Judith Halim_May2022_1

A living testimony: Ps Judith Halim shared her own experiences at Paya Lebar Methodist Church on Mother's Day this year, in a sermon entitled, "The Power of Love & Forgiveness". Screengrab from video recording of PLMC's May 8 service.

I came from Indonesia to Singapore and gave birth to a baby that had three holes in her heart and brain damage. Then I got dumped.

I was evicted out of the house, with a sick child, just like that. There was no help at all.

Three years later, I was served with a thick stack of divorce papers. 

That was 28 years ago. So, what happened after that?

I wanted to commit suicide but God saved me and delivered me. He also healed my daughter.

But God …

I became a Christian and wanted to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.

But, a verse was given to me: Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive people their trespasses (their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment), your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses (their reckless and wilful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment), neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.

God said to me: “Forgive.

“Forgive those people who have hurt you. Forgive your ex-husband who abandoned you, who evicted you from the house. Forgive him.”

The option is not whether we will forgive or not. The question is more like: How to forgive?


To forgive would have been like someone trying to swim back to the shore after being dumped into the deep ocean. To become a Christian, I have to forgive?

When I was a not a worshipper of Jesus Christ I didn’t have to deal with this.

And God said: “Yes. But if you do not forgive others then your heavenly Father will not forgive you either.”

So, forgiveness is something that is serious. Why? Because it is involved with salvation. We are not a given much choice as Christians.

The option is not whether we will forgive or not. The question is more like: How to forgive?

Images of the past

Imagine: I stepped into the house and saw a woman sleeping on my bed. That image was imprinted on my forehead.

The feelings were like a volcano waiting to erupt within me. I came before the Lord: “God, it is so difficult.”

I heard him say: “I just don’t love you anymore.” That kept ringing in my ears.

And every time those memories flashed, my heart broke.

When my daughter was only three years old, I had to pack my bag and – in very difficult circumstances with no money, no help – I had to get out of the house with nothing.

Every time that memory played back, there was so much hatred, so much bitterness, so much anger and frustration and disappointment that the feelings were like a volcano waiting to erupt within me.

I came before the Lord and said: “God, it is so difficult.”

But I asked the Lord: “I am willing. Show me how to do it.”

Persistence is key

God gave me two practical applications that brought breakthrough after breakthrough in my life.

The first was Colossians 2:11 – In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision (performed by) Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts).

How did I take this word of God and apply it? My story is not a method; it’s just my experience.

I am willing. Do it, Lord. Perform Your spiritual circumcision on me.

I took his picture and put it next to my bed, so that at night before I went to sleep I had to see it once. In the morning when I woke up, I had to see it once.

Every time I saw his face, that volcano of bitter emotion boiled within me, and I would come before the Lord and say: “God, I cannot do it. It is too impossible for me. There’s no way I can forgive this person, but I am willing.

“Perform Your spiritual circumcision on me, right here in my heart.

“Perform Your spiritual circumcision on me, right here in my head.”

It’s not that I prayed once, on one day, and then suddenly the next day wind came from my side and straightaway I became an angel and could forgive. No, that did not happen that way and it will not happen.

Persistence counts. I did this every day.

A God who vindicates

Months passed. Years passed. I kept repeating this to myself because I refused to allow negativity. I refused to allow depression. I refused to allow discouragement to take control and become rooted in my life.

One day, out of the blue, I looked at that picture again and the erupting volcano was somehow gone. Just like that.

Friends, it is not within our capability to forgive. We can keep trying and trying and keep failing. The key is this: We cannot do it in our own strength.

But according to the promise of God, what we need is willingness – the willingness to obey and to come before the Lord: “I am willing. Do it, Lord. Perform Your spiritual circumcision on me.”

A few years later I had a chance to meet my ex-husband again. He had remarried by then. I shared with him about our daughter and everything about my life. And this is what I told him: “You must receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour, because Jesus saved me and Jesus saved your daughter, and our daughter is healed from her heart condition.”

Guess what? He received Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour. All glory to the Lord!

I just want to encourage you: No matter what your situation is, no matter what your circumstance, you have a God who vindicates, and He is your heavenly Father.

Settling accounts

What about if you are hurt at home, by your family or in-laws? These are things that are very real.

Listen to the next verse that was given to me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – But He said to me My grace (My favour and lovingkindness and mercy) is enough for you (sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully); for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in (your) weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

What did I do on those days that were so difficult to get by? I prayed: “God, Your grace is sufficient for me, for Your strength is made perfect exactly in my weakness. Therefore, I am able to keep pressing in and to keep pressing on. Amen.”

I close with a story about my father.

But first: Ephesians 4:26-27 – When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no (such) room of foothold for the devil (give no opportunity to him).

Forgiveness is really not about you and your offender. Forgiveness is all about you and the blessing that you will receive from the Lord your God. If you forgive, you can surrender to God and you will receive His blessing – versus, if you do not forgive, you are actually surrendering your will to Satan.

Forgiveness is all about you and the blessing that you will receive from the Lord your God.

And the Bible teaches us: Leave no such room for him.

Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarrelling (brawling, clamour, contention) and slander (evil speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).

My father left me when I was 18 months old. I always asked my mum: “Where’s dad?” She would say: “Your dad has passed away. Don’t ask anything about your dad.”

After I got married and my life was upside-down, at the age of 25 when my daughter was three years old, my mother came to me and said: “Your father is dying. Do you want to go and visit him? If you don’t visit him this time round, you will never have chance to visit him again.”

I was like: “I thought you said he died. And now you say he’s dying. So is he dead or not dead?”

My mother said: “No, he’s not dead but he is dying. Do you want to see him?”

I said: “Yes. I want to see him.”

There were two things that I wanted to ask him. There were accounts to be settled. The first question was: What have I done wrong that caused you to abandon us and cause our life to be so miserable? 

The second question was: Now you’re dying. Have you ever regretted what you have done to us?

After all, isn’t it so, that when we want to forgive someone, that person must regret what he has done?

A waste?

So, I took my daughter and we flew back to Jakarta. When we stepped into my father’s house, I saw so many children seated on the steps of a staircase. The caregiver told me: “That is your father’s youngest daughter. She’s two years old.”

My daughter was three and my father’s youngest daughter was two? I was filled with rage and my two questions were boiling inside of me. I said: “Bring me up to see him.”

I was waiting to launch into my two attacks. I had come with a mindset of wanting to settle accounts.

I went up to the second floor and stepped inside a room and saw this very sickly man lying down. I called him: “Pa. Pa. I am Ying Si. Do you remember me?” He opened his eyes and this is what he said: “Orh.” Then he closed his eyes.

“What is ‘orh’? What does it mean? Do you remember me or don’t you?”

I was furious, because I was waiting to launch into my two attacks. I had come with a mindset of wanting to settle accounts. I kept trying to wake him up and repeating my question: “Do you remember me?”

For the next 30 minutes he refused to open his eyes. He was still conscious but he just refused to open his eyes.

I got so frustrated. I took my daughter and told my mum: “Let’s go home. He does not remember us anymore, it’s a wasted trip.”

A still small Voice

Two days later he passed away.

You know, when you want to settle an account, that person must remember you, right? If that person doesn’t remember you, there is nothing to be settled. 

And if you want to find closure, that person must be alive. If that person is gone, there is no closure, there are no answers.

I went into my room and I knelt down and cried. I remembered Ephesians 4:32: And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another (readily and freely) as God in Christ forgave you.

I came before the Lord and said: “God, help me. Perform Your spiritual circumcision on me right here in my heart, so that I will be able to forgive.”

For the very first time, I heard the voice of the Lord and this is what He said to me: “From today onwards I will be your heavenly Father and I am a good, good Father. I am faithful. I’ll never leave you and I’ll never forsake you.”

Forgiveness is an eternal message: “I believe God is still saying the same thing to us,” said Ps Judith Halim.

Friends, if you forgive you always win. I believe God is still saying the same thing to us. He is our loving Father.

You have someone in heaven that can vindicate, so it doesn’t really matter if you are receiving unjust treatment or if you have a sense of helplessness. God is still saying to us He will help. He will be faithful.

Ps Judith Halim was the guest speaker at Paya Lebar Methodist Church’s Mother’s Day service on May 8, 2022. This is an edited transcript of her sermon, which was entitled, “The Power of Love and Forgiveness”.

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About the author

Ps Judith Halim

Ps Judith Halim is president and co-founder of Restore Global Missions and business owner of Olive Vine Restaurant. With her husband, Ps Jason Ong, she is also actively involved in mission work and a variety of community development projects across several countries.