The Silence of Forgiveness

silence of Jesus

Photo by SS

Snapping back is so easy, it takes no effort.
Retaliation spills naturally from our lips.

Silence is a necessary struggle.
Thankfully, Jesus showed us how.

Revenge Is So Tempting

I may regret this post later. I’m going to be honest. Revenge is tempting. Right now. I’m wedged between tears and anger, vomiting and screaming.

I have the platform to spew out my side of the story and set the record straight. I have publishers that have asked me to share my story.

But as temporarily satisfying as that would be, I won’t. Not now. Not with the current state of my heart.

This verse, gives me pause. It helps me get my head on straight and lifts my chin back up to look in my Father’s face.

“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.” Luke 6:27-30

So I’m writing this to you, thinking maybe you can relate. If not today, another time perhaps. And I hope this gives you encouragement to know that you’re not alone.

As I wrote in yesterday’s post:

 “We’re all tired of the cookie cutter Christian woman, we want real. We want honest. We want raw. We want to see the broken bloody parts, only then will we see the power of grace make a difference. We need to know we’re not alone in our messes.”

I’m bleeding today, but once I made the decision to put it in God’s hands, I felt His grace. Peace came back and I know that He is healing those wounds.

As tempting as revenge is, I know it’s empty and damaging. I’ve learned that the hard way.

The most wonderful part of being at this place in my journey with God is that I have such an amazing sense of His love and presence in my life, that even though life can break my heart, it can never take away the peace that an honest relationship with God has brought into my life.

I don’t serve Him to get anything but Him. I didn’t used to be able to say that. Position meant everything, titles ruled my life.

I’ve been considering (for a couple months now) taking a hiatus from all things Praise and Coffee. I haven’t made any decisions about it yet, but it gives me such joy to know that stepping away from Praise and Coffee would not be a step away from ME. My identity is found in the love the Father has for me and no title gives or takes that away. I believe that we all need to occasionally put our “stuff” (ministries etc) on the altar as Abraham did with Isaac and make sure it’s not becoming an idol before our God.

Anyways…

Thanks for listening, any thoughts on revenge and how God has walked you through this temptation?

EDIT: I wrote this today to clarify some of the things in this post.

 

Is Your Past Holding You Hostage?

Your mind reels with memories that imprison you. You rehearse the events like Groundhog Day, each time inserting a new response in your mind of things you wish you’d said. If only you’d told them this or reacted like that. But at the end of your minds’ spiral, life is not changed, the facts cannot be undone.

Have you ever been tormented by your own thoughts?

I’ve spent far too long in this life rehearsing pain from my past. Betrayal, regret, even abuse, and I can’t think hard enough to process them through to a place of peace; they have to be taken hold of and released.

You know you should forgive, you want to. You want your life back. You plead with your own heart to just move on, but you can’t seem to find the freedom you desperately crave. The past is holding you hostage as you realize that you still hold out hope that somehow the memories could be different, but as long as we stay in the place of regret we cannot move forward.

Forgiveness and healing can only happen when we give up hope that the past could be different.

There is a settling in our heart that happens when we embrace the truth that the past is done, it cannot be changed. However, we can change our tomorrows, and as I let the remorse slip from my hands I start to see with the eyes of hope.

Hope is a waking dream. —ARISTOTLE

As if we wake from a long slumber, hope brings fresh eyes and dreams of freedom. Thankfully, these dreams can come true if our hope is in the Father of all life because He has promised to heal our brokenness when we bring it to Him.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalms 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalms 147:3

I don’t pretend to think that this is an easy or fast process, but it’s the only process that makes us whole.  This world offers many ways to deflect the pain, but I believe that God wants to bring much more than a momentary distraction. He wants a relationship with us that brings healing and security as we discover His immense love for us.

I wish I had some fancy steps that you could take, an ABC of healing that I could throw out to you, but I don’t. I have the scars that remind me that this life is a journey not cut and tied in pretty little bows but instead a path littered with thorns and crosses, prodigals and promises. I can’t imagine trying to walk it alone, I hope you can’t either.

“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 NLT

God created you. He knows all, He sees all, and yet He is crazy about you. He can be found in every moment if we open our eyes and look up.

Hot Topic ~ Infidelity

Hello Ladies!

Let’s talk.

Here’s a hot topic for us…

Infidelity.

In light of the recent news about Arnold and Maria and his failings in their marriage…what do you think?

Would you forgive and continue in your marriage?

At what point do you draw the line and say, I’m done.

Or, how do you walk out forgiveness?

My heart aches for those of you that have actually faced this form of betrayal. I believe it is one of the deepest hurts a woman can bear.

I pray that if it is you, you would find wholeness and healing in the arms of the Lord. He loves you. He is the answer to our brokeness.

So…without judgement or condemnation of how any woman would handle such a thing…how do you feel about it personally?

Let’s chat about it…comment here or on FB.

Much love,
Sue

Are You Beautiful?

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I’ve always loved this verse. I think I see something new in it everytime I read it.

1 Peter 3:1-4
The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands,responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.

How can we cultivate inner beauty?

I know the obvious answers are…read our Bible and pray. Of course, very good things!!

Let’s look at it though in light of our current world.

Are we not daily screamed at as women to be outwardly beautiful?
To matter, you must be THIS size and THAT height with your hair and makeup on just so.

If God delights in gentle, gracious beauty, I think we should too.

I don’t think it’s UN-important to look good, but I think that (outwardly) beautiful-but mean and angry women are not beautiful at all.

Adding the word “grace” or “gracious” to beauty really ramps it up.

A beautiful woman is gracious. She shows grace to others AND especially to herself.

Are you gracious with yourself?

Are you gracious with your family?

Here are some other words for “gracious”:
Elegant
Graceful
Refined
Merciful
Courteous

Obviously absent are things like: complains, resentful, angry…

Of course… and this could turn into a whole book…if we don’t feel this (grace) for ourself, it will be very difficult to give it to others.

I think this verse is a powerful key to us walking in God’s grace towards us and living loved:

Ephesians 3:16-19
I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will
empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
17 Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.
19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. NLT

Receive His love and grace for yourself and out of that freedom, your life will show inner beauty!

There will be no pressure to “have your own way” and “right every wrong.”

Forgiveness flows freely when we live forgiven.

God loves you. Cultivate inner beauty by living loved.

Your marriage will be stronger for it.
Praying for our marriages,
Sue

You Know This One ~ Marriage Post

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Ok, we know this one girls:

Ephesians 4:31-32

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
NLT

We think of it when we are angry after waiting 30 minutes in a grocery line or when someone has lied about us to all of our friends…but I want to specifically think about this in our marriage today.

Sometimes I forget to be tenderhearted to the very one who I should be MOST tenderhearted to!

And forgive…it’s much easier said than done.

But God never asks us to do anything that He won’t equip us to do.

If you’re struggling with this today, I encourage you to ask the Father for help. He will. He is faithful, and He loves your marriage.

I’m praying for our marriages,
Sue

The Freedom of Forgiveness

Did you know that unforgiveness and holding on to anger increase your chances of a heart attack five fold? It also increases your risk of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other diseases. Not only that, but our emotional health is at risk too. Anxiety and depression go hand in hand with unforgiveness, it’s medically proven.

But love on the other hand brings forth healing, peace and joy.

Mark and I were at a friend house and their 4 year old little girl wanted to go swimming. Much to our surprise she proceeded to strip naked right there on the porch. She had no shame whatsoever! I looked at her and said, ‘Emma, what are you doing?’
She responded bluntly, ‘I’m putting on my bathing suit!’ As if to say, ‘duh, I can’t swim in my blue jeans!’

I thought about this story recently when I was reading Colossians 3. It talks about stripping off our old evil nature and all those old attitudes, then clothing yourself with a brand new nature and new attitudes. Those attitudes include mercy, patience and humility.

Col 3:12
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
NLT

I believe that humility is the key that opens the door to forgiving others. It was complete humility that Jesus modeled for us when He went to the cross, and that was why His response to their hatred was love. With humility comes love.

So what does all that have to do with Emma’s lack of modesty? Well, we need to strip off our old sinful ways so that we can put on God’s clothing of love- because you can’t swim in God’s river with the heavy weight of sin and unforgiveness. We need to take it off and put on the proper attire so that we can ‘swim’ in all that God has for our future.

There is freedom in forgiveness!

Col 3:13-14
13 You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love.
NLT


The Bible says that we should bless those who curse us. One way to do that is to pray for our enemies. I don’t mean just saying a nice little, ‘God bless them’ prayer while teeth are clenched. We all know that is not love. The prayer that I’m talking about is the kind that says, ‘I pray that they would be blessed in all they do, that they would come to know You more intimately, that they would have favor in their lives with all men.’ Basically, praying for them like you would pray for your loved ones. Speak blessings over their family.

If you are faithful to do this, your heart will start to change. You will begin to have compassion for them and see them as God does.

Then you will feel the freedom of forgiveness!

Imagine the Shame

To Throw the Stone
John 8:1-2
Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

3-6 The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said,

“Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

6-8 Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said,

“The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.”

Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
9-10 Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest.
The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
11 “No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

Caught in the act, imagine the shame.

But does Jesus scorn her? No.
Only her accusers that used her to trip up Jesus…just sure that He would have to condemn her and look like the cruel person they wanted to portay Him as.

But in His most loving way, He turned the tables on them. Just like He does to us when we get complaining about what someone else is doing.

I’ve never been caught in the act of adultery, but I’ve done some things I am hugely ashamed of and I am so thankful that God’s response is…go on (meaning: don’t stay here in this shame) and start over, don’t do it again.

Forgiven is a beautiful title, take it.

To my local girlfriends…hope to see you tonight at the Coffee Mill in Plainwell for our Praise and Coffee Night!!!!

I Regret My Past

Do you regret the things you’ve done in the past? Regret can be a wonderful teacher, it keeps us from making the same mistakes again.

However, we don’t want to spend our time re-living those past sins, we want to move on. God has a plan for us and it’s time to stop beating ourselves up. We don’t need to see ourselves through our past, we need to look at our lives as God does, with hope for our future. He loves us so much and wants us to see how precious we are to Him.

I put together a short video about the subject. I have to be honest, it is difficult to bare my soul by putting out these videos- you know how we girls tend to hate seeing out own pictures??? Well, it’s even worse to see yourself on video, but if they help and encourage one person, it’s worth it.

Much love!
Sue

Underlying Anger

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We may not think about the issue everyday, but it’s there. That thought pattern that plays over and over in our minds. A cruel word or action, a lack of sensitivity on the part of someone that should be very sensitive of our feelings.

Underlying anger can paralyze our ability to function as a healthy person. It often stems from feeling fearful and helpless or just frustrated about not getting our way in a situation.

Often underlying anger is lurking in our marriages. We can pretend it’s not there, but the cutting comments and quick rebuttals prove it’s presence.

Instead of ignoring it and hoping it will go away in your marriage, I encourage you to choose forgiveness.

Forgiving is not forgetting, but it is letting go of the pain. Choosing to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. We don’t forgive others because they deserve it, we forgive out of obedience and faith, trusting that God is smarter than we are.

Matt 18:21-22
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
NIV

Lord, You know how much _____(this person or event)____ has been hurting me, please help me to forgive. As I lay this offense at Your feet, I confess Your words from Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” and I receive the forgiveness You promise me.
Thank you Lord for setting me free!

I’m praying for our marriages,
Sue

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