Tag Archives: forgiveness

A Tiny Key

Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”
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I cannot pretend to understand the love between a father and son, as I am a mother, however I can comprehend love.  It would stand to reason that when a father sees his son for the first time it brings upon the man a flood of emotions.  Suddenly here is this child dependent upon him for love, attention and guidance as he grows up.  Maybe for some it seems like the most impossible task, only because of how they view who they are.  All I know is that a father’s love is not only needed but it is strong desire in each of as we learn and grow into the things of this world and its relationships.
Tragedy can strike any time.  Separations happen.  Divorce is ugly.  Love can be tainted.  Relationships can be torn.  Life can throw a multitude of failures at us.  Yet, we push through.  We survive the jungle of lies and traps as we grow closer into a relationship with God.  For those who have been raised without a father in their lives, no matter the circumstances, they may have a distorted picture of who God really is. Depending on the picture our fathers painted in our lives, we may see God as angry or distant or too busy or unloving or uncaring or just not there.  Some may feel abandoned or unwanted.  Others may feel rejected and misunderstood.  There is a multitude of different ways to see God, and many of the perceptions of the broken among us is wrong.
Today, right before my eyes I witnessed God in His most elaborate form, fatherly love.  My husband crossed a bridge to a whole new level of God in the matter of minutes.  Being reunited with his father after several years of absence and false emotions, I saw the love a father has for his son brimming in the eyes of a very broken man.  I do not have all the details of the past, but today was what was relevant.  In a moment of pure forgiveness, God melted the hearts of two men and has begun a restoration in them both.  For my husband it was seeing God in a whole new light as a loving, caring Father who has hopes and dreams for His beloved children.  For John’s dad, hope was restored,along with a good dose of acceptance.
Healing has begun.  In just one moment of time, forgiveness, a tiny key, opened a doorway to new love.  A doorway down a path of restoration and new revelation.  Our God is a God of restoration.  I do not have enough words to describe the restoration process in my life, let alone what He is doing in my husbands’ life.  I encourage you to spend some time with God and seek Him and His love.  Let Him reveal Himself to you as the loving Father that He is.  If you think God is mad at you for your failures, you are wrong.  If you think He can’t possible love you, you have a misconception about Him.  If you think you have to fix everything in your life before you can return to Him, the devil has you deceived.  Choose right now to see Him in a different light.  Let go of the hurt.  Forgive yourself.  See Him for the love He has for you.  It’s not too late.  He is waiting for you.
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Ephesians 2:8-10

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
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Ever been in that one situation where it just seems impossible to give grace?  In the grocery store.  At the pharmacy.  On the roadways.  At the emergency room.  At the gas station.  Well…almost anywhere springs forth opportunities to not be of God for just a moment.  You know those moments where you try to cover up your Jesus Freak T-shirt just so you can be unchristian for just a second.  It’s okay right?  We are covered by a grace which abounds to the ends of the earth so if we mess up and say what is on our minds the majority of the time it’s okay.  Well,I feel that if we are freely given grace by our loving Savior then we too should aspire to live a life of giving grace.  Is it easy? Nope.  Are we going to slip up?  Yup.  But on a Christian level we should be headed towards giving grace more often rather than just spitting out what the world spits at us.
Here is a perfect example from my life just the other day.  I went to the local convenient store to get five things:  A gallon of milk, a gallon of fruit punch, 2 plastic containers of non-dairy creamer and 2 D sized batteries for my dad.  Being the strong woman I am (lol) I decide no cart is necessary and I gathered my items and headed towards the register.  Now of course all five patrons in the store decide to check out at the same time. Here are the customers:  a grandmother with a teenage grandkid who wants a scarf which is not tagged, an older man with just a bottle of cough syrup, another grandmother with her grandson with a cart filled with a variety of items, myself and a mysterious cart just around the corner which I cannot see.
Now, by nature I am pretty patient in settings such as this.  The grandmother who was ahead of me tried to let me go ahead of her, however I denied the opportunity, knowing they would just have to open another lane.  Now while you are reading this, please remember the lesson is grace.  So as the first customer is almost checked out, another lane is opened. As everyone moves forward I attempt to head towards it when the mysterious cart pushes through navigated by a woman about my same age loudly proclaiming, “Excuse me please,” as she whizzes by me to get behind the man with the cough syrup.  I stood there in amazement holding my now very heavy items.
This is where grace can get ugly.  As I watched her unload her cart of canned goods and many other items I begin to feel bitterness rise up in me.  I felt slighted and wronged.  How dare she just push through like that.  Didn’t she see I had my arms full?  Right when I felt I was just going to give into rejection the grandmother in front of me had just emptied her cart and gave it to me so I could put my items in it.  Grace. Twice. Right in front of me.  So I began to pray for the other woman and asked God to bless her, forgiving her for cutting in front of me.
Round two.  So just when I thought my flesh was calm and I had blessed her, she completes her shopping and begins to push past me to get to the door and loudly says, “EXCUSE, ME!”  And I bit my tongue at a retort I was about to spew.  Why?  Because I knew God was about to use me, for you see I had already begun a conversation with the clerk.  She was having one of those days and when I asked her how she was she replied with, “It’s one of those day that you don’t want to ask me that, it’s a loaded question.”  In that one moment even with the distractions around me I could see her need for Jesus.  I simply looked at her and said, “Well,no matter what kind of day you are having, Jesus wants you to know He loves you and that’s all that matters.”
That’s all I had to say and she was filled with hope right before my eyes. Refreshed with hope.  Now looking back if I had reacted negatively towards the other woman I would not have been a very good witness.  If I had gotten in the other lane, I would have missed an opportunity for Jesus to show up.  This is what the reality of grace is.  It is undeserved but freely given so that hope can be restored to those around us.  

Thinking Like an Elephant

Luke 17:4

Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”
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So, we have been wronged over and over and over in our live times and we are called to forgiveness.  Sometimes we grow weary in the process yet we know in our hearts that it is the right path to take.  Do you know that when you are forgiving someone, you are in actuality releasing yourself more than anything else?  Forgiveness allows you to no longer be bound to any issue you have with another person even if that person is continuing on in sin.  Now, this of course does not give the other person permission to run amuck  all over your life by doing the same offense over and over and over, however each time it happens, we are called to forgive.  But do we have to forget is the million dollar question.
In my opinion no, we do not have to forget.  We may become like the memory of an elephant and never forget what offense was committed against us.  In doing so we forgive and store away in our minds the incident so if it arises again we may use wisdom not to react perhaps in the same way we did the first time.  Take for example you have an argument with your spouse.  You get upset by something they was said about your past.  You talk things over and both come to the point of forgiveness and you go about your day knowing that all is well.  Then a week later the same issue arises and because you remember what the reaction was last time, you can respond in a different manner resulting in a different outcome.  This is using wisdom to avoid insanity.  This stops the issue from being on a merry-go-round and happening again.
Forgiveness sometimes can be the hardest thing to do in our Christian walk.  So many of us have been hurt by past relationships or abused in some way or another.  Sometimes forgiveness is the last thing we want to do because we feel the other person does not deserve to be forgiven and this leads to bitterness which will eventually come to destroy parts of you.  It is better to quickly forgive than to stand in sinking sand and suffer in the end.  Forgiveness allows us to lean on God to a deeper level especially when we feel no urge in us to let some people know they are forgiven.  For me personally I would rather get the hard part over so that I could be open to the next level in God.  I don’t have any desire in me to hold on to things which will hinder my walk with Jesus.  I want to be free from bondage.  Jesus came to set us free and I want to stay that way.
Do you have persons in your life you need to forgive?  I encourage you to stop for a moment and search your heart.  It does not matter if you think the other person deserves it or not, don’t you want to enjoy the freedom?  Sometimes the forgiveness is just a simply act of obedience while other times it may take all that is within us to let it go.  Just know that we are called to forgive and it is by this one act that we continue to stay free.

Every Grace Counts

Romans 5:20

God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.
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How many of us have family members or friends that just drive us to seek God’s grace for their lives?  I mean it seems like every time we see them, we have to brace ourselves, stay in the love of God and just listen to them rant and rave about whatever life has thrown at them this time.  Ya know those people who can’t say a nice word about anything and feel like the whole world is against them.  Or what about the ones who are in sin and choose to stay there while there lives are falling apart?  Lastly, what about the persons who think they have it all together but you can clearly see the unhappiness in their lives?
All of these people need grace…not our grace, but God’s grace.
I have several persons in my life that I feel I need to give grace to on a daily basis.  Some of this borders with compassion, yet I feel without God’s grace I could not have the compassion to love.  I know people talk about me behind my back and some may even despise me.  Some don’t get why I divorced and remarried.  Others are perhaps envious of how happy I really am.  In the whole scheme of things, it is not I who needs to take care of these situations, it is Jesus.  God will never leave or forsake me and He will take care of my enemies, I am called to love and love means grace, forgiveness and compassion.
When you combine love with grace you are able to forgive and when you forgive you can find room in your heart for compassion.  If you melt all these things together you find freedom.  With freedom comes peace.  Sigh!  What a relief to discover that the root of all we have to do is love.  God is love and it is through Him that we even obtain grace.  If He gave it to us and it freed us from our sin then why would we not want to free others around us with His grace?
Who are the persons in your life that are in need of grace?  Are you withholding grace because of offenses?  Do you desire to be free?  I urge us all to seek out the grace God gave to us to give to others.  We are called to love and sometimes that means just keeping the peace in certain relationships.  Sometimes grace needs to be from a distance and that’s perfectly okay.  Just remember grace comes from love and all the love you need is in Jesus.

I Don’t Want Someone Else’s Trash

Matthew 18:15

New Living Translation (NLT)

Correcting Another Believer

15 “If another believer sins against you,  go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.

Resentment. Anger.  Attitudes.  Offences.  Misinterpretations.  Grudges.  Dishonesty.  Hard Feelings.  Hurtfulness. Trash is ugly in its’ self, however it gets uglier when it belongs to someone else.  Where I am going with this is simple, if you have a problem with someone, instead of taking it out on another unsuspecting person, go to the person who offended you in the first place and take care of business.  There is no excuse for pushing your anger towards one person onto someone else who has no idea what is going on.  Others hurt and offend us on a daily basis.  Sometimes we allow this to build up over time and it consumes us internally until one wrong word from someone else and we lose it.  We begin to throw daggers and harsh words at this person and they find themselves getting defensive and then it’s just full blown warfare.  And why?  All because we begin to operate out of woundedness.

How many times do we do this?  We are fearful of going to the person who hurt us in the first place and we begin to start wars everywhere we go, even at the bank teller or the cashier at the grocery store.  Perhaps we get angry at the drivers around us when really they did nothing wrong.  Whatever the situation may be, we direct our anger often times at the wrong people.  How can we stop this insane cycle of undeserved blaming and lashing out?  Simple.  Go to the person who offended you, hash it out, ask for forgiveness, make amends, do what ever it takes to make it right so you may begin to heal the wound that was inflicted upon you.

Let’s compare this to a leaky faucet: until you fix the leak, it is going to continue to drip causing you frustration and aggravation.  Until you actually go to the faucet and fix it physically, you are going to have to deal with the constant irritating drip.  It will drip until it drives you crazy and you just explode on the next thing that comes you way, like the dog or your husband or your unsuspecting six year old.  We often lash out all of a sudden like a volcano that has been brewing and bubbling for awhile and the victims are usually ones who have no idea that we are harboring some wound.  How unfair to them that we explode from some simple thing which sets us off.

This is where respect comes in.  You have to have enough respect for your fellow humans to correct wrong behaviors or straighten out wrong perceptions.  Who are you angry with?  Has someone wounded you and you have yet to deal with it?  Do you see this person everyday and pretend things are okay when underneath you have this bubbling molten ready to erupt?  I challenge you today to search your heart and ask God to show you how to handle the situation and then pray He gives you the right opportunity to approach this person or persons.  God will give you the grace if you are willing to be face to face.