my life 4 jesus.co.za
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abuse. So,] if your eye, right hand or foot, causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, or two eyes, to be cast into the everlasting fire!” (Mt. 5:28-30; Mark 9:42-48.)
From the gravity of Jesus’ teaching on self-mutilation as a spiritual remedy to abuse, it’s apparent that He wasn’t referring to the casual hurts of outsiders. He referred to our abusive loved ones; the treasured ‘apples of our eyes;’ our ‘hands’ and ‘feet,’ on whom we depend for help, provision, guidance, comfort, and protection. Jesus’ instruction relates to a leopard, whose paw got caught in a snare. To escape with its life, the desperate animal often must chew off its own foot.
Jesus warned that victims must count the cost to freedom, (Read Lu. 14:26-35.)
Victims must know that, if they are unable to recover their abusive loved ones from the edge of that consuming abyss, they must be prepared to “cut them off;” let them go, hand them over, or flee from them while they tender for their own lives — or risk being “cast into the everlasting fire” with them!
The M.H. Commentary gave the following advice, “Part with what you cannot keep without being entangled by sin; that which grieves your soul! (1 Cor. 8:12.) Abandon all occasion for sin with abhorrence! Think nothing [and no one] too dear to part with for the sake of your [eternal] soul — that is how the evil power of that demon-controlled beloved is broken!”
Before we trace the final steps of obedience to Christ in this matter, we should count the possible cost for freedom in Him; believing that we will never be alone during this trial. The Holy Spirit lives INSIDE all His sincerely obedient believers, as Jesus has promised, even “to the end of this world,” (Mt. 28:20; Acts 5:32!)
DELIVER THAT “HEATHEN OR TAX COLLECTOR” TO SATAN
As a last remedy and again, not as revenge, Jesus commanded in Mt. 18:17, “…If he does not hear the congregation either, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” M.H. Commentary, ‘Let him be under disgrace, disassociation, and let the members of society, [who are involved with both the victim and abuser, so as not to commit crimen injuria,] be warned to withdraw from him that he may become ashamed of his sin that they may not be infected with it, or made chargeable with it… Christ has appointed this method for the vindicating of His [and His true children’s] honor, the preserving of their purity, and the possible conviction and repentance of those that are scandalous…’
Jesus continued in Mt. 18:18, “Assuredly, I say to you, that whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven… If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, [anything good and in God’s true will,] it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, [during these disciplinary hearings and actions,] there I Am in their midst.”
Footnote, Spirit Filled Bible, “When believers are acting under the lordship of Jesus in administering disciple, God sanctions the action. The promise that Jesus gives, [‘whatever you ask,’] may apply to [righteous] prayer in general, but more specifically [in the context of this passage,] it concerns the divine guidance that is sought and received in matters of Godly discipline. In such cases, much sincere prayer [and obedience to Scripture in the guidance of the Holy Spirit] guards against a vindictive spirit.”
In Jesus’ own words, decidedly unrepentant abusers are “bound on earth and in heaven” until that day when they truly repent – if they themselves should choose that such a day would come. Then only, will they ‘be loosened on earth and in heaven,’ (as only on repentance will God forgive abusers offenses,) to be restored to fellowship, friendship and family, and to live the Godly life, which they have forfeited through their hard-hearted unrepentance from sin.
May such a blessed day come quickly for all hard-hearted abusers!
This, we may believe, is the process, which Paul followed before he came to this conclusion in 1 Cor. 5:4; 5,11, “Deliver such a [deliberately unrepentant] one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, [so that, under dire conditions, he may decide to repent from his sin and submit himself to the Lord,] that his spirit may be saved in the day of [death or of the Lord Jesus’ return…] Now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother [or sister,] who is [unrepentantly] sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, [a nonstop, verbal abuser such as a false accuser, persecutor, or slanderer,] or a drunkard, or an extortioner, [who abuses facts, trust, people and their money,] – not even to eat with such a person.”
Take the full benefit of the law against that completely unrepentant psychopath
If the abuse cannot be resolved by following all Jesus’ disciplinary steps, Paul did not forbid Jesus’ disciples to seek judicial recourse against ‘unstoppable’ unbelievers and unrepentant‘ believers’ alike. Paul forbade believers to go before pagan courts with matters, which should have been resolved among themselves, (1 Cor. 6:1-11.) Where Paul said that believers should “rather accept wrong and let themselves be cheated,” he was not speaking about abusive crimes such as major fraud and adultery. He was referring to the loss of a ‘shirt and coat,’ which Jesus commanded, will not destroy life, limb, or soul, (Mt. 5:40.)
Real believers will, if not immediately, then under Godly and Scriptural rebuke, stop their abuse and turn away from it permanently. On the other hand, a truly unrepentant abuser, who grows worse under Jesus’ disciplinary grace, is an unbeliever and does not belong to Christ. This person proved that he or she is an immoral pagan, although he or she might pretend to be very religious.
Paul forbade resolvable matters between believers in Christ to be referred to a worldly court to be settled there before unbelievers, while Jesus’ true disciples should have ‘judged the matter between themselves,’ (1 Cor. 6:1-5.)
Now, only because it necessitates your spiritual, emotional, and physical safety, and/or your financial freedom and restoration in Christ, as well as the safety and freedom of others, take the full benefit of the judicial law against that psychopathic abuser. Many battered and otherwise abused wives, husbands, and children especially, have endured a lifetime of humiliation and slavery, while squandering their lives in the service of the ‘thief, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy;’ not realizing that Jesus never commanded them to do so. In fact, Jesus came to give them life in abundance! (Jn. 10:10.)
Sincere believers do not belong to this world, but they still must live in this world. Incessant personal and corporate injury do justify petitioning a court of law for justice. If victims are forced to stop the abuse through a court of law by negotiating legal justice as far as possible, they should not hesitate. It does not weaken our trust in God, or offend the Judge of the Universe to utilize the avenues of help and protection in this judicial world, should it be impossible to resolve serious abuses through the disciplinary steps, which Jesus commanded. As such, Paul directed us to pray for, and obey even pagan government authorities, “for he is God’s minister to you for good… and does not bear the sword in vain… an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil…” (Rom. 13:4.)
Should the abuser repent, forgive and restore him!
Should our abusers finally repent after we have gone through Jesus’ disciplinary steps, Paul explained in 2 Cor. 2:5-11, “If anyone has caused grief… be not too severe, for the punishment which was inflicted by the majority [of spiritual people as the last step of discipline before rejection,] is sufficient for such a man. [He was delivered to Satan but has finally repented, and now,] you ought to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. “Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your [sincere, Godly] love to him… Now whom you forgive anything, [after you have followed Scriptural discipline as far as necessary to accomplish repentance,] I also forgive, lest Satan should take advantage of [our harshness and disobedience not to forgive those who have been disciplined and have truly repented.] For we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices [to implant unforgiveness, bitterness and vengeance in the hearts of believers.]
FINAL WORDS ABOUT FORGIVENESS
Obedient forgiveness, as prayer, is warfare of the celestial kind
Whatever the outcome of our obedience to take Godly disciplinary action against our abusers as far as humanly possible, forgiveness will always remain our most important choice for final settlement. Even if our abusers refuse all our attempts to settle accounts and it seems as if they ‘always win,’ God still gives us the final say. God does not disempower His abused children. Truly obedient disciples of Christ still get to choose the outcome of the battle.
“Conquerors give peace [or forgiveness] by God’s power; it is no less to give peace by the meekness of His wisdom. It is a noble conquest to yield for peace’s sake,[ or submit to God’s righteous judgment to gain inward peace and protection when we have done all that we could;] it is the conquest of ourselves; our pride and passion,” (M.H. Commentary.)
Abused victims should remember that forgiveness cannot be a mere feeling. Neither is true forgiveness avoidance, denial, or any other emotional means of ‘coping.’ Forgiveness is a willful, rational decision to obey God, and to DO what He has commanded us. Having done what Jesus has commanded in dealing with our abusers as far as feasible, forgiveness must be our final decision. This means, we are willing to let our abusers ‘go free’ by refusing to hate them, harbor prolonged anger against them, or turning against them with any form of revenge. (This does not mean that we are submitting, or returning to their abuse all over again, or allowing them back into our lives without their sincere repentance!)
When our abusers lift themselves above Scriptural admonition, they also lift themselves out of human reach. Then the time has come to tender for our own spiritual, emotional, and physical safety, and deliver the whole matter into the inescapable hands of God. Having done all humanly, and above all, Scripturally possible, our complete forgiveness is death to self and absolute surrender to God - which is in fact, warfare of the celestial kind.
Especially when we cannot find answers; cannot find ‘closure;’ cannot access and pursue the desired avenues of resolve – whatever we decide to do on a physical level to free ourselves from abuse - spiritually, there remains only one way to neutralize the deadly venom of that poisonous old snake the devil, and to bring healing to our own wounded spirits, souls, bodies, and lives: we must administer the anti-venom of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is never cheap
It cost the suffering of Jesus Christ; His very life, to buy our forgiveness. He had to endure all our griefs and sorrows so that we could receive Holy-Spirit comfort. Through His bruises, stripes, and broken body, we received eternal healing for our wounded and sick human bodies, and the chastisement for our inner peace was upon Him, (Isa. 53:4-5.) While the sinful ways of this broken world will always necessitate forgiveness of those who have trespassed against us, our obedience to forgive still has absolutely nothing to do with earning our salvation or redemption. Unavoidably, by our condition as strangers and sojourners in this world, Jesus’ real disciples will have to endure sorrow in order to forgive others, (1 Pt. 2:11.) And so, God command through His servant James, “Lay aside [we have to do it!] all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, [hard-heartedness, unforgiveness and hatred,] and receive with meekness [in submission to the will of God] the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls; [the Word of God renews our abused, sin-polluted minds to know the will of God in order to obey Him, Rom. 12:1-2.] Be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves… What does it profit if someone says he has faith but does not have works [to prove it?] Do you not know that faith without works is dead?” As Jesus said, “What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, but to lose his [eternal] soul…”
The up side is, without suffering, sorrow, and self-denial, we will never know anything about the depth of God’s forgiveness for us. Thus, forgiving those who have seriously trespassed against us can never be cheap.
Simply by being human ourselves, and struggling with sin-polluted humans all around us, will cost us.
Forgiveness means putting to death our desire for a satisfactorily settlement and even the acceptance and love of our abusers. We have already crucified our pride and independence from God in dealing with our abusers according to Jesus’ Scriptural guidelines. Now, most unnervingly, we will have to ‘lose’ the battle willfully in order to trust God to ‘win’ the war for us. But we should take as great comfort to our distraught souls, the certain knowledge that our God’s throne is forever and ever, and the scepter, which rules His Eternal Kingdom, is the scepter of righteousness.
Our God is the Just and Righteous Judge of His entire universe!
He will do exactly what is right in dealing supernaturally with our abusers — and always in His right time! - (Heb. 1:8!)
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit…”
Our salvation, redemption, and healing are free gifts from God. Paul declared in Eph. 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved, [healed, comforted, redeemed, restored,] through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Footnote, Spirit Filled Bible, “Grace describes the undeserved kindness by which salvation is given, but it is also the power-word that describes the Spirit’s operational means in us.”
The word ‘grace’ describes the power of the Holy Spirit’s work for us, as well as His awesome work in us.
Jesus Christ really did everything for us on the cross.
There is absolutely nothing we can add to the unmerited grace of God.
And so, we can “do ALL things through Christ Jesus Who strengthens us, [because] we know that all things work together for good to those who love God; to those who are called according to His purpose, (Phil. 4:13; Rom. 8:28.)
Obedience and forgiveness emanate from the throne of God
The Royal Law of Love is spiritual. Divinely supernatural. Of such high morality that, in human terms, obedience to its statutes is completely impossible. Weak humans, whose minds are saturated with sinful self-preservation, (there exists Godly self-preservation, as we have seen,) can never love their enemies in the way that Jesus had commanded, and God knows that very well. For the purpose of sincerely following in Jesus’ footsteps, therefore, it is incredibly liberating to understand His Word in context. We must always remember that Jesus came to save, and not to condemn the world. Paul wrote in Gal. 2:21, “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, [either the Moral or Ceremonial Law] then Christ had died in vain.”
The day God calls us to stand before His throne, we will not be able to say, “Oh Lord, I have loved You and my neighbor exactly as you have commanded me, therefore I have earned my salvation and may enter into heaven!”
God gave His only Son to become our righteousness; therefore He abhors any form of self-righteousness. The only ‘ticket’ to heaven will always be the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; His completed work of salvation and redemption in our place, and for us. His selfless, perfect love for us – and His completely incomprehensible mercy and grace!
John saw the Great White Throne Judgment in Rev. 20:11-15 as follows, “And the books [in which all the sins of everyone who have ever lived had been recorded,] were opened. And another Book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead [or the lost without Christ] were judged according to their works… And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
If we are truly born again in Christ, (Jn. 1:12-13,) we really and sincerely belong to our God and our names are written in heaven’s population register, the Book of Life. “There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus, who do not [live] according to the [dictates] of the sinful flesh, but according to the [leading] of the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death…”
A PRAYER FOR DELIVERANCE AND HEALING
My Holy Father in heaven,
I accept(ed) Jesus as my personal Lord, Savior, Redeemer and Blessor, and by Your grace I bow before Your throne.
Thank You that You were with me from the moment my life began. Thank You that You promised to turn everything people intended for bad into good. Thank You that You will never leave me nor forsake me while I go through water and fire in this life. Thank You that Jesus suffered and died in my place, and that He has risen from the dead so that I can overcome all hardship and sorrow through Him, and live in Him for all eternity.
I surrender completely to Your perfect, Scriptural will for me. I confess and release all the hurt, humiliation, anger, fear, and unforgiveness I have harbored in my heart, and ask You to forgive all my sins and trespasses against You, other people, and myself. Help me to remember the names of all those, whom I have hurt and wronged. Where possible, make a way for me to confess these sins to them as well. For serious offences, let Your Holy Spirit lead me to do restitution to them.
Please help me to forgive all those who have trespassed against me. I make an earnest decision to forgive, [call them by name, whether they are dead or alive,] for all they have done to me. Please make a way for me to confront their abuse, [if they are dead, you must still confront the evil legacy they have left behind,] in an effort to resolve all conflict and to restore myself, them, [if they are still alive,] and those they have alienated from me. I release all their evil deeds into Your just and righteous hands. [If they are still alive,] I pray for their repentance and the salvation of their souls.
Please cleanse me with the blood of Jesus Christ, [Eph. 1:7,] and heal my wounded spirit, soul, body, life. Transform and heal my damaged integrity and name in the power of Your Holy Spirit, and heal all my Godly relationships, which have been broken and tainted through these continuous sins against me, and through my own shortcomings and sin.
Let your Spirit guide me and Your angels guard me as I follow Your Holy Spirit every day of my life as a doer of Your Word.
Deliver me from the evil one, and all the plans and weapons, which he wields through abusers. Strengthen me to never fear any human being ever again, but to reverently fear and love You above all.
From this moment forward, give me wisdom and courage to deal with every situation and abusive person according to Your Scriptural will, and the clear directions of Your Holy Spirit. Use all you have taught me through my ordeals to help and comfort others, and make me a blessing to those in need of Your truth and healing, so that You might be glorified through me and all the things I have suffered.
I ask all this in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Thank you that you always hear and answer me.
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