It’s easy to tell someone to forgive until you’re the one who is wronged.
It easy to tell someone to forgive until you’re the one who is falsely accused.
It’s easy to urge that one to forgive until it’s your baby who’s wounded.
It’s easy to urge that one to forgive until it’s your baby who’s wrenching in pain.
It’s easy to say forgive when it’s not you seeking justice.
It’s easy to say forgive when it’s not you seeking revenge.
But when it is you…
But when it is yours…
But when it is all encompassed in your house, your home, your heart…
That’s when the Golden Rule isn’t so clear.
That‘s when the “seventy times seventy” is harder to reciprocate.
Yet, He said it for a reason.
He said it for your freedom.
He said it for your release.
For when you truly forgive, regardless of the apology, that is when you are truly free.
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
If you’ve not read The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, I encourage you to pick up a copy. It is a phenomenal fiction from the perspective of a “strong” demon writing letters to another “weaker” demon, his nephew in training, about their assignment to a Christian and their antics and schemes to keep that Christian from serving their Enemy, God.
It is such an intriguing concept and high can shed many incredible truths on our purpose and plan as Christians to impact God’s kingdoms and the purpose and plans of the enemy to keep us that very purpose. It really is a great read, even if you are not a person of faith or have no concept of the “Christian life.”
This excerpt impacted me greatly as I read it, and it describes perfectly what we are seeing in our modern culture. So many are focused on people they don’t know or with whom they have no interaction on a daily basis, but find it easy to shout blame, find fault and constantly point fingers for the demise of our society.
We are all tempted daily to become distracted by the news, social media, or even “word on the street” as we search for someone to blame for the chaos. When we all should be looking inward at our own hearts, our own attitudes, our own thoughts that ought to be bringing conviction for change.
Not one of us who live on this green earth are able to say, “I am without sin.” By no means, can one of us claim perfection in our actions, our words, or even in our thoughts. We are no better than the most wretched among us. We all are born into sin, are tempted by sin, and are pursued by sin our entire lives.
The only difference between me and the one who receives a death sentence of eternal sin is that I have confessed my sin to the One who can forgive. I have surrendered my life to the One who created me and the boy One who can save me from myself. I have committed my life to His will rather than my own.
That is the only difference.
And that makes ALL the difference.
And that difference is FOR ALL.
This difference can be possessed BY ALL.
So, let us all stop being distracted by the accusations, the lies, and the enticing scheme to keep our eyes averted from truth.
Let us all begin to look inward and find the wrong and seek to find the One who can make it right.
And only then, can we begin to rightly “fix” the world around us.
Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak,and blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.
Sharing a bit of my testimony with a group of ladies last night reminded me of some things I know to be true, but often forget in the healing process of life.
Your scars are not meant to be shameful.
Your scars are not meant to be hidden.
Your scars are not meant to be concealed.
If you’ll give those scars to Jesus, He will not only bring His glory from them, He will heal the wounds you have left as well.
Our scars tell a unique story, owned by no one else.
Our scars bring glory to Our Creator because He’s brought healing and strength.
Our scars show someone else how to respond to the pain and how to win.
Our scars show someone else they too can survive.
So, wear your scars humbly and confidently.
Our Lord does.
He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
It will wash away the sorrow. It will wash away the pain.
For music is a healing song that will woe the flesh to bend.
Music is a song of peace, an anthem to the derelict.
And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.
1 Samuel 16:23
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
I’ve heard it said, “Be careful the bridges you burn. You might need that passage again one day.”
At times, this can be so very true, for I believe some people simply don’t know who their friends are.
At other times, I want to scream across the chasm of experience and life, “Burn it! Set a bonfire and run away!”
You may be reading this and think, “Ohhhh, here we go. She’s got unforgiveness. She’s got a bitter root.”
But I have to disagree.
I’ve got wisdom. I’ve got experience. And I’ve got a brain.
Sometimes, there are bridges that need to be lit with a blow torch and never again embarked.
Granted, I’m not telling you to burn every passage you desire, and I’m no saying every disagreement in life should end in an explosion.
But I’ve watched too many sit still in the middle of abuse.
I’ve listened to too many stories of the narcissistic control.
I’ve witnessed too many who remain in the toxic fumes of dysfunction and lose hope.
This is when I want to cry out to send help.
This is when I want to carry the gasoline and the torch and say, “Light it.”
Yes. There are some bridges in life that must be burned to restore strength, vitality and love.
Draw on foresight, common sense and know-how.
Lean on knowledge, maturity and expertise.
Rely on truth and reality and forsake fantasy and lies.
Then, you will light the match with confidence.
Then, the destruction will leave and peace can come.
Then, Hope will be welcomed to abide.
So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.
When you’re in the middle of those toxins that are choking you, walk.
When you find yourself surrounded by the dunes of hostility and anger, walk.
When all you can see is the fiery darts of bitterness and hatred, walk.
Sometimes, it’s just better to remove yourself than to expect the other to change.
When you realize you’ve landed in the center of their pain, and they refuse to care, walk.
When you recognize you’re not helping, and those receiving refuse to give, walk.
When all you hear is the negative, the criticism, the accusations, walk.
You don’t have to stay to prove you’re right.
You don’t have to remain in the mud to express your love.
You don’t have to maintain the relationship when the abuse and jealousy are the weights.
This is not your punishment nor reward.
This is not your purpose or calling.
This is not your destiny.
Walk on, my friend.
But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; For the Lord will plead their cause, And plunder the soul of those who plunder them. Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.
The holidays always bring with them interesting family dynamics and semantics.
For some, it’s just simply dealing with the edges of uncomfortable scenarios and conversations, but nothing real out of the way.
No harm. No foul.
For others, it’s complete removal from the dysfunction and toxic environment which accompanies family, celebrations and traditions.
Survival of the Fittest or Crabs in a Barrel.
For most, it can just be learning to navigate between the two extremes.
The Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Wherever you find yourself during your yearly festivities, strive to do better.
Better yet, don’t just strive to survive.
Learn to thrive!
Your thriving isn’t going to look like another’s.
So, do what you can do to succeed.
Their crazies aren’t yours, and yours aren’t theirs.
They don’t have to understand.
Happy Crazy Holidays.
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider thatthe longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they doalso the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know thisbeforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
Too often, we work so hard to be kind to others that we forget to be kind to ourselves.
Sometimes, our focus is so laser set on what everyone else needs that shut our eyes to our own.
Frequently, we are so set to serve and fulfill everyone else’s wants, that we deny all of our desires.
Many times, we are so overly in tune with everyone else’s demands that we simply ignore as our body, our mind, or even our family is crying out to wake us from our oblivious yes.
Be good to you doesn’t mean you have to be selfish.
It doesn’t translate into having to be rude.
It doesn’t even suggest a response to be petty, mean and self-centered.
It only interprets and communicates:
“I am a person of value and worth just as much as you.”
Speak kindly to yourself. Balance it with truth.
Be honest with yourself. Balance it with compassion for all things broken.
Respond with the overwhelming grace that only He can bring.
Both for you and for them.
And above all, let Christ rule and reign in your heart, in your mind, in your soul.
And let His will become yours.
Let His heart consume yours.
Let His eyes and ears become yours.
Let His voice speak through yours.
And only then, can your world become the peaceful paradise it was meant to be.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things arejust, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father beglory forever and ever. Amen.
The brokenness of life was never meant to be a trophy we wear nor a badge we frame for the wall.
The hardship didn’t come for you to create a fortress around and hail the crisis as king.
We all feel the rain.
We all have tornadic seasons.
We all experience death, sorrow and grief.
You weren’t made to linger in the basin of despair.
You weren’t made to hover in canyon of defeat.
Look up. Cry for help. Claw your way out.
Write your survival guide and pass it along to the next to-be survivor.
Your destiny is waiting, and your little ones are watching.
Thus says the Lord to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held— To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut: ‘I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze And cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel. For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.