Posts Tagged: forgiveness

Model of Forgiveness

How do I turn the other cheek?

Do I glare down my enemy with
kindness? Slap them over the head with
generosity? Silence them with my devoutness?
Humiliate them with my humility?

The goal of forgiveness can’t be to glorify self.
“Look at me. I’m better than them.”

I know no other way to forgive than to
take up my cross and follow Jesus.
To  train taut muscles ready
for revenge to submit to God’s will.

When I recognize that He sweated and bled
for both my enemy and I,
forgiveness becomes a gritty
part of who I am—a scream of 0bedience—not a selfish sacrifice
to force the other person to change.

Forgiveness has no return receipt.

Strengthened by Forgiveness

Strengthened by Forgiveness

Strengthened by Forgiveness

Words of yesterday slammed
into my chest, mocking the
rhythm of will.

Stupid.
Useless.
Pitiful.

Why do I till the rocky
soil of relationships for hope
day after day, I start again.
Close eyes.

Breathe.
Forgive.
Plant.

Let go—an impossible smile
appears on my battered tear-streaked face.

Strong.
Loving.
Chosen.

I look you boldly in the eye
strengthened by forgiveness. Whether
you ever embrace my love, I know I
have embraced His.

 

Turning My Page:

Embracing the love of Jesus is changing how I love. Quick-tempered, I replay events, fantasize what I would say to those who have hurt me.  I am the hero of every story. But, the truth is, I am often the villain, speaking words that cause heartache in my husband and children’s lives.

My daughter reminded me of this truth last week as she interrupted my son and me in a heated argument. Instantly the following happened:

  • I looked at Daniel and really saw him.
  • Recognized that what I was so defensive about mattered far less than my son.
  • To Natalie it didn’t matter who was right, it mattered that we love one another.
  • I prayed: God help me to love my son as you love me.
  • We apologized to one another.
  • Forgiveness strengthened our relationship.

I am different because Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Thank you, Lord!

Turning Your Page:

Forgiveness strengthens us because it takes our focus off of self and places it squarely on Jesus. Jesus was dying on the cross when he said the above words. He had his eyes on the prize. Reconciliation between his Holy Father and the wretched sinners placing our only hope on the cross.

When another person hurts you can the wound be filtered through forgiveness? Maybe all you can manage now is to pray for them. That is okay. Ask God to help you.

I cry out to you Jesus! Help me to forgive as you have forgiven me. I am a wretch hating another wretch. Lord help me to keep my eyes fixed on you, and to love my enemies, no matter how my soul is battered by this world. Amen

For Further Reading: Conviction Overturned by Love

Emptying the Ex-Box

Zechariah 7: 9“Thus has the LORD of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; 10 and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’

Some of are still holding onto the Ex box. The Ex box is anything from our past, our old life that we do not let go of, or give over completely to God. It can be photos, notes, an object and ultimately it can be held tightly in our thoughts. I am pausing from sorting through Jonathan’s box of things to tell you I just threw away a bad memory I gripped tightly. Jonathan had many harsh realities to deal with, and he had some choice words he wrote down on paper about someone who was hurting him. Why keep such a note?

  • Because it feeds my own wounds
  • Because I’m angry
  • Because there has not been satisfactory justice
  • Because it vindicates me

These are the reasons I have held onto this sheet of paper. And even as I read it, I felt my heartache stirred. But, I declared out loud, “THIS DOES NOT HELP ME!” And, in a decisive move I balled it up and tossed the note in the trash.

  • Trust God’s justice
  • Acknowledge that God saw Jonathan’s pain
  • God alone is judge
  • Forgiveness frees me, and offers hope to the wrong doer

What do you have in your box? Is there one thing you can give to God that you desperately want solved, fixed, or don’t understand? Declare out loud the truth over the object and release it. Embrace the far better future God has for us and let go of the Ex.

My prayers are with you!

I Don’t Need a Diviner of Dreams: I need Jesus

Jeremiah 27: 9“But as for you, do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers or your sorcerers who speak to you, saying, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon.’ 10“For they prophesy a lie to you in order to remove you far from your land; and I will drive you out and you will perish.…

For an entire week I have dreamed about my son and his dad. In my year of grieving I have never dreamed about my ex and have had inconsistent dreams about Jonathan. Dreams are a tough call when it comes to interpretation, some are from God, and some are not. Are these?

As I research dreams in scripture, it is clear that many people have been lead astray by dreamers and interpreter of dreams. I am one of those people. I have had vivid dreams since I was a child. Most of them were night terrors or nightmares. As I got older I searched for answers in dream books. At no time did I think of asking God. In fact my searches took me further and further away from him.

We have all kinds of mediums, psychics, etc. today. I have had my palm read (none of which came true), been tempted by witchcraft (until I felt the depth of evil I was messing with), and been fascinated by dream interpretations. All of these men and women offer us quick fixes to long term problems. They don’t see how our story fits into the big picture, nor how the difficult things we avoid, may be the very things we must, and need to go through to achieve the greater good. They are just like us, men and women trying to make sense of circumstances that at times, feel beyond our control. We need someone who isn’t motivated by selfish desires, who isn’t into “truth telling” for the money, who risks loosing it all to bring us the truth of God. Men like Joseph, Daniel, and Joseph the step-father of Jesus had dreams clearly considered from God. Why is that? Scripture doesn’t say why these men dreamed and interpreted dreams differently than the rest. But, it does say that God was with them, gave them favor, and they gave him the glory.

Who are we seeking for answers? Are they giving God the glory, themselves, or Satan? I don’t need an interpreter of dreams to know that I am to pray for my ex, forgive him, and show compassion towards him and my mind battles with selfish desires–holding on to anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Lord, I ask that you would give me the strength to forgive others as you forgave me. Amen

Sold Out for Heaven:What does Heaven Treasure?

   Matthew 6:19“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and ruste destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Garage sales are a chance to cleanse, and a nice distraction for me today (Wrote this Saturday). Recently I heard that a family may have found pirate treasure in their attic–complete with mummified hand. Gives me chills, just thinking about it. Case in point that you cannot take the treasure with you . . . and apparently you can’t always take your hand with you either.

Sometimes we get too focused upon the clearing out of our junk and miss the second part of the verse. Store up treasures in heaven. What does heaven value? Heaven values anything that lasts for eternity, has ongoing results, and is not limited by sin. A few examples are found in Jesus’ prayer:

A personal relationship with God

  • We call him Father
  • His name is backed by the power of his holiness
  • results occur on earth and in heaven when we call on his name

God’s will

  • He desires good things for us (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • His will is trustworthy
  • Obedience always works to the good of his creation

Forgiveness

  • We have a sin debt we can’t pay
  • He paid it for us,
  • So pay the debts others who owe us

Purity

  • He sacrificed a spotless lamb for us
  • Delivers us from the grip of the evil one
  • Shows us how to live an abundant life

 

Are we sold out for Heaven? When we know how valuable the kingdom of God is, everything else is. . . well . . .rusty.

A Debt I Cannot Pay: Showing mercy when I am owed a debt

Matthew 18:35 This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.

Question: How many times should I forgive?

Answer: As many times as it takes for you to realize that I forgave you first. (Karisa paraphrase)

(Matthew 18:21-35 Parable of the Unmerciful Servant)

As I step towards forgiving those who hurt my son, the first thing I am reminded of is that God chose to forgive me. Somewhere in the midst of court hearings, bad counseling, and heart ache I lost sight of the awe that God forgive me. I saw awe, because that is what I felt in the beginning. God loved me and forgave me a debt I could not repay. Little by little pride took over and now I have to repent of thoughts that I am somehow better than those who have caused my great sorrow.  I am a liar, an adulterer, idol worshipper, thief and many other things that God poured out mercy over. At the heart of un-forgiveness is pride!

It easy to pick and choose who we want to see punished when their sins are unhidden, but scripture clearly states that ALL have fallen short of the glory of God and the punishment for sin is death. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23) Romans 6:23. In Jesus’ Matthew 18:21 parable he gives insight to how heaven treats forgiveness.

  • God settles his account with all of us (vs. 23)
  • He is just and will demand us to repay what we owe him (vs. 24)
  • We all have a debt we cannot repay (vs. 25)
  • It is God’s decision whether or not to extend us grace (vs. 27)
  • He will not tolerate us squandering his mercy (vs.32)
  • He expects us to be merciful to those who owe us debt they cannot repay because he forgave our debt (vs33)
  • We are to forgive the sins of others from our heart (vs. 35)

In a world that emphasis revenge, forgiveness and mercy is unusual! Oh Lord make me unusual!

Anger is a Natural Emotion, Wrath is Not

Romans 12:18-19 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

My last session of Biblical Counseling Training started last night. I was trucking along just fine listening to the speakers until the topic of anger began to be discussed. Anger and I go way back and God has done so much healing in this area.

Make room for the wrath of God, “don’t play God”. I was caught off guard by how much the statement about God’s wrath got into the crevices and pulled out anger that I didn’t consciously acknowledge. I sat there with tears pouring down my cheeks. Many of you are well aware that there are those who are responsible for Jonathan’s death. You struggle along side me to forgive, to not wish them ill, and to pray for them.

At moments I have felt the deep freedom of forgiveness and been moved with compassion for my enemy’s brokenness. But to be honest, I stew, I dwell, and plot, trying to do God’s job for him. I want revenge! That is what came to the surface last night. I’ve shared before that I came to the point 10 years ago that I admitted that I did not believe that God was just. This is one more step in the process of accepting that he is God, and I am not. My job is to love the Lord God with all my heart and to love my neighbor as myself. This means providing for, extending grace, and praying for those that God puts in my path. This is the best way to display his glory and accept his goodness to me. Thank you Lord for not treating me like my sins deserve.

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