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Forgiveness Set Me Free - Matthew

Back in Secondary one, I had depression, but was too ashamed and scared to open up about it due to fear of judgement. One day, I had the courage to tell a teacher whom I thought could help me. I messaged him about how I was struggling with depression, thinking he would comfort or encourage me, but instead, he blue-ticked me.

The next day, he came up and asked to speak with me. I thought this was help coming. However, my teacher questioned why I was sending this type of messages to him. I was shocked but said I was going through a tough period. His reply was simply,"Depression only! you're a guy and you can handle it. Just pray to Jesus or what God you know. Just be happy." However, at that point I did not even know about God or Jesus. I felt hurt that my teacher just brushed me off and I could not forgive him.

Since that incident, I grew to become even more annoyed and irritated with those around me. I viewed my other teachers, coaches from my CCA and friends differently. I did not realise it then, but the unforgiveness towards people had grown to infect other parts of my life.

I quit basketball which is my favourite CCA because I felt I was not treated well. My relationships with my parents grew distant and even friends I trusted a lot turned away from me. This bitterness towards people became a distraction to my studies because thoughts of hatred kept coming, and eventually turned to wicked thoughts such as: “I should’ve spilled the person’s secret”, “that person deserves to retain in sec 2”. It became increasingly harder to love others or accept their flaws.

Last year in April 2018, I came to Impact Life Church through my teacher. After deciding to become a Christian, I learnt about forgiveness through discipleship sessions. Initially it was easy to follow Jesus, because I was able to forgive people whom I felt reasonably needed to be forgiven because they had said their apologies. However, I was unwilling to forgive that teacher in 2016. I felt he owed me an apology, and if he doesn’t apologies, he does not deserve any forgiveness. I did not want to share about him during Life Group and I knew that my heart wasnt right.

Accepting Jesus was easy, but following Jesus all the way did not look so easy after all.

Before I went on mission trip in December, I experienced nightmares. There were even nights I dreamt of my Life Group members and leaders condemning and scolding vulgarities at me. I woke up crying and feeling scared.

I told my discipler about this and arranged for me to meet Becky for deliverance. We met at the cafe, and while chatting and eating, Becky asked about my life. Throughout the conversation, I hoped to avoid the topic of unforgiveness. Unfortunately, that was where all our conversation headed towards - God knew what I was hiding. I was asked if I wanted to forgive the teacher, and I answered yes, but i did not mean it. Becky knew that I was not genuine with my answer. forgiveness is important and it sets us free, but she could not force me to forgive.

I knew that He sent Jesus to die for me on the cross. He forgave me and my sins - how can I not be able to forgive someone else? Realizing that, I broke down in tears

I did not care anymore, because I knew that it was time to forgive.

As I cried, healing took place in my heart. I realized for a matter so small, it had already taken up a huge portion of my heart and subsequently, my life. I was ready to share and confront my hurts.

As I prayed to forgive these people, I had two visions from God. The first vision I saw was a hand, throwing something off the cliff. When I looked down, the hole looked very deep. The second vision was a picture from a desert, there were huge distorted faces on the sands. When I declare that I cancelled people of the debt they owed me, a big gush of wind suddenly blew all of it and I saw a beautiful desert.

I also had to forgive myself because I grew up not feeling good enough for anyone. After forgiving myself, I knew I was ready to go on the Mission Trip to be used by God.

There were three things I learnt through this incident. Firstly, when I feel angry and bear unforgiveness, I remind myself of what Christ has done for me. It may be hard for me to forgive, but if God can forgive a sinner like me, surely I can forgive someone else. Secondly, I realise that God is a very patient . Though I was the one who was stubborn and prideful about holding on to grudges, God still chose to shower me with his love and patience. Last but not least, His love has taught me to love others too. I used to not like the idea of being friendly or inviting certain people to church as I had issues with them. Now I’m able to freely love, respect and forgive the people around me.

I realise each time I am in chaos and confusion, I can be honest, and surrender my feelings to God. I am only human and am a work in progress. I can lean on God and let God’s love in, despite my situation.

When you choose to stand in God’s love, truly nothing can get in the way.
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