Contemporary Christian Artist Mandisa: Her Journey of Forgiveness

Forgiveness. Many would agree that it is one of the most important tenets of the Christian faith. The Bible teaches that Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Forgiveness is also mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer as something we are to do for one another. In the “Parable of the Unmerciful Servant” (Matthew 18:21-35), Jesus teaches that if we can’t find it in our own hearts to forgive, our Father will not forgive us. The Bible is clear, forgiveness is extremely important.

Something that may not be so clear in the scriptures is the importance of forgiving yourself. While this issue may not be addressed directly, there are certain scriptures that allude to the idea of forgiveness for oneself. For example, Romans 8:1 states, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Other passages talk about the importance of loving yourself. Mark 12:31 commands us to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This passage begs the question, how can you love yourself without having the ability to forgive yourself?

People who are perfectionists, or are too hard on themselves, often have a hard time letting themselves off the hook when they mess up. Others have gone through things that cause them to feel shame, which is something else that makes it hard to forgive themselves. This has been the case for Grammy-award winning contemporary Christian artist, Mandisa, whose first brush with fame took place in 2006 after making it to the top ten on the popular reality singing competition, “American Idol.”

At the time, Mandisa was more than 100 pounds overweight and later admitted to having an addiction to food.

During the auditions for “American Idol”, judge Simon Cowell asked, “Do we have a bigger stage this year?”

Before making the cut for the semi-finals, Mandisa told Cowell, “What I want to say to you is that, yes, you hurt me and I cried and it was painful, it really was. But I want you to know that I’ve forgiven you and that you don’t need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody. I figure that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you.”

Cowell immediately apologized for his statement.

Mandisa had learned about the power of forgiving others long before she forgave Cowell. As a child she was molested, and then raped at the age of 16. But besides others, she is also learning to forgive herself.

With the recent release of her newest single, “Unfinished,” Mandisa says, “I’ve been thinking about the importance of the message in my latest song. I beat myself up … a lot. I would never talk to anyone the way I speak to myself sometimes.” She goes on to say, “I believe it is time for the children of God to stop wallowing in shame and regret, and start living lives of freedom, power, and authority. We do that by taking those destructive thoughts captive, and making them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).”

The 40-year-old Christian artist from California says she is learning to use scripture to combat the lies that the enemy is constantly trying to put into her head. “If it worked for Jesus, it works for me! Now when I hear those negative thoughts in my head, I am learning to respond with the truth of God’s Word.”

Not only has Mandisa overcome a food addiction, with God’s help she has also been able to dig herself out of a deep pit of depression, one she fell into after her friend and backup singer, Lakisha Mitchell, died of cancer in 2014. Her Grammy-award winning song, “Overcomer” had been inspired by Mitchell’s life.

Now three years later, Mandisa says, “I feel like I’ve battled the same kinds of problems and the same kinds of sins over and over again and I start to beat myself up.”

The singer admits she has struggled with shame for many years but instead of beating herself up, God wants her to forgive herself and learn to rest in Him. “It’s not how many times you fall down,” she says, “but how many times you get back up.”

Her song “Unfinished” is a reminder that she is a work in progress and that God is not finished with her yet. The song is the first release from her current album, “Out of the Dark.”

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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