Forgive Your Way to Freedom
An excerpt from Creation Gospel Workbook Five Vol III: Metzorah "Prison Break"
Both the Hebrew word for I (ani) and poor/afflicted (ani) are homonyms. This is a great memory device.
"I am poor," and I am called to fall to my knees in humility before the Holy One. The pictograph of the Hebrew root
, for affliction is a tzaddik on his knees before the rosh (head):
Because of the Passover, annually disciples are called to humble themselves, to remember who God is and who they are, so that they can become tender toward those who yet live in slavery, for Adonai reminds Israel that they also were there. A person who harbors resentment and unforgiveness against another person has refused to fall on his face before Adonai and acknowledge his own sin and deliverance from Egypt. He takes Passover in vain, for he does not consider his brother in slavery. He would eat the lamb alone instead of in fellowship with Israel.
Humility gives one the understanding that he has the power to operate in a state of greater awareness and obedience to God's will than the offender. When one is yet immature, he cannot let the other person seem to have the final word. He will continue to justify himself and his actions. Yeshua was silent before his accusers. Are we? Or are we still in the competition for "right"? Did he scream "I am innocent!" to the soldiers, or did he request forgiveness on their behalf? He did not need the last word. He could spend his last hours before death forgiving instead of defending himself to ungrateful, ignorant, brain-damaged children. He forgave their ignorance instead of condemning them. The false words had already condemned them.
We must learn to empathize with our offenders, whether brothers in Messiah or reprobates. This requires a degree of self-confidence in our position with the Father that is so secure that we are not threatened by others. Instead, we take threats, false accusations, envy, jealousy, and all negativity aimed at us to be the antics and ravings of a child. Ungratefulness and choosing negative answers to life's problems causes brain damage according to Romans One.
You deal with evil talkers as though they had a learning disability, which they do. Only a child (or a politician) would respond to another child's attacks with defensiveness and self-justification. An adult will follow Yeshua's example and respond with Torah, firmness, and as few words as possible. Look for strangers, widows, and orphans indeed in need of the healing Word, not those who want healing only on their terms, which is not healing at all.
Empathy is a prerequisite to forgiveness. If the Father knew it was needful for Yeshua to appear in the flesh so that he would experience our same passions and weaknesses of flesh, then we should also try to appear in the other person's shoes and walk around in them. This is an important aspect of God, the ability to empathize, so important that the entire plan of redemption revolved around His ability to empathize with our suffering in our present state of brain damage.
The Passover Psalm
says that Adonai even humbles Himself to look upon us. The Father through Yeshua humbled himself to experience stooping to our level even though He is infinitely higher. Humility is meeting where THEY are, not expecting them to attain your level in order to relate. You have the power to do for another what they cannot, to conform your emotions and thinking to that of Messiah's.
There is no suffering that Yeshua does not understand and explain to the Father on our behalf; therefore we are at liberty to do the same for others. You will be surprised at how many excuses you can make for your enemy's behavior if you really try. At the top of the list, put, "Suffers from brain damage." Second, put, "I don't know everything this person suffers from." Do not stop praying for your enemy until you feel the Ruach HaKodesh infuse you with true compassion for their condition. Emotional viruses are highly contagious. Like leprosy.
Break the Losing Streak
There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes (pride), a lying tongue, and hands [of the tongue] that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-20)
All of creation was brought into being through a series of speeches that testify to the glory of God, and man with his power of speech is in the role of the universal spokesman. King Solomon wrote:
Death and life are
in the hands of the tongue, and whoever loves either will eat of its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21).
Of the seven things Adonai hates, at least four of them are accomplished with the tongue. If we are to restore the stones of Jerusalem, then we must begin to yield our tongues to the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) instead of to the Esau red beast of our emotions. Sometimes being healed of the marks of leprosy requires a person to repent for sins of one's ancestors:
O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. (Daniel 9:16 KJV)
Daniel left no stone unturned in his Babylonian captivity. He dug inside and prayed for forgiveness for the old stones of error, greed, envy, and evil words who had been cast aside to an unclean prison for unclean birds; Daniel knew the captivity was to make room for clean stones to return and replace the malignant ones. Yeshua even prayed for his tormentors' forgiveness, so it may sometimes help to pray for and repent on behalf of the source of
t infections among the stones of the House.
The House in Jerusalem had become so infected that even the healthy stones of the prophets could not stop the infection of pride. Finally, the Father tore down the entire house and sent the inhabitants into captivity in Babylon. Daniel, a wise man, identifies the sin of the fathers, and he begs forgiveness not only for his own sin, but that of his fathers. Repent for your own pride, ungratefulness, and unforgiveness so that the Father may forgive. Repent of the sins of our fathers so that our captivity may be turned and we may be the generation found worthy of being the new, healthy stones. Our Messiah is the Builder of Israel. He can rebuild us with compassion if we will see our ungratefulness and pride as the abomination that it is to our High Priest.
Daniel never saw Jerusalem again, but by begging for forgiveness for himself and the past, he opened the door for others to return and rebuild the broken House. The Kohen, our Great High Priest is returning on the Seventh Day to examine his stones. Do you have green streaks of jealousy and competition or red, blood-shedding anger? Forgive and be healed. Forgive and heal your congregation. Don't find yourself on the Seventh Day thrown into the filthy rockpile outside the Holy City and your place built on by a lively stone who has learned gratefulness, humility, and forgiveness. Wash your garments in humility and change your mind, your heart, and your ways to conform to the Living Torah. Be healed, and be free. The torah of leprosy can heal us of red, white, green, and yellow losing streaks in our lives. Break off the chains and live in liberty. It's the season of our freedom.
To be freed from slavery means I actually go out scared and empty. Although a sick form of security, slavery is nevertheless a security. Why has freedom from slavery in all its forms historically opened new wounds, new resentments, and new wars? Thousands of books have been written on the subject, but the Torah simplifies the principles. If a slave goes free, he loses all support systems, so he is not really free within. Along with past resentments, he now internalizes new ones, for without the help of the Father above and community support, he embarks on a struggle often more vicious to his soul. It took Israel forty years in the wilderness to drain the bitterness of slavery; in fact, a case may be made that because they could not leave the thought processes of a slave in Egypt, they died in their freedom.
Because free generations to come would not have experienced such a struggle, each Passover they are commanded to step into the shoes of a newly-freed slave and experience such bitterness along with the ecstasy and gratitude of release.
The more a former slave houses bitterness and unforgiveness within, the less room for the life-giving and life-changing qualities of humility, gratefulness, and forgiveness. In this sense, even a person born free can choose to remain a slave, keeping unforgiveness and resentment on life-support instead of pulling the plug and embarking on that terrifying journey of the freed man or freed woman. Resurrection requires a death. After all, if I forgive and release bitterness, then there is no one to blame for my new failures! The Passover season and the search for
(leaven) is an annual opportunity to search for those resentments as diligently as one searches under the couch cushions for the cookie crumbs of leaven.
The Torah offers a solution to the wilderness terror of going free. First of all, the Holy One of Israel Himself will guide you. He will be your rear guard, the shade from the sun by day and the moon by night. He will shield you from the scorpions and serpents of bitter memories that never seem to be defeated and mount attacks in moments of weakness. Get on your poor knees, but look up. The truth is based on "It is written...," not "I feel..." It doesn't matter if you FEEL like you've forgiven someone as long as you made the decision to forgive. Forgiveness is the truth. Feelings deceive. You may never feel it, but it's irrelevant to your decision to forgive, which is truth. If you depend upon the feeling, then the serpents and scorpions will never give up!
So what is the Torah solution? To a freed Hebrew slave, Israel is commanded to offer support in two ways. If he runs away, shelter him! If someone asks for your help in releasing bitterness and resentment, give support. Cover him the way the Holy One taught us in His Word. Second, when a Hebrew slave completes his seven years of service, he is to be given everything he needs to start over and succeed on his own. What do these two instructions equal? A spiritual family lending every kind of support: physical, spiritual, and even to that needy, red, Esau soul (
). The soul needs continuing comfort, encouragement, guidance, counsel, and discipline from like kind and like mind.
Under pressure, the newly-freed soul will attempt to go back to its master, for the failures inherent in learning to be free are scarier than the old master. In fact, that Old Man Chametz offers the soul food of "red stuff," a quicker fix to the failure of the day than waiting for the Bread of Life for 40 days...but it can turn into 40 years without the patience of a free man.
As disciples of Yeshua, let us offer support to one another as we confront the Old Man in this season. It's okay to be responsible for our own failures. We're disciples. We're learning. When we learn to quit blaming the Church, the rabbis, our parents, our bosses, our congregational leaders, the government, and any other person or institution, and take responsibility for our own spiritual growth and setbacks, then we can dwell in Sukkot of Glory.
Yes, it's terrifying. But yes, together with the power of the Holy One of Israel, we can walk forward and learn. The Ruach HaKodesh in a day of judgment will be much more terrifying than walking out of my bitterness today. Ani, ani, I cry. I am poor. This is why we eat the "bread of the poor" at the seder, also translated as the Bread of Affliction, "ha lachma ha-anya."
Yes, a slave goes out poor, but he is free. He can stand upright, but he is free to kneel before the Holy One, not the Old Man Chametz he left behind. Ah, knees!