Julie Imus recently started a series of paintings and one of them particularly caught my attention; it showed the image of the Twin towers on fire! I got in touch and asked her to share a bit more on this painting. She called it “LET GO OF THE BITTERNESS” as she had been listening to a series of sermons about forgiveness. She had been talking about how a lot of people were holding on to bitterness, and that is how she came up with the title.
I felt the imagery was outstanding and that using an image of strength, the eagle, to share a message on forgiveness explains that we are truly empowered when we forgive, when we let go, when we love!
MaMoMi initiative: Did you ever feel doing a series on forgiveness would not be a popular topic to visualize?
Julie Imus: I am happy that you see this painting as forgiveness. When i finished the first painting, I sent a photograph of it to my nephew and he thought it was “amazingly outstanding!”. He also said it brought a tear to his eyes. When you saw the painting and asked me if i could do a series on forgiveness, i thought “Paintings on forgiveness – that is such a brilliant idea!”. I then decided to do some more studying on the topic and even listened to Pastor Zamora’s teachings on “Letting Go” again.
M.I: Tell us about the subject behind this series.
J.I: Forgiveness—that is a powerful word, because to tell someone you forgive them can release them from strain and worry, while to not forgive can make them weak and fearful. When Andrew asked me to do a series of paintings on “forgiveness,” I had to really put my thought to work. Saying and acting it out can be hard enough, but trying to put it on canvas…what a challenge that may be for me, and wow, this one was a huge challenge!
M.I: Did you ever have any challenges completing this series?
J.I: When i started the series, i had thought it would take about 1 and half weeks to complete it. I had to think about the topic very seriously and the question i asked myself was, “how can a person show the ultimate forgiveness?” I had thought of other things for a subject, like abortion or even a difficult one like murder, then it hit me; Jesus forgave the soldier that actually nailed him to the cross! Now that is a message!
But i found that i had to be very patient with the process, and i was also hoping Andrew would be patient enough with me to find a way to put my thoughts on canvas. At one point it felt like someone or something was fighting me every step of the way with this painting holding me back, delaying me, maybe even denying me. But i really had to be resilient, press on and believe in the reasons for doing this series.
I remember saying “the enemy is fighting me every step of the way with this painting that I am doing on forgiveness but I WILL WIN!” I did expect to have it done within the time i had planned but when that did not happen i was ready to give up on it until an exterminator showed up at our door. Interestingly, he was not even a Christian, but when he saw the painting as I had left it, he said that he totally understood it and said that it makes a “powerful statement”. That he was influenced by the painting gave me the renewed motive to finish it; so i say “Thank you Lord for sending that man to my door”. The paintings got finished a week later.
Lord, if my brother keeps sinning against me, how many times do i have to forgive him? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but seventy times seven.” – The Bible, Matthew 18: 21-22
Let go of the Bitterness 2014
(16” X 20”) Oil on canvas.
The subject of the Twin Towers was suggested to me by my Nephew that went to Afghanistan. He suggested the composition should have an angry eagle flying over the Twin Towers, but I could not do it the way he suggested. I truly agree we should remember the 9/11 incident but holding on to the anger and bitterness is not what God wants us to do. Holding on to the anger will only allow the enemy to win, so i decided to have the eagle perched back in remembrance of that day as if to say “let it go!” Forgiveness also needs to be unlimited, be charitable and promote love. We can all restore love by practicing forgiveness.
I feel that this is the most powerful of the three paintings, not just because of the visual composition but also because the enemy tried really hard to stop me from painting this; when i started painting, for some time i was not getting the colors right, and the canvas oddly falling off the easel!
15 “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked. “And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16 Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. 17 And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles 18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.” – The Bible, Acts 26: 15-18
Forgiving Daisy 2014
(11” x 14”) Oil on canvas.
This particular painting was easy to do. Daisy is our dog of 5 years now and for the first year that we had her she would steal my shoes and chew them up, and I would find them usually in the back yard. It is pretty easy to forgive the pup with big guilty looking-eyes. She doesn’t steal my shoes anymore though but she is still a goofy character.
Two works of mercy set a man free: forgive and you will be forgiven, and give and you will receive.” – Augustine of Hippo.
The scripture i quoted earlier from Acts 26: 15-18 reminds me about this painting i did of a Roman soldier. In the scripture, Jesus was speaking to Paul when he called him to preach to the Gentiles. I do personally get excited when talking about Salvation and i pray that more people understand how much God loves them. We only need to ask for forgiveness and believe Jesus has the authority to redeem us. Oh my, what the grace of the Lord does for us, it is so Awesome!
M.I: We want to take this opportunity to thank you for opening up your heart on the issue discussed here. Forgiveness is such a difficult issue to discuss or talk about, as many feel that to forgive and forget someone who offends them means lessons may not be learnt from the experience.
J.I: Painting the Forgiveness series really has been an amazing journey and has also shown me that there were somethings from my past that i needed to resolve. I truly feel blessed by this. Thank you!
M.I: We also appreciate that not everyone is a christian or practices a faith, but we also know that everyone will at some point have to deal with an issue involving unforgiveness. The beauty though is that when we decide to forgive and forget, it means we have taken the decision not to hold on to the sin of the offence, therefore allowing us to be healed from the pain of the sin but also making sure we do not forget the lessons learnt from our act of forgiveness! Forgiveness will therefore empowers us over sin!
Note: If the issues shared in the article impacts you (our readers) or anyone else in any way and you feel the need to discuss this further, please feel free to get in touch with us via our email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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