O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Psalm 95:6-7 KJV
There is nothing fair about forgiving someone. They did or said something to us that was painful. They stole our dignity, our sense of value, our rights. They should have to pay for that.
Unfortunately, no matter if they groveled at our feet in sincere sorrow – which usually does not happen – the clock cannot be rolled back, the deed cannot be undone, the words erased as if they were never spoken. It is, as they say, “water under the bridge.” That really stinks.
For most of us, there is a specific person who has come to mind as you read this. For some, it brings a flood of painful memories and its accompanying anger. If you knew what they did to me, you would understand why I can’t forgive them, you’re thinking right now.
Better than most, I do understand. If we were face-to-face, we could exchange horror stories and work one another into quite a frenzy.
When we finished, what would have changed?
I’ve been asking this question a lot lately.
There are people in my past whom I’ve refused to forgive. They owe me. The problem is that their debt is humanly impossible to repay. They are as powerless as I to go back and do things differently. Some of them wouldn’t change a thing if they had it to do over.
Therefore, day after day I dredge them up, rehearse what was done or said, lament at the consequences I’ve had to pay, the wounds I’ve had to bear, the effect their actions have had on my life. What could have been a pleasant day turns into a tornado of whirling thoughts, full of the broken wreckage that once was my heart.
Meanwhile, my offenders are off living life, enjoying themselves, going on as if nothing had happened.
It isn’t fair!
Once upon a time, they stole from me. Today, I’ve left all the windows open, the front door wide ajar, and, in fact, am throwing more of my heart out into the street for them, and anyone else, to run over. I’ve become an accomplice to the thieves. That’s just bizarre. Why would I do such a thing?
The hardest thing to understand about forgiveness is that it is for my benefit – not theirs. I mean, day after day I drag them around with me like an old, dead corpse. They stink up my life and taint many decisions that I make – Can I trust you? Dare I risk being open with this person? I shouldn’t try that, they said I’ll only fail. They’re probably right.
They also affect how I react to different people. The minute I encounter an angry person, for instance, I shut down. Criticism does the same thing, as do those *fun* cutting remarks, which I’ve affectionately termed sitcom humor.
In addition, there are the wounds. So long as I keep picking at them, that’s all they’ll ever be – wounds. You only have a scar after healing comes.
Attempts by these people to move closer to me after they’ve sincerely apologized are rebuffed. They may have apologized, but they haven’t paid for what they did. As if they could.
Meanwhile, there’s a wall between us that’s a mile high and growing by the minute.
I realized today that I’m as close to these people as I want to be. Some of them are close friends and family. I’ve blamed them for the shallowness of our relationship in the past. Now I see that I’ve only given them a wading pool in which to meet me. The lack of intimacy is on my part, not theirs. They’ve tried to make amends, but it’s never enough.
Until I’m willing to bear the marks of their sin in my body (allow wounds to heal and become scars), and release them from the debt they owe (extend forgiveness), I will ever be a prisoner to my past. Relationships that should be thriving will be stunted in growth – and so will I…just a dinky bonsai instead of the towering palm tree I was created to be.
You see, when we build walls, we always forget to put in windows or a door. We wake up one day to realize that what was once a heart-high barricade has become a prison from which we can’t escape. It’s cold, dark, and lonely in that place.
All the while, my offender is walking around free. What’s wrong with that picture?
It is NOT FAIR.
Well, what am we going to do about that? There’s no way to ever make it fair while we’re alive. You do realize that, don’t you? It’s impossible to change the past.
Shall we continue to give them our future as well? What would be fair about that?
Not a cotton-picking thing! It’s time to throw off the shackles of unforgiveness, drop that old dead corpse right here and now, stand tall, take a deep breath, and step into life with a clean slate.
It’s not fair – but it’s freedom!
Visit my blog: Lessons by Heart
I’m posting this on every blog that I write for. If you follow all of Loopy Loo’s blogs, you’ll see it more than once!
Did you have to read the book, “1984” by Orson Wells when you were in high school? We did.
The only thing I recall about that book was that the government installed cameras in everyone’s home so they could keep an eye on the citizens.
“How absurd,” I thought.
I was only partially correct in my thinking.
Today most homes in first-world countries…and many in third-world…have cameras in their homes.
The government didn’t do it, though.
We did it to ourselves.
Last year, my youngest son got quite a scare – and I got a wake-up call:
“Mom, um, I’m in really big trouble,” Rob said with a tremor in his voice.
“What’s up, Rob?” I asked.
“Well, I opened my laptop this morning and this was on the screen. It’s from the FBI. They locked my computer and it will cost $400 for me to get it unlocked.”
“What? That’s not right. Let me see.” I stepped over to his computer.
Sure enough, there on the screen was a very official-looking notice from the FBI. He was accused of either publishing porn, looking at child porn, or pirating movies.
“Rob, it’s a scam. Were you doing any of those things?” I asked, giving him “the look.”
“Well, I was watching a movie on this website. It was only rated PG-13,” he confessed.
“And did you buy that movie?”
“Well, no. You can go to this site and watch any movie you want. You don’t have to pay for it.”
“If you didn’t buy it, then you stole it. Consider this a slap on the wrist from the Lord and don’t steal movies anymore.”
“But I’m in big trouble, Mom. This notice is from the FBI. They’ve even got a picture of me watching the movie…look! Am I going to have to go to jail?”
“Rob, this isn’t how the FBI operates. If you’re in trouble, they come an confiscate your computer. They don’t just lock it up – and then charge you $400 to unlock it so you can continue your illegal activity,” I explained.
“But, Mom, they’ve got my picture…and this is the FBI,” his voice rose with every syllable, his hands shook like leaves in the wind.
“Hold on a minute. Come here.” I walked to my own laptop and got online.
I typed, “FBI Scam” in the search bar. Several website options and warnings about the notice instantly appeared.
“See – it’s a scam.”
From there we did all we could to remove the malware or virus or whatever it was…to no avail. The hard drive had to be wiped, and the original programs re-installed. Even then, it never worked right and was junked soon afterward. What a pain!
The thing I wanted you to see is that the camera on his laptop was accessible by others.
Further, my daughter relayed the story to some friends who were a few hundred miles away. Her friend’s husband said, “Just a minute.”
When he returned to the phone, he said, “Hey. Do you always wear sweats this late in the day?” He went on to describe exactly what she had on, and where she was standing…
…and they were a few hundred miles away, like I said!
Dumbfounded, she asked, “How do you know what I’m wearing?”
“I used your computer. I’m guessing it isn’t even on. Am I right?”
“No, it isn’t on. How did you do that?” she asked.
He said, “There are ways. If I can do this – being a rookie – certainly others can as well. Cover up your camera when you’re not using it.”
A word to the wise is sufficient.
“Tami, take this notepad and write down every name you’ve ever been called,” my pastor’s wife said to me during one of our counseling sessions.
It took no time at all to scratch out a couple of columns of put-downs, foul names, critical labels. They were etched in my brain, and flowed readily through my arm, the pen in my hand, and onto the tablet. Some of them were so crude that I was loathe to put them to paper.
Ashamed, and sure I was about to be exposed for the “creep” I was, I handed the pad back.
She gave the list a cursory glance, then placed it back into my hands. Looking deeply into my eyes, she said, “Do you realize that this is who you really believe yourself to be? Is this what God says is true about you?”
I shrugged my shoulders. As far as I knew, He was keenly aware that I was much worse than what I’d written down.
“Is this what the Bible says is true of you?”
I knew the correct answer was, “no,” but somehow believed that I was the exception.
“Well,” she said with that penetrating gaze she’s so good at,” Let’s ask the Lord, okay?”
We bowed our heads, and she asked, “Jesus, what do you think of Tami? Is she really all those names she listed? What do You call her.”
Inwardly I cringed. Here it comes.
The first thing that came to mind was dismissed – it had to be my imagination. Ugly titles began to flood my mind after that; ones that were all too familiar.
“Did He say anything?” she asked. “What was the first thing that came to your mind?”
Sheepishly I responded, “Beloved.”
Her warm smile conveyed so much love. “Oh, isn’t that sweet?”
(I wasn’t convinced, but nodded agreement – all the while thinking, I doubt that was Jesus.)
Before I could voice my disbelief, she asked, “Lord, is there anything else?”
This time I giggled. She asked what I’d heard.
“Delightful!” I exclaimed.
That was the beginning of a new identity for me. For the first time I was able to accept what the Bible says about anyone who is in Christ. Today I can rattle it off at a pretty good clip, and – more importantly – believe that it is true for me:
I am the blood-bought daughter of the Lord Most High. I was chosen, accepted, adopted, redeemed, justified, sanctified, glorified, and am seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. He sees me as holy, blameless, and above reproach, and as His masterpiece.
How about you? What ugly names were spoken over you? Do you believe they are true – deep down have you owned them? Take them to Jesus and see what He has to say about the matter.
This particular time He spoke into my mind. Other times He has given me mental pictures of something He wanted to convey. There are lots of ways that He communicates with me…heart-shaped rocks, hummingbirds, butterflies, a Scripture that leaps off the page. He will have a unique way of communicating with you, too.
If what you “hear” Him say is counter to the lies you’ve heard – and is in line with Scripture – you can know of a certain that you really did hear from Him. The enemy comes to kill and steal and destroy. He’s not about to try to give you a true picture of how God sees you.
This will change your life! Something in your mind shifts. How you view the Lord is adjusted to a more accurate perspective as well. You get to hear his heart for you. Remember, Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free;” – free to be all He created you to be.
Mmm. I love that!
There is nothing mystical about talking with God. The Bible is replete with examples of people who carried on conversations with Him – spoke to Him and heard from Him. He longs to speak truth into our lives. We must learn how He speaks to us.
Now when someone tries to label me I can remember this:
You did not create me, therefore you cannot define me!
Visit Tami’s Blog: Lessons by Heart
For this next verse in the Three Sixteen series I am going to say very little. God/Paul can speak for himself here. He does it so well.
I’ll start from a little way back, at verse 7, to give you a run-up to the standout verse, 16.
“The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8 Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9 If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! . . . . . 13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. 16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
What magnificent grace! What privilege has been shown to us in Christ! We have received the grace of the knowledge of God, through the Spirit of Christ. We have had the veil lifted, unlike so many who still are stumbling in the dark. Even the Jews, who were the first recipients of God’s favour, they stumble over Christ. Both back then and now. The veil is not lifted.
Praise be to God! He has turned us around, back to himself, and removed the veil which kept him hidden from us! Now we can reflect His glory to others!
2 Corinthians 4:6 – “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
Blessings from Ros (sevennotesofgrace)
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Looking at the societal impact on Christianity one would think that holiness is a thing of the past. One can hardly tell the difference between the Christian and the non-Christian. Holiness has nearly become a curse word even in Houses of Worship. Moreover the idea of holiness has become just shy of being taboo even among those that say that love God. Things have become so bad that it has become extremely difficult to differentiate between the church and the club.
The fact of the matter is that God is not pleased with this lack of holiness. God has made it known early on that He requires a high standard of His people. Exodus 22:31 points to that high standard without equivocation. The words “And ye shall be holy men unto me” is not a mere suggestion of how God wants His people rather it is a mandate that the people of God be separate and apart from the world in every aspect of life. God requires holiness of His people because of His own holiness (Leviticus 11:44). His is not in the world nor can God be part of the world system. And, if Christians are to immolate the teachings of Christ neither can they be a party to the things of the world that pull from holiness.
Paul recognized the lack of holiness in the Corinthian church. The people were found not only sympathetic with nonbelievers but that they also became party to much of what God called them out from. Among the things they gave in to was idea of hedonistic practices which were the antithesis of the teaching of Christ. Yet the same practices are common today. The idea is if it feels good do it. Hence we have many “Christian” entities endorsing homosexuality because the practice of this sin does not hurt anyone. It is the sexual preference of those involved and there is no one can determine who someone else will love. Still the Scripture requires that the followers of Christ “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you (II Corinthians 6:17). This declaration by Paul is a call to holiness.
While the way some act in the walls of the church building is quite sickening it is only a type of the way they act outside the church. God never intended the church to be like the world. In fact the word “church” stems from the Greek ecclesia which means “the called out ones.” This is to say the Church, which is the people, are called out from the world in order to promote the virtues of Christ. It means the influence of the world at best minimally impacts those that seek to please the Most High. The idea of coming out from among them that that live riotous lives means that there is no conforming to the world or the worlds ideas (Romans 12:2).
This is why the idea of “Christian” alternatives must be taken issue with. Nowhere in scriptural text is there any suggestion that the people of God are to seek alternatives to the world. This idea of alternatives only creates double standards among what is supposed to be a holy people. The fact is that if a certain thing derived from the things of the world that very thing or idea has no place among God’s people. It does not matter if it is ungodly dress, music or even ways of speaking; ungodliness is ungodliness and has no place among the people of God. It is high time the people of God relented on acquiescing to the dictates of the world choosing rather to stand on the truths of the Word of God.
The lack of holiness not only means displeasure for God but also is a certainty for eternal damnation. Hebrews 12:14 clearly shows that holiness is a prerequisite for seeing God and without holiness no man shall see God. If any one does not see God it means that he is totally separated from God. Holiness, then, is not a simply way of thinking rather it is a way of life. This is because “God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness (I Thessalonians 4:7). Holiness means that there are distinct differences between the Christian and the non-Christian. The two have nothing in common.
The Church needs to return the old landmarks of holiness. Christians need to be holy in where they go, holy in what they see and holy in what they do. There should be neither smell nor likeness of the world on the Christian. Christians are called to be a holy nation and if holiness is not prevalent in Christendom that it could be safely argued that those claiming Christianity may well be not Christians by reason of their lack of holiness. Yes, it is high time the Christian returned to holiness.