Monthly Archives: January 2014

Forgiveness Part 2

So if you are wondering, Part 2 of what????, check back to Wednesday this week…and just because I put a number on it, doesn’t mean I will have exhausted my thoughts and musings on the subject.

Oh no. Not at all.

This post is the result of the fact that my mind just keeps going long after I finish any teaching, writing or conversation. Just ask my family.

As I think about my personal struggles with unforgiveness, they fall into several categories that are basically:

* perceived wrongs

* actual outright wrongs

* downright betrayals

Perceived wrongs:

These are huge and yet so petty, they prove more embarrassing than anything. These are the things that leave me feeling miffed. I want to vent to someone, but experience has shown me that I will get some kind of advice that will only add the “counselor” to my list of people I need to forgive. These are the ones that hurt my feelings because the other person didn’t respond to me in a way that affirmed they care about me, value me, agree with me. Basically, it is when I feel under-loved or under-appreciated or under-mined by someone who has other things going on in their life besides my personal happiness. These are the offenses that when I take them to God, He usually sets me straight right quick with a new opportunity to die to ME and live for HIM. Pride dies an ugly death.

Actual outright wrongs:

That probably is just a grammatical nightmare by the way, but it sums up a category that does happen to me. Thankfully, not as often as my perceived wrongs. These are the wrongs that really good friends and my family notice. These are not to be confused with perceived wrongs that “pot-stirrers” like to bring up to create conflict for me with others. No, these are when I am hurt and my accountability people say they can see why I am hurt. Again, though, it’s what I learn when I go to God that matters. When I am directly wronged over something major or minor, it is only on my knees that I will receive insight into why it is hard for me to forgive the one who wronged me. As I pour out my heart and expose the wound to Jesus, I can be honest with Him. I can tell him what happened, where it is hurting and I can also ask Him to help me begin the process of forgiveness. Often I begin to see things like my own contribution to the situation or how the current pain is really stirring up old wounds. In prayer and meditation on His Word, I begin to apply the lessons of forgiveness taught on the Cross. The quicker I head to Him, the smoother the resolution of these injuries

Downright betrayal:

The most painful and thankfully, the least experienced in my life.  I thank God that there have been only a handful. These are the wounds that change us, and seemingly change the path of our life. For me, they hurt like everything and took, literally, years to recover from. I needed good friends and family to support me through these. They listened and cried with me, and listened some more. They listened until they could tell the story all by themselves. But only God can heal the wound and only God could turn me from bitterness to forgiveness. In the brokeness of tears and in the kindness of a loving Father, there can be forgiveness. And there must be.

Because as difficult as it is to finally come to admit; betrayal, like every other hard part of life, is allowed by the permissive will of God. I don’t have answers about the theology of why God allows things to happen that He could stop. But I have read enough of Scripture to see that if He permitted all the events of Joseph’s life in order to bring about the “good”, then He most certainly has the same capacity in my little world.

While the process of forgiveness in these areas is long, what joy comes the day I see the betrayer. and instead of anger or bitterness, I know God’s love has replaced those feelings. What blessed relief to experience the peace that comes when His Scars hold my scars completely and eternally.

Whatever the cause, real or imagined, we are going to experience offenses, neglects, betrayals and worst of all, we are going to be the cause of someone else’s! Aaack! That is a thought for another day!!! or two?

And so…..we need a Savior, a Healer, a Mediator, a Counselor, a Heart Surgeon. The only One who never had to ask for forgiveness, but extended it to all.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

*** If my thoughts today have prompted your own thoughts and you would like to voice them, please feel free to use the comment section SAFELY. All comments go through moderation first, so I do not have to post your comments. Just note that it is private, or tell me you want it published. You can, of course, always use my home email. God bless you if your heart has been stirred or convicted in an area of unforgiveness. May you know God’s healing touch on that tender place today!

 

Does anybody really know what time it is?

My thought for today is short and sweet – I posted on forgiveness on the blog site yesterday and plan a PS to it for tomorrow, so will keep this one simple….

We all know I have a little problem with punctuality. I have been doing a lot better this year. Russ got me a new watch and I think it has just turned the corner for me.

But old habits die hard, so I am always checking the clock and hoping I am going to be where I need to be at the right time.

So the fact that one of the bank marquees that I pass on my way to every other part of my life except the grocery store is running about 8 minutes fast, has caused me no small angst lately!

What cruel irony that as I have turned over this new leaf, this clock scares the living daylights out of me. Every time I pass it, I frantically check my car clock, and my watch; strongly resisting the temptation to also check my phone on the off chance I would be accused of texting while driving.

Even as I reassure myself on all available time devices that the bank clock is off, I pray fervently that I am not late to work. Sorry, I don’t worry so much about church, family and friends….it’s kind of expected that I will arrive in a 5 -15 minute window…..

But when it comes right down to it, the only clock at work that matters is the one I punch in on. The time clock at work is the only reality as far as my employer is concerned. If it begins to run fast, or slow, I will be late or early depending on its dictates.

It kind of makes me think of God. Of course. What doesn’t make me think of Him? =0)

Because when you think about it, all timing and time is really in His hands. I can rush around, or dawdle. I can plot and plan. I can be pressured by someone else’s timing. But in reality, all that really matters is HIS timing. So I start off each day on my knees, and I thank Him for what He has given me and I ask Him to guide me and use me according to His will. And I go. In His timing, on His clock. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Time is really in His hands.

My time, your time, the time clock….all that really matters is His timing.

May you be blessed today as you live surrendered to the One who is both timely and timeless <3

Forgiveness

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In conversation with two dear friends yesterday, someone mentioned a family that has moved away. She was reminiscing about them kindly, and then the conversation kind of landed with eyes on me. The only thing I could think to say was, “I confess I harbor lingering bitterness of heart regarding them.” In the safety of good friends, I can be honest.

And honest I must be.

Because with time and distance, I can fool myself into thinking I have forgiven an offense. But when the mention of the names feels like a bandaid ripped off the tender skin of a child’s leg…..well….. anything short of “OUCH!” is hypocrisy.

But I can not stop with this small progress. This is only one step along the way to healing.

Forgiveness is a process. It begins with the obedience of choosing to forgive. In choosing to forgive, I stop reminding everyone of the offense AND I quit informing new people of the situation so they can be brought up to speed about my injured heart. I quit trying to gain supporters to help me justify my wounded responses.

As I am freed from the need to gain support for my “side”, I can take every fresh memory and reminder of the original hurt to the only One who can heal it. As I tell it to Him and ask for His help and LISTEN; I receive healing ointment that cleanses out the infection of bitterness.

Slowly and gradually, His heart replaces mine and I begin to see how He has forgiven ME. For my transgressions, my offenses, my oversights, my ignorance, my iniquity, my willful sins and my shortcomings. As I see Him more clearly, I see myself more clearly. As I meditate on His forgiveness, I am able to see how fragile we all are.

And through His mercy, forgiveness works its healing; softening and tendering a stone cold place in my heart.

Is there someone who’s offense you need to forgive today? Tell it to the One who has forgiven you and does not hold your sins against you. Ask Him to help you through the process and to give you HIS heart for the one who wounded you.

May God bless you with grace to forgive and to receive from Him your forgiveness <3

 

In the meantime or mean times

Last night, at our small group, a friend shared about looking up a passage of Scripture on the way home from church that she had jotted down from that morning’s sermon. She realized as she started reading that she had written down the wrong passage, but continued to read as she realized God had led her to the “wrong” place in Scripture.

The passage she was looking for was one on comfort, but the one she found offered something quite different. She found herself in Matthew 24 where Jesus answers the disciples’ questions about the end times with less than calming words describing, well, pretty much today’s headlines in our world.

As God would have it, this morning I opened the reading plan for 2014 that is leading me through the Bible for the next 11 plus months and yes. Of course. My reading covered Matthew 23-25.

It is all marked up now. Underlined. Arrows pointing this way and that. Hearts drawn by passages that provoke praise. Comments that came to my mind as I read. Some words are circled and some are boxed.

The boxed words are the ones of reassurance and hope in the midst of the scenes that are painted by our Lord of what the end before the BEGINNING will look like. These are the words that I want to hold on to as images of our precious children, grandchildren, great grandchildren(…the generation that will be the last before His return….only God knows who this is, possibly us???) flash into the words of terror that are depicted in these passages.

The boxed words include:

See that you are not troubled….Matthew 24:6

But he who endures to the end shall be saved…..Matthew 24:23

…but for the elects sake, those days will be shortened….Matthew 24:22

….but My word will by no means pass away….Matthew 24:36

What did our friend do when she found herself in the “wrong” passage? She began to share it with her sweet family as they drove home. The word of God stirred her to remind her children that they have to be grounded in the Word of God; that they can not rely on others to spoon feed them the Scriptures, but must learn and study these on their own.

And there it is. If the only thing that is going to remain is the Word, than I want to know it. I want to know Him, who is The Word made flesh.  I want my life to flow now and eternally from His Word. I want to feed on His Word, allowing it to transform me and then share it with my life lived out serving others. 

May God bless you with a heart that hungers for His Word. May He grant you understanding every time you read His Word. May your soul find rest and peace in the promises of our faithful God; our Savior, Redeemer, Champion. May your life be transformed and conformed to the Living Word of God.

Breathe deeply in His Spirit and be blessed by His love as you journey onward <3

Unless a seed dies….

Our furnace conked out on us sometime in the night. As we wait for our turn in the queue, the house is chilling down rather rapidly. Our little space heater sits at my side like R2D2, and the idea of a warm sunny place is sounding good to me. But just for a little while. I would not want to live in a place without seasons. If I did, I would miss this….

IMG_8820I had to stop on my way home last night and capture the beauty that is the midwest.

The thing I love is that this looks so dead….

IMG_8818so barren…..

IMG_8823so lifeless, hard and cold.

But we know that underneath that frozen ground is the capacity to grow life. The farmer will turn it over in a few months and plant seeds and by mid-summer we will all be praying for rain to either come or hold off. These fields will be full and green. And I will be complaining about how hot it is….

But these seasons are a blessing from God. They mark time and teach us lessons about His ways.

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May you find His beauty in every season <3