Did you know that there are prisons in the realm of the spirit? Many people don’t want to go into the realm of the spirit because they are fearful of what they may encounter there, but the truth is the realm of the spirit is inside you and you have already seen and encountered many things there.
For example, I am sure that you have imagined demons or encountered them in a dream. This is far more than a figment of your imagination! Your imagination is connected to the realm of the spirit and often you are engaging things there even if you are not consciously aware of what is going on. I know this sounds freaky, but it is not as scary as you think 😊
Look at Isaiah 42:6-7
I the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison, and to release from the dungeon those who are sitting in darkness. (NIV emphasis mine).
The prisons and dungeons Jesus talks about are far more than physical places. These are places in the soul which operate in spiritual realms or places. These places are within us and when Jesus exhorts us to forgive others deeply, from the heart, it is because there are these prisons in the realm of the spirit that He wants to release us from. Forgiveness is all about releasing the captives and setting them free.
In an encounter that I had with the Lord I saw a mountain that had many caves. As I approached these caves I saw that they were prisons with big iron bars covering them. As I looked I saw someone that had been my friend sitting in one of these prisons. She had betrayed me and caused some trouble in my world. I was quite shocked though to see her in prison. Then the Lord instructed me to let her go. I looked at Him a little confused. He answered me, these are the prisons you have set up in your own heart and you have imprisoned them here.
I was very shocked, to say the least. I had prayed and forgave her. I had moved on. I had blessed her. It was over. However, the consequences of her decision and how it had affected me were still very present in my life. I was still dealing with the after effects and, yes, I still spoke about it from a position of hurt to others. It was this position of hurt which still held her as a prisoner in my heart. In obedience to the Lord I turned to release her.
As she came out I saw the Lord held a white linen garment and a red robe of royalty in His hands. He told me to clothe her with these. I did. Then He gave me a gold crown to put on her head and a beautiful golden sceptre full of jewels to put in her hand. Then a beautiful throne appeared, and the Lord told me to place her on her throne because He needed her to be free so that she could accomplish all that He needed her to do for Him in His kingdom. As I did this He told me to bless her and send her on her way. He turned and smiled at me.
Then we walked to the next cave. Lo and behold there was someone else. And then there was another and another. I really was shocked as I had no idea I had not released these people. I did not even think about them anymore. By the way, I had no relationship with them either. Yes, I would probably have moved to the other side of the street or ducked behind something rather than speak to them! But I was fully convinced I had forgiven them and moved on.
I had to repeat the process with each person I encountered. The more I did the more joy and freedom I felt. Finally, I thought we were all done, but we were not. Around the corner, out of sight, I had built a dungeon! When I saw the person in it I had an immediate reaction which was NO! This person was in the process of stealing and violating an area in my life causing me a lot of chaos. It was affecting me financially, emotionally and obviously spiritually. I had even told him to his face that he would never see my face again. I did not want to release him at all!
Thankfully, Jesus is patient. He looked and waited. His look was filled with warmth and love, but He was firm in His decision. He gently told me that I need to forgive him otherwise Satan would always have an area of authority over me. These areas of darkness are his domain and if I willingly imprison people here I am giving Satan legal right to steal, kill and destroy things in my life. This decision to keep him imprisoned would prevent His blessing from flowing in its fulness in my life. Releasing him did not mean what he was doing was right, but that was not the Lord’s concern. His concern was my freedom. For as long as I keep people imprisoned in my heart, Satan can keep me imprisoned.
It took a while. I had to pray in the spirit, but as I did the Lord’s love began to flood my heart. I began blessing him, clothed him in his righteousness, set him on his throne and handed him over to the Lord. There was great joy within me as I saw him on his throne and he disappeared into the heavens.
I was free. There was no more darkness hanging over this place. The mountain was filled with light and the prisons were opened. The Lord put His arm around my shoulder and we left.
While I still have troubles, and people do fail me (and I them), I have learned not to allow myself to imprison them within me. I have learned that praying for and blessing my enemies is far greater than harbouring unforgiveness towards them. Yes, blessing must be sincere and be filled with the feelings of love and peace from you towards them. Work on it. Practice.
Let the love of Christ be your guide in all you do and encounter.
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