Excerpt taken from Chapter 1 of Freedom from the Past.


Don’t allow the past to own you


I had a wonderful friend named Ann. We were friends for over twenty years until her death two years ago. During the last twenty years of Ann’s life I tried to impart a great truth to her that I had learned. I learned it slowly and it had many unhappy consequences while I was learning. Some of this lesson came from the prayer Our Lord Jesus gave to us.

“Forgive us our debts,
      as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Matthew 6:12

I had learned that holding onto offense and unforgiveness was not only a sin but a great block in my relationship with the Lord. After He so freely forgave me, I had to freely forgive others. God’s justice in this area was always enacted quickly to me. When I was slow in this area, I noticed a wall erected between me and the Lord. I, alone, was the builder of this wall, not the Lord. The Lord was faithful to His laws, and my unforgiveness stopped the Lord from giving me the blessings He had prearranged to give to me. I had agreed with God’s enemy in this deception, and the enemy was happy that I was missing God’s blessings.

In my family this was a generational curse, the curse of receiving offense easily. And these offenses usually were accompanied by unforgiveness towards the person who gave the injury. (I speak more about my journey in this area in the book, Seventy-Seven Times.)

I had learned that God the Father called everyone His children, even if we don’t call Him Father. To love everyone and forgive them was a sign that we really knew Our Father in heaven as Father. And from the knowledge I learned about generational curses, I began to see that it was God’s enemy who was influencing me to receive this offense. It was also God’s enemy who was influencing my brothers and sisters to perform unjust actions against me and others.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:12.

My friend, Ann, was a paraplegic who had been in a wheelchair from the age of eleven. Ann was an amazing woman that I truly admired. She had a positive outlook about her situation in the wheel chair and truly loved the Lord. Ann led a life I always felt was heroic.

Ann was, also, a talented secretary. I had met her at a Christian workplace. She had been working there all her adult life, when I began to work there. But Ann was not liked at this workplace. I could not understand this because she was always a delightfully cheerful person. Ann had seen this happen over and over again. The new employee entered this workplace and Ann would be welcoming. But it would not take long for the office manager to make it known that Ann was not suitable for friendship. And that she was to be avoided, if you wanted to stay there. I needed my job but I tried my best not to give into this hateful behavior. I asked for her telephone number one day, and we began our real friendship. I told her how I needed that job but that I saw no reason for what they were doing. In fact, I told her how I enjoyed her company. She was so happy to know that there was nothing wrong with her. Years of rejection from many of the workers made her wonder. But there were several who did what I did by keeping contact with her outside of the office. We tried to present a united front to the head manager. Our efforts only made the situation worst. It did not change.

I became pregnant and I worked to the last month of my pregnancy. Shortly after I left, a move was made to another building on the property. The office manager helped the President of this organization to make the decision to leave Ann out of the move. They simply said there would be no provision made to help her enter the upper office. Of course, this was unjust and illegal. Although Ann was devastated by the Christian employers who did this to her, she decided not to hire a lawyer to fight for her job. Ann did not want to damage the reputation of this company. This was an example of her loving walk with the Lord.

Not only was this decision illegal it was unjust. Injustice is usually one of the main reasons that cause us to have trouble forgiving others. Why should we be made to forgive someone who had committed an injustice against us?

Many times I had said to our son when he would ask why he had to do something, “Because I said you were to do it.” I do not understand why it took years of searching before I could agreed that God, Our Father, had a parent’s right to command obedience in the area of His laws. I could simply remember Adam and Eve and their situation in the garden. I had to forgive and love because it was God’s law. Jesus related many simply words that continued to explain God’s way. This word from Jesus helped me to not receive injury from others.

“But I tell you who hear me; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 6:27-28.

For years after this incident, Ann was in therapy. After she settled back into life, she still had a lot of unforgiveness and offense. I saw that God’s heart ached to help her end it. His Compassionate Love surrounded her. Ann tried not to talk about it, but that problem had a way of coming out whenever we talked. One by one her friends left her. God’s caring Love around Ann reached to me and I was able to remain her friend.

“In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 7:12

This was God’s excellent way. And Ann had lived in this truth before the incident. Being dropped by her employer was too much for Ann to handle. I began to realize that Ann was doing everything by her own strength. Ann did not have the strength to forgive. I was never in a wheel chair, so I truly could not understand all of her pain. But I knew that Jesus would and that He would be her strength. I knew Jesus would give her the grace to forgive.

For one year after Ann finished with therapy, I tried to lead her to understand the need to forgive. She was totally unresponsive, and after that year I stopped doing this. But I continued to pray. My prayer was, “Lord, if you would allow a time for the door to be open so Ann could receive your message about the profound love we need to have for each other. And if it cannot be done by me, may it be done by a person that Ann knows loves You, Lord.”

Years passed and the Organization where Ann and I had worked sold their property because of extreme financial difficulties. The people in that office moved on in their lives but Ann was still stuck in the cycle of unforgiveness.

Soon after this, my family moved to another state. Ann and I continued our friendship. We both liked to write letters and had special telephone plans where we could talk at certain times. But that knowledge of Ann’s unforgiveness never left my praying heart. I waited for the Lord’s opening. The years pasted; five, ten, fifteen and then twenty, with that incident never far from Ann’s thoughts. At that time whenever Ann talked about the incident, I listened in silence.

It was in the twentieth year from the incident that The Lord opened the door. And I was the one who helped to minister His loving mercy to Ann.

We were talking on the telephone and Ann was again relating the story that happened so long ago. This time I could feel the Loving Presence of the Lord. Gently I tried one more time to speak these words, “Ann don’t you think it is time to let go of all of that.” I was shocked and thrilled when Ann said, “Yes it is time!”

I slowly walked her through a confession from the heart. She truly repented. Then I bound those demons away and she renounced them out of her life. We did this in Jesus’ name. Ann said that an enormous weight came off of her. After twenty years of waiting, the Lord’s ministry was swift and complete. We stayed on the telephone rejoicing in the Lord’s mercy. We were both so blessed by His solution. When we finally hung up our phones, I had to continue to give thanksgiving to the Lord. The month was May.

All the rest of that month Ann called me every week. She was so excited by how she felt. She even resisted the enemy’s attempt to come back on her. Ann told me, “When it tried to come back on me; I said, ‘No way! I am free and forgiven.’ I don’t want any of that back anymore.”

After our month of rejoicing, we continued our usual connections with each other. But in August, I received a disparate call from Ann. She was in a nursing home and having trouble breathing. Naturally, I called a prayer partner and we prayed. We were praying for her healing. When I tried to speak to her again, I was told her condition was too serious for her to receive telephone calls. Shortly after this call, Ann went home to the Lord.

I had often thought about this time with Ann. I felt certain that she regretted not listening to the Lord’s advice, sooner. During her last twenty years, only four months had the Lord’s promise of peace and joy. Yes, I was happy that Ann had made it to the Lord’s truth but how sad that she missed twenty years of peace because of this incident.

I hope this story helps you to keep your prayers going for those around you that need a serious touch of the Lord. Anyone who may not have received Jesus as Lord or those who need conversion from thinking that does not line up with the Scriptures. I had found that I do not have choices with the truth. I simply must believe it, receive it and walk in it.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
2Corinthians 10:5.

When I had trouble doing this, I had learned that I may have a stronghold, a mind set or a generational curse operating in this area. And I would start praying and fasting for revelation as to the problem. Some journeys were emotionally painful, but Jesus died on the cross to set me free. I wanted to give God the Glory for this precious gift by obtaining the freedom Jesus purchased for me at such a cost to Himself, to Our Father and to the Holy Spirit.

I felt the need to write down Ann’s story because she would have wanted me to do so. She would have loved to know that someone learned from her difficult lesson to let go of past hurts. There could be someone reading this right now that may be holding on to past hurts. For the sake of Ann and her lesson and for your sake please allow me to write those same words for you. As you read these words please receive them in the gentle voice that they were spoken to Ann.

“Dear Child of God, Don’t you think it is time to let go of all of that?”

Ask Jesus to help you and He will give you His strength to do this; His amazing grace. Then sit and rest in Our Father’s arms. You will find that God had been waiting for you to do this. And I believe you will experience His real love for you.

Freedom From the Past © 2005 Paula Russo

Back to The Books Page | Home | The Author | Order Form

Paula Russo | P.O. Box 950987 | Lake Mary, FL 32795 |paula@acloserwalkwithgod.com