Sid:  Some of you think I understand forgiveness and the truth is you do understand forgiveness, but there is a depth and yet simplicity to Peter’s teaching that will profoundly change your life.  Peter there are four dimensions to forgiveness; would you explain?

Peter:  Yes indeed.  When people actually come on a healing retreat and people come with their own particular issues and problems and they begin to share why they have come.  We sometimes say, well that’s their agenda for God, but our job when we counseling them and ministering to them is to get them to look at what God’s agenda is for them.  Because if they have got a agenda for God and it’s not the same as God’s agenda for them they are never going to actually move forward.  And one of the first things that’s on God’s agenda for individuals is that they should actually know forgiveness for their own sin.  Because the things that we have done can stand in the way of our own healing and this is why in James Chapter five “He said that we need to confess our sins one to another so that we may be healed.”  Not so we can be forgiven, so we may be healed.   I’ll never forget a lady who came to me in North America and she said, “I’ve been listening to your teaching about how our words can hurt other people.”  And she came forward and said, “I want to confess that when I was pregnant for the fourth time I hated the little girl that was in my womb and I prayed that it would die.”  The baby didn’t die, but she said.” “That baby when it was born struggled compared with others and I now want to confess what I did and I’m going to ask God to forgive me.”  Now, I didn’t know anything else about this baby what so ever she was a much older lady many years had passed and she then dealt with the prayer, I spoke out God’s forgiveness to her and that was the end of the story.  But it wasn’t because as she went to sit down, God spoke to me and said “You have not prayed the whole prayer.”  And I called her back and I said, “I want to pray now a blessing on this daughter that anything that she has suffered as a result of these words that you spoke to her when she was in the womb that she will be delivered and set free and healed.”  End of story until a year later.  A year later I was back in the same town and this woman who had repented over her own sin, she came running up to me with a picture of a baby and I looked at her and I looked at the baby and I thought I don’t quite understand this.  And she began to explain, she said, “You know my daughter that I cursed when she was in my womb, she had been married for fourteen years and she had never been able to conceive a child but within a week of me confessing my sin, and being forgiven and you praying for my daughter that she would be blessed and all the consequences of that prayer and those words that I spoke of being set free from her she conceived a child and now have a grandson.”

Sid:  It must be so rewarding and you have so many testimonies, but it’s not just the conception of a child it’s every single arena it’s affected in this area.

Peter:  It is indeed.

Sid:  Why is it so important to God in your opinion?

Peter:  Well, one of the things that Jesus said is that you do unto others as you’ve been done by.  Now, we want to be forgiven, so Jesus says, if you want to be forgiven, just demonstrate in your relationship with others that you desire to be forgiven by forgiving others.  And if we don’t do that we are actually saying to God, don’t forgive me, and when you get in that sort of content you suddenly realize that if I’m not forgiving other people I’m actually saying to God, this is how I want you to treat me.  And when we can’t receive God’s love and forgiveness into our own heart, then there’s a consequence in our life and that can be a consequence of bitterness, and depression.  It can be a physical illness, mental illness, psychological illness and you can have someone that is really a bitter twisted face and you can see it all over them.  I often sit in an airport and I people watch.  I watch the faces walking by and you can see the bitterness, you can see the unforgiveness in people’s face or you can see the openness and happiness.  The face portrays what’s going on in the inside.  And when people are in bitterness and unforgiveness it doesn’t just affect the spirit, everything we are is affected by what is happening inside our soul.

Sid:  And as you pointed out many times to me, if there’s something going on the spirit or soul and its bad, it’s reflected on the outside and as you just stated, if something good is going on its reflected on the outside and its pretty visible; both are pretty visible.  Well you said that there’s four dimensions to forgiveness.  The first is being forgiven of the sins we’ve committed, what is the second. 

Peter:  The second is forgiving others for what they’ve done to us.  So we ask God to forgive us for the things that we’ve done wrong and then they’re consequences of God’s blessing.  But then, we forgive others for what they have done to us.  That maybe even in our generational line, we forgive our grandparents.  There is a man who listened to that………was a drug addict and he suddenly realized that all his problems he had, and why he was on drugs was because his step grandfather had molested him as a child.   And while he was driving to work listening to that CD he spoke forgiveness to his step grandfather.  He got out of his car when he got to work and he never took another drug.  He gave his life to the Lord in the car on the way to work and never took another drug, because he had forgiven and the power of God so came upon him and he was completely healed on the inside.  And his body no longer needed the drugs that were masking the pain as a result of his childhood molestation. 

Sid:  But how do you handle the person that says they don’t deserve forgiveness?

Peter:  Well, that is absolutely true, but you know Sid neither you nor I deserve to be forgiven for our sins.  Forgiveness is an act of mercy and grace, it’s not because we deserve to be forgiven.  And when we forgive somebody we’re not letting them off the hook at all.  We are actually putting them on God’s hook.  There is still accountable…

Sid:  I like that, repeat it in case someone wasn’t listening.

Peter:  Yeah, when we forgive somebody we’re not letting them off the consequences of what they have done.  We are taking them off the hook of our lives as it were and we’re putting them on God’s hook.  There still accountable to God for what they have done, but we are no longer in bondage to them; and that’s the key issue.  That when we are in unforgiveness we are actually in bondage to them; we’re controlled by them, we controlled by their thoughts and their words and the memories of what they’ve done and they eat away at our hearts.  But when we forgive them, we’ve taken them off the hook of our lives and we’re no longer controlled by them; but they’re still accountable to God and their His responsibility.

Sid:  Now, if you’ve really forgiven someone, but you don’t trust them, could you still be in forgiveness?

Peter:  Oh yeah, because forgiveness and trust are not the same thing.  There is a huge lesson here because sometimes when people have done something terrible they are then trusted because Christians perhaps naive they think that because they are forgiven they are trust worthy.  One of the young woman, she is only twenty and she came to see me because, when she was a child of ten or eleven she was abused in the vagaries, the father was the vicar by the babysitter.  The babysitter, who was looking after the children while the vicar was at meeting, was a Sunday school teacher who had previously abused children in the Sunday school.  And he had been forgiven by the parents, forgiven by the vicar and they naively thought that because he had been forgiven and he said he’s sorry and wouldn’t do it again they naïve thought that he was now trustworthy.  And it is a huge mistake to think that somebody who has been forgiven becomes trustworthy because we have forgiven them.  Our forgiveness releases them unto God but doesn’t change them.  It is only God that can change them; it changes us and releases them into God’s hands.  And we have to be very careful, but we don’t necessarily trust somebody who has been forgiven, because it can lead to dangerous situations.

Sid:  Now, would you say forgiveness is a process or something you can choose to do instantly?

Peter:  It’s both.  It’s both a process and it’s something we can choose to do.  In the last chapter of the book we talk about the seven steps to healing.  And the first step that comes through just by simply making choice, but in making a choice to forgive is not necessarily something that is completed instantly. 

Sid:  Yeah, for instance, you forgive someone and then they come into your presence and you feel bitterness inside of you.

Peter:  Yeah.

Sid:  So you have forgiven them, but you are still in process of getting your feelings to agree with your decision.

Peter:  Yeah, exactly.  Simon Peter said, “How often do I need to forgive, seven times?”  And Jesus said, “Stop counting.”  And sometimes we think of when Simon said that his brother was keeping on doing something, but it could be that just one person did something terrible and you keep on being reminded of what they have done.  And each time you are reminded you then have to come and forgive again.  Sometimes describe it like this, if all the unforgiveness and the bitterness and the hurt and pain in our heart is like a bucket of sand and we have a teaspoon in our hand and we start emptying the bucket of sand with a teaspoon and each time you take a teaspoon out it’s I forgive, I forgive, it may take awhile, but eventually you get to the bottom of the bucket and there is no more sand in there.  And eventually you get to the bottom of the pain and there is no more pain and you walk away from it.  It is like a spiritual onion that you take a…

Sid:  I’m sorry we’re out of time.

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