Revive Our Hearts Podcast

— Audio Player —

A Teenager’s Radical Forgiveness

Leslie Basham: A young woman once wrote an extraordinary letter.

Jen Barrick: Dear Carl, my name is Jennifer Barrick. I don’t know if you know who I am, but I am a twenty-six-year-old girl who prays for you every day. I am praying that you will be able to talk and walk again. I have a brain injury because you were drinking and driving, and I have suffered a lot, too.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place, for Thursday, December 27, 2018.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Yesterday we began looking back at 2018 and listening to some clips from some of the most meaningful moments of the year, and we’re going to do that again today.

This was a year in which truth was questioned in a big way. We've heard a lot of talk about “fake news.” You can start to wonder if it is really possible to know the truth.

But we know that the truth is found in God’s Word . . . and that truth will set you free. At Revive Our Hearts, we released three books designed to help people know the truth and run from faulty thinking.

First, the expanded and revised edition of Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets them Free came out. Then Dannah Gresh and I released an updated version of Lies Young Women Believe. And finally, my sweet husband Robert wrote Lies Men Believe.

Today we are going to listen to some highlights from the three radio series that explored the ideas in each of these books.

Nancy [from "Lies Women Believe"]: Now, let me remind us: There is a real devil, and from the beginning of time, he has been intent on destroying the people that God made for Himself. He wants to keep you enslaved to sin, and he does this by means of lies—deception.

He lies to us about God. He lies to us about ourselves. He lies to us about our sin, about our relationships, about marriage, about family, about joy . . . about everything! And your heart inclination to believe lies or truth reveals whether you belong to the devil or to Christ.

If you belong to Christ, then the evidence is that your inclination is to believe that what God has said is true. If you don’t belong to Christ, if you’re still a son or daughter of the devil, the evidence is that you will take the devil’s word for it rather than God’s.

Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God (v. 47).

Could Jesus have been any plainer spoken? Can you imagine Jesus standing in one of our churches today and saying, “Whoever is of God hears, listens to, believes, receives, acts on the words of God. But the reason why you don’t listen to them, you don’t care, you don’t live them, you don’t practice them is that you are not of God! You’re not children of God.”

I think this could be said in many, if not most, of our churches today—not about everyone but about many who are religious, have been there all their born days but they don’t have life. They don’t have Christ. They don’t have the truth. They’re not of God.

You see, you can profess to believe in Jesus. You can even take the first steps toward believing in him, as it said at the beginning of this passage, without actually being His follower, His disciple, without being united with Him. Jesus said in verse 31, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.”

The evidence of being His follower is that you abide in His Word, or as verse 47 says, you “hear the words of God,” and that hearing carries with it in the Scripture the concept of obeying. You don’t just hear it, you do it! You know the truth, you know Christ, and the truth sets you free. But if you don’t abide in His Word, you don’t know the truth, you’ll be a slave to sin.

You can grow up in the Christian world, a Christian family, a Christian church, Christian school, Christian homeschool, without actually being a child of God. Your life reveals who your real Father is, because, spiritually speaking, you will bear a resemblance to your Father.

Do you have a heart for truth? Do you love it? Does His Word abide in you? Or are you—from the core of your being—still a slave to sin? Now, once you’re a child of God, a follower of Christ, that doesn’t mean that you never sin or that you never feel the pull of sin, because that’s indwelling still. It takes time for us transfer our allegiance and our affections and our practice over to the truth.

But if you are a child of God, your bent, your inclination, your heart desire is not to keep walking in lies but to walk in truth. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Nancy [from "Lies Young Women Believe"]: Emotions are very, very powerful. You’ve got the whole culture screaming at you in all kinds of advertising and entertainment. And your parents are many times products of believing lies. You are being bombarded with so-called friends, with media, with entertainment, and teachers . . .

Dannah: . . . let us not forget hormones!

Nancy: They’re screaming at you! I often say, "Perception is half of reality." We tend to think that if you feel it’s true, therefore it is true.

Dannah: It says in 2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every contention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

I want to ask you this question: Do you take your thoughts captive, or are they taking you captive?

You know how you can just lay there at night and think all the negative thoughts: Nobody likes me. Nobody wants to be my friend. I'm all alone. I don't have anyone to sit with tomorrow.

These can overwhelm you at night.

Or you look into the mirror and you don't notice the good things about your face, but you notice every tiny flaw. That's you thoughts taking you captive.

Or, "Everybody else has a boyfriend, but you never will." That's your thoughts taking you captive.

Fear, anxiety, stress, shame, self-loathing . . . that's your thoughts taking you captive.

God does not want your thoughts to take you captive, He wants you to take them captive. You are in control of your thoughts, if you want to be.

Leslie: Dannah Gresh says that recognizing and countering lies goes beyond just knowing the right facts.

Dannah: When you’re hiding in the Garden in fig leaves, it is impossible to believe anything other than, “If God finds me, I will be ruined. If my parents really find where I’m at right now, I will be ruined. If the people closest in my life see what I’ve just done, everything will come to an end.”

That’s all you can believe right then and there. That’s why you have to be retrained. It’s a process. It’s not something you can do on your own.

God ran after Adam and Eve when they were believing those lies in the aftermath of the first lie. He ran after them, and that’s what we need to do with young women and women today. We need to run after them with God’s truth.

Nancy: It’s also the Spirit of God that turns on the light in our lives. I grew up in a Christian home, in a Christian school, and Bible-preaching churches, very saturated in truth, for which I am incredibly and eternally grateful; but there is a huge difference between apprehending truth intellectually . . .

You can know in your head what is true, but if your emotions, your hormones, your culture, your feelings, you don’t grab hold of what you know intellectually until the Spirit of God and the grace of God make it real to you.

That’s what we’re trying to do. What I have to do in my own life is to get to Jesus, because truth is not just a set of principles. It’s not a set of dogmas. It’s not a creed.

It is that, but it’s more than that—before that is Christ. As Christ becomes my life, then the truth becomes real to me, and I can, with my heart, lay hold of truth, countering my emotions.

Robert [from "Lies Men Believe"]: How many of you are afraid of your wife? How many of you want to do everything you can to keep her from reacting—or could we say ‘overreacting’—in certain situations? And how often do you not tell her the full truth because you’re afraid of that response?”

Nancy: Wow!

Robert: There would be hands in the air—everywhere.

Nancy: You think a lot of them?

Robert: A lot of them!

Dannah: So you’re saying, maybe one thing that kept Adam quiet was fear of his wife?

Robert: Absolutely! He decided in that moment . . .

Nancy: But he wanted to please her, right?

Robert: Well, this is one of those, “We’ll figure it out later.” He wanted to please her, and was willing to disobey God in order to affirm what his wife had just done in taking the bit of the fruit. Now, some of that is conjecture. That’s not actually in the Word.

But it doesn’t take a lot of stretching, I think, to least put that together, given what he did—or what he didn’t do—or what she did and his response to what she did. So we’ll talk about that kind of approach later.

Instead of saying to Eve (here’s a hard conversation!), “Honey, that was disobedience, that was wrong.” And what he’s opening himself up for at that moment is: [Eve:] “Well, here you are . . . Mr. Perfect!” Right? So a lot of guys hold back.

And, of course, their approach could probably be better than it is sometimes. But, again, this is anecdotal, but I do believe that men, out of fear of their wife’s response, withhold their true feelings, withhold candor, withhold honesty.

Dannah: Withhold leadership?

Robert: Withhold leadership . . . sure!

Nancy: Even before she sinned, Scripture indicates he was there with her.

Robert: Right.

Nancy: She’s having this conversation with the serpent—who clearly is leaving Adam out of the conversation. But the courage it would have taken for him to step up and say, “Don’t do that!”

Robert: “This is a bad idea!”

Nancy: To think that there could have been fear of her displeasure is a powerful thing for us as women, to think, Do we created an environment that makes it more difficult for our men to do the right thing?

Robert: Yes.

Bob: I see two things that are happening there. One is that, many times, wives are the more spiritual of the two in a relationship. They might read the Bible more; they generally listen to Christian radio more; they generally buy more Christian books.

Men think they lack spiritual authority because they’re not reading the amount of books, listening to the amount of Christian radio, going to the amount of conferences, and so they are not as confident about their spiritual authority in the home.

Robert: Yeah. Boy, I understand that! Three years ago I married Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and she’s known around the world as an expert on Scripture!

Bob: Absolutely!

Robert: Okay, so I’ve taught Sunday school for a bunch of years and written a few of books . . .The reason why that wasn’t problematic was my wife’s attitude about what she knew. You could be married to a person who lords it over you because she does know more. She’s in more Bible studies, she spends more time in the Word (that’s no excuse for a guy, right?).

But a woman’s attitude about that in the presence of her husband is critical. In fact, the reason why she has all that information is to be more humble, to be more gentle, to be more kind (fruits of the Spirit), not to be an instructor, stand up, turn the microphone on, pull the podium out and let him have it!

Nancy: Honey, I want to say, though (and thank you; you’re so kind) that one of things that made it so much easier for me as a wife to be responsive to you is, I saw your hunger to know God. The fact that you’re up at the crack of dawn . . . I’m not sanctifying one time above another, but you’re up before I am—every morning.

You’re starting your day in the Word, you’re texting me things that you’re getting out of God’s Word that morning. You do this just in a quiet sort of way (you don’t brag about this; you don’t make a big deal about of it). I have come down a few times earlier than normal, and stumbled onto you on your knees, praying. I know that’s how you’re starting your day.

And those things are huge! It’s not that either of us knows everything there is to know—I mean, both of us wish we knew so much more about the Bible! But to have a husband that you know wants to know God and wants to know His Word, that is a huge thing!

I’ll tell you one other thing that makes me want to affirm and encourage your leadership is the fact that you will (and for us it’s the beginning and end of each day, but it could be anytime) just take my hand, and you will start to pray. It’s not big, long theological, deep prayers.

I mean, at night you’re falling asleep, and it’s an exercise in self-discipline to get that prayer out sometimes because you’re just so tired! But you will stop and you’ll pray for our family, you pray for me. You pray over me in the morning (I’m barely awake) but you’re heading out to your quiet time, but you take my hand and you just pray for the filling of His Holy Spirit and for God’s blessing on me and you thank the Lord “for your precious wife” and those little things. It’s not rocket science.

You could be intimidated (as I think some maybe men might be), but I just am so thankful that you’re willing to step up, and that makes me want to honor and respect and lift you up even more.

Nancy: We’ve been listening to some programming based on the books Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets them Free, Lies Young Women Believe, and Lies Men Believe. You heard my husband Robert Wolgemuth there along with my co-author Dannah Gresh and her husband Bob.

To get more information on all three of those books, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Knowing the truth was a big emphasis for Revive Our Hearts this past year. Not only did those three books come out, but we also focused on the topic at the True Woman '18 conference. The theme of that gathering was “The Truth That Sets Us Free.”

One of the attendees was Sheri. And while she was at the conference, she told us some of what she appreciated about Revive Our Hearts.

Sheri: Earlier this year Nancy spoke on Job. That series really touched me because I never thought about Job in that way, the way he continually prayed for his family. Even if they weren't in crisis or if they were celebratory, he covered them in prayer. Of course, he lost all of his earthly things and family, yet God still blessed him in the end.

For me, to hear that while my husband and I have been in crisis with a wayward daughter is encouraging. Eleven years in crisis has been hard. Honestly, God has protected our hearts. God has given us tools to get up each day and talk and walk and to share our story.

When I'm hearing the broadcast and when I'm hearing the stories, I feel like I'm listening to the Scripture and I'm arming myself . . . because Satan is so good at getting in and taking away and lying—"You're not good enough." "You didn't do enough." "You're not a good parent."

I know that we have laid all our cards on the table. We've done everything we could. We've been praying through it all, but now, prayer is all we have.

Nancy: We’re about to hear more from that message that so affected Sheri. But first let me remind you that Revive Our Hearts is able to share the truth of God’s Word to Sheri—and so many women just like her—thanks to listeners who support the ministry financially.

All this month, we’ve been sharing some of the significant year-end needs facing Revive Our Hearts. The donations that arrive this month are a big part of what we need for the entire year—40% or more.

Some friends of this ministry know how important year-end giving is to the ministry. So they’ve offered to match each gift up to a challenge amount of $750,000. So many have already given, and I’m deeply for each one. If you’ve wanted to help meet this year-end need but haven’t gotten to it yet, remember that Monday is the final day of this challenge.

You help us go far beyond this challenge amount by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com and making your donation there. You can also call us at 1–800–569–5959. 

Now, let's listen to some of the series that our listener Sheri was telling us about. It’s one of the highlights from 2018, a series called “Wisdom for Parents from Job 1.”

Nancy [from "Wisdom for Godly Parents"]: A godly life will not protect you from experiencing sorrow and suffering and loss. We need to get that in our heads because when we’re trying to live righteous lives, and then something bad happens, there’s this kind of reflexive thing of, “What did I do wrong?”

Now, it doesn’t hurt to ask that question because we may have sinned, and we need to let God use circumstances in our lives to cause us to ask, “Lord, is there something You’re trying to show me that I didn’t see, that I was blind to? Was I rebellious about something? Was I sinning against You?”

So, yes, ask the question, but realize that may not have anything to do with what has happened in your life. There may not be any sin that you were intentionally harboring or keeping in your heart. What is happening in your life may be happening while you were loving God, serving God, praying faithfully for your kids.

Now, living a holy life will protect you, spare you from some of the direct and natural consequences of sin, of course. If you raise your children and don’t have any spiritual input into their lives, you’re more concerned about their sports than you are about their soul, then, yes, there’s probably going to be some consequences.

Don’t expect to have children who love God if they don’t see you loving God—right?—if they don’t see you emphasizing the love of God in your home.

But God sometimes allows His obedient, faithful, prayerful children to experience intense affliction and loss, inexplicably. And when He does, you can know that it is for some greater good or purpose, some purpose that you cannot possibly see at that time. That’s when we have to do what Job did, which is to trust that God knows and does the best.

These trials were not the result of some sin or some defect in Job’s life or in his children’s lives. Of course, Job grew through these trials, and the trials exposed depths of his heart that needed to be sanctified. But these trials were part of a bigger story that God was writing to display the glory of God—not just in Job’s day, but for generations to come.

And so, how did Job respond?

God’s behavior in this fateful day was impossible to understand. It was puzzling. It was mysterious. God was not acting in a way that we would have thought He should act for a man that’s described the way Job is described in those early verses of chapter 1.

So the natural response of a man facing this kind of circumstance would have been to resent the circumstances, to become embittered, to question the goodness and the wisdom and the character of a God who would allow such things if that God even existed. I mean, wouldn’t that be a natural response to the kind of day Job’s just been walking through?

Well, Job had been concerned, we read earlier, that his children would not curse God in their hearts. And in the wake of his losses, same chapter, he was tempted to curse God himself—the very thing he’d prayed his children would not do.

In fact, when you get to chapter 2, his wife, who’s swallowed up in her own grief and loss—she lost all the same things Job lost. She lost ten kids that she’d given birth to. She lost all those possessions. And in her own grief and loss, she presses him to do just what he’d been praying his children would not do.

Chapter 2, verse 9: “And then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.’”

Job had prayed, “God, don’t let my children curse You in their hearts.” His wife says, “Curse God and die.”

Now, I think this is not necessarily a hateful response to God on the part of Job’s wife. We don’t know. All we know is what’s told here. But here’s a woman who had suffered incredibly along with her husband. And maybe she was just longing for relief from the pain. Maybe she’s thinking, If you curse God, He may kill you and put you out of your misery. We don’t know what she was thinking, but we know what the temptation was: to curse God.

But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:10).

You see, Satan attacked Job’s children in order to get to Job, and ultimately in order to get to God. He wanted Job to curse God. But Job clung to his faith in God in the face of indescribable suffering and grief. He refused to curse God, and instead, he chose instead to “bless the Lord.”

You see, Job understood that ultimately, God was behind these events, even though he could not fathom what God as doing. He couldn’t see any light at the end of this painful tunnel. Yet he would not throw away the only thing he had to cling to, which was the character and the goodness of God. Satan wanted him to curse God, but Job refused. He clung to his faith in God.

You see, God was writing a story that Job couldn’t see. It involved Job and his wife and his children and his friends. In the opening chapter, we are given a glimpse of that story, but no explanation is given to Job. Job was not allowed to see what we can see now. All he could see was a ton of anguish and confusion and soul searching.

In fact—think about this: Job would not hear a single word directly from God until chapter 38. How long was that? I don’t know. But it had to feel like a very long time. And even at that point, when God does speak, Job is not given reasons or explanations. But what he is given is a vision of God—the God he had clung to from the outset of his trials. And at that point, his faith is rewarded and strengthened.

You see, this wasn’t about Job. It was about God, His glory, His story. It was about blessing and strengthening our faith thousands of years later.

God is writing a story that you cannot see. And He doesn’t always do what you think He should do or wish He would do, but you can know that He is wise, and He is good.

Nancy: We’ve been listening to part of a series called “Wisdom for Parents from Job 1” here on Revive Our Hearts. We’re looking back on some highlights from the year.

One conversation that really stands out to me was with Linda Barrick. Like Job, she suffered a lot by watching her children suffer. The whole family was hit by a drunk driver and fought for their lives. The one who was most affected was Linda’s daughter, Jen.

I hope you’ll go back and hear my conversation with Jen and Linda Barrick at ReviveOurHearts.com. But for now, I'd like to share an amazing moment from that interview when Jen read a letter she had written to that drunk driver.

Jen:

Dear Carl,

My name is Jennifer Barrick. I don’t know if you know who I am, but I am a twenty-six-year-old girl who prays for you every day. I am praying that you will be able to talk and walk again.

I have a brain injury because you were drinking and driving, and I have suffered a lot, too, but I like to think that God has remodeled me and has made me better. Even though I have disabilities and struggle every day, God is using me in ways I never dreamed possible for His glory.

I want you to know that I have forgiven you—not in my own strength, but in God’s strength. I can’t explain it, but God has given me a special love for you. I will continue to pray for you daily.

Today, Lord, I choose to forgive Carl, just like You forgave me. Thank You for second chances.

Nancy: To hear more of that amazing story listen to the series “Miracle for Jen” at ReviveOurHearts.com.

We’ve been listening to some highlights from Revive Our Hearts from this year. We will continue doing that tomorrow. Hear about the power of opening your home to others and how to encourage those around you. Please be back, for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you have a truly happy new year. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Support the Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Darkness. Fear. Uncertainty. Women around the world wake up hopeless every day. You can play a part in bringing them freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness instead. Your gift ensures that we can continue to spread gospel hope! Donate now.

Donate Now

About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.