WE live in uncertain times, when the daily news plays out the truth of Matthew 24:7: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” Everyday, we read or hear about one or more signs of the end times: earthquakes, floods, diseases, wars and rumors of wars … 

This is especially true in the strife-torn island nation of Sri Lanka. Her people have lived through 30 years of war and know its sadness and suffering, its pain and anxiety. Everyday, bitterness and revenge rear their ugly heads; brother turns against brother, and scores of innocents die – today, their blood cries out louder than we can imagine. 

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We worship a just yet merciful God, who loves the sinner. He works in His perfect timing, and in this present season for Sri Lanka, He ordained freedom. And Living Free in Christ, a two-day seminar held recently in Colombo, was an answer to a nation’s cry – the over 1,000 participants that thronged to the seminar were proof of this longing.

To hear from Dr. Neil Anderson the meaning of freedom and forgiveness in Christ was to hear what it is to break free of the bondage that has kept a nation and its people from the very best that God has planned for them. 

Central to the message of finding freedom is forgiveness – of self and others – and it is especially relevant in the Sri Lankan context.  

For Sri Lankans, unforgiveness is a national struggle. Caught in a web of bitterness caused by the war, many wage lonely personal battles of bitterness and unforgiveness. And when Dr. Anderson took the participants through “forgiveness from the heart” to choose to let go of hurt and pain, there wasn’t a dry eye in the auditorium.  

From leaving behind bitterness to opening a new chapter in the participants’ lives, Dr Anderson brought a new dimension to knowing who we are in Christ, as found in Romans 6. Hearing him reveal truths on why we feel condemned and in bondage was to find conviction and the resulting peace about Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross.  

On Day Two, Freedom in Christ Ministries national director for Canada, Clay Bergen took the participants through the ‘Steps to Freedom in Christ’, a workbook that serves as a tool to set captives free from bondage. Among the participants was a group of youth from the Battaramulla Catholic Parish who found release and freedom in Christ.

The Christian Messenger