Tag: forgiveness

Letting Go of Something Good

Letting Go of Something Good

This one’s for me.

“Letting go” isn’t usually easy — especially for me. It doesn’t matter what it is. I’m incredibly sentimental. My closet in my living room has been opened a total of 5 times since I’ve lived there (3 years)! I have yet to clear out its contents because I have some sort of sentimental attachment to those things (awards, memorabilia, etc.). Also, I’m pretty sure there are spiders in there and I’m not really built for that kind of battle.

It’s much easier for me to let go of things I know I don’t need and don’t care about — but what about when it’s something I really care about? What if I have to let go of something God has said is for me? What if I have to let of something that’s good for me? What if I have to let go of something I never expected to part with?

Well, that’s me right now. I won’t go into great detail; but I wanted to express some ideas that have been swarming through my mind.

  1. My trust cannot be in the good “thing’s” ability or likelihood of coming back. I must trust that if God needs me to have it, it will be God’s ability and responsibility to restore it.
  2. I have to consider that what’s good isn’t necessarily what’s best.
  3. When I give up something good, I have to realize that I’ll always win. If I give it up and cling to God, I’ve automatically won. Although, if I’m honest, I don’t always know what that looks like nor am I amped to cling to God in moments like these. Sometimes, I just want to stomp my feet, pout, and demand that God does things my way. This sort of reaction indicates a certain idolatry in my heart toward the thing(s) I let go of.
  4. Although it may be good for me, it may not be good for me right now.
  5. How secure am I in who God has said I am? Do I need this thing in order to feel secure, confident, worthy, etc? Nah.
  6. God will often draw you to Himself in moments of loss (of any proportion). This is almost always the highest purpose or result when loss occurs.
  7. There are no shortcuts for dealing with the pain. There are many seemingly worthy substitutes that make it easier to cope with the pain. They help soften the blow of the loss. However, if maturity is what you seek, you’ll know that eventually you will have to part with the temporary for the ultimate. You’ll have to embrace and face the pain head on.
  8. God is not cruel nor is He interested in making you suffer without purpose. In most cases, our suffering is not due to God bringing some judgment. It’s often due to our poor decisions, decisions of others around us, or attacks from the enemy (Satan).

While God does not cause much of our pain, He will use it for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

All things — suffering, work together for my good.

All things — loss, work together for my good.

All things — obscurity, work together for my good.

All things — rejection, work together for my good.

All things — (fill in the blank), work together for my good.

It is important when you are walking (sometimes crawling) through a season of loss to watch where you put your focus. Social media is a trap I’ve found myself falling into many of times.

Scrolling through highlight reels of the lives of those around me serves as a constant reminder of what I’ve lost or doubt I’ll ever have. Eyes up. Meditating on what was and being worried about what will be — eyes up. Getting stuck in grief, bitterness, self-hatred, frustration with God — eyes up.

God will always be the remedy for what we’ve lost.

He can be trusted. Let this verse permeate your heart in this time:

“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).

 

Hang In There

Hang In There

“Have the kids drove you crazy yet?” she asked. “Absolutely.” I replied.

“Hang in there.”

Those three magic words calmed and reassured me as my coworker with great empathy encouraged me. I didn’t even know I needed to hear that or that it would have the kind of effect it had.

The beauty of those three words strung together is that there are no empty promises or frilly pretenses. It means what it says. “Hang. In. There.”

No one tells you to ‘hang in there’ when things are easy. The very reason for which they’re saying that to you is because things are NOT easy. ‘Hang in there’ means:

  1. You may not have much left to give, but give anyway.
  2. You may be tired, but press anyway.
  3. You may not be noticed, but serve anyway.

The Bible says, So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up or quit” (Galatians 6:9 MSG). Paul is specifically addressing believers and how they engage with other believers and those who do not share their faith. This response is important because it’s not a response to humans, but a response and result of relationship with God.

Paul is teaching the church at Galatia that God does not ignore our efforts, hard work, good intentions, good deeds, etc. While those things are no good in and of themselves to save us, God still recognizes them and responds to them. 

The verses before verse 9 explain a basic principle that most people believe regardless of religious or cultural background. Some call it karma. Some call it ‘energy’ or ‘vibes.’ Some call it the power of positive thinking. We call it many things without fully understanding the weight of it.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reapFor the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life(Galatians 6:7-8).

Basically: whatever you plant, grows. Whatever you put in, you get it back. The beautiful thing about God is when you choose to plant according to His desires, His nature, and His will, you don’t just get back what you put in. You get a HARVEST. You get MORE than what you put in. Unfortunately, some of us feel as if we haven’t seen anything that looks like a harvest.

Some of us are frustrated right now because we don’t feel like our efforts are being noticed by the people we’d like to notice. Some of us feel God doesn’t seem to care about the pain, discomfort, or difficulty we may be walking through. Know this:

The Bible also says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

If there is anything that you take away from this, let it be this: God sees. More importantly for some of us, God sees you. Specifically. Clearly. Lovingly.

So, whatever you’re going through, know that God has a beautiful plan for you. It may not be easy or comfortable; but it’s worth it. God never promised we wouldn’t suffer; though He did promise that He’d always be with us (Deut. 31:6). So, hang in there. Better yet, rest in the One who is holding you.

Forgive But Never Forget Pt. 2

Forgive But Never Forget Pt. 2

Let’s get back to it. Shall we?

If you have not read Part 1, I suggest you do so before reading this post. It may help you better understand. Find it here: Forgive But Never Forget.

In Part 1, we learned the meaning of forgiveness in the Biblical sense. Webster’s Dictionary says it means, “to cease to feel resentment against (an offender); pardon; to give up resentment of or claim to requital; and to grant relief from payment of.” That’s a very interesting take on forgiveness. We can work with that.

You know, it’s funny. We could know the definition of forgiveness and still not feel prepared to forgive. First thing’s first: we don’t have to feel like forgiving someone. It’s a choice. Secondly, there are various hindrances (obstacles) to forgiveness. We’ll explore one of them in this post. It may be yours.

One of the hindrances to forgiveness is having the wrong ideology. 

Many of us are so hurt when someone commits an offence against us because we believe we’d never do that if we were them . Truthfully, many of us are right. We’d never do what they did under those same circumstances. However, sometimes it takes a different set of circumstances for us to commit the same kind of offence.

During my freshman year of college, our university’s president, Dr. Mark Rutland, said something that completely changed my life. He said (this is as accurate as I can remember), “Every human being is capable of committing the most heinous act.” He went on to explain that while people may have to be motivated by different things, they are capable of doing the same terrible thing.

You may say, “I would never cheat on someone.” The reality is: you have the capacity to cheat in a relationship. While they may have cheated on you because they were bored or manipulative, you may cheat because you feel neglected. See? Same offence. Different motivations. Realizing that we too are capable of doing what someone did to us can help forgiveness and grace (we need to talk about that; another time perhaps) to overwhelm our hearts.

“Well, I haven’t cheated before! Never in my life!” You’re right. You may not have. However, consider that it may be simply because you’ve not been presented with the right opportunity and the right motivation. Just something to think about…

This idea works in tandem with this increasingly popular phrase, “don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you.” “But Darveiye, I didn’t do anything as bad as they did! I’ve never done what they did!” This is part of the problem. We ascribe levels to sin and conveniently our sin is never really “that bad.” We can easily find justification for our every deed. We struggle to forgive because we see their sin differently than our own. 

For example, many of us may see someone having premarital sex (sex outside of marriage) as being worse than the “little white lie” we told. To God, it’s all sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).”

This means everyone is inclined to sin and cannot meet God’s standard of righteousness on their own (this is why Christ came). We are all born with a sinful nature that yearns to do what is contrary to the nature of the God who created us. This is important because it means no matter whether you lie, cheat, or murder, we’re ALL in need of grace and forgiveness. There’s that word again.

Grace. It sounds so pretty; but it’s messy, profound, and reckless. See, God didn’t wait until we got our act together to reconcile us back to Himself. He didn’t wait for a 90-day money-back guarantee. He did it while we were still in our mess. “For God demonstrates His love toward us; in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” The Bible talks about the fact that people will rarely die for a good man, let alone a bad one. Yet, God didn’t need our guarantee when He made the decision to rescue us.

That’s another hindrance to forgiveness: we want a guarantee. We want to know that if we forgive someone, they’ll never do it again. We want to know that if we forgive someone, they’ll spend so much time “making it up to us.” There is no “making it up” in forgiveness. Forgiveness removes the very requirement to “make it up” or “pay the debt.”

Some questions to ponder…

Do you have the courage to forgive someone today even if you’re not sure they’ll change their ways?  Will you forgive them even if they didn’t think they needed your forgiveness? Will you forgive them while they’re still in their mess? It doesn’t mean you have to go back to the same level of intimacy you once shared with that person; but will you forgive? Will you let go?

There are many other hindrances to forgiveness that I’d like to explore. So, stay tuned for another post in the very near future!

Before you go, I’d like to say (type) a prayer over you.

Father,

I thank You for being good even when we’re not. Thank You for being good even when the world around us is not. God, thank you for forgiving us. Give us the strength and peace to forgive those who have hurt us. Help us see how we have hurt others. Heal us from the pain. Make us new again.

In Yeshua’s (Jesus) Name,

Amen.

 

Happy Reading!

Over and out.

 

*I do not own (the rights to) the featured photo.