Showing posts with the label Forgive

Forgive and Restore - it is God's way

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9) I know forgiving someone when they have said or done something to hurt you is hard - we all struggle a bit with this one. We might want to say something in return that returns wound for wound, but that rarely works out too well for either of us. We might want to just 'cut them off' and forget about the one who has offended us, but that also doesn't work very well. Probably the last thing we want to do is extend grace, but it is the most effective and godly way for us to deal with one who has offended us. Love prospers when a fault is forgiven. Allow that one to sink in for just a moment. Read it again and let it really grip you. Love - sacrificial, peace-loving, kindness - actually grows out of forgiveness. It is as though forgiveness is the fertilizer that helps the relationship grow. This type of love does not dwell on the wrong - although that may be our first instinct. R

Finally time

Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good. If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back, says the Lord. Instead, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, you will pile burning coals of fire upon his head. Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21) The "payback" for some of our misdeeds or meddling into affairs we should have left alone may be coming! I have learned that payback is really not something I like or want! When I stop going where I shouldn't, others might stop going where they shouldn't. Why do they stop? They no longer have to "pay back" the misdeeds of others. I think God wants us to engage in active forgiveness, and allow

Do you have a rumination partner?

I caught a little quote from Positive Mind this morning on someone's social media feed and it gave me a moment to just consider the message: "If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow." I don't always remember to focus on the lesson, do you? Sometimes it is just easier to focus on the hurt and let that ruminate a bit. Problem is that ruminating just increases the amount of 'acidic influence' of the hurt. Maybe what we need most is someone in our lives that won't let us ruminate our way into a bitter heart! Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (Hebrews 12:15) God actually commands us to 'watch out' for the root of bitterness - not just in ourselves, but in each other, as well. We are sometimes more sensitive to someone's 'ruminating' than they a

Life Hack #29: Pay it Forward, Not Backward

Life Hack #29: Like it or not, we all have at least one enemy in this lifetime. It is an honest part of human nature to want to see some harm come to your enemy. The very word "enemy" suggests someone who is your opponent, operating with some type of antagonistic behavior that makes the two of you adversaries. To want good for your enemy is counter intuitive. They are out to harm you - so why should you be out to bless them? Yet, we are not to revel in their fall, nor celebrate their collapse. We are to leave their "outcome" to God - something harder said than done! Don’t laugh when your enemy falls; don’t crow over his collapse. God might see, and become very provoked, and then take pity on his plight. (Proverbs 24:17-18) Enemies can be personal adversaries - such as someone bent on making your life miserable - all attacks aimed at you alone. They can also be generally around us - such as public officials who don't represent the needs, wants, or beliefs o

A laden soul

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14) John Maxwell reminds us, "People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude." What does your attitude say today? Does it reveal your tiredness or frustration? Does it shine forth with encouragement and hope? We actually 'choose' our attitude, but we would like to blame our attitude on others or circumstances. If it is bad, we blame it on the bad stuff happening in our lives. If it is jubilant, we attribute it to the good stuff going on around us. Spoken words reveal much, but our unspoken thoughts often come across in our attitude. Don't believe me? When was the last time you looked at your posture when you are in the depths of thought about something that is giving you a bit of trouble? How is your posture when you are well-rested versus weary from a lack of the proper rest? Your posture might just reveal a bit of that 'inner thought' att

But...I wanna respond that way

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2) How do we best 'imitate' God? We aren't called to be 'little gods' on this earth, but we are asked to 'imitate' the love and grace of God. Regardless of how another may act, our actions should reveal the grace of God. Easier said than done because THEIR actions seem to evoke a response from US that may not always be grace-filled! The truth of the matter is that THEIR actions are THEIR responsibility - OUR actions and responses are OURS. Grace begins in OUR response to THEIR actions, remembering that grace if GIVING another what they clearly did not deserve. I know how easily our defenses can go up when someone says or does something we don't agree with. Trust me, I have had my share of my hackles being raised by th

A little 'parenting' lesson

The Lord shows mercy and is kind. He does not become angry quickly, and he has great love.  He will not always accuse us,  and he will not be angry forever.  He has not punished us as our sins should be punished;  he has not repaid us for the evil we have done. As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who respect him. He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from west. (Psalm 103:8-12) I find it very good news that God does not punish us as our sins should be punished. As a parent, I often considered the ill-behavior of my children and found myself in a quandary as to how to 'punish' the ill behavior. There were even times I'd ask the offended party to name the punishment for the offending party - as though a brother or sister who was angry with the other was the right one to pick the punishment! I even tried asking the ill-behaving child to pick their own punishment on occasion. I guess I was out of options at that point - so

Don't be a vessel

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. (Mark Twain) If we were to be honest about our anger, we would likely acknowledge there is something within us that was wounded - our pride took a hit of some sort. Most of the time it is not that we just have a bad temper - it is an issue with our pride that causes us to have those outbursts that bring riffs in relationships. Most of us don't have 'rage issues' or 'bad tempers' - we just get a bit miffed at one another on occasion because something struck us wrong, we were disappointed by some response, or we just plain got our undies in a bundle because we didn't get our own way. I know - I just meddled in your mess a bit - but I also am meddling in mine! If you are angry, be sure that it is not out of wounded pride or bad temper. Never go to bed angry—don’t give the devil that sort of foothold. (Ephesians 4:26) I think this translation of this pa

When you speak...

Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. (Marianne Williamson) Forgiveness is an often misunderstood condition of the heart. Yes, I said it is a condition of the heart - for the heart is made up of our mind (the place we trap all those thoughts of being wronged), the will (the thing that makes us stand firm in our bitterness even when we see how miserable it is making our life), and our emotions (the very things that are constantly being played upon by our bitterness). It is the heart that holds on and it is the heart that lets go - let's learn to let go a bit more than we hold on. “Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4) There is no peace

Yeah, you may be right, but...

If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love. (Matthew 18:15) Do you know what strikes me the most from this passage? The extreme obsession with 'pursuing' forgiveness and restoration. Let's get honest here - we rarely "go after" forgiveness like it was something to be pursued until we had resolution. If someone tells us to bug off and refuses our intentions to be restored, we may try again, but do we really have this type of tenacity to "offer again" that grace and love time and time again? If you follow this passage, you might just find yourself in a 'cycle

Consider this....not that

What kind of things are you willing to overlook in life? Someone cuts me off in traffic and I tend to just gasp a little, let my blood pressure get back to normal, and then move on. I don't find it necessary to speed up, tail them, and/or flip them a certain finger while shouting expletives my momma would have washed my mouth out for back in the day. Someone eats that last brownie you were counting on having when you settled in to watch your favorite evening show and I tend to get a little bummed because I was 'counting on it', but I don't have a hissy-fit. In all truthfulness, I will probably scour the cupboards and fridge to find an 'alternative' to that chewy, chocolate goodness. We can choose to overlook offenses or we can choose to hold onto them like our last nickel. Which do you choose most of the time? Does the 'severity' of the offense come into question? Let's be truthful here - someone eats your brownie and you can forgive pretty quickly -

Who's better?

You're the One I've violated, and you've seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil. You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair. I've been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born. What you're after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life. (Psalm 51:4-6) We probably all have a close friend - someone who seems to know most of the "dirt" in our lives - hopefully it is someone you can call your BFF. To be totally transparent here, these "besties", "BFFs", and "best buds" only know us "most of the way", though. There are always some parts of "us" that we honestly believe are kept hidden away from everyone - those really secret things we just hope no one ever learns about us because if they do, we wonder if they will ever be able to love us, much less like us! The only one who really knows us "all the way&quo

It is never too late

It is never too late to strengthen the foundation of faith. There is always time. With faith in the Savior, you can repent and plead for forgiveness. There is someone you can forgive. There is someone you can thank. There is someone you can serve and lift. You can do it wherever you are and however alone and deserted you may feel. (Henry B. Eyring) I want Mr. Eyring's words to speak to us today. It is never too late - to repent, to forgive, to thank someone, to serve, to life up another. I know a great many struggle with the idea they have gone too far, done too much, been too bad in their judgment  - it is too late in their eyes to seek or find forgiveness. Nothing could be further from the truth - grace wins each and every time. All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us

Debtor's Prison

Life is an adventure in forgiveness.  (Norman Cousins) I came across this little quote the other day and it made me think about all the ways forgiveness is both needed and given. If you are like me, your first thoughts gravitate toward 'who' we need to forgive and 'what' the offense was that required the forgiveness in the first place. We usually think about others when we begin to think upon forgiveness - someone that has done or said something that has hurt us, bringing harm to us either intentionally or completely without any ill will at all. I wonder...just how many times do we think of the 'who' in this business of forgiveness as ourselves? You know and I need to forgive ourselves, too. We hold ourselves in a position of 'debtors' way too often - unwilling to forgive our own trespasses! All that does is keep us on the hamster wheel of trying to find a way to get out of 'debtor's prison'! Who can see his own mistakes? Forgive m

The possibility of today

Did you ever stop to think just how practical the Bible really is? It lays out sound advice on how to make financial decisions such as the borrower becoming slave to the lender, so don't be frivolous in your spending (Proverbs 22:7). We find instruction on how to have a solid family life such as how much it takes to build a household and the depth of understanding required to set them all on a firm foundation (Proverbs 24:3). We also find warnings of things we should avoid because they will be our "undoing" - things like not interfering with a good person's lives as it may end up with us falling flat on our face (Proverbs 24:15-16). Yet, there are many questions we just don't seem to find the easy or "straight" answers for in those pages. Jesus spent about three years teaching his disciples as he made his way to the cross. In that period of time, he laid out all kinds of truth for them. Some of it stumped the crowds, but the disciples usually got w

A well-worn path

We all probably have heard some variation of the 'confession is good for the soul' terminology. The fact of the matter is that it is one of the most powerful 'actions' we take on behalf of our soul that actually begins to touch the souls of those around us. Being able to own up to your mistakes is hard, but there comes a time when the soul is changed by one simple confession. There is nothing that binds two people together in a more committed manner than being able to confess one's mistakes to the other. Too many times, we hold out for the other to come to the place of admitting they were wrong before we will take even one step in that direction. When we choose to do this, we alienate ourselves from that which will bring health to our own lives. It is in confession that we find healing. The first place of healing is at the foot of the cross - in confession we find deliverance. The next place we may need to make confession is at the feet of a friend - for in confess

Rocks raining down

Stephen - a man appointed by the disciples to be a "deacon" in the church, 'shows' us what it is to really serve. In his role as deacon, he was given the responsibility to make sure the widows, orphans, and poor were cared for. His role as deacon allowed the first century disciples to go on with their work of spreading the gospel message to those who had not heard the 'good news' as of yet - preaching, healing the sick, and sharing the good news that Christ was raised from the dead. His ministry, although some would think it quite insignificant to be a deacon, gained him some momentum and there were people who were a little "miffed" because they could not match his wisdom, level of service, or commitment. Stephen, brimming with God's grace and energy, was doing wonderful things among the people, unmistakable signs that God was among them. But then some men from the meeting place whose membership was made up of freed slaves, Cyrenians, Alexandrian

Oh, listen, then do! I get it!

The Golden Rule - I even have a ruler with the words printed on it! This is one of the most common 'rules' of the Bible, often repeated by many an individual who has no idea they are quoting scripture! Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Did you ever stop to consider how Jesus opens this statement? If you look closely, you will notice he says these words to anyone who is listening - really listening to what he has to say. The beginning point of all teaching in our  lives begins with listening - then it moves into the doing part. Sometimes we get this backward and attempt to do before we hear! “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,   bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.   If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.   Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it