The Soweto Woman

The Right Definition of Mercy

Without forgiveness, we are only half alive. We are the walking dead.

I had a very special dream last night where the Lord said to me, “Son, you’ve known only three forgivers in your life. The three forgivers had gotten the right definition of mercy.” I will just share with you the first one. 

Becoming a Forgiver

Jesus: “Now is the time you become a great man. The greatest of all realities of what you can do or become is not to have large platforms or money, not any other identity, but to have the identity of a forgiver.”

That is the number one attribute of Him. To become a forgiver is to become the closest you can come to His heart in this life. Anything else will cause us to be distant and move into dank emotions of darkness and remorse. The power that comes from a life. Our success is all based on being a forgiver. We might have callings. But, there is something greater than our callings. It is the very Christ Himself in becoming one with Him. His number one character trait is to become a forgiver. It has opened up to me the last three years.

I was forced into that room, but I was so thankful that I was. Each time, there was such a weight of tenderness and mercy that would come with it. There was such a wave of power in stepping into this great victory of being a forgiver. Being one who was able to risk everything to not hold onto offense for the sake of a greater reality coming forth. What freedom! He showed me the first forgiver.

Zimbabwe

The first forgiver was a woman I met in Zimbabwe. I had lived with my wife in a community there. We had been there in this community. There were about thirty people together from both farms. We would get together and worship at nights. There was a time where the dissidence came in. They would consider them terrorists. It was right after the Independence war in Zimbabwe. The tribal people had overthrown the white rule.

I walked into a setting where the leaders were out for the people’s destruction. You are living next to those, that under the communist rule, would turn you in to save their own lives and self protection. The weight of fear and self preservation. It was like a drowning person. Every person you met would have crawled up you to keep their head above water.

We lived on that farm in Zimbabwe. They threatened our lives three times. They set the farm on fire, which is very dangerous. I lost my hair and eyebrows trying to put the fire out. It was like a runaway freight train coming towards the farm. The mercy of God stopped right before the gum trees. The gum trees were our number one way of income. We danced around the gum trees. I was milking the cows. They were saying, “God is so good.”

After Zimbabwe, my wife and I were to be there a couple of years. That was the goal. We were called in and told we have to leave now. We were young. Our lives had been threatened. There was a build up to what that was.

There was this impending doom that they were going to get killed on the farm. We were missionary farmers just trying to help them with their crops and learn their trades. We weren’t preaching a lot, but just living the life. One tribe did not like that we were training the people, because that tribe wanted their tribe to revolt against the other tribe. They are going to kill us because we are helping their people, and they want to force the revolution.

Soweto

We leave because we are told to leave. We go to South Africa. We come in without any passports. To be a citizen of no nation with only $20 to $40 in our pockets. We had no way into the country. It was ten days until we were to fly out. We were standing there. They were going to allow us to be in this area for ten days.

We sat down & all of a sudden, I hear the voice of a man, like the guiding of the Holy Spirit. He said, “Follow my instructions and I’ll get you through.” They get us in. They take us into their home.

South Africa is going through an apartheid. There are wars between the tribes in the middle of industrial cities. A lot of whites would have in their cars snakes, so that the Africans would not want to steal their cars because they are terrified. They had designed their exhaust to where flames shot out the sides, because they would steal cars at stop lights.

I have been told by Bob Jones to never go, and that I was taking my wife to her death. Then, all of a sudden, we are right in the middle of it. I go to a home group meeting. The leaders at this big church invite me there. There are about six hundred home group leaders. The main forty leaders would meet every morning very early and discuss their strategy of keeping this home group open, so there could be safety for the tribes and whites. It was – do we keep it open or closed?

Sometimes the tribal people would come in and raid the house. They would steal and rape the women. I could remember my friend slamming his fist down and said, “We will not back off love. We will not back off keeping these home groups open. We are not going to give in to this fear.” I thought this is like a military war strategy place. He calls me and says, “Come with me to my favorite home group.” I thought, “No way.” Just the danger. I had already had enough. I wanted to rest from the pressures and pains. Somehow I knew to go.

We go in a caravan of cars. We are going into the worst area in Johannesburg. It is like our inner-city times ten. There are drive-by shootings. You stay underneath the windows and lay on the floors. This place was called Soweto. It is a town. It is anarchy. You drive down a hill and see this orange cloud at night. They had a fire in the middle for their heat and cooking. Everybody is always coughing.

We come in driving through the mud. These Africans are staring at us. We had these bodyguards. We drive up on a place, and the atmosphere completely changes as we drive up into this one shanty. It was a palace. It was this awesome feeling, like the emerald city, where it shined and glowed with the presence of God (Rev. 21:19). I am taken back in awe. I am swept into this movement of this presence of God that felt so strong.

I walked in & there are two hundred people in this little area all singing. I never heard singing like this. I never heard hoping like this. I never heard anything that resembles this level of intimacy, heaven, and freedom. I am looking around and seeing the joy of the children, young and old.

I looked at my friend, and he is just full of giggles. That morning, he has an intensity level that scared me. That night there is such a presence that he is changed into a giddy child. He is seeing the victories and life being given from this place that emanates from the presence of God. It was a particular taste of the presence of God I have not tasted before.

The Soweto Woman

I asked “Who is the leader of the group?” He points. There is a little African woman. She couldn’t be above four-foot-eight. We just looked in her eyes. She was so meek and tender. They said, “Would you meet her?” We met her and said hello to her.

1) Hope in People

This woman exploded with a hope for people. It was hope for all people. She could not not appreciate somebody that God had created in His image.

2) Hope in Next Generation

She had a hope for the next generation. She said, “You are not generation XYZ. You are generation HOPE.”

3) Hope in Prayer

She had a hope for prayer. I have never heard anybody pray the promises like she did. Nobody was looking at the promises or the future.

4) Hope in cities and nations

She had a welfare and hope for the nation.

5) Hope in God

Her greatest hope was her hope in God. When she thundered her hope in God, I was on my face.

She had the five pillars of hope in their midst.

FORTRESS OF HOPE (Job 42:5) and the place was touching the nation! I asked them who was in charge, and they pointed out a little 4’ tall woman who was a leader and I saw how she herself had become a fortress of hope, in the midst of all these difficulties. Her hope was so deep she had hoped in and forgiven the man who murdered her brother and he was now key in the community working alongside her to bring HOPE.”  (Job 42:5 / Ex 33:11 / Is 42:13 / Is 40:11)

THE RESULT OF THIS HOPE

“That shanty became a radiant Hope Center in God!  (Phil 2 / John 12:33 / Matt 18) The people were changed from a hopeless people to people who could change the way things are in their nation….From these slums of Soweto was birthed this new nation of South Africa.”

WHAT CAUSED THE TRANSFORMATION?

“The 5 Pillars of Hope in God! The Soweto woman had HOPE that enabled her to see God rightly in 5 ways…moving out of the “Haunts of Cruelty” Room to the Hope Room through the 5 Pillars of HOPE! “

DEFINING THE 5 PILLARS OF HOPE IN GOD THROUGH THE SOWETO STORY

  • She heard His voice as the God of Hope, which enabled her to SEE Him in all of life.

  • She began to build in the day, reforming the place that she lived! (Luke 15).

  • Hope took her to another place in love, where she was able to see the man that persecuted her brother and yet believed in him! He became her right hand man

  • Words full of hate, she would not listen! She would listen to and would see God!

DEFINING HOPE IN NEXT GENERATION FROM THE SOWETO STORY

  • She saw THE NEXT GENERATION as they are and are called to be vs. what they are not.

  • Her HOPE led her to a confidence in God’s GOOD plans and commitment to them, not as generation X,Y,Z but as GENERATION HOPE!

  • Her HOPE led her to believe that God would hear & answer her prayers, 1 Kings 18 hope.

  • Her HOPE led her to learn to build on her knees just like I did in the prayer room…

  • Her HOPE led her to be confident that God loves cities and nations, that He has a future and a hope for EACH CITY & NATION across the Earth.

  • Her HOPE led her to believe that God has the ability and desire to change a nation in a day.

Afterwards, I got with her and I met my first forgiver. I meet my first forgiver that leads to appreciation and value. I asked her what had moved her into a room and place that was so powerful with the presence of God. Everybody was going with her. You knew a nation would be changed in a day through the power of the presence. This was out of the way in the worst place in the nation. It was a hope center home group.

She said, “I would not, I could not, I feared to let go of forgiveness. If I did, I had visions of my heart becoming like an iceberg. I had visions of the dank emotions that would come over me. I had visions of the hurt and the cruelty that I would cause and create in other people’s lives in the future. I had the honor of the position to care for them. I could not let go of forgiveness for their sake, and, more so, for what I would become. I would not let go of forgiveness.” 

That was about her calling and beauty of what she had been given.

“Could not” – Her heart would have become a heart layered with ice and harshness.

Would not – because she said, “I guess I realized I had a different future.” 

It was awesome, the way she said it. She was living in a land I hoped to go, and it was the forgiveness land. That I could heal versus tear apart people’s hearts and nations. She wasn’t trying to be big. She just knew to walk out who He is in that way.

She said, “I would not let go of that and take people into a world of isolation and offense. I feared to let go of forgiveness because I saw in His Eyes the way He valued one. I saw His appreciation, adoration, the way He adored, His utter delight in a human being. I feared to let go of forgiveness because I feared Him. They were created in His image and jealousy over them. If I touched them wrongly, we would have to square up at the end of the deal. It is something I embraced.”

Forgiving the Man who Slayed her Brother

This woman was my first forgiver that I met. I heard her story. Her story was one where her brother had been in one of the tribes as a soldier. Her brother was taken out by three or four of these guys. They took him out, tied his hands behind his back, sliced his tongue with a bayonet, went to the bathroom in his mouth.

The whole time they wanted her to sing over her brother these songs of delight over his destruction. She would keep pointing at the main one, “This is not who you are. This is not what you are called to. You are called to something greater, more wonderful.” She had this extreme delight.

She was feeling the pain and the pain of her brother in the midst of his persecution. They are trying to get out of the brother where the other soldiers are, so they can ambush them. She just keeps singing unto God. This goes on from eight at night until three in the morning. They keep him alive so they can cause him to suffer greater and greater things. I am not even going into the depths of what they did to him.

Finally, at three in the morning, they take their bayonet and hit him with the bed of the gun in his forehead. He falls and he dies. She stands and points at the main man, “You will be my chief cornerstone. I forgive you.” The man melted.

I saw that man that night. I said to my friend, “Who is that man that is beside her? Because he would lay down his life for her. I see that kind of love.” It wasn’t a romantic love. It was a love that was a friend at all times, and a brother born for adversity. He had melted. He had become her chief cornerstone.

Nelson Mandela

When Nelson Mandela had gotten out of prison, he lived for forgiveness. The first place he went to that place and met with her. He got the courage to step into the place of being president of that nation, and that nation was healed through that home group.

A Great Invitation

We are being given a great invitation. There are such unique opportunities being given that this season we would not go in the way of Kent State. The reality that we would have to make this decision to become forgivers, where our hearts would not become full of ice, cruel, and judgmental towards other human beings. Without forgiveness, we can’t see. It is the greatest part of His nature.

We would not – we are called to be something bigger, to build bridges and not isolate.

We fear not to – who are we to touch God’s elect and not love them?

Let’s make a choice to risk for forgiveness. Forgiveness is not something you grab onto. It is something you let go of to gain. What do you let go of?  Offense.

Blessed is he who does not get offended at Me for what I do or don’t do. Just see it as our highest privilege to be able to make marvelous His love to others, to love people until the end. – Matthew 11:6

“And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me…” – Matthew 11:6

He has passionate pursuing love to those who have rejected Him. Micah 7:8

“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy…” – Micah 7:18

Prayer

Thank You for the opportunity for us to open up our hearts that have had ice layered on them. This Soweto woman made a choice to forgive and appreciate, and not be affected day by day by the hurts of others. She chose to help them be healed.

Out of our lives here, we cannot let go of forgiveness. We will not let go of forgiveness. We fear to not let go of forgiveness.

One moment without forgiveness leads us into being that which we never want to be. A man or woman without forgiveness is a possible anything.