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Question Title Posted By Question Date
deceptions & forgiveness stacey Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Brother I know this may sound like a crazy topic to ask about. When I started posting on this forum about a year ago I mentioned about my involvement in the occult and the charismatic movement. I also mentioned about my assault which occurred in 2004. Since then I have gotten to the point where I now feel comfortable going on dates and I do wish to eventually marry. I pray to God to lead me to a good, trustworthy Christian man.

When I started dating again I would naturally be excited to tell my church friends about my dates. The guys I've dated so far have all seemed very nice. Instead of getting good responses to what I thought was just normal conversation topics, I was told to "beware and stay in prayer" and that satan was going to use my desire for a husband to distract me from God. I was also to be aware of "Satan's counterfeit." I was told that when I pray to God to lead me to a husaband that Satan would always send a counterfeit first. They even told me things like I needed to beware of the "harlot spirit" and the "absalom" spirit" and whatnot. This was usually told to me by some self-proclaimed prophetess who had already experienced a few bad marriages herself. One friend even told me that when I first came to their church she thought to herself that I was the perfect prototype for the "otherwoman" and that my compassionate, understanding nature would make me fall prey to some evil married man. She knew me for 2 years before she told me this and what i later heard was that I reminded her of some woman her ex-husband ran off with. I was very offended especially because I would never think about having anything to do with a married man.

They also would say things like "haven't you noticed that guys start asking you out as soon as you started your walk with the Lord. Don't you think it's an attempt to distract you?" Is there any rationale in this?

The things they did and said when I was involved make me so angry and paranoid that everything that happens in my life is from Satan. I'm glad I got out when I did but I'm so angry at the things they said and tried to drill into my head. I don't understand why at the point I finally reach out to God in my life he let me get involved in this church that borders on a cult?

I'm always having to forgive them. It seems like when I do forgive some other memory always comes back up and I have to forgive again and release it again for the 100th time to God.

Is there any merit in the things that I have mentioned that they told me?

Question Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OLSM

Dear Stacey:

I am glad you left that group. Ignore them. They have no idea what they are talking about. If there is any demonic attack it is through those people who are telling you this nonsense.

Marriage is a God-given Sacrament. It is a high vocation that should bring intimacy with God. In order to find the man God has for you dating is necessary. Continue to date.

There are of course men who are not good for you, or who have hidden agendas, or who are not godly. That is what dating is about -- to filter out the toads to find the prince.

As for God "letting you" get involved in that Church, how could He stop you? It was your choice to attend that church. God does not intrude upon our Free Will. But, God can bring goodness out of even evil. While it was your choice to attend this church, the negative experiences there can be used by God to strengthen your faith and to teach you things.You have to let God do this, however.

Thus, instead of looking upon that experience as negative, look upon it as a lesson. What can you learn from it?

One lesson I can think of off the bat is the lesson of forgiveness. The way you were treated gives you an opportunity to forgive. This is a great opportunity and a great grace.

One reason why people find it hard to forgive is that they do not understand what forgiveness really is.

Here are some important points to remember about forgiveness:

1)     Forgiveness is not forgetting:

People who try to forget find that cannot. It is an unfortunate quirk of the English language with the phrase, “Forgive and forget”. In actuality this phrase does not mean to “forget” in the sense of not remembering what happened; of course we will remember.

God says He will "remember our sins no more" (Heb. 10: 17), but God, being omniscient, obviously cannot literally forget. "Remember no more" means that God will never use the past against us (Ps. 103:12).

To forget is really “to let go”. We need to “let go and let God”. We let go of the past, but more importantly we let go of the hurt. As long as we do not forgive, as long as we do not let go, we allow the offender of our wounds continue to hurt us.

We must remember that “forgetting” may be the result of forgiveness, but it is never the means of forgiveness. When we bring up the past against others, we are saying we haven't forgiven them; when we continue to allow ourselves to hurt without attempting to heal we are saying that we have not forgiven them.

2)     Forgiveness is a choice not a feeling:

Since God requires us to forgive, it is something we can do. God will NEVER ask us to do something that is impossible for us to do; that would be cruel and God is a loving God.

Forgiveness, however, is difficult for us because it pulls against our feelings and emotional hurts. Forgiveness is not about forgetting our feelings or our emotional hurts. We often will not “feel” like forgiving, but we must forgive anyway. As the Lord Prayer teaches us, God forgives us “as we forgive others”. But how can God require this of us when we have been hurt so badly?

God does not expect your feelings and emotional hurts to be healed overnight. He knows and understands our feelings and our hurts. He is a compassionate God and will help us to heal over time, as we are able.

What God expects of us is not an immediate emotional healing, but a decision of will to forgive, a decision of will to trust Him to take care of the offender and to heal us, a decision of will to ask God for, and to commit to, being healed of our wounds. 

3)     Forgiveness is not letting the person off the hook:

Forgiving is about you letting go, but it is not letting the offender off the hook. He will still pay for what he did, either before the Law or before God or both.

Forgiving is surely difficult for us because it pulls against our concept of justice. We want revenge for offenses suffered. But we are told never to take our own revenge (Rom. 12:9). Revenge does more damage to us than it punishes the offender. God’s justice will prevail, no one can escape it. Never fear, those who hurt us will be held accountable, but we must let God deal with it. In order for God to deal with it, we need to let Him by letting go.

"Why should I let them off the hook?" That is precisely the problem — we are still hooked to them, still bound by our past when we do not forgive.

To forgive does not mean letting the person off the hook; it means letting yourself off the hook.

4)     But you don't understand how much this person hurt me:

But the person is still hurting us! How do we stop the pain? We don't forgive someone for their sake; we do it for our sake so we can be free. Our need to forgive isn't an issue between the offender and us; it's between us and God.

5)     Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another’s sin:

Forgiveness is costly. We pay the price of the evil we forgive. We're going to live with those consequences whether we want to or not; our only choice is whether we will do so in the bitterness of forgiveness or the freedom of forgiveness.

Jesus took the consequences of our sin upon Himself. All true forgiveness is substitutional because no one really forgives without bearing the consequences of the other person's sin. God the Father "made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:2 1).

Where is the justice? It's the Cross that makes forgiveness legally and morally right: "For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all" (Rom. 6: 10). This doesn't mean that we tolerate sin. We must always stand against sin, but we must give the offender to God and get on with our life.

6)     How do we forgive from our heart?

First we acknowledge the hurt and the hate. If our forgiveness doesn't visit the emotional core of our life, it will be incomplete. Many feel the pain of interpersonal offenses, but they won't acknowledge it. Let God bring the pain to the surface so He can deal with it. This is where the healing takes place.

Don't wait to forgive until we feel like forgiving; we will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made and Satan has lost his place (Eph. 4:26, 27). Freedom is what will be gained, not a feeling.

7)     Summary of Points on Forgiveness:

·        Forgiveness is necessary to have fellowship with God.

·        It is not forgetting.

·        It is a choice.

·        Letting the offender off our hook is what frees us.

·        The offender is not off God's hook.

·        God says, "Revenge is mine."

·        Forgiveness means we are agreeing to live with the consequences of another's sin — which we have to do anyway.

·        The justice is in the cross.

·        Choice is between bitterness and freedom of forgiveness.

·        Forgiveness means not using the past against the offender.

·        Forgiveness does not mean tolerating the sin.

·        Why forgive? To stop the pain! As we live in unforgiveness the offender still hurts us!

·        The issue of forgiveness is between you and God only.

·        The act of forgiveness is for the your sake, and for your freedom.

·        You must acknowledge the hurt and the hate.


 Preparing to Pray:

 The following prayer needs to be said for each person on the list for whom you need to forgive. Do not go to the next person on the list until you are sure you have dealt with all the remembered pain.

 As you pray, God may bring to your mind various offending people and experiences that has been totally forgotten. Allow God to do this even if it is painful. Remember this process of forgiveness is for your sake because God wants you to be free.

 Remember also that by forgiving the offender we are not rationalizing or trying to explain the offender's behavior. Forgiveness deals with the victim's pain, your pain, not another's excuses. Positive feelings will follow in time; freeing you from the past is the critical issue.

 Lord, I forgive ________________________________

         for     (specifically identify all offenses and painful memories   )



If the memory comes back up, then reject that thought, dismiss it from your mind, and get on with your life. If necessary say this prayer again. In time, the memories will lose their power.

God Bless,
Bro. Ignatius Mary

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