I am pretty much a literalist when it comes to Paul. If you do not believe literally what the Bible says about Paul, then you will probably wrestle with this message. But if you believe the testimony of Paul to be true, then you may be open to this word that I feel burdened to share with you.

If the Bible says that Paul was thrown to beasts at Ephesus, then I believe that he was given over to lions in that city. If scripture says a viper leaped from a fire and bit Paul and he lived instead of died, then that is literally what happened. If Paul says he was in “deaths oft,” then it means that he was in death more than once and came back to continue the Lord’s work. And if Paul says, “nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me,” then this too I take to mean exactly that.

I have noticed that many churches today are beginning to take a very subtle position that suggests that Paul had a sin problem. Paul’s credibility seems questioned in some places. For example, some preaching will point to Romans 7 when Paul says, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?” and interpret this to be Paul’s personal cry. Here is Paul in Romans 7, they say, complaining that he is in bondage to sin. (“That which I would, I do not; and that which I would not, that I do.”) It must mean that Paul still had a sin problem. This has almost become an accepted doctrine. Beloved, Paul did not have a sin problem. That is not the truth. In speaking to the Romans, Paul became all things to all men, presenting to that church the universal wretched condition of mankind, the state of every man who is not totally the bondslave of Jesus Christ. Why did Paul present this dilemma in Romans 7:24? So that he could answer his own question by saying in the next verse, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” going on in the eighth chapter to expound the law of the Spirit.

Are we really to believe that this man Paul, who survived stonings, lions, the bites of vipers, who considered whether he should go to be with the Lord or stay behind to preach the gospel; that this man who was recognized by the demons of hell as having authority over them had a sin problem? (2 Cor. 11:25, I Cor. 15:32, Acts 28:3-6, Phil. 1:21-26, Acts 19:15)

You see, the Body of Christ has difficulty in coming to grips with the apostle Paul. Everyone accepts that Jesus had no sin because after all, He was God incarnate. But Paul was completely human. Human mother, human father, just like you and me. So this is the problem: it is a hard thing for us to admit to the fact that Paul was REALLY filled with all the fullness of God, because if we admit that it could happen to one totally human being, then we are obliged to ask ourselves if it is possible for US to be filled with the fullness of God as well. Rather than face this question, it is easier to say that maybe Paul had a sin problem. It is easier to scan the scriptures looking for some error he made or some contradiction or some fault. That would let us off the hook. Then we wouldn’t need to feel uncomfortable about the lack in our own relationship with the Lord.

I will offer you another example which has gained support among born again ranks which suggests that Paul was not quite on target. It has to do with the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas, about whether John Mark should accompany them to visit the brethren. The disagreement was severe enough to cause Paul and Barnabas to go separate ways. (Acts 15) Later, in II Timothy 4:11, Paul requests that John Mark come to him, saying that he was profitable to Paul in the ministry. Paul, according to this fable, had a temper tantrum with Barnabas over John Mark and later saw the error in his judgment. Therefore, Paul was incorrect in his earlier dealings with John Mark. But as we examine the scriptures again, we see a different series of events. In Acts 13:13, Paul and Barnabas were in Pamphylia with various of the brethren, including John Mark. John Mark apparently abandoned the work without the leading of the Lord or the blessing of the apostle. It is clear that he deserted his brethren by leaving Pamphylia. Two chapters later, in Acts 15:38, Paul was therefore reluctant to allow him to rejoin the journey because of John Mark’s earlier instability and unfaithfulness in Pamphylia. Paul’s later statement in Timothy declaring that John Mark was now profitable to the ministry is simply a testimony of how the Holy Ghost had worked with John Mark and established him in the faith over a period of time. It is in no way indicative of a sin or temper problem with Paul.

But here again, it is easier to believe that Paul was in error than to believe that God can fill all in all. (Eph. 1:23) This is a subtle error crept into the church today in order to subvert your faith in God and to keep you from pressing on to the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:13)

Or what about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh?” (I Cor. 12:7) This has produced some interesting speculations and fables as well. Some say it was blindness, some say sin. But the Bible leaves no mystery, for it clearly states in the same verse that the thorn was a messenger of Satan (an evil spirit) sent to buffet Paul. It really does not matter what the evil spirit was. Some get caught up trying to figure this out. The point, as Paul went on to explain in the next verse, is that after his third petition to God to remove this thorn, he realized that God’s strength is PERFECTED in weakness, and that the weaker Paul was, the MORE PERFECT Christ was in him. (I Cor. 12:9) And that is precisely the whole point of all Paul’s writing and his very ministry: that he became nothing and of no reputation that ONLY CHRIST SHOULD REMAIN. Therefore, he even gloried in this buffeting, for when he was weak, then Christ in him was stronger than ever.

And still yet, some would rob you of your faith would tell you that Paul was in error because he was prejudiced against women. (I Cor. 14:34) Paul was not a social reformer any more than Jesus was. By the time Jesus went to the cross, the Romans were still in power, which was a disappointment even to the disciples. The gospel addresses something much deeper than social reform. It addresses the transformation of the heart by the Holy Ghost.

We know, for example, that in the Old Testament there is much discussion about a reference to a birthing-type experience, which we know is the birthing forth of Christ. (Gal. 4:19) You and I are called to bring forth Christ as a woman brings forth a child. (See Is. 21:3, 6:17; Jer. 22:23, 48:41, 49:22, 50:43; Mi. 4:9 for a few references to a birthing experience). Shall women say to men that they cannot bring forth Christ in the Spirit because they are incapable of childbearing in the natural? Of course not. But why is this ridiculous? Because we know that in the things of the Spirit THERE IS NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE and that ALL are called to bring forth Christ, man and woman alike.

There is a natural order and there is a spiritual order, of which Paul was aware. We must not confuse the two orders. The spiritual order SUPERSEDES the natural order. God is not and never has been a respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34) This is clear. Esau should have had the blessing, but Jacob received. Reuben was entitled, being the firstborn of Jacob, but Joseph became ruler over Egypt and received his father’s blessing. David, the youngest of Jesse, was anointed king of Israel. THE SPIRITUAL ORDER SUPERSEDES THE NATURAL ORDER. The very fact that God sent Paul to the Gentiles, by which grace we are saved today, proves magnificently that God is no respecter of persons. This includes male and female in the things of the Spirit. God does not care whether the earthen vessel is black, or Puerto Rican, or female. It is always the way of flesh to pigeon-hole people into higher and lower categories. It is the way of carnality. (Ja. 2:1-4) But the call of God is to WHOSOEVER WILL. It is not related to anything of the outward appearance, but it is completely related to the heart, which knows no color, no nationality, and no gender. (I Sam. 16:7)

Paul spoke to the Corinthian church about women. This was the most carnal flock of the day and surely Paul recognized this. The Corinthians were still having trouble with very fundamental truths. They were still involved with fornication, incest, and idol worship. (I Cor. 5:1) And so Paul ministered to them on a level they could understand. He shared with them the milk of the Word, being babes in Christ. (Heb. 5:13) But meat belongs to them that are of full age. (Heb. 5:14) Therefore to another body, he had the liberty to share the truth: in Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female. (Gal. 3:28) They could receive this truth.

Why have we elaborated so long on these questions about Paul? Do we worship Paul? God forbid.

Paul said he was one born out of due time or season. (I Cor. 15:8) When apples are in season, then all the trees bear their fruit at that time. It would indeed be a strange thing for only one apple tree to bear fruit in a whole orchard. Yet this is what Paul said about himself. Another way of saying out of season would be, “before the appropriate time.” Paul would not have spoken of being out of season unless there was coming a season of similar fruit at a later time. Through the eye of the Spirit, Paul knew that the “season” for others like himself was coming. (Eph. 1:10) This is why it is so important that your faith should not be robbed by those who tell you that Paul, an apostle to this generation, had fallen short of the mark.

Paul knew that others would come who, IN THEIR NATURAL LIFETIME, would surrender their wills, their ambitions, their desires, and die daily to win Christ. He knew that others would come who, IN THEIR NATURAL LIFETIME, would have the treasure of complete Christ in earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7) ; who would bruise Satan under their heels (Rom. 16:20); who would pull down strongholds and be recognized by the powers of darkness because it was only Christ that was seen in them.

In fact, he knew that an ENTIRE GENERATION would come forth, in season, who would be the revealing of the Lord in the earth, who would be the mouth of the Lord to speak only His words, the arm of the Lord mighty in battle, the feet of the Lord who bring good tidings, who jointly fit together as Christ, His Body; not separated from the Head, but completely and perfectly controlled by the Head. One Christ, many members; He who fills all in all.

That season is upon us for the rest of this orchard to bear fruit. That season is upon us for the remnant who are willing to go the way of the cross to become the manifested presence of the Lord Himself, who have given up everything so that ONLY CHRIST REMAINS in an earthen vessel.

Many people followed the ministry of Christ, they pressed in for healings and deliverance and blessings. People got what they needed. Praise God, He meets our needs. So too today, thousands press in continually to have their needs met. But have you noticed who the Holy Ghost chose to tell us about? Those who went beyond receiving blessings to also lay down their lives – their SELF-LIVES – that they might receive the prize of the high calling, that Christ should be allowed to express Himself through them without hindrance.

Isaiah 55:1 says, “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters and he that hath no money; come ye, BUY, and eat; yea, come, BUY wine and milk without money and without price.”

A widow who met Elijah “bought” for herself a never-ending supply of oil by her obedience to the prophet’s command to give. (I Ki. 17:10-16)

Five virgins were instructed to go and BUY oil for their lamps. (Mt. 25:8)

In Matthew, a man sold all that he had to BUY a pearl of great price.

And in Revelation, we are counseled to BUY of the Lord gold tried in the fire. (Rev. 3:18)

How can this be, if Christ paid the price, that we should need to buy anything of the Lord?

Before Christ, it was not possible to “buy” anything of the Father at any price. The veil was not yet rent in twain making His presence and His life available to us. The sacrifice of Christ makes available to us what was never available before; the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:19)

When you get saved, you “buy” with your repentance what Christ has made available by the blood; you accept your salvation. As you go farther and farther in your walk with the Lord, He shows you more of what is available to each individual what and how much they will “buy.” You can buy a little, or you can buy a lot, or you can buy EVERYTHING. You can have a thirty fold, a sixty fold, or a hundred fold increase. It is up to you. The hundred fold increase speaks about the total fullness of God in a totally surrendered life.

We cannot buy with our money. We cannot even buy with our time and labors, for we know that our works are insufficient. (Eph. 2:8 & 9)

But we can buy God’s fullness with our hearts. Each time you humble yourself to know the Lord, you are BUYING of Him. (Ja. 4:6-10) Each time you ask for forgiveness or forgive another, you are BUYING of Him. Each time you come to a Gethsemane in your life and choose God’s way instead of your own, you are BUYING gold, wine, milk, and oil which are in the Spirit representatives of more of the Lord. You purchase this fullness with the laying down of your self-life. It is the narrow way Jesus spoke about. Jesus did it. Paul did it, being totally human. The point is, IT IS AVAILABLE TO YOU BY CHRIST.

Any teaching that tells you it is not available is sponsored by a spirit of unbelief that limits God by not confessing that with God all things are possible. (Heb. 3:19) The powers of darkness would love you to believe that Paul had a sin problem. They would love you to believe that you are not really joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. (Rom. 8:17) They would love you to believe that it is not possible for us, being human, to be only earthen vessels containing nothing but Christ.

I declare to you by the Spirit, it is not only possible, but the hour is at hand when the prayer of Jesus in John 17 that we should be one in Him shall become a reality. That remnant shall declare that the works they do are the works of the Father. They shall declare as Jesus declared that whoever has seen them has seen the Father because Christ is ALL THAT REMAINS IN THEM.

You can buy of the Lord as much as you want. But, as the man considered the cost of the house before he built it, consider what you are willing to buy. (Luke 14:28)

Let God arise in you and all His enemies – not a few, but ALL – shall scatter. (Ps. 68:1) Who are His enemies? Not the prince of this world, for he is already cast down. (Jn. 12:31) The enemy of God is the flesh that yet remains IN US, resisting the work of the Holy Ghost. As you buy of the Lord, He will increase more and more, and you will decrease (John 3:30) until, if you buy enough, He is all that is left: that pearl of great price. (Mt. 13:46) There is no glory to the shell the pearl comes in. It is cast out and forgotten. But the pearl is that for which a man will SELL AND BUY.

Jacalyn Eddy, PhD.

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CLYIM “Show Me Your Glory” – 8/19/17

This evening we are broadcasting CLIYM’s Radio program, “Show Me Your Glory” for the first time here in Ghana! (7:30 pm Ghana time on J-Life)
We will be teaching from Ephesians one about “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” that Paul prayed the Lord would give to the church of Ephesus. This church was filled with believers who were also baptized in the Spirit and yet Paul prayed ceaselessly that they might receive this impartation of the Spirit of God. Paul knew they needed more! 

I like how Ken Hagin called this “the Spirit of seeing and knowing”! To be those who long to see as Christ sees and to know as He knows is our prayer. This is truly the only way that we can be those who are led by the Spirit. If we cannot see what the Father is doing or or know what He He is saying or directing us to do, then we cannot and will not be LED BY HIS SPIRIT. Jesus demonstrated this walk for us. He plainly told his disciples that he did the works he saw the Father do and He spoke the words he heard his Father say.

If Jesus is the “firstborn among many brethren”, then we ought to press in for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation! Furthermore, how can we ever possibly press into the very fullness of His nature and the ultimate of what Christ has called us to unless we see and know what His great purpose and calling for us is.

Beloved your calling is more than being saved, getting your “fire insurance” and going to church. The word of God tells us that we have been called to the obtaining of glory. Christ, in all His beauty and splendor is this glory we are called to possess! Christ is all wisdom and all revelation! Let us apprehend and press into the greater things and the more excellent way that Jesus has provided for us!

Enter by faith. Become sons of God.

FORGIVENESS: Water to Swim In 8/19/2017

Many have asked me to share a message I delivered on June 19, 2017 at a Roman Catholic conference in Buffalo, NY where I was invited to be the keynote speaker. I estimate about 2000 attended. I am unaware of videos available, so I am simply sharing my notes (which my wife who has a PhD was kind enough to edit before the meeting). Following the message dozens came forward seeking prayer and counsel. All praise to Christ our Lord who saved and healed. May He be glorified.

The message…

Recently I met with Deacon Tom and Father Dave who asked me to speak to you on the subject of forgiveness. They had evidently heard of me through a mutual friend with whom I worked for several years at a clinic run by Catholic Charities. They also asked me for a brief bio sketch, and when they returned the conference flyer to me, I shared it with my wife, who laughed hysterically when I read it to her. I didn’t get it at first. Let me read it to you.

OUR PRESENTER IS GERALD TURK NP PC who years ago, after a conversion experience studied for ministry. But, after volunteering in a State Psychiatric Hospital he changed his vocational goals. (So far so good). He has been a mental health professional with a spiritual background for 42 years. (Okay… Now you know I’m old). He has a private practice and has worked at several mental health clinics run by Catholic Charities in Erie and Niagara counties. He is a family man married for 42 years with much to share with us. “That’s true,” she laughed. “Anybody who’s been married for 42 years MUST be an expert on the topic of forgiveness.”

It’s true, isn’t it? Offenses will come, and not always—or even generally—from strangers, but from those closest to us. The biggest hurts and the deepest betrayals don’t come from the Walmart clerk, but from our husbands, our wives, our children, our parents, our siblings, our close friends. And because those wounds are inevitable, the question is: “What are we going to do with them?” The fact is, time does NOT heal all wounds. And this is what we want to talk about this evening.

I have to say, that this most basic topic in Christianity—the issue that seems most fundamental, most at the very heart of our faith—is, in some ways, the most difficult to discuss.
The first question—“should we forgive?”—is easy: YES. ABOUT THIS JESUS IS QUITE CLEAR.

Matthew 6:15 AMP
But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.

Matthew 5:23-24 AMP
Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

Luke 17:4 AMP
Even if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him [that is, give up resentment and consider the offense recalled and annulled].”

But despite knowing that we SHOULD forgive, the nitty-gritty of who we should forgive, why we should forgive, and how to forgive get murkier. These other questions are much easier to TALK ABOUT than to PRACTICE.

The question of forgiveness is at the heart of life. It is at the heart of God Himself. And yet, it very often seems to be missing from the world today. In our cultural context, it’s “every man for himself.” We are encouraged to “set boundaries,” “take care of ourselves,” “speak our mind,” “hold the line,” “just get over it.” There is, in fact, a very real implication that forgiveness is for the weak, evidence of “co-dependence,” a sign of serious mental illness, or a subconscious desire to become the proverbial “doormat.”

These attitudes can become infectious, even among believers. We know we should forgive, but answers about who, when, and how get at the very quality of life we end up living.

Empower us to walk in love toward our fellow man. We confess our pride, arrogance and our bigotry. We place these beliefs and attitudes at the foot of the cross and look to you for healing and deliverance. We desire to be the expression of your will and instruments of your love. Thank you Jesus, that your word does not return void. All this is committed to you in the matchless name of Jesus, Amen and Amen.

I take as my text a passage from the book of Ezekiel, chapter 47, verses 1-4. The metaphor in this passage, I suppose, can be applied to many subjects but I believe it speaks importantly to our topic tonight: levels of forgiveness.

“Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward:

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.

Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees.

Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.

Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.”

This beautiful passage in Ezekiel actually creates an impressive metaphor by which we can comprehend forgiveness. We can decide to forgive others only up to the ankle, so to speak. We can get into Ezekiel’s metaphoric river only that far. Like the shallow water, it’s a shallow investment and has little, if anything, to do with Christ. And because we’re not in that deep, we can always walk away. We can always get out. Out of the water, and out of the investment.

Ankle-deep forgiveness is primarily born out of social obligation. It is the cultural product of being told to be the “big person” in any situation. We have been instructed all our lives—by parents, kindergarten teachers, football coaches, and Hollywood movies—that forgiving other people is a good idea. It’s true. Have you ever been “forgiven” by someone you felt did it simply because they were supposed to? The words sounded good, but you left with a sense that it wasn’t sincere.

The next level in Ezekiel’s river is a little deeper—up to the knees. Here, the forgiver is a little more invested, but escape to the shore is still easy. This sort of forgiveness is primarily conditional, meaning, you will only apologize if you can escape responsibility, or if the other person asks for forgiveness. It is more sincere than forgiveness at the ankle level, but it comes with strings attached. This is often seen when the forgiver uses the words “if” or “but.” “I’m sorry if you think I hit you.” Of course you hit the person. You clobbered them. They’re bleeding. They fell on the ground. But here you are saying, I’m sorry if you believe I hit you. Do you see the conditions there? The person hit has something wrong with their perception of reality. Equally conditional is the idea that forgiveness is dispensed only on request, like a gumball from a machine for a quarter. But what if the person who offended us never asks? Are we then absolved of forgiveness? Is it conditional upon their begging or upon our beliefs? So far, we have obligational and conditional forgiveness. We have all given this kind of forgiveness, and all received it. But now, the water gets a little deeper.

Next, Ezekiel speaks of water to the loins. This kind of forgiveness is more genuine than the first two. It has much greater depth. It is the biggest investment yet, and probably carries some genuine sincerity. But its shortcomings are two-fold: it is occasional, and it is still safe. Your feet still touch the bottom of the river. You are still in control. You are in deeper, but you can still walk away. It still makes you feel good about yourself, and in this way it is primarily self-serving, even if genuine.

But the fourth level is beyond ankle-deep obligation. It is beyond knee-deep conditionality. It is beyond the feel-good loin deep. Ezekiel’s fourth level is waters to swim in. To reflect the life of our Savior, our feet will have to lose touch with all that’s familiar. We’ll have to give up obligation and feeling good about ourselves and all our conditions. We’ll have to give up all our control over who and under what circumstances we decide to forgive, and start swimming. No longer episodic, you are now swimming, immersed in His life and not your own. Reflecting His image, not your own. You are consumed in this way of life, not easily able to walk back to the shore. That sounds like a lot to give up: control, feeling good, obligation, social cues. But here’s the thing: it’s the only way to get free of gravity. And unforgiveness has its own kind of spiritual gravitational force. Unforgiveness—or forgiveness at the ankle or knee or loin level—still holds you earthbound.

Do you remember when you learned to swim? Do you recall that very first moment when your feet left the bottom of the lake or the pool, and you didn’t sink? Do you remember the gravity-defying liberation of that moment? This fourth level in Ezekiel’s river is not self-serving, but God-serving. It requires you to give up everything you know, and simultaneously sets you free.

Forgiveness would be ever so much easier if it came with amnesia. But it doesn’t. Forgiving and forgetting aren’t the same. Forgiveness begins with an act of will, not a flimsy emotion of the moment. If you determine in your heart to forgive someone, don’t worry if you still feel some pain. Don’t worry if you still feel sad at first. That’s like saying, “I can remember walking on land, so I must not be swimming.” That’s silly. True forgiveness begins with a solitary decision, and evolves to bear fruit. We get to the swimming hole, to speak, not because we feel like it but because we decide to do it, and mostly, because we ourselves are forgiven.

But let’s talk about the flip side of this coin: receiving forgiveness. Personally, I’m convinced that some people actually get a thrill out of forgiving others. In fact, they love to tell you how much they’ve forgiven other people!!! Some people are addicted to the feel-good sense of feeling like someone’s victim.

So what about this issue? What keeps us from asking for forgiveness? I suppose, on the simplest level, it violates our personal sense of rightness. It admits that something we said or did isn’t quite right or has hurt someone else. Here again, we are endlessly taught by our society that other people’s feelings are not really our concern, that being rude is actually acceptable, that admitting wrongdoing is a sign of weakness, that nothing should come between us and our perceived “happiness.” At its worst, in fact, the culture suggests that we each have our own truth and that we bear no responsibility for the wellbeing of others. But we do not believe that. We believe that we do bear some responsibility for others, both in forgiving and being forgiven.

So let me ask: what should our strategy for forgiveness be? Let’s face it—we can make it pretty hard to ask for forgiveness. We can set up barriers that short-circuit communication, that prevent hearing, that stonewall the courage and humility required to ask. And when we do that, we actually punish that person through our silence, our smugness, or our avoidance. In this way, we prevent ourselves from swimming in Ezekiel’s river, and we chain the other person as well.

Why should we forgive? Theologically, the answer is simple: Jesus forgave us and commanded us to forgive others. But beyond that seemingly simple statement, my consistent personal and professional experience is this: the person who does not forgive and who is not forgiven is an unhappy, unfulfilled person. No matter how “right” they might feel, no matter how “safe” they play it by surrounding themselves with familiar attitudes, no matter how bolstered they are by our “tough” cultural attitudes, they are chained in their very core.

All kinds of people come to me and describe their misery. In nearly every case, it goes back to some pain that was never forgiven. They have tried everything to fix it: drugs, prescriptions, relationships, you name it. And they are looking to me to fix it, but no pill I can prescribe can take the place of swimming in Ezekiel’s river.

At this time I like to share with you a personal story. It involves an episode in which I was challenged, perhaps of the first time in my life to forgive somebody I truly hated. I was about 19 years old and received my first real paying job on a 15 bed psychiatric unit in a small community hospital. This was in 1974. And because I had previously volunteered at a state psychiatric hospital I was hired to be the unit orderly. In those days men were hired not as nursing assistants but what was known as orderlies. Basically my job was to keep the peace on the unit and to make sure everything was done decently and in order.

The head nurse, we’ll say her name was Arlene, despised me from the moment I set foot on her unit. Now I weighed 125 pounds soaking wet at the time but she wanted somebody who was over 6 foot tall and weighed at least 250 pounds. She wanted protection from patients who might get out of control. Also I should share that I had a recent experience with Christ and he gave me a heart for patients with mental health issues. And somehow God gave me the grace to talk or pray with patients so that they might calm down and avoid the need for physical force.

But that wasn’t good enough for Arlene. I can’t tell you how many times she said to me “what good are you.” In her best efforts to get me to quit she would often send me into the rooms of a violent patients and asked me to get vital signs or give them a certain medication.

I remember one occasion in particular where a young, very muscular and healthy man was in seclusion, experiencing what was known as PCP psychosis. PCP was a powerful psychedelic available in the 70s that often induced episodes of rage and violence. Once in the room Arlene locked the door and apparently hoped that I would be sufficiently torn to shreds. No doubt after such an experience I would quit. As a matter of course the opposite happened. The young man calmed down after I began speaking to him and after I began praying for him out loud.

I remained in that job 5 years or until 1979 and left after I advanced my career and education. I was glad to be away from that place and hoped never to hear or see Arlene again. Well, 30 years past and Arlene was simply a faint memory. But to be honest I still hated her. However, it just so happened that my sister, Valerie who is a registered nurse and was working in a nursing home and taking care of Arlene at the end of her life. Apparently Arlene inquired about my sister’s maiden name and Arlene recalled working with me. She tearfully shared with my sister how she had thought about me all those years and how much she loved me. Of course Valerie had no idea how much I hated Arlene. But, upon hearing of her love for me I understood that she was communicating her need for forgiveness. I asked Valerie to pass on my love to Arlene knowing that I was offering a pardon to a dying woman.

When I heard of her death I cried uncontrollably. I wished that I had seen her before she passed. But more importantly, I begged God for forgiveness because I had held onto that resentment for over 30 years. There, in my own prayer closet I too received a pardon from Christ. You see, Christ had met me in the waters to swim in and I was set free from the chains that it held me bondage for decades. No, time does not heal all wounds but I know a Savior who does. And what he has done for me I know he can do for you as well. Thank you for listening to my story and thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts on forgiveness. God bless you all.

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