The Lazarus Project

Resurrecting hope for Christian victims and survivors of family violence.

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The Bank of Heaven

    I recently had an opportunity to minister with a young pastor with dark chocolate skin who had been deeply wounded by his ministry mentor. This bright young man said he knew that he was called by God to work with this mentor, for whom he was serving as an intern. I asked if he was willing to forgive this ministry mentor, as I sensed some hesitation to do so.

    “I am willing, but I am not sure that I am can,” he responded. Then he added, “he’s never asked for my forgiveness.”

    “And maybe he never will. But forgiveness isn’t about him. It’s about you, and your relationship to God. Remember the scripture that says if you’re at the altar preparing to give your gift and remember that a brother has something against you, to go and reconcile yourself to your brother before offering your gift?” He nodded in agreement.

    “Forgiveness is a transaction between you and God, “I said. “Think of it this way. Let’s say you have to pay a bill in cash, so you go to the bank and withdraw the cash from your account to settle that debt, right?” His head bobbed up and down like a red and white spherical buoy on a lake.

    “Forgiving this man is no different, “I continued. “It is a transaction, just like the previous one.  Perhaps on your own you can’t forgive this offense, so you go to the Bank of Heaven, and fill out a withdrawal slip. You withdraw from your account the grace that God has deposited into it, and you use that grace to forgive this person.

    “On that paper, you list everything this man has ever done to hurt you, and you give it to God, the Heavenly bank teller.  And just like in an earthly bank, you give the teller a simple piece of paper, and she gives you back money.  But in this case, you give this paper to God, and He gives you back freedom.”

    Then I felt led of the spirit to have him perform a prophetic act. He and I pantomimed his writing out all the offenses that had broken his tender heart, just like a bank customer writing out a withdrawal slip at a teller window. I stood in for God, and he “slid” the paper to me, as if there were a curved shiny metal reservoir underneath a clear bullet-proof glass barrier between the two of us. I took it and “stamped” it, checking to see that there was enough grace in his account to cover it. He handed me one after another, and he identified each of them: one was racial epithets spoken against him, another was word curses that caused him to believe that he was stupid or that he’d never be good enough. Miraculously, there was more than enough grace to cover all these debts. 

    His eyes brimmed with tears. He had never realized that forgiveness was so simple. Simple, yes, but not easy-- if we were to attempt to do it in our own strength. But when we extend forgiveness using God’s grace to enable us to do that which we cannot do on our own, we are successful.

     Of course, the grace that was deposited into this young man's account was not free. It came at a great cost.  When Jesus Christ was sacrificed for the sin of all mankind, the price to pay the debt of human depravity was His betrayal, His blood, His sweat, and the agony of his torturous murder.  But His death alone is only part of the story--that is what satisfied the creditors of hell. The greater triumph was when He arose from the grave, three days after his suffering.  It was then that He opened up a multiplicity of accounts, with our names written upon them, and made substantial deposits of grace in each. It is because of His abundant generosity that whenever we feel the need to make a withdrawal from the Bank of Heaven, the balance is sufficient to meet our every need.

--Christine Hagion Rzepka

Posted on 04/19
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