True Step Ministries
My workplace often includes prisons, which personally I love because I myself found Christ in the midst of some incredibly dark places. Recently, I gave my testimony at a women’s prison. At first they didn’t want to listen. They wanted to push God aside because the language of the wounded is anger, acting out, and addiction. It’s almost as if we’re telling the world that we’ve given up. You could see that in the faces of those women.
As I talked, they realized that I came from the same places they came from and that I’ve had the same pain. I told them I wasn’t loved by my mom. My mom was wounded herself and didn’t know how to give me anything. When I said, “You know what? I still love her,” most of them teared up because they have children on the outside and would love to hear their child say, “I still love you and I forgive you.”
I watched their faces as the Holy Spirit moved over the group. I wish I could take you inside that prison, on the other side of the bars with guards standing at the doors. That environment screams anything but freedom, but just then, with the Holy Spirit hovering over the group, freedom was all they heard. When I finished speaking, we were like family. We hugged and cried and prayed together. It seemed that the bars and the guards and the pain vanished, and there was only hope—hope that there’s a God who can restore us to sanity, who knows us, and who is calling, “Come home.”
One woman was the head of one of the most intense gangs in her country. She had a copy of my book, “Miracle From the Streets,” in her hand and wanted it signed for her daughter. She said her daughter had forgiven her. It made her cry, which was really difficult for her because she’s the tough girl. She’s the girl who has to enforce things in the prison. She can’t show any vulnerability or weakness. But she cried, and I held her, and the more she relaxed in my arms, the more the tears came. Then the Holy Spirit nudged me, and I asked her, “Are you ready to forgive your mother?” Suddenly she got serious and everything changed! The bravado came back and the anger, and she said, “Absolutely not! I will never forgive my mother!”
I said, “Then you’ll never be free. God assures us that He’ll forgive us beyond what we could imagine, but He asks, to the same extent He forgives you, that you forgive those who have hurt you, however deeply.”
We stared at each other, and all the bars and the guards came back into focus. You could feel it so intensely. I think the guards stood up because they thought she might kill me! She had a choice to make—the choice of forgiveness. She looked at me, and suddenly she softened. The transformation was absolutely a miracle! She said, “I’m ready.”
I led her in a prayer of forgiveness. There were times she couldn’t say the words because of the tears. At some points she had to stop and think about what she was forgiving her mom for. After the prayer, I said, “I want you to hand all of the pain to God. Place it at the foot of the cross, because Jesus Himself said, ‘I will carry this burden for you. I died so you no longer have to carry it. I died so you no longer have to be in bondage to it.” She gave it to Him, and it was done!
We stood up and held each other, and she looked at me like, “What just happened? I am not the same person!” I wanted to say to her, “I absolutely know that because I remember the moment when I was no longer the same person! I pray you remember that moment for yourself.”
If you still have forgiveness work to do, do it. If you need help, contact our ministry (truestep.org). Let’s work on that stuff, because Jesus died to set us free.