This nation and its people find themselves in a season of acrimony; marriages, families, and friends find themselves at deep odds with each other over differing political and cultural views and hastily spoken words uttered out of anger and antagonism. The division is at a level that I have never seen before. And I believe that we need the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of it all. I know that I do. You see, I am writing this post as a personal testimony of how the Enemy can use your sin to cause division and chaos in families. It is my testimony of humbling myself to allow Jesus to heal family discord that I caused. And I am writing it now -- particularly now in this season of our nation's history -- so that you will not fall into the trap that I did, and you will be able to find your way out of the pit by the grace of Jesus Christ. It begins by me being honest.
I have been writing this blog for nine years and I have never been afraid to stand and express my opinion, especially when it is something I feel strongly about. In fact, it was revealed to me that my boldness is what most threatens the devil. And if you have been with me from the beginning, you have seen [through my writing] the journey that the Lord is taking me on. You have been a witness to my newfound awareness that something vitally important was happening in our country and change was on the way -- profound changes that my spirit was not comfortable with. And you have seen my faith change and morph from being consumed by the world and how it was affecting me, to discovering the Kingdom of God on earth and my identity and purpose in it. I have tried to be less self-centered and more Jesus-focused. That is my current priority.
But seven years ago, in 2013, I wrote an article expressing my opinion on the state of government involvement in education and how I felt it had changed the character of our nation and its youth. And I wrote boldly and from my soul how I had seen it affect my family. And that fearless, thoughtless, and self-absorbed conviction opened a spiritual door these seven years later to offend my family. I wasn't writing the article to intentionally hurt them or cause anyone pain; I was using something personal to illustrate the point I wanted to make. It is sometimes easier to speak to an unseen audience by using details that have personal significance to you. But it was wrong. And now, all these years later, when that article found its way into the hands of my family members, I was faced with my sin. I had hurt people that I dearly loved, and the Enemy was having a field day!
I was immediately embarrassed and ashamed. There was no denying it. I could easily see what I could not in 2013 -- I had crossed a line then, and now I was going to have to pay the price. The Enemy immediately tried to get me to rationalize my actions. I could justify my decision to write as I did by this or that reasoning. And I probably would have done that seven years ago. But I have spent these intervening years growing with Jesus and I knew what He wanted me to do. I wrote to each of the offended members of my family and apologized for my rash words and told them I was sorry. I let them know that I had deleted the posts. Then I acknowledged the pain I had caused them, and humbly asked for their forgiveness. I knew I didn't have a right to expect it; I didn't deserve it, and they certainly didn't need to give it. But I knew it was the only way those spiritual doors I had recklessly opened could be closed.
And then my spirit bowed at the feet of Jesus and confessed my sin, repented and asked for His forgiveness. As sorrowful as I was over the pain I caused my family, I wept for having sinned against my Lord and disappointing Him. I knew in my spirit that He forgave me, but the Enemy continued to attack my soul through the night, and the spiritual battle was on! Satan told me the damage had been done; and somehow the fact that the words had been written years ago magnified their effect. I needed to prepare myself for permanent rejection. He also whispered that this was the price that my pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness had cost me. My family would now look upon me as a hypocritical Christian. Then my spirit would counter with thoughts such as Jesus's forgiveness was not dependent on my family's forgiveness. My sins were forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus. And then I would recall prophetic minister Graham Cooke's own testimony of Jesus demanding that he, Graham, give Him, Jesus, back His stuff! When Graham continued to question, "What stuff, Lord?" Jesus responded, "I died on the Cross to take away your sins, and you keep hanging on to them!"
In the morning, I knew I had done all I was asked by the Lord to make things right... the most important things were to humbly admit my sin, express my regret over the pain, and then ask to receive their forgiveness. It was time to leave it in the hands of Jesus. And as I prepared to begin a Bible study, I received two texts just seconds apart. Both thanked me for reaching out and unselfishly blessed me with their forgiveness, recognizing that it was a long time ago and families could be messy. There were more kind words but they made a point of extending their love and a desire to put it in the past. Oh, what a merciful and gracious God we serve! If we confess our sins, He is [truly] faithful and just to forgive us those sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!
I then had a picture in my spirit -- Satan, as my Accuser, standing in the Court in Heaven, accusing me of slander and maliciousness. But there was Jesus, as my Advocate, showing the heavenly documents that testified of my repentance, and that forgiveness was asked for and received. Case closed! I saw the article on that date in 2013, first covered by His blood, and then cut out of my earthly timeline. It no longer existed nor had any power in the spiritual realm. But my testimony is not finished. There is still one family member that I have not heard from. And that forgiveness will be harder to come by. I will not force it. And so I pray that the Blood of Jesus will be applied to her heart so that my words can no longer cause any pain or anger, and she can be set free of the ways the Enemy is trying to destroy our relationship.
Because you see, I can now discern just how this spiritual attack has come into play. My witness for the Kingdom of God is strong, committed, and persistent. There are no open doors in the present. But the Enemy was able to go back seven years and find something that he could use to throw a wrench in my work for the Kingdom. He wanted to weaken my spirit with righteous anger [on the part of my family]; self-doubt and self-condemnation against myself; and a lack of faith that I was not fit for the ministry to which the Lord has anointed me. If he could destroy me with those tactics, then perhaps I would have nothing left to give to ministry and I would begin doubting [and surrendering] my power and authority. But the power of Forgiveness has healed wounds -- both the wounds I caused and the self-inflicted wounds I received for my actions.
So, I write this to you today, not to receive a pat on the back for "doing the right thing", but to warn you that the Enemy is like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. And he has sowed such chaos and bedlam in our hearts and homes, and on our streets across the land. Our nerves are frazzled; we are prone to anxiousness and anger; and violence is on the increase. I'm going to be honest, there is real evil waiting to take advantage of our humanness. So, please, learn from my mistake. Do not be naive and think that everything is good today, when as you can see from my testimony, the devil is able to go back in time and pull up something in the past to instigate upheaval and turmoil in your life. He will use anything that gives him legal authority to accuse you; whether it was intentional on your part, or not. Our land is ripe for division! Do not play into his hands! Our sinful choices create wounds and scars, and Satan won't miss any opportunity he can take to rip open the fabric of your family, your marriage, your business, or our beloved country.
But take it from me -- Forgiveness covers a multitude of sins with the Blood of Jesus! If you sin against someone, go immediately to them and ask for their forgiveness. And if you are sinned against, don't waste a moment in anger, but instead, extend your forgiveness to the one who trespassed against you. Through the compassion and mercy of the Lord, our sins can be pardoned and blotted out. We don't have to give in to the discord and disunity that is so prevalent in our discourse today. I am a living witness of the power of God's love for us when we are able to ask for forgiveness and to give it. Learn from me -- do not give pride or arrogance a foothold in your heart. Walk in humility before others, exhibiting the plentiful redemption you have received from the Lord. And join me in praying, Father, let there be peace on earth and in our Homeland, and let it begin with me. Amen!
Psalm 51:3-4, 9-10 For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight ... Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.