Day 26

Interview with Trish and Howard Barnes

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For this week’s interview, I interviewed an older couple from my church. They are two very caring and loving grandparents who have an active role in church life in Harbour and more globally. Howard is a talkative and excitable chap who, during the later questions of the interview, does most of the answering. Trish is a very quiet and introverted individual who speaks nuggets of wisdom. They are both a delight to know. I’ll now pass you over to the interview and let them explain their understanding about Jesus’ parable of forgiveness.

I’m sorry, but it’s my typical first question, how old are you both?

Trish:

70

Howard:

70

How old were you when you became a Christian?

Trish:

21

Howard:

8

How long have you been active Christians?

Trish:

I was baptised in the Holy Spirit (the moment in your life when the Holy Spirit enters you) when I was 21, at my conversion.

Howard:

I’ve always been encouraged to be an active Christian. I grew up marching with the Salvation Army. However, it was when I was 21 when I hyper activity really started, life became multicolour out of black and white, 3d out of 2d (basically, things became fresh and invigorating).

What do you do a day-to-day basis?

Trish & Howard:

We read daily light, pray and fellowship. We have a ministry with looking after the grandchildren and are active members of Harbour.

Trish:

I visit a lady called Bobby.

Howard:

I’m a full time over seer of the ministry of the body and the bride (http://www.thebodyandthebride.co.uk/nation/United%20Kingdom), which I manage and maintain via emails and Skype. I teach and preach through Skype and pray with people over the phone. I’m in Pakistan for three weeks in October.

So, with regards to the parable of the moneylender and the two people who owe him mone, does God’s forgiveness ever run out?

Trish:

No. It never runs out.

Howard:

We can only wander out of his hand, and out of forgiveness, by blaspheming against the Spirit. We are in a place of grace. However, we are called to steward the Spirit within us (stewarding, basically, means looking after). I tend to ere on the side of caution and work out my faith in fear and trembling.

How do you know God’s forgiveness is there?

Trish:

I believe God forgives me when I ask for it. In the Lord’s Prayer, it asks for forgiveness as we forgive others. This is a reminder that if He forgives who are we not too? Forgiveness is a continual experience, and this is forgiveness of both oblivious and determined acts against God. However, you can only really know God’s forgiveness when you know God as Father.

The time when I really felt God’s forgiveness was during an identity crisis where I experienced God hugging me and I sat on his lap. There was this gigantic feeling of release of past hurts and this was simply through unzipping myself, asking for forgiveness. (The unzipping was Trish opening up everything to God).

Howard:

God’s our Father and he forgives us, His grace is sufficient but it has to be received. The lack of desire to experience God and our sin can both add to us stepping out of forgiveness as receiving and accepting it is a personal and important decision to make.

It’s important to accept forgiveness because healing and forgiveness go hand in hand. This includes healing of the past and consequences.

If we, ever so briefly, place ourselves in the role of moneylender: how do we forgive?

Trish:

God’s forgiven me, what right have I not to? It hinders my own spirit if I don’t. If you don’t forgive, you suffer as you carry a weight and a burden.

Howard:

God has forgiven me, why shouldn’t I? Otherwise Jesus’ death is pointless and invalid. Forgiveness is a deliberate act of forgiving them. You need to pray and release them from the hurt and connection of pain that’s been established with them.

Is it always easy to forgive?

Trish & Howard:

No.

Trish:

You might not love the person at the moment of forgiving them.

Howard:

Reality is it isn’t easy before you do forgive them. There’s resentment and anger. The moment I do, grace flows and I receive the grace to forgive them. The process itself is its own releasing. It’s a two way release system as I exchange my glory which is weak for God’s that is much greater. Christ actually releases the person who hurt me via me. It’s the love of Christ. I might not like them but I can learn to love them through forgiveness. God doesn’t just love me, but he likes me also. Sometimes hard to find the good but God can. He really does like us, He want to spend time in our company. This knowledge makes it easier to forgive. 

Now, to be in the position of those who owe the moneylender money: what does being ‘less in debt’ mean?

Trish:

If you’re in the wrong, you’re in the wrong.

Howard:

If you’re a sinner, you’re a sinner. It’s that concept. God came to forgive sinners; sin can block you out of the presence of God. God holds sin close to his eye and it obliterates his glory from us. However, the main point of this parable is that God has chosen to forgive, whatever the size. If this is the case, how much should we? This parable is to encourage us to forgive extravagantly and unconditionally.

How do we enter into God’s forgiveness?

Howard:

Christianity is a journey. There is progress to be made as we’re changed from glory into glory (basically, getting closer to God). Part of working this all out is to self-question and analyse: has progress been made? We can always ask for more wisdom, self-control and grace. It’s part of working it out.

One of the places we work it out is in humility, which shows us honouring others above ourselves. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the better place but in the quieter ones, so that we may remain in a place of grace.

What if we struggle with old habits and spiritual deficit (feeling spiritually weak and tired)?

Trish:

Hang on to the realisation that God is faithful.

Howard:

God is out Father, whether we’re naughty or not. This is His Word: He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. We need to know God’s grace is always there and that this isn’t about being complacent but the fact that we are covered by His grace. Paul continuously prayed for something to be taken away. God’s grace is sufficient and always covers.

The reality is that we all have something we struggle with but it is covered and God looks at the heart. God will give the victory and we have to believe it else we will continue to be imprisoned.

Have you ever been in that place where you know you have so much to repay and no idea how? And what does this show us about God’s love when He brought you out?

Howard:

There’s been many situations through the course of 62 years that I’ve felt it was the end of the road. However, God has brought me through and as God did, I experienced how deep and wide and unfathomable God’s love is. This realisation prepares you for your next situation.

God is able to deal with situations that we might not be able to handle. What else can happen? Blessed be the name of the Lord. Steadily, we build up a reaction and godly attitude, a tenacity and realisation of God’s grace. If persecution comes: alright. Soon, I’m going to be off to Pakistan: I now the risks and whoever has ever liked the idea of being a martyr? How would we behave if we were met with the persecution that’s currently going on in the Middle East? Would we recant? All I know is that God’s grace is sufficient and it equips and nothing happens without God’s permission.

How do we react when met with such grace?

Trish:

I make a New Year resolution to do better next time.

Howard:

With terms with the problem, I have a sense of detachment. With everything there is a sense of release and joy with the proviso that God’s there for the next time.

How can we move into a place where we can totally receive God’s grace?

Trish:

Sit and wait and know that God is in charge. Ride out the storm, for nothing is an accident. We are seated in heavenly places, where we’re safe (God’s in control).

Howard:

Avoid self-pitying and wallowing in it. Be with God and ride it out with him until he’s dealt with it. Be content and sit the situation out, whatever it is. One of the big truths is that there is nothing that escapes God’s permission. There is absolutely nothing that Jesus doesn’t allow or ordain, which means you can be confident in the fact that everything will return to God and all will be good. God is there with his rod and his staff comforting us. And, in the end, everything passes.

Thank you Howard and Trish for your time and for the lovely soup you provided before the interview.

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One thought on “Day 26”

  1. I really resonate with the idea that God is in control of everything in the long run, and that all things lead back to Him in the end. There are many difficult and sometimes even plain horrible things which happen to us in life, but from these things usually comes something good if we allow God to work in that.

    I have also found that God always leads me to a solution in the end, and that looking back on the times I have trusted him and he has pulled me through tough times strengthens my faith in him in the future. If God has brought me this far, why should he abandon me now?

    Liked by 1 person

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