To establish the people of Central Appalachia in the principles of the Kingdom of God, and thereby releasing them to rise above all cultural, historical, economic, and generational limitations so they may live abundantly within their privileges and covenant as sons and daughters of God.
Matthew 18:21, 22, “Then came Peter to him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, ‘Until seventy times:’ but, ‘Until seventy times seven.’” In Gary Preston’s book, Character Forged from Conflict (Bethany, 1999), he tells about a traveler making his way with a guide through the jungles of Burma. They came to a shallow but wide river and waded through it to the other side. When the traveler came out of the river, numerous leeches had attached to his torso and legs. His first instinct was to grab them and pull them off. His guide wisely stopped him, warning that pulling the leeches off would only leave tiny pieces of them under the skin. Eventually, infection would set in. The best way to rid the body of the leeches, the guide advised, was to bathe in a warm balsam bath for several minutes. This would soak the leeches, and soon they would release their hold on the man’s body. Preston went on to suggest the powerful lesson represented by the sage advice of the jungle guide. When we have been affected by injury from another person, as the leeches would attach themselves to one’s body, our first instinct is to attempt to yank the experience from our lives, and expect all the bitterness, malice, and emotion to be instantly gone. However, resentment still hides under the surface. The only way to become truly free of the offense and to forgive others is to bathe in the soothing waters of God’s forgiveness. When we immerse ourselves in the revelation of how God has extended His love and forgiveness to us, in spite of who we are and what we have done, the result is that all of the leeches that have clung to us from being exposed to the wrong doing of others, will release themselves and thereby release us from their infectious grip, not only freeing us presently, but mitigating any long-term negative effects in our lives. Listen friend, true freedom from the injuries that others have imposed upon us can only be found in the forgiveness Christ Jesus has extended to us. By bathing in those soothing waters, one can enjoy a new found freedom from past hurts and the release to experience His mercy and grace with each new day.