I was sitting in the back of the church apparently waiting for church to begin. I noticed that two large men had also come in through the back and started a fight with a man in the next seat over. These men had massive muscles, they were violent and they scared me. Then one of them came to me. I didn’t understand why he was bothering me, I didn’t do anything wrong. Then he attacked me! I put my arms out to push him away but as hard as I tried he was too strong and before I knew it we were wrestling in the aisle. I was scared-I felt like this was for life or death.
I thought it was strange that although the church was half filled with people, nobody was doing anything to help me. Worship hadn’t started, but people weren’t socializing either. They were just sitting there like decoys or robots. Yet I was fighting for my life.
Now our fight had tumbled to the front of the church and somehow I had this massive man in an armlock. I know nothing about fighting or violence but by the grace of God I had put this man into a temporary position of submission. And although I am one of the least violent men you will meet in real life, I was ready to break his arm off.
As I held his arm in position I somehow understood that this whole drama belonged to a woman who was sitting nearby. She looked tired, her eyes were red, she had been crying. I knew that she had been hurt by someone sitting on the other side of the church. The scene was tense. As I held the man in the armlock, I asked the crying woman,
“Will you forgive?”
Then she said, “I forgive”.
At the moment she forgave, I snapped the man’s arm off and threw it across the sanctuary. Then the woman stood up and walked toward the other side of the church. I watched, confused as to what had just happened. Then I woke up.
Interpretation: When I woke up I didn’t understand why I would be breaking this man’s arm when the woman decided to forgive. What did this man have to do with her? And why did her willingness to forgive incite me to break his arm? Then the Lord showed me.
When we sin we give ground to the enemy. This woman was tormented (she was crying and sickly); She was receiving the self-invited punishment from her sin of unforgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35). The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matt 18:21-35) illustrates this Kingdom truth. If we have come into covenant with Father God through the blood of Jesus Christ, these kingdom truths have become our reality. We are subject to these rules even if we are ignorant of them. In The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, our heavenly Father is the one who prescribes torment for a man who did not share the forgiveness he himself had undeservedly received. Only God knows the point at which our unrepented sins become legal ground for the powers of darkness to move in, but the tormentors (demons) received legal right to hurt the crying woman by her own inaction to forgive.
The strong men in the dream represent the powers of darkness or demons. How did they get into the church? Easily: through unforgiveness. In fact they were terrorizing the church while nobody even seemed to notice. This tells me that the Church needs to review the ABC’s of Christianity such as loving our enemies and forgiving them. The strongmen in the dream had great power and influence even in the midst of the sanctuary.
When the woman, in obedience to Jesus Christ, agreed to forgive, I snapped the strongman’s arm off. This represents our power over the enemy when we decide to follow Jesus Christ and deny our own “right” to take offense from people who have wronged us. When we forgive we are acting as true disciples of Christ, and like Him, we, “disarm principalities and powers, making a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them” Colossians 2:15. This is not easy, but we are called to pick up our cross. Forgiving those who have hurt us is one way that we get to prove our love for our Savior when we pick up our cross and follow Him.
Christian, I’m talking to you now. Who is the first person that came to your mind in your life, who hurt you? Now stop. Take the image of that person still fresh in your mind.
Now I challenge you to break the arm of the strongman in your own life. Please be brave and do this. The enemy may try to stop you at this point using thoughts in your mind to distract you but wait!, this will take three minutes:
Say this prayer using the name of the person who came to your mind (fill in the blank with the name of that same person)
Father, forgive me for having taken offense and being hurt by what ____________ said/did to me.
(Remember as terrible as the offense was, there is no way around this requirement for us to receive salvation from God: We must forgive ALL those who hurt us Matt 6:15).
Father God, I forgive ___________ for having: ______.
I ask you to forgive _____________for everything in Jesus name.
I release and ask you to bless __________________ in their personal life. Send them people to learn of your amazing Love through Jesus Christ.
I forgive myself for hating anything about myself and believing lies from the devil. You Love me God and Jesus Christ is proof of this.
Now, in the name of Jesus Christ, I command that any spirit that entered me as a result of my prior unforgiveness-I command you to leave my body right now. No exceptions!!!!!, my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.In Jesus name, GO!!!!!!
Photo: Hulk Hogan by John McKeon