“I’ve never prayed aloud before,” Mr. Huang admitted with embarrassment. “I will not pray in front of my wife.” The timid man was sharing with the Fresh Start team about his marriage relationship. His wife, dominant and controlling, was very involved in their East Asian church. She was often up front, enthusiastically leading the singing or prayer times, while her husband stayed in the background. Mr. Huang’s response to his wife’s dominance was to disengage. He became passive, letting her take center stage at church, and the role of spiritual leader at home. But his heart was affected.
Using the Fresh Start booklet Processing the Issues of Your Heart, the team walked Mr. Huang through the steps toward forgiving and releasing his wife. But when they got to step four, pouring out your heart to the Lord, Mr. Huang confessed that he had never prayed before.
At this point, the team had to pause and change strategy. It occurred to them that Mr. Huang might never have given his heart to Jesus. Until he had received God’s forgiveness for his sins, he couldn’t truly forgive his wife, with a free and full heart.
“Have you ever received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?” one team member asked. Mr. Huang shook his head. “No, I have not.” For years this man had been leaning on his wife’s strong faith, not seeing a need to have a relationship with God himself. Clearly explaining Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the team asked Mr. Huang if he wanted to receive this free gift of eternal life. Mr. Huang affirmed that he did, and prayed to commit his life to the Lord.
Weeping openly, Mr. Huang then continued through the six-part process of forgiving his wife. But now his heart was changed. No longer bitter or resentful, he was able to forgive out of a grateful heart, realizing how much He had been forgiven! That day, Mr. Huang received the “Ultimate Fresh Start” for his heart – and it made all the difference!
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”