Question & Answers
Q: I know the Bible says, in places like the Lord’s prayer, that I must for-give those who have sinned against me, or my sins will not be forgiven. I know I have said I have forgiven my father for what he did to me when I was young, but I still have painful memories of what he did, and he has not changed much since then in his attitude. It is very hard for me to be around him, and I don’t trust him. I feel stuck. How can I say I have forgiven him when I don’t even want to be around him?
A: Forgiveness is a spiritual act of faith; it is not a feeling or a thought. It is a choice to say to God that you want no sin held against your father on your account forever. Vivid memories and strong feelings have nothing to do with faith in and of themselves, they may be a normal consequence God will use for some good purpose later. By faith, decide that your father is forgiven no matter how angry or fearful you may be feeling. Satan may tempt you later to believe you haven’t forgiven him.
If your father approaches you with sorrow for what he has done, tell him he is forgiven, and treat him as if he is. If he has no remorse and continues to abuse you, let him know he has hurt you. If he still does not repent, it may be appropriate to set some boundaries, or even give him some consequences, especially if a law has been broken. But remember, in forgiving him, any action you now take against him is not to get even, but rather, to help your father to repent. In forgiving him, you are no longer his judge, but his intercessor. In the mean time, you don’t have to put yourself in a position to be abused further, because that will add to his sin. Forgiveness is given, but trust is earned. Let your father earn your trust by changing his behavior, for his sake, not yours.
Finally, those strong feelings may have produced some resentments in you. Resentments attract sinful behaviors and distorted perceptions. To effectively intercede for your father, these must be removed. Write down the resentments you have against your father. Then write down the part of your life that was threatened or injured by him. Now write down how you learned to protect yourself or retaliate. These attitudes and behaviors are your character defects. They make intercession for your father impossible unless you first identify them, see them for what they may are, and then humbly ask God to remove them. He will do it.
We would be happy to help you sort this out. If you turn to the page in the Intercessor that lists Area Representatives, you can call or write to the nearest contact.
Q: Why is it that even after we become Christians we find ourselves still pulled by temptation?
A: Being one with Christ does not negate being human. As Norman Grubb explains in Yes, I Am (p. 132), "…our oneness with Christ does not alter our two- ness in being He and I" He explains further that the human faculties that are affected by temptation are necessary in that they are the same faculties that are used by God to express Himself through us. So if we became insensitive to the temptations "of the world" to do the wrong things, we would also be desensitized to the "temptations" or "pulls" of the Spirit to do the right things.
Inability to resist temptations in and of my own self is what leads me to let go of the lie of independent "self," because it becomes obvious to me that "I of myself can do nothing" and that if God does not do the living of this life in my form, then it will not be done. So temptation serves this initial purpose to drive me into recognition of my power-less self.
Now those same temptations keep me aware of Christ living this life out through me, for when I think that I can keep myself from doing evil, I have bought Satan’s lie (not God tempting me, as James makes it clear in 1:13) that I have power apart from God to do right. My failure to be able to do this presses me into affirming it is Christ only who has power to live right.
Temptations are part of life, a walking out of God’s perfect plan. Hebrews 4:15 clarifies that temptations cannot be sin in and of themselves, since Jesus was tempted in all things and yet did not sin. So we see that temptations are opportunities to watch God in action. Before temptation is even given, God has already provided the answer. Our response is simply to accept the situation as God’s situation and watch Him walk it out through us. In doing this, we become a light to the world (Matt. 5:14) that draws others to want for themselves what they see operating in us.
Q: Your magazine is called The Intercessor. What is an intercessor?
A: A clear definition of an inter cessor is illustrated by Norman Grubb in Yes I Am, chapter 46, entitled "What is an Intercessor?": "The first form intercession takes is commission. The Spirit causes me to know that there is something He will do, and do it by me, specifically. It is not something I sought, but it sought me. I am simply caught by it and cannot escape. I just find myself emersed in it and obsessed by it. So get this clear: it is not a matter of my running around and trying to find my commission. No, it finds me. It is from the Holy Spirit. Don’t try and find such a commission. That will be the old snare of self-effort. If not conscious of such a specific commission, then I can say to the Lord who is living His life by me, ‘If you give me such a commission, You’ll make me know it. If not, I just tell You I am ready.’
Such a commission is no passing thing. It is not a prayer I can take up or put down. It is not participating in various interests and activities. It is "This one thing I do." It will be the main drive of my life until it is gained.
Then when conscious of the commission, I respond like Isaiah, ‘Here am I; send me.’ By that I mean my body is wholly available, which of course includes my soul and its emotions, and my concentrated thought-processes. And somewhere along that line is coming travail and death. There will be a price paid equivalent to a death; but there again, we do not seek that out or make it up. He brings us into it and through it. We may not even recognize the death process until we are well into it. It may mean literal sacrifice of all that goes with our body living: Our time, our faculties, our possessions, our finances, our homes, and usually most costly and common of all, our reputation.
The intercession is completed, first by being gained on the level of faith, as the intercessor becomes settled in this inner consciousness that the Lord has done it; and second, by his own continual involvement in it, by whatever action accompanies it, while the Spirit brings the thing to pass. And it continues until the intercessor knows that his part in it is fulfilled.
Commission. Cost. Completion."