I have lost a lot of weight recently. I am a new person because of it. I’m in the kind of shape where I don’t even recognise myself before. I am strong, can press in and past the pain of resistance and have a clear head. I fit into clothes I never imagined would fit me so flawlessly and I am a new creation all over again/woman! I want to share it with you but let me backtrack a little bit.
13 years ago I lost 30 kg (approx. 13 pounds) and have kept it off over the years but there remained a 6 kg from the initial goal recommended to me as ideal in proportion to my height. And so as the month of March approached I got ready for this weight-loss goal: 6 kg, 30 days. I eat healthy so these last 6 just needed some tough exercise to wilt away and I would be done! But this goal took a dramatic turn when my daily quiet time in the Word of God led me to Haggai 1:4-10.
When I read this scripture, God showed how in our lives His temple represents our inner life and the issues that flow from therein. He said, “You’ve been doing the weight-loss thing for too long now. You’ve panelled and adorned a house for yourself and left My house in ruins. You’ve spent enough time on the weight-loss thing, let’s put that aside for now and do something new.”
It seems every maturity level has its threshold. God has a way of calling you into deep waters, as soon as you begin to get comfortable, He calls you into even deeper waters, moving you from glory to glory, expanding and stretching you beyond what you thought possible.
At the beginning of the year I prayed a daring prayer. I wanted to be a very forgiving person by the end of the year and for the rest of my life. I struggled with unforgiveness because I couldn’t reconcile being done wrong, abused and mistreated with LETTING IT GO. I’d read about it and unsuccessfully white knuckled my way through ‘forgiveness’ in my own strength many times yet something always came up amiss. I’d be hurting over something I’d ‘let go’ all over again. It hurt to fathom submitting wholly to the principle of forgiving, doing it exactly the way God says.
It was an unfair command.
‘Do You mean to tell me this violator and trespasser gets away with it while I just turn the other cheek and let You God be my Vindicator?’ The thought gutted me out. I must have been desperate. I was. Forgiveness on my list of big desires?
God had already shown me how resentment and bitterness makes one physically ill with dis-ease and cancers and I truly believed Him because, in my own life, I had seen people I knew flat-lined into graves not by sickness nor old age but by unforgiveness, bitterness, taking offense and resentment. I wasn’t going out like that.
These are some of the things I was led to before the first of March rolled over:
- The Holy Spirit brought to my memory how I had succeeded in physical weight-loss by one rule: I had fully submitted to the way of the programme. And this is exactly what He wanted me to do pertaining this spiritual diet: wholly submit to His way of dealing with unforgiveness/offense.
- I also incidentally saw Oprah talking to Marianne Williamson about forgiveness. It deeply struck me to my spirit what Marianne said. She recounted how she always tells people who are struggling with unforgiveness to pray for 30 days for the happiness of the person they have unforgiveness toward.
Instantly, I knew that this is what God was asking me to do. I thought, I need the Word of God to back this up so after reading a number of scriptures about forgiveness,
- Luke 6:27-37 provided me with wisdom as to how to carry out the assignment based on what I’d heard Marianne say but most importantly what God’s Word said about it.
March 1st arrived and instead of buying lettuce and new sneakers, this is what I was doing:
- I listed all the people I felt unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness toward.
- I confessed my sin of unforgiveness and repented.
- I went down the list of offenders and to each saying ‘I forgive so and so, and I pray for their happiness and I bless them in Jesus’ name. Amen.’
Let me be candid and say that, some people on my list I didn’t trust that they wouldn’t offend me again. I sought assurance that they would not be a repeat offenders but the truth is, they will. But for the lifetime outcome I so desired, submitting fully was my only option because I’d had enough of being sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Let me also add that, some days I felt like it, some days I didn’t but I did it anyway and about 10 days in, my mind was getting used to the fact that, it could not rule me by feelings. The grace of God and a willing mind and heart of someone who loves God and wants to please Him with obedience not self-determined sacrifice was my bread and exercise. I was on a different ‘diet’. I call it the ‘righteousness diet.’
Although some subjects were hard to bless and pray for happiness for in the early days, somewhere along the way my spirit just started to open up. The weight of unforgiveness I didn’t know I carried from incident to incident came off and I began to feel lighter in my spirit.
My perspective was opened and I began to understand that these people were hurt and passing on that hurt by their deeds. They were less in control of their trespasses and offences than I gave them credit. They were bleeding victims of the evil strategies they had taken the bait of in their own lives. While wounding their lives further, these also made them vulnerable and available to be used as tools of destruction to perpetuate the same hurt and dysfunction that had been inflicted on them. I came to clearly understand that asking for someone who’d ridiculed you to be blessed is not asking for their material or monetary blessing but a spiritual blessing. As my spiritual mother and greatest teacher, Joyce Meyer would say, it is about “asking God to bring truth and revelation to them about their attitude and behaviour so they will be willing to repent and be free from their sins”, so they too are free from being available weapons of destruction. This last one was the one that helped me completely trust God’s way of forgiving.
God blesses us abundantly all day long but when we hold on to unforgiveness and hinder the gushing flow of daily abundant salvation, grace and favour to a trickle which we sometimes get or even that, the devil steals.
It is as if I was blind but now I see. Whenever people would hurt or offend me during the 30 days, I could look past them and make a righteous choice. They were not to blame but as Ephesians 6:11, 12 explains it, Satan is the one to blame. Does it mean I continue to hang out with people that are useful and available tools to hurt me?
No, I distance myself but knowing that I’m not angry at them and continue to implore blessing upon them yet from a distance.
There’s too much I learnt during the 30 days of March. It is a continuous daily work, because the temptations are set up daily to make us bite the bait end up unforgiving. The best thing I ever heard that convinces me regression is not an option is a quote by slavery abolitionist Harriet Tubman:
“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”
So yes I have lost weight, but as you have gathered, this is a different kind of weight. This part of the temple of the Lord, my inner life and inner man pertaining forgiveness, has been spiritually panelled and adorned. And it far transcends what any 6kg weight-loss will ever do for me. I am forgiving.
He showed me how inner struggles such as unforgiveness, pride etc are signs and symptoms of us not taking care of the inner house, His Temple as a first priority before any other work on the outside that accumulates us material things. He told me that spiritual work that involves my co-operation with Him in sweeping me clean of all this inner dirt, undoing knotted issues and dealing with inner struggles, issues and addictions is more important than external work and accumulation and that, from that flows return/wealth of a spiritual manner/matter that is exceedingly more valuable than any material acquisition here on earth. He showed me through this scripture that it is the completion of this inner spiritual work that gathers spiritual and physical blessings for us instead of the outer works of which the gains of we use to gather things. He showed me 2 kinds of wealth, the kind that is spoken of in this scripture passage as the one that withers and the spiritual kind. Of the latter He reminded me of its quality. It is eternal and no moth, rust nor thieves can enter in and steal it because the result it renders is permanent. And with that, He placed His finger on unforgiveness as an issue He would like to deal with in seeing me build His temple to be filled with glory and for His glory.
Written by Nobuntu Mqulwana-Mhlambi