforgiveness in their life. God will make the person confirm or deny whether it’s true.
So, let me ask you a question: Are you ready to open up a little bit? Hmm. Really? Let’s test you out. Open your mouth; let me put the stick down. Let me look in your ear. How many of you need to forgive at least one person? Let me see your hands. At least one?
This course is for you. Wait till you get free of all of this. And wait till the Father, in the Kingdom of Heaven, says to the torturers, “I cancelled the contract. It’s over. Set them free”.
So, as we close this session, I have one question to you: What are you going to do when it’s your moment to forgive? Will you run away? Don’t ever run away again. Run to forgiveness. It’s a great friend.