It is a funny feeling walking into a prison where a guard is marching backwards and forwards, M16 at the ready, surveying his human targets. Somehow you just hope he does not have to use it while you are there.
My Dad often said later that if he knew where we were going on that mission trip to Papua New Guinea, I would not have been on that plane. In fact it was one of his first thoughts as we touched down in that Land of the Unexpected, back when I was only 14, and his first views were of coils of barbed wire dancing precariously over walls that glimmered with broken glass, threatening to shred the feet and hands of those intent on making their way in to cause destruction.
Photo by Leonie Pearce
I had my own teenage moments of pricking fear as I lowered myself into the front row of wooden pews inside the prison chapel and the dark-skinned prisoners filed in silently. My imagination ran wild as I wondered how my family would manage to get my body home if I got stabbed in the back with a pocket knife?
Thankfully that scenario never played out and I quickly lost my nervousness as the prisoners began to worship God and somehow I knew that they were freer on the inside than I was. Yet, how could this be? I was a teenager from a good Christian home and these were obviously criminals.
God’s Word and the principles within, had transformed that institution from a place where the worst criminals were sent to be punished to a place of complete healing for body, soul and spirit. The chapel that our tiny team from Victorious Ministry Through Christ stepped into that day was alive with testimonies of God’s grace and transforming power.
As our team shared started to share about bondages and barriers to healing, wounds and scars of the past, occult bondages and confession of sin and forgiveness I realised that I needed this message too, and within lay keys to my own freedom; keys that I’ll be sharing here today that are still radically changing my life ten years later.
One of the illustrations that our team leader used in her presentation was that of a coconut, and how it has three parts; the skin/husk, the meat and the juice and likened it to how we have three parts, body, soul and spirit.
If someone were to cut us with a bush knife, (machete), your physical body would feel pain, your soul, (mind, will and emotions) would feel anger and this in turn would affect your spirit and your relationship with God.
You would need to use the power of your will to choose the spiritual principles of forgiveness, and also to keep your thoughts in line with God’s Word and not choose some sort of payback, a huge problem in PNG.
It is medically recorded that choosing forgiveness aids healing, and as you did so your body would begin to heal. A great book by a neurosurgeon David Levy is Gray Matter. It’s full of testimonies of the spirit, soul, body connection and how vital forgiveness is.
Did you know it’s also vital to forgive yourself? I’ve written an incredible testimony of healing by my father-in-law when he chose to forgive himself.
Another important facet in this working through of forgiveness would be to confess any sins. Obviously the person with the bush knife committed a sin, but what was our response? While it may seem ridiculous to be picking on this point, it’s so important to keep a ‘clean slate’ with God, so that He can deal with that other person. It’s taking them off our hook so that He can have them on His hook.
One more key here, that as a church we have missed over and over is the need to also confess our sins to one another. And by this I’m talking about a safe person, not just anyone. Why would we confess our sins to others when we are already forgiven by confessing them to God? So that we may be healed.
If there are things that you need to talk about and confess, ask God to show you who would be a spiritually mature person to go to. There are also ministries like Victorious Ministry Through Christ who will have prayer sessions with people or the Healing Rooms, both of which I have worked with. If you’re in Australia, I can certainly help put you in touch with someone, though both of these ministries are international, and Google is a great tool in finding them.
In summary, confession of sin and forgiveness can be powerful tools for healing, and you don’t need to go digging. You just ask God to show you and wait as He does.