The SOZO Road: Forgiveness

SOZO means to make whole.
SOZO is a Greek word used 110 times in the New Testament. There are other words used for “saved”, “healed”, and “deliverance” but it’s a fascinating word study to see how Jesus used it.

The 10 Lepers: 9 of them got healed, only one of them got SOZO-ed. The other nine really did get healed, but the one that came back was given the complete package, he was given the “made-whole”, he was given everything that Jesus has.

“THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound, To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified” Isaiah 61

The great thing about God is that he always trades up!
We give him ashes, he gives us beauty.
We give him mourning, he gives us joy.
We give him a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit, and he gives us the expression of praise.

This is the divine exchange.
He is a good, good God!

We are given a spirit of fainting, he gives us a mantle of praise.
You can NEVER out-trade God. He ALWAYS trades up.

“THEN they shall rebuild the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations and renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations” Isaiah 61:4

When people get free, they have the ability to RESTORE the former desolations. They go back and repair the ruin cities, the desolations of many generations. It’s not just one person breaking free, it’s breaking family trees free, it’s breaking generations and lineages free, and they are RESTORING the inheritances and the heritages that have been stolen.

The area that you struggle in, the area you struggle to gain victory in (you already have it through Jesus, but the area you’re struggling to AGREE with the victory in), the area the Lord wants to bring freedom to is so much bigger than you. You’re not just fighting for you, you’re fighting for your future spouse, your children and your children’s children. You’re fighting for MORE than just your peace in the moment that you’re struggling because you’re going to raise up and build a city that you’re going to keep from ruin.

“He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives andfreedom to prisoners.”

Why would God use different words for that? Why would there be a difference between captives and prisoners?

“Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? [As many as] up to seven times? Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven! Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a human king who wished to settle accounts with his attendants. When he began the accounting, one was brought to him who owed him 10,000 talents [probably about $10,000,000], And because he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and his children and everything that he possessed, and payment to be made. So the attendant fell on his knees, begging him, Have patience with me and I will pay you everything. And his master’s heart was moved with compassion, and he released him and forgave him [cancelling] the debt.” Matthew 18

In this parable, God is the Master and we are the slaves (attendants). Has he not forgiven you a debt you can never repay?

“When his fellow attendants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and told everything that had taken place to their master. Then his master called him and said to him, You contemptible and wicked attendant! I forgave and cancelled all that [great] debt of yours just because you asked it of me. And should you not have had pity and mercy on your fellow attendant, as I had pity and mercy on you? And in wrath his master turned him over to the torturers (the jailers), till he should pay all that he owed. So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses.” Matthew 18

We are commanded to forgive.

When we are offended and deeply wounded we learn somewhere in the twisted place that “I’m making you pay when I’m bitter”. That’s a total lie. Who’s trapped in torment in that situation?  There’s no way we can get free if we avoid actively, purposely forgiving.

Sometimes we get this lens on that says, “I’m going to make you pay” and in our stubbornness we don’t care if we’re tormented in the process as long as the one who hurts us pays. But that’s not what the scriptures say.

When we look through the lens that “God is mean, God is a God of punishment” then the knowledge that the Heavenly Father will turn us over to the torturers is a little scary. That God’s just going to lock us away and demand that we do all of this stuff. But when we take off those lenses and we put on the lens that says, “God is GOOD” – the lens that says, “He doesn’t want us to live mediocre” – then we can see the verse through a whole other way.

When you’re engaged in a wrestling match, the only way you can get them to stop is to tap out. I’m reminded of all the times I played “Mercy” with my brothers and cousins growing up…

When you look at it and see that the Lord is saying “I have GOOD plans for your heart and I don’t want you to live mediocre, so I’m going to give you a way to “tap out” after I’ve taken you to a place where you realize you can’t live here anymore.”

There’s such a byproduct of our freedom when we forgive.

Sometimes this journey of forgiveness is simply starting small. Forgiving the little offenses, the people we associate just a little bit of irritation with when their name is mentioned. Starting where it’s a little easier to forgive, where you can honestly forgive from your heart and release them (and any justice you believe they deserve), and then going deeper to the places, people, and wounds where it’s harder, where it hurts so bad that you’re stuck and locked away.

Usually the first time you utter “I forgive you” it’s not from your heart, it’s from a command that you’ve learned. “I have to forgive. I choose to forgive.” Grab yourself by the lapels and shake yourself. Choose to forgive, and as you choose to forgive, the freedom starts to come and then your heart follows.

Usually once you’ve forgiven a person the offense and the effects of that offense are broken. Usually when you go in and forgive then there’s a whole different way that you look at the person who so deeply hurt you. That person is no longer this horrible, terrible person that has to pay and has to pay me back – in reality they still may be acting like a horrible person – but you’re at peace because you’ve released the forgiveness. And the torturer no longer has legal right to hold you, seeing through the bars of bitterness, anger, and offense.

Do yourself, your future spouse, your children and your children’s children a favor, and get free. CHOOSE to not give any ground to bitterness, anger, or resentment that will keep you (your heritage and it’s inheritances) locked up in misery. Live – REALLY LIVE – in freedom and release the offenses and your offenders to the One who is Just & True; who is in charge of making all the wrong things right.

Do not let pain continue longer than it needs to. Your life, and the life of the ones you love, cannot afford to be compromised because you were determined to hang on to the ways (and the effects) of how others deeply wounded you.





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