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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

 

I was cooking the other day, a Matthew West song came over the speakers.  I was taken back by the concept portrayed.  Love keeps no record of wrongs.

 

Does it sound familiar?  “Love is patient..it is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrong…”  (1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV84)

 

If you’re like me the first thing that comes into my head is not holding onto resentment.  It so easy to keep a list of the wrongs people have done to us.

 

However, there is another way we hold on to a list, a list of our own wrongs.   I find it’s easier to forgive others  than I can forgive myself.  If I sat down right now and wrote out every mistake I could remember it would be a doozie of a list.

 

Love does not keep a record of wrongs.

 

I think it’s the reason I and so many others are miserable, or freeze up when having to make a decision.  We’re reminded of all the mistakes we made, and they hang on to us like the chains of Jacob Marley in Charles Dickens’ book  A Christmas Carol.

 

The rehashing of mistakes and the fear that freezes me to moved forward replaces the calling God has given me to live and to live an abundant life.  I also push away from the rich love God has for me.

 

When I hold onto the list of my wrongs  and mistakes tightly, in essence I’m saying, “Your Son’s sacrifice was worthless, and your forgiveness is nothing.”  I’m doubting and that is sin.  Catherine Marshall in her book The Helper states this:

 

“He (Jesus)*  claimed to be the Savior, to be able to save us from any sin, any bondage, any problems. By disclaiming that with regard to any one of my problems, I am calling Jesus a liar and a charlatan – a fake prophet – as truly as did those who long ago howled for His death before Pilate and who drove in the nails…we think of sin as the breaking of laws, whereas Jesus thinks of sin as being bound.  Why would anyone with good will condemn a poor man bound with chains or tied with heavy rope?  Would he not rather want to free him?”

 

When we take our mistakes to God for forgiveness, He forgives and forgets.

 

See I have another problem that is linked to all this.  I can’t tell you how many times, the enemy reminds me of things I have done, and immediately I ask for forgiveness again, and again.  I can picture the Father smiling and saying,  “What mistake?”

 

Take a look at some of these verses:

 

“ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from  all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NASB)

 

He removes our sin as far as the east is from the west.”  (Psalm 103:11-13 NASB)

 

A person is blessed when they are forgiven, sins are covered and God doesn’t count it against them (Psalm 103:11-13 NASB)

 

“…For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34 NIV84 based on the new covenant that was fulfilled through Christ.)

 

Loving God means keeping no record of our mistakes for this simple fact, He loved us so much that He doesn’t keep a record of them.  The list was ripped up when we received Christ as our Savior.  Confession is for our benefit.  He forgave us at the cross.

 

It’s time that we forgive ourselves, let go of the past and move forward.  It’s not easy but through the work of Holy Spirit it’s possible.   If God is love then He keeps no records of our wrongs, so it stands to reason we should not keep a record of our wrongs.

 

*My emphasis

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We all make mistakes. Sorry, but that’s the truth.

If you are anything like me, some mistakes wreak havoc with my emotions and my relationship with God. They can even zap my energy to get things done. I found myself in this exact situation recently.

My motives were great at first, however the choice led to guilt and questions like  “I am so unworthy to talk to Him, and read His word how can I call myself a Christian or even go to my local place of worship?” Let me say this before I continue, we are not worthy but have been made worthy when we have accepted Christ as our Savior.

I am a recovering “Perfectionist”.  By the way there is only One perfect and that is Christ. With that said, when the mess up is big in my eyes, perfectionism attacks with power. Instead of focusing on what can I learn from the mistake, I beat myself up sometimes until I’m sick.

Enter the two “safe” people in my life, my husband and my mentor/accountability/prayer partner.

Mike is a wonderful man who I am grateful God gave to me. As I confessed to him my mistake, he talked without condemnation and best of all, showed me the positives that could come out of it.

JoAnn is wonderful, godly woman. As I poured my heart out to her she also listened while I sobbed. She gave this input; “Christine, you must get back into the Word. The only way to find relief and release from the guilt, which by the way is not of God but Satan himself, is to allow God to battle for you through His Word. Read verses that talk about His love for you. It will be amazing what you will learn.”

So I did. I talked to Mike about what I had been learning through my Bible reading and a book I was reading. Surprise appeared on his face.

“You still feel guilt over this?”

“Yes.” I cried.

“Honey I’ve got just the verse for you that I have memorized. By the way, guilt is not of God.”

Hmmm, where did I here that before? Here is what he shared with me:

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on  to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet
to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.   I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12-14 *

I realized how easily I forget His promises that He has given me. Promises like:

Romans 8:1  – There is no condemnation for those of us who have accepted Christ
Deuteronomy 7:7-9 –  He doesn’t love me because I’m important or perfect but because I am His
Psalm Psalms 66:20 –  He will not hold back His love from me
Psalm 17:8  – I am the apple of His eye
Psalm 94:12-19 –  He won’t reject me but uses the mistakes to teach me
Zephaniah 3:17  – He is with me, mighty to save me, delights in me, quiets me with His love and rejoices over me.

But one of the neatest things is His love is all encompassing:

Psalm 36:5  It reaches to the heavens (it’s above me)

Psalms 23:6 – His love follows me (It’s behind me)

Psalms 26:3 – His love is before me (it’s in front of me)

Psalms 139 –He knows me and hems me in

Ephesians 3:17b-19 His love is wide, long, deep and high

Now close your eyes and picture yourself.  Place a red heart where these verses say God’s love is.  We as His children are totally surrounded by His love.

I wish I could say that the guilt is totally gone. It’s not, but it has diminished, as I have called out to God. I’m better then I was 5 days ago and better than yesterday. The worse thing I can do is runaway from the Father. During these times I should be running toward Him.

I have been forgiven by God.

Let me say this, fear can come into play with some of our mistakes. This can be a good thing for it becomes a warning flag that we are heading in the wrong direction and change is needed. But take heart forgiveness is waiting with open arms. Brokeness admits the wrong , leaves it as God’s feet and allows  Him to restore  and help us move on.

How about you today? Do you have a hard time fighting the guilt or embarrassment over your mistakes ?

Don’t run from your Heavenly Father.  Read His Word, leave your mistakes with Him and allow Him to restore you.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

Romans 8:1

*Please note all verses quoted and listed are from the NIV 1984 version of the Bible.

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My stomach turned. I hadn’t seen the couple in three years and I certainly didn’t want to see them now. I was going only because my daughter was playing in the game. By the time I arrived at church, dropped my daughter off, and parked I was crying almost to the point of hyperventilating.

You see this couple was going to adopt my niece. My family thought it was great. They changed her name in the school she was attending and allowed her to call them mom and dad. However, without any warning, two years later, they called and said we can’t do this and we are sending her back to you.

We were shocked and angry. This little one had been through enough, her father died of an overdose and her mother (my sister) was in prison. My parents adopted her instead. For months my niece would say “I want to go home, mommy and daddy did this or that, or listen to the funny things my brothers did.” I would clench with anger. It took everything in me to say absolutely nothing.

Over the past three years when I heard their name anger flared. They come down twice a year and see her and I  stay as far away as possible. In Matthew West’s song “Forgiveness“ he points out even when people tell me that I have a right to be angry and not forgive, it’s not what God asks of me.

As I sat in the car I realized that my overwhelming emotion, was not just the fact that I had to see them, but that God wanted me to forgive, not just right there and then but to their faces.

“If this is what you want God, I can’t do it. There is no way,” I said out loud trying to take a breath, “But if it’s what you want, I will, but You will have to give me the strength to do it.”

After the game, with my parents by my side I said, “Over the past three years I have been so resentful towards you, not for myself or my parents but for my niece. I know this is where God wants her. But as a Christian forgiveness is not an option. So I want to tell you I forgive you. This is a hard thing for me to do but there it is.”

When I walked to my other daughter’s game the tears flowed. This time it came from the shock of what transpired and the sense of freedom I had.

I think one reason God asks us to forgive is not for the benefit of the one forgiveness is extended to, but it’s for the one who is offering the forgiveness. It’s the hardest response we can give to some one who has hurt us, but there is no greater peace felt when we do.

How about you? Is there someone that has hurt you or someone you love? Have you been carrying resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness?

Take it to God today. He will give you the strength to forgive them whether it is face to face, over the phone or, just in acknowledgement to God. It maybe a moment by moment or situation by situation thing. Resentment will rear its ugly head again. Remember you have forgiven them and immediately take it to God. He’ll take care of it.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV 1984)

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