Tag Archives: forgiveness

Not Good Enough

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Here is a picture of the designs I’ve made that are faulty in some way…at least to my eye.  I don’t feel they’re good enough to be put on something to go out to the public so instead of throwing them away I stuck them on my bedroom window.  Look how beautiful they are! I love it when light shines through that window and they pop.  Makes me smile every time!  Although I can look at each one of them and see my mistakes, they’re still beautiful.

Nobody is flawless.  Unfortunately, we make mistakes, we hurt those closest to us.  We have all kinds of scars and misconceptions about ourselves. If we let our imperfections take over; if we allow to believe the ugly things said about us (and those we say about ourselves) we can start to believe we’re of no good use, unlovable and unforgivable.

When I was little, I totally believed what I overheard some family members telling each other about me: “She’s not worth anything; she’ll never amount to anything” and for a long time I lived like I believed that, to the point of contemplating suicide.

At some point, we all – no matter what vile things we’ve done or how deeply we’ve been hurt – have to decide who we will believe and decide what kind of person we’ll be.  We all have a past; we all have regrets and wishes for better decisions and choices.  The good news is, all of it can be used for good. We ARE good enough – good enough for God to love, heal, cherish, and make us in to who He designed us to be in the first place.

Just like these “mess-ups” I put on the window, I could have thrown them away.  Instead I chose to repurpose them and look at the difference they make on an ordinary window!  The same is true for us.  You never know how God will use what we’ve been through, the pain we’ve suffered and the mistakes we’ve made unless we own up to them, ask forgiveness and choose to believe He can make us better than we were yesterday. With His touch, the possibilities are endless.

Not good enough?  Every time I feel that way, I’m going to look at this window.  Beautiful.  And very good!

“God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”  Genesis 1:31a

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The Painful Question

“Do you love Me?”

How that question must’ve cut Peter to the bone.  I wonder if his mind went back to the words spoken just before the events began to unfold:  “you will deny me three times…” (Mark 14:30).

I wonder if Peter relived that moment at the predicted third betrayal when Jesus looked at him (Luke 22:61).  The words must’ve cut like a knife.  Why would He even give Peter the chance to respond?  Didn’t his actions say he didn’t?  He had failed Jesus miserably.  How could he answer?  I imagine just attempting to answer was excruciating.

Wasn’t it enough that Peter had failed his Lord at the most critical time?  I mean by actions, by what Peter had done and said (denied Christ) you would think his fate was sealed.  Game over – all that teaching, healing, following; all those miracles he was witness to – that life – was finished because he had let Jesus down.  He committed the unpardonable sin – he denied Christ…and he did it believing he wouldn’t!

Yet after Peter had gone back to his familiar life “BC” Jesus waited for him and the other disciples on the shoreline.  He knew His Peter; Jesus knew where to find him.  He asked him three times if he loved Him – I believe – to allow Peter to get what was between them (in Peter’s mind and heart) taken care of so he could know he was forgiven.

I love this story.  It’s a beautiful example of the forgiveness and personal affection Jesus had for Peter…and has for us. How many times have we failed?  We may not have denied Christ as obviously as Peter did – we may not have shouted the words “I don’t know Him” – but at some time or another we’ve all fallen short of loving Him.  We’ve treated people badly, we’ve willingly done something we know is wrong; we’ve essentially said, “Lord I know this doesn’t please You.  You say this is wrong but right now I love me more than You and I want this more (than I want to please you) so I’m doing it” which is the same thing.

Then after the choice is made and regret and/or remorse sets in you’re feeling the sting of knowing you messed up. But look.  There He is, waiting for you to come to Him and settle it. Do you love Him?  Say it.  Are you sorry?  Say it. Let His words cut you deep so that you have to go to Him and settle it. He’s waiting.

Forgiveness

“Forgiveness does not create a relationship.  Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible.  When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgement, but without true change, no real relationship can be established.”  Wm Paul Young, The Shack

“I’m sorry” isn’t required but it would be nice, wouldn’t it?  Somehow someone acknowledging they caused great pain is great medicine for our woundedness but a lot of times that doesn’t happen.  Someone once said “when someone lies to you or about you, they feel you’re not worthy of the truth”.  That hits home…someone who lies about you and to you doesn’t feel you’re worthy of the truth.  Why would we want them in our lives, to allow them to make us feel more unworthy of truth and love than we already do?

I’ve never been one to just go along.  I believe forgiveness IS possible without ever having to see or speak to someone again and when it’s gone on for as long as one can remember, I think it’s best, especially when there is no change in behavior “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matthew 7:17.  Owning up to what we’ve done, taking responsibility, is the best thing.  Some are incapable of that.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t like admitting my atrocities… it’s unpleasant and humbling but I always feel better and KNOW it’s right when I do.

Hope is a wonderful thing.  HOPING someone will change and see what they have done then change accordingly is always in order.  Praying for them is always, always right.  Ask God for them to open their hearts and eyes to see the realness of what has been done and ask Him to give them the desire to change and the courage to act upon that desire.

Until then, it’s okay if you don’t get back in with them.  We need to just be sure we’re “clean” – we must deal with our anger, hurt and disappointment in a godly way and the only way to do that is to take it to Him until it’s gone which sometimes takes a very long time.  I’ve found I don’t feel anything but pity for those who hurt me because they’re blinded by their version of self-justification and the lies they’ve come to believe.  We don’t have to be that way.  “It is what it is”, is one of my favorite sayings and that means to me, ONLY God can change it, I have to accept it and what I DO WITH IT is paramount.

We can allow that hurt to fester in many ways and change us, or we can truly desire to heal from it, forgive and get on with our lives.

We can choose forgiveness.  We can choose to let it go and go on and be better because of it and thankful we survived it.  Some didn’t.

I choose forgiveness; I pray you do too.

“Then Peter came and said to Him, 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.”  Matthew 18:21-22

Distractions

Sampson is an extremely obedient dog.  He walks with me without a leash most of the time, he stays in his yard…until he sees a squirrel.  Some kind of little furry critter makes him forget who he normally is all the rules go right out the window.

Distractions. You know the truth of who you are and Whose you are and when things are quiet and peaceful it’s easy to live in that truth.  You claim all of God’s blessings and promises and are quick to praise Him with a thankful heart…until your attention is diverted by unforeseen circumstances.

Distractions.  When they come, we divert to our nature – the “normal” way to handle things:  anger, frustration, despair, desire, despondency, depression, etc.

Something we want or desire consumes our every thought and emotion. Something bad makes our faith (or lack thereof) wax and wane.  Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, if we focus all our attention on it we can be swept away to places we never intended to go.  Distractions come in all kinds of packages.  For sure, anything that leads us down a path we never intended taking and/or know we shouldn’t go on is a distraction from who we’re intended to be and what we’re made to do.

These are the times that we should remember our foundation – the truth of God and what He says but our humanness takes over.  “Well, that’s just the way I am”; “God made me He knows my heart” are often our weak excuses to go our own way and do our own thing.

Sampson ran after a squirrel one day completely oblivious to passing cars and other dangers around him.  He was almost killed. He was 100% focused on the distraction and nothing else.  We sometimes do the same.  We can’t see the dangers lurking and we don’t realise how far we have wandered until we find ourselves having to walk the long way back.

I used to pride myself in my strong faith.  I thought I had it going on with God until life threw me curveballs I never saw coming.  I found myself in a very dark place with a boatload of doubt.  I’m still recovering from the effects of my “falling away”.  I considered myself so close to God air couldn’t get between us and when the distractions/trials came, I found myself doubting He was with me at all.

Distractions show us who we really are.  No matter what form they take they’re designed, I believe not to punish us or make us pay for something we’ve done or not done, but to do just that: show us what we’re made of and how strong our faith really is.

Sometimes we allow ourselves to be swept away by something that becomes more important to us and sometimes bad things happen we have no control over.  When they happen (and they will happen), it’s up to us to “go back” to God who is the only sure, steady and stable foundation we have.  During the quiet and peaceful times in life when it’s good are the times to grow closer to God, reaffirm and believe because as long as we’re alive there will always be something to try to draw us away.  But be reassured, God NEVER moves or changes.  He is ALWAYS there, and will always welcome you back.  We just have to decide to “go back” to Him.

Just like now – can’t find Sampson.  He’s been hooked by another distraction.  Thankfully right now, I’m not but I’m preparing for the next one.  I pray you are, too.

James 1:6  “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”

Reminders

I recently fell and scraped up my knee. Every time I bend my knee – which is often – I’m reminded I fell because it hurts! I don’t need a reminder; I remember without the pain. I don’t need pain to remind me when I mess up, make a mistake and fall. Why can’t pain just be an initial consequence rather than a constant reminder? Wouldn’t that be nice, to hurt for just a minute and after that, though the scar remains, the hurt is gone. I’d like that.

We don’t like pain. We spend lots of effort to avoid it, including not dealing with, doing something about whatever causes it. Sometimes we prolong our agony by putting it off. Sometimes those little twinges of reminders cause us to do something about what’s ailing us. Sometimes there’s nothing we can do.

Reminders of even pain, I suppose serve their purpose. Sometimes they hurt more than help. What do you do about a knee? Have you ever paid attention to how many times your knee is used? I didn’t think about it until I hurt it. Now I know how important knees are because it hurts every time I move!

The enemy of the soul loves to keep us mindful of every mess-up we’ve made. If he keeps you in rewind you can’t go forward. Regret/shame/anger/depression/resentment keeps us immobile. He loves that. Every time you stay in the pain place you let him win.

Have you done what you can do for the pain? Have you asked for forgiveness? Have you taken responsibility for your part and dealt with the consequences as best you can? If you have, then every time the pain invades making you feel like you can’t recover or things will never get better, tell him and yourself that’s a lie. If you’re not healed completely every time you choose to believe the truth of what God says over how you feel you’ve taken another step toward wholeness. Don’t even believe yourself (we sometimes are our own worst enemies); we tend to keep punishing ourselves over and over again.

Pain and recovery from the same are part of the process. Some heal faster than others. Believe and breathe. Thank God you can still feel. Do what you can, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Do what you can to ease your pain and leave the rest to God. Don’t whine and constantly think about the pain. Soon you’ll be walking along and realize the pain is gone. Healing has come. Looking forward to that with this knee. 😉

Again. And Again.

Another wound, heartache, disappointment…they seem to come no matter what we do or where we are. “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden” plays over and over in my head.
You can be perfectly smack-dab in the middle of God’s sovereign providence and still things go wrong. Some thing happens you have no control over and you didn’t see coming so you’re knocked off your feet. You’ve made some not so great decisions and now you have a mess. Two possible responses are very popular when these happen: 1) why me, why did this happen to me; or 2) what did I do wrong…it must be all my fault.
You’ve prayed and prayed, preparing for something and you KNOW you got the ‘go’ from God. You’re yes has become your yes and you’re going for it. Full steam ahead. You get to where you’re going and BOOM!!!! Something happens to rock your world. Were you wrong? Did you not hear God right? Are you doomed for misery?
Recently I have been reminded once again, that life will happen no matter what. There are seasons when everything is good and we have peace. Then there are times when things are bad and we don’t. In those times when something terrible is going on and life is really hard does that mean we’re being punished? Is God thumping us on our head? Is He not dealing with us fairly and undeservedly? Does the trouble mean there will be no triumph, no joy and happiness in our lives ever again?
The correct answer is NO! We may feel that way. We may have actually done something to warrant the current set of circumstances but even then, God doesn’t stop loving us. He isn’t looking for a reason to dump us and despite what you may have heard, He doesn’t delight in our misery. He does and WILL use our circumstances for many reasons, the most precious of which (to me) is to reveal Himself to us and draw us closer to Him in ways we may never have been before the thing happened. Romans 8:28 “for we know ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…” (emphasis mine).
Do you love God? His sovereign will allowed whatever you’re going through to happen and He will be with you through it. Don’t listen to yourself if your mind tells you otherwise. Feelings and emotions will disillusion you. For some reason we think because we’re His, we won’t have to suffer like others do. WRONG! The enemy lives to see you commit the number one sin: doubt God. He loves it when you call God a liar which is what doubt does.
The nation Israel experienced God’s punishment by His allowing them to be taken into captivity…and on more than one occasion! That was before Jesus! They were captives because of their sin. In a way, we are too. We’re held captive by our enemy and by ourselves when we decide to live lives unpleasing to God as well as when things happen out of our control by believing we’re being punished and we’re unloved and uncared for by God.
Don’t be a captive to the lie. We go through seasons with tides of emotions that will distort the truth if we let it. Read Jeremiah 31 and how God brings Israel back and restores His people. They laugh, dance, worship and sing again. He will do the same for us. That’s just who He is. If you’ve strayed from Him and are thinking you can’t go back, you’re wrong. If you’re hurt thinking you’ll never get over what’s happened and you feel He’s abandoned you, you’re wrong-“the Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.” (Psalm 34:18)
Again and again, if we come He heals and soothes. Again and again, if we stop long enough to ask Him for forgiveness (and mean it), He accepts our apologies. Again and again, and again and again. And again.
Come close to the One who made you and loves you with an unconditional, everlasting love. Again.