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Foundations for Freedom (2 of 8)

Mike Connell

Page 6 of 10
So I found often, people pray a simple prayer to forgive, but in their heart they have not let go, because they’ve buried the hurt and buried the anger. So, if you’re working with people, I’ve found this is a helpful approach. Sometimes you may be aware a person’s been deeply hurt by someone. Now, let me help you understand this.

If Jonathan comes to me saying: “Pastor Mike, can you forgive me. I’ve caused some damage. Will you forgive me?” I say: “Yeah. Yeah. No problem.” Now, the question is, he didn’t tell me what he did; and I didn’t ask. Was this a dollar; or was this a million dollars? How much have I been affected by what he did? If it’s a dollar, I say “Hey, nothing.” If it’s a million dollars... “Ahh. You ruined my life! All these years I save and you’ve taken it all away! You want me to forgive you?! I’m so angry.”

You notice now, there’s a difference - I have got connected to my loss. Now when I forgive, I understand what I’m letting go. Many times when people forgive, they just say a prayer from the head, but the heart isn’t really in it. So it helps, when you’re working with people, to address the pain of the heart. What did this person do? How did it affect you? How do you feel about this? Now, a lot of people just deny how they really feel. It’s very common in Asia. They endure, with a knife in the heart; but bitter, very bitter inside. When people are bitter, it shows up – sharp words, the bitterness flows like a river, and it defiles.

So sometimes before I pray for a person for deliverance, I get them to talk or to write, how this thing has affected them. How do you feel about this? Are you angry? How angry are you? Because often people have pushed it down; and I found it very helpful, I just interact with the person through questions, because the moment the person acknowledges the feelings, they start to connect with the heart. When you think about this person, what do you feel? “Oh, I don’t think about them at all!” Yeah, because you want to avoid! But when you think, what do you feel? Afraid, angry, hurt. So, let the person bring these things out.

Sometimes I get people to write an “anger letter”. It’s never to be seen by anyone but them and God. It’s to take out of the heart, and put the feelings in front of themselves. Sometimes with the father, sometimes with the mother, sometimes with other people; I tell them: “When you write the letter, write the good things first. Then start to say a bit... because if they don’t write the good things first, they’ll go through this process. They start to talk about the bad – “oh he’s so mean to me”. “Oh but he wasn’t that bad”. “Oh, I feel so angry about this.” “Oh, but he wasn’t that bad. He was kind.” So they can’t connect with the heart.

If the issue is with your father, write down all the good things, and say ‘thank you for the good things’. Then, write down the things that have caused hurt and pain; and write how you feel, and allow the feelings to come out, and then grieve over them and weep over them. Now release forgiveness - you know what it is you’re letting go of. “I release them, I forgive them, I bless them.” Forgiveness is very important for being free. God calls me, not to live in this place that demands on people, but to live in a place of blessing on people.

So sometimes I’ll just stop ministry, and get the person to journey through the process of facing their feelings, and expressing them, and forgiving - especially if the person has been abused or traumatised. So release forgiveness. “I forgive them, I bless them.” I encourage a person, if this has been a deep longstanding pain with a family member, for the next 3 weeks or so, each time you worship God, think about that person, put your arms around them and bless them and pray for them; because you can’t do that, and have anger and hurt in your heart. These are foundations for people to get free. Failure to recognise sin stops the whole process. Failure to repent of sin stops the process. Failure to forgive stops the process.