So your list is complete? If you are not sure—make sure! This is the place where you deal with it, or you keep running. You have made it this far, so why not ask the Holy Spirit one more time if he has anything (anything at all, no matter how insignificant it seems) he wants you to add to the list.
You may be tempted to file the list and do it when you have more time. Don’t! You may also be surprised out how long your list is. The time has come to face it. Remember—God is with you and he’s your partner in this. He will not abandon you, and he will walk with you no matter how long this takes—as long as you are willing and obedient. Obedience, not speed, is the issue now.
Ask the Holy Spirit where he wants you to start. He will often start with an offense that is relatively insignificant or simple. In fact, it will probably be one that makes you wonder why you haven’t already forgiven it. Our greatest fear is that God will take us to that one wound—you know which one I’m talking about—the one that paralyzes us with fear and pain. The voice telling you that this is what God will do and paralyzing you with fear is not God—it’s the enemy. Ignore him, or better yet, command him to leave because he is no longer welcome because this freedom party is about to get into full swing.
God usually starts with the insignificant and works toward the significant. He does this to build your faith in him. God’s desire is not to hurt you, embarrass you, expose you, or destroy you. He knows exactly how much you can emotionally deal with at any moment. He will not push you past the place you cannot emotionally go. He understands the pain in your heart and soul, and the way you are made. Just trust him! Go ahead and ask, “God—where do I start?”
You will hear his voice. He has a specific plan for deconstructing the list you hold in your hand. “Go to #____ and start there—now!” Start wherever he tells you.
Now comes the moment when you must verbalize what you have written down and make the choice to forgive. What follows must come from your heart. These are not just words you say, but rather it is the verbalization—the speaking into life the choice you are making.
“God, I choose to forgive (name the person) for (name the offense, the hurt, or the wound) in Jesus name. I release and forgive this person for what he/she did. Please forgive me for my sin of unforgiveness in Jesus name!”
Once you’ve done this, date it, and mark it off the list with your pen. Ask the Holy Spirit which one you are to go to next. Then do the same thing again. This may take some time—several days, weeks, or even months depending on the length of your list and the depth of your wounds. Don’t give up and don’t listen to the accusations and condemnations of the enemy. Tune him out and turn him off. The reason he is screaming so loud right now is that he is losing control in your life and his power and influence are being evicted.
If you reach an offense you find impossible to forgive, ask the Lord to give you his strength. Cry out for his grace. Ask for him for the power you need! Invite him to show you where he was when the trauma happened. Then trust him and act! Take only as long as he desires in empowering you to respond.
When every item on the list is dated and marked through, toss it in the garbage can or strike a match and watch it go up in flames. It is done! You have made the choice and acted on it. God is now free to complete the healing of your heart, mind, and emotions. He can now heal your soul. This is the first step.
In the next blog, I want you to understand what you don’t have to do before we proceed.