Chapter 5 Print
One of the amazing attributes of God is forgiveness. God forgives everyone who repents and changes their ways to doing good in their life. People need to turn to God and repent of their sins and ask God to forgive them. It is not easy to completely change, so God could be forgiving us over and over again until the problem is solved and the sin is defeated. Through one's life, we should be working towards change for the better.
I have to tell you now that after death we go to meet our friends and family in heaven. There is a meet and greet time as we go to God and take a look at our life's conduct, and there truly is judgement. However God is extraordinarily fair, kind and forgiving. If circumstances are a factor in sin, God takes that into account. There are big sins, like cruelty to children and generally cruelty to the disadvantaged that are personal crimes against humanity. There is also cruelty that is playing into the hands of the devil, and the people who play into the hand of the devil and perpetrate and enjoy cruelty have a choice to sin or to not sin. Other sins are apparently not so cut and dried, e.g. self defence that in fact culminates in death of the malefactor. The Ten Commandments state "Thou shalt not kill" but, it does not expect you not to defend yourself. If you don't defend yourself, it is like killing yourself. We have a self defence mechanism in our body and God expects us to use it to defend ourselves. The Old Testament has many examples of the defence of self, honour, and property. However, after the death of Jesus and the early Christians were persecuted by the Roman authorities, the early Christian martyrs when facing certain death in the wild animal sports arena in Ancient Rome, were very instrumental in the wane of the popularity of the games, because they faced death placidly giving no excitement to the crowd. From that information I can assume that peace in body, soul and action is a very powerful weapon against evil. I should think, but I don't know, that there are other crimes against humanity that are difficult to rationalize as needing a forgiving God's judgment, for example drug lords are responsible for so many unnecessary deaths and so many spoilt lives; they choose to be who they are. God judges mankind.
Having said all that, the vast majority of us are ordinary. We go wrong sometimes, but basically live a good life especially if circumstances of our own society are conducive to a life of good behaviour. Jesus Christ the Son of God lived life on earth and he actually liked ordinary people. It was to the ordinary people that Jesus preached about the kingdom of heaven and the loving and forgiving God Almighty. The rich had options open to them because wealth does give people more opportunities to better themselves. The Scribes and Pharisees had greater opportunities because of their superior education. It was the ordinary people who needed help and Jesus came to guide all of us ordinary people into eternal life with God.
So there is no problem. Jesus helps us, also God is love and we can rely on His forgiveness. What I have noticed is that we do not forgive ourselves. Somehow we feel that if we hold our sins before us and constantly seek forgiveness for them, then God is going to have a high regard for us. In fact we ought to give God our sins, and God or Jesus (through his life and death and resurrection) cleanses us of our sin, and we must forget about them and move on with our lives and try not to sin again. (Jesus paid the price for our sins when he was crucified. He himself had not sinned so his body became the sacrificial lamb when he died on the cross, and with the sacrifice of his life he atoned for the sins of all of us.)
Forgiving ourselves turns out to be the hardest thing to do. Somehow our own mistakes are our personal memories which we remember often because of guilt. I am not only talking about breaking the law, although breaking the law usually is a sin, I am talking about all the other mean and nasty things we do. They can even be done and we do not realize that they are mean until later. They are often subtle and they play on our mind.
There are other times when we listen to urges that are not our normal thoughts. It is truly best to get to know oneself and know if that voice in your head is yourself, and not some other being. If you reckon it is another being, cast out demons and put on the armour of God.
I have at least one example of thoughts in my head which were not mine. I bought one of my many teenagers a pair of Doc Martin shoes for Christmas, and for my category of finances they were quite an expensive present. She was very proud and happy to have them. A few weeks later we were in a teenager - adult conflict and I was very annoyed with her. In my head I heard this voice say, "I would like to take her Doc Martin shoes, put them in the middle of the floor, pour gasoline over them and light it." I listened to this garbage that was going on in my head and I knew that it was totally out of character to my own way of thinking. Obviously there was more than me and the teenager expecting to participate in this quarrel; there were demons involved too. I took stock of the situation, sorted out the problem with the teenager in a normal fashion and then quietly went away and cast demons out of my body, brain and brain functions.
This demon in my brain was easy to detect because its talk was so out of character with my own character. I knew I would not be the one to pour gasoline in the middle of my living room and light it. That behaviour is beyond stupid. So if there is a voice in your head telling you to do something and it is obviously wrong, don't do it! Also kick out demons. Your life is your own. Don't let something else live in you and determine your actions. God gave us the gift of free will; it truly is our own.
When it is all over and the demon is cast out, forgive yourself for housing the demon and be vigilant to cast out any demon that might come in to take its place. Maybe you will have to keep on casting them out over the next few days until no more come in. We cannot see demons; all we can do is know ourselves, and our own character and behaviour, and observe anything that is out of character that is in our body. It is our right to cast them out. They do not belong in us.
We cast out demons in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Jesus defeated Satan in the temptation in the wilderness. Jesus lived a sin free life and he accepted death in this world placidly and without sinning at all. Before Jesus died he said "the prince of this world cometh, and he hath nothing in me." The prince of this world (the devil) cometh, and hath nothing (no sin) in me (Jesus)". At the crucifixion of Jesus he was pure, having been born without sin because his father was God (immaculate conception) and not a descendant of Adam, the prototype of humanity who had sinned and past on his sin to all generations of mankind after him. From the birth of Jesus to his death, Jesus Christ the Son of God lived a sin free life. Then Jesus defeated Satan and death by rising from the dead to life, before going to heaven in the full sight of people.
I know that demons can influence us but nearly all our wrong thoughts are a product of our own thinking. As we grow up, we decide who we are going to be. We might favour the personalities of the people around us, whether good or bad, and adopt their personalities and make them our own. When we grow up, we will hear ourselves say "I know where I got that behaviour from; my dad/mom/uncle/aunt/friend is like that too." You are right, and if the behaviour you are exhibiting is good, adopt it as your own; if it is not, kick it out, like the demons; you don't want it.
I was exceedingly blessed. I had an honourable code of conduct directing my life from an early age. My mother sent us to Sunday School to learn about God and Jesus and it gave me, and hundreds of other children, a firm grounding in ethics based on the life and work of Jesus Christ. People of my age in England also benefited from having the school teach us about God through the teachings of Jesus Christ. Every school day began with a short morning service of worship and reflection. From an early age, I accepted Jesus Christ the Son of God as my Saviour and friend, and God as my Father in heaven. And I learnt very early that God forgives all.
When we carry our sins around with us, instead of relinquishing them as God cleanses us, we are burdening ourselves and dragging ourselves down with emotions of guilt. Recently, society has tended to blame God for our burden of guilt, and we have been prompted us to ignore God on the grounds that the feelings of guilt will then go away. They were wrong. The feelings of guilt are still there, and by not teaching children about God, society is denying the future generations the spiritual help they need to cope with life, and also rid themselves of guilt. God takes our transgression (and guilt) and puts it away from us as far as the east is from the west.
In true 1970's California style we can go around saying, "I forgive myself" and it is very useful. But maybe we should go around saying "I'm really sorry. I won't do it again. I ask God to forgive me (which He will.) And I forgive myself." I think that might be more useful. We need to lament, repent, petition and forgive to get to be healthy spiritually and physically. Lament, repent and petition is shown all through the psalm. Forgiveness comes from knowing Jesus.
Now the benefit of lament, repent, petition and forgive is that it is very healthy for our body. At that point, we know that we want to be in a right relationship with God and actually feel worthy of the healing love that God pours down on us at all times. We want to keep the commandments of God as God the Father spoke through his son Jesus Christ. The commandment of Jesus Christ is that we love one another as Jesus loves us and as God loves us. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and once we believe, and do what he has told us to do, whatever we ask in the name of Jesus will be granted to us by Jesus.
I think everyone eventually laments a wrong doing. Sometimes the circumstances of life have to change before we can clearly see what we have really done, and then we are sorry for it. What I am saying is that we can do wrong out of ignorance, and out of ignorance we can also say the wrong things. So we lament many things in our past as we recognize them as problems, and then give the problem to God. Ask God to put right all the hurt we have done. It is as simple as that.
The next thing is to forgive ourselves, and not accept that the guilt about any problem should be part of us after we have given it all to God. Guilt is one of those negative things that is bad for the body, and we combat guilt by going to God to be cleansed and leaving the problem with Him. A nagging guilt can only be calmed by talking to God about it. God can help you.
In the dictionary repentance means (1) to regret; (2) to wish to have been otherwise, what one has done or left undone; (3) to change from past evil.
I actually felt that repentance was to change from past evil; To physically do something, and not do evil again. But the dictionary says that it is also the act of regret and wish that we had done differently: so people might think repentance is only a thought process that does not actively mean a change in behaviour. One of the things that Jesus said in Luke 12:25, "And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit." You see thought cannot make a physical change; only action can do that. So repentance as a thought is good but it has to be followed by action.
Petition is the formal request to an authority. We do need to pray and talk to God about situations. In the book of Job in the Bible, Job thought that he just had to do actions like sacrifice to get God's attention, but it turned out that God wanted Job to pray and talk to Him directly. God was already pleased with Job for his actions of worshipping regularly. When we do something wrong, we talk to God about it, remembering that God truly wants the best for us.
And now we are back to forgive. Forgive ourselves. Ask God to forgive us "as we forgive others that trespass against us." So we have a part to play in our own forgiveness and if we know we have forgiven others, we can also know that when we ask God to forgive us we have been forgiven. If you have a lot of problems forgiving others take note. Forgiving people for what they have done does not give them permission to do it again. Whatever they do, forgive them.
We need to forgive others readily for things they have done, or said, against us. Just as others frequently do not know the whole of our story it is very likely that we do not know the whole of their story. We usually do not know what makes people tick and we judge them without knowledge. Some times their malevolence is very obvious and it is best to walk away from the situation, as Jesus did, but leave your bad feelings towards them with them, and walk away forgiving them. You do win something. You keep your good health as well as the more obvious body behaviours like even-temper, calm, tranquillity. The behaviours like anger and frustration you don't need anyway; they do not in fact make you healthier.
God rains down love onto us at all times. Satan uses his trickiness to block God's love. I have participated in healing sessions where we have done the healing prayers only and the person has had the pain go away. However when they have talked further, we find that they have a massive problem with unforgiveness. They have not forgiven the person for causing them the pain. When we harbour unforgiveness, we have a weakness that Satan can use to block God's love. When we then did the prayer of casting out demons on the one to be healed (using the whole system outlined in chapter 1) and casting out the spirit of unforgiveness, then the recipient felt a wonderful release. For some people, the demons drain from their body and they feel the heat of God's love coming into them from the top of their head, and as the demons drain from them the love of God is felt in them from the top of the head to the tip of their toes. Sometimes it feels quite warm. This result of unforgiveness being cast out, accentuates the part in the Lords prayer where we ask God to forgive us as we forgive others that trespass against us. It appears that unforgiveness blocks the Love of God. That is why we need to forgive others; it is good for our health, and our relationship with God.
Perhaps, after all that, you are not sure that God would forgive you. Yet God is well known as the God of forgiveness as shown in the book of Jonah. What is shown in the book of Jonah is the capacity and generosity of God's love. That probably sounds odd because most of us think of the book of Jonah in the Bible to be about a big fish eating a man and spewing him out three days later.
Jonah was a man who knew God very well. He must have lived with the spiritual dimension to his life intermingled with a practical zest for life. I presume that he had grown up learning about God through the Holy Scriptures, and by joining in the services in the temple. He was a man with enough financial substance that he could travel whenever he wanted to.
One day God came to Jonah and told him to go to Nineveh and tell the 120,000 inhabitants of the town to repent. God had noticed their wickedness.
When we look at the message it does not sound that hard, but Jonah was probably much more aware of the atrocities that must have been going on in Nineveh. The people were actively worshipping pagan gods. The Phoenicians, who probably had some control of the northern route east to Nineveh, were known for their pagan rituals that included human sacrifice to their God. It was not a very pleasant journey for Jonah to be going on. Nineveh was now worshipping gods other than God Almighty, and who knew what licentious debauchery was going on in Nineveh; it had to be bad enough to anger God into contemplating the destruction of the city and all its inhabitants.
Jonah was very aware that God had told him to go to Nineveh, but he must have felt like he was being sent to the lion's den. These people would at the very least laugh him to scorn, and maybe kill him. So instead of going east to Nineveh he went west to Tarshish. He boarded a ship to Tarshish and he could not have felt any trepidation at deliberately disobeying God Almighty because he knew God Almighty well enough to be sure that he forgave enormous iniquities, and his little disobedience was nothing like 120,000 people worshipping other gods. Also God Almighty obviously wanted the people of Nineveh to repent so that He could forgive them. Jonah went below deck on the boat and got into a bunk and was soon into a comfortable deep sleep.
The sea swelled into a big storm and the sailors, who were struggling to keep the ship afloat, worried that they would all die, so they decided that everyone should sacrifice to their gods to get help; the storm did not abate. Then they remembered Jonah and told him to call upon his God so that they would not perish, but the storm continued. After which they cast lots to see whose fault it was that God was angry with them to the point that they would all drown. And the lot showed that it was Jonah's fault. They then asked Jonah about himself and his God and Jonah said that his God made the sea and the dry land, and he had already told them that he was fleeing from the presence of God Almighty, so they were afraid for their lives. Jonah told them to cast him into the sea and the sea would calm; then they would be safe. However, the sailors did their best to row to shore, but they could not because of the ferocity of the storm. The sailors begged God's forgiveness for following Jonah's advice, but they cast Jonah into the sea and the storm subsided.
God Almighty had prepared a big fish to eat Jonah, and Jonah lay in the belly of the fish. He prayed to God in the same fashion as King David had prayed in his psalms when he was certain that without God's intervention he would die. Jonah didn't say, "Why has this happened to me? I'm a good guy and I don't deserve this" But in (Ch2 verse 9) he concentrated on what he could do for the Lord God. He knew that the other way, where he concentrated on himself, would forsake the only chance he had of any mercy. And that mercy comes from the Lord God. So he points out to God that he would sacrifice to God with his voice of thanksgiving, (I presume he sang psalms as David did.) He would do what he had vowed, (originally, to trust and follow God.) He said Salvation is of the Lord. Then God told the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land. Jonah had been in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.
Again God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell them to repent. When he got there, Nineveh was such a large city that it would take him three days to walk through, but as soon as Jonah started proclaiming to the people that in forty days Nineveh would be overthrown., (I suspect they learnt of his story too,) the people of Nineveh repented.
When the King heard of Jonah's warning, he changed his ways and insisted that everybody dress modestly, turn from their evil way and from the violence that was within their hands. If they did, there was a good chance that God Almighty would turn away from his fierce anger.
It looks like it is not only Jonah that knew of God's preference to forgive rather than to wreak vengeance. When God had promised Noah, after the flood, that he would no more destroy the whole earth and that He realized that people were bad from their youth, mankind knew that God would forgive them because He knew their weaknesses.
The knowledge of God's goodness to all who turn to Him and repent of their sins, it seems, was common to all, and Jonah was angry. He knew that God would forgive them if they repented. He had known it from the beginning, and he had been right. That is why he had fled west towards Tarshish instead of going east to Nineveh. And it was God who had turned him around. I suspect that Jonah thought that if God Almighty knew He was going to forgive Nineveh, then why did God decide to get him (Jonah) involved too?
Jonah in his anger decided to go outside of the city and sit and watch to see if God destroyed Nineveh. It was hot out there and God took pity on him and caused a gourd to quickly grow up and give him shade. Jonah was very glad of the gourd because it was hot, and the plant gave him good shade. However, God sent a worm and it killed the plant overnight so that it could no longer do anything for Jonah. Jonah really missed the comfort of its shade. The gourd had been good and able to do something for Jonah when it was alive, but when it was dead it was useless to him. Then God sent a vehement east wind and the sun also shone on Jonah's head and made him so uncomfortable that he wanted to die.
Jonah really missed that gourd and pitied its demise; then God pointed out that he did well to pity the gourd even though he had done nothing to make it grow, and didn't Jonah think it is right that He (God the creator) should spare Nineveh with more that 120,000 people in it, who did not really know what they were doing at all - poor confused people.
You see God forgave 120,000 people in an instant. He had pity on them all. Everybody is a child of God. One moment God was angry with them for worshipping other gods and behaving in a depraved manner, and in an instant He forgave them when they changed their ways. If God does that for 120,000 people, each being an individual not unlike ourselves, then when we as individuals turn to him and repent of our sins, we can expect forgiveness because God has seen all manner of sins and has forgiven them in others. You see, God is no respecter of persons. We are not special either in our sin or in our goodness; it is God who is special in His forgiveness.
Once we really understand that we can be forgiven by God just as the people of Nineveh were forgiven when they turned "every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands." then we know that God will also forgive us if we also turn from our evil way and from the violence that is in our hands. It is in the action of the turning from wickedness to not doing wickedness that will bring us into a right relationship with God.
When we are the target of the malevolence from other people we are in fact being targeted by the devil. The malevolent persons are also being targeted by the devil. It is what comes out of the mouth that causes a person to be destroyed in hell. And the person whose words or actions are motivated by hatred are allowing themselves to be instruments of the devil and do his work on earth among the people. "Forgive them for they know not what they do."
The aspect of the devil that is at work when hatred is aroused is the spirit of unforgiveness. It is well known in religious circles that forgiveness of the perpetrator of an evil action is the way to being freed from the debilitating stronghold of the spirit of unforgiveness. When we forgive, as Jesus told us to do, the hounding spirit of unforgiveness goes out of the body. I would suggest that you use the deliverance command (Ch 1) to cast it from yourself/recipient, and then use the same command to cast it from the malevolent person. In the deliverance command name the demon as "Spirit of unforgiveness", and add it to the demon list in the command as you say it. After saying the command you will not have to worry about that demon turning up again. Any additional demons in the malefactor are weaker than the dominant one that you cast out, and with the command the weaker ones will leave more easily. To cast demons from a person is an act of forgiveness.
Copyright © Cheryl Shepherd - Canada