Tag Archive | forgive

forgiveness.

We’ve all heard how important it is to forgive.

I think there is only one way to be able to do it.

We have to acknowledge the things we’ve done wrong.

It’s part of our human nature to justify, blame, or excuse why we did or didn’t do this or that. We’re also good at thinking the things we’ve done wrong were not as bad as …

And we’re also good at thinking we would never do …

We’re good at fooling ourselves. We don’t fool God.

God knows exactly how we are made – how we think, how we feel, why we do what we do.

Have you ever really stopped to think about your motives? That’s the part of us God calls our heart. And here are some things he says about it:

  • Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.
  • I the Lord search the heart and test the mind …
  • Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.

These are just a few scriptures establishing the truth that we all have intentions and motives which come from what God calls, the heart. The innermost part of us; our conscience.

We have an ability to dismiss what is the right thing and eventually, our intentions and motives seem justified. We can deceive ourselves. This is what God calls a hardened heart.

Just like hard soil resists rain, our heart can resist what is good, right, and true.

Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch woman who, along with her family, hid Jews during the Holocaust. An informant reported them and they were arrested by German soldiers and put in a concentration camp. Her father and sister died there but for reasons unknown, Corrie was released.

Years later, she was speaking at a church in Munich when she recognized a man who had been a guard at the concentration camp where her father and sister died.  The man made his way forward to speak with Corrie.

 “I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein”–again the hand came out–’will you forgive me?’

And I stood there–I whose sins had every day to be forgiven–and could not. Betsie had died in that place–could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it–I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’

I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality.

Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion–I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.

‘Jesus, help me!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then. (http://www.guideposts.org)

The Bible is not a list of do’s and don’ts in terms of measuring up in order to satisfy an angry God or get to Heaven. God’s intention is to light our path. To help us – not hurt us.

God says, do this not this and you will be a lot better off.

If you don’t see yourself as that bad of a person (pride), forgiveness may come hard for you.

If you will see your whole human condition (humility), born with a bent toward sin, you will know you cannot fix it yourself. You will turn to the only one who can fix it.

In understanding your need for forgiveness, you will have compassion for others who need the same.

Next: forgiveness pt 2

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candle lantern heart

photo: foter.com

 

for you.

There are people who do not go to church.

Some have been hurt.

Some see hypocrisy.

Some don’t believe in God.

So many reasons.

So many experiences.

And God cares about them all.

You may have heard “there is no perfect church”. This is true. But it is not an excuse.

It is often said in situations of conflict so those who have been hurt will realize things happen and the Bible encourages us to forgive, turn the other cheek, pursue peace, guard against division, and basically, let it go.

I agree and I have personally found peace in every situation, whether resolved or not.

Yet, I believe we should be very careful to examine our motives if we are in a conflict and we know we have hurt people with our words or actions. If the burden is quickly placed on the recipient of that hurt to just move on, it may be cause to take a step back.

There are scriptures telling us to be humble, bear one another’s burdens, and serve one another … all wrapped up in fervent love.

This love we should have is defined by the love God showed to the world through placing himself between us and the deadly consequences of sin separating us from God forever.

This is huge. And if we find ourselves getting off track, not always loving the way God wants us to, I think we are in big trouble.

And so, the Church, the people, should be representatives of this love which is immersed in gentleness and humility.

We do this because we love God and aren’t we the light to the world?

It’s not about our ability to move mountains, prophecy, and understand all mysteries.

It’s not about giving everything to the poor or dying a martyr.

All things that would get the world’s attention.

It is only about love. Are we humbling ourselves and allowing God to clean up our oh-so-easily-straying-heart?

Jesus humbled himself when he loved the world through his death.

If we are not humble, do we really love?

And are we growing and maturing into that perfect Church?

It’s interesting how much the world will expect from the Church. That’s because there is something unspoken, yet powerful that speaks to the world.

We must get it right.

glow

Photo credit: Foter.com

 

 

 

seeing God.

I’ve always carried the banner of faith in every situation. It fit me well. Most days, I am naturally optimistic and positive. The faith message found in the Bible resonated with me.

There is a place for faith. God says we need it. But I have found applying it to situations that positions a person to believe to the point of denying reality is wrong. We get this thinking from the faith scriptures. We ” call those things which be not as though they were”. The scripture says God does, but we have Christ in us so we do, too.

The Bible talks about trust, too. There are plenty of scriptures that say the inevitable: people get sick. Accidents happen. Things go wrong. People die.

Faith is also acceptance and learning to live with pain.

This is not a fatalist mindset. It is facing a situation with courage. Otherwise, there are endless questions that torment you. And usually, the promoters of the faith message are nowhere to be found. Because someone has to answer why your diligence to prayer did not work.

I’ve learned the hard way. But you don’t have to. Recognize what you know to be true. Because when you face tragedies, no matter how horrific, God says he will never leave you or forsake you. God’s presence is real when you’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Like Job said, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”

No one can take that away from you.

Don’t inject more hurt into your heart. They don’t understand. Forgive them. And let God lead you to the green pastures and quiet waters where he will heal your broken heart. It will naturally unfold in the days to come.

Photo credit: -mtnoxx- / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: -mtnoxx- / Foter / CC BY

And if you are committed to the Lord, you know his grace is enough. You also know that it may be how God wants you to let your light shine to others.

forgive.

It is not impossible to forgive someone.

The only way we can is because God has wired us for it.

After recognizing this, the next step is to realize that you do things wrong, too. When we understand and accept this fact we are more willing to forgive.

See, the problem is we don’t think we’re that bad. Or, we would never do what so-and-so did.

If we would see we’re all broken – all on an equal playing field – this paradigm would make us think differently. The Bible states to break one commandment is to break them all.  In God’s world, sin is sin.

It’s alright to be hurt. If you want to forgive, God will help you. Otherwise you will become bitter. And that will hurt even worse.