In October, Secondary Principal Janie Niswonger had the honor of speaking to our secondary students in Gathering. We caught up with Mrs. Niswonger and asked if she would share why this message on forgiveness was so impressed on her heart.
Why did you feel this was such an important message to share with our students?
I believe God is battling for the hearts of our students. I believe He wants them to be free from the condemnation of their past mistakes. I believe He wants to break strongholds and see captives set free!
I began praying that all of our students would know the freedom that comes from knowing we are forgiven.
I shared with them my “rock story” (feel free to ask them about it, although you should know it does not reveal my finest moment). For me, the rock story gets retold at every family gathering. (Ugh.)
I then asked our students if they have a story that they are not proud of that gets played over and over again, either aloud or in their hearts.
We all have moments that we wish we could go back and re-do. What does Scripture say about this?
I shared Colossians 2:13-14 with them, in which Paul points out that we all have a “certificate of debt” outlining our sins which is payable to God. I talked about how Jesus took that spiritual document and nailed it to the cross, forgiving us of all our sins so that the debt would be fully satisfied. Because of that, we are no longer condemned and can put a stop to those stories we have on repeat in our heads. Praise God!
You spoke to the secondary students again last week, what prompted this?
Two weeks after that message, the Lord convicted me to address the students again. This time with the rest of the story - that we are to forgive as Christ forgave us.
We are to release our offenders from the debt they owe us and let Jesus pay it in full. He is the only one who can!
We looked at Colossians 3:12-14 and Matthew 18, the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. We learned that when we hold on to unforgiveness, we are the ones who live in misery and torment. We talked about what forgiveness is and what it is not.
I challenged them to forgive their debtors.
What would you tell our parents who are praying for a breakthrough?
I want you to know that Cornerstone leadership is praying for your child. We partner with you as we stand in the gap between Satan’s fiery darts and the tender hearts of your children. You are not alone. We are in this together.