Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

“Neither do I condemn thee”   Leave a comment

Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives.

And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down and taught them.

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said unto Him, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned but what sayest thou?”

This they said testing Him, that they might have cause to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not.

So when they continued asking Him, He lifted Himself up and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

And they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the eldest even unto the last, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted Himself up and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?”

She said, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.” John 8:1-11

Whether it be the voices of guilt, shame and regret that seem at times torment our every thought, or the accusations and judgments of those around us, we must stand confidently knowing there is only one true and just judge and He has forgiven us of ALL transgressions. So be strong in the Lord and hold your head high, stop letting the regret, guilt and shame of past mistakes and sins steal the joy and peace that are waiting for you in the here and now. When we come into faith of Jesus as our Savior, He washes the slate clean in His eyes; He removes our sins from as far as the East is from the West.

“Though you sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Psalm 103:12

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Isaiah 1:18

I urge then friends to look at yourself from this day forward as one marred with the scars of your your past rather, when you remember that pain, say a short prayer of thanks, because now they are medals declaring the Love, Mercy and Grace that He has given to you. Then turn and look forward, and refuse to go back to being “that person”, doing “those things”, because that is NOT who you are anymore.


Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Every step forward is one further away from who we were and closer to who He has made us to be! – Keep Going!! 

One breath, One step, One Day at a time,

Gary

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Write Your Own Story!   4 comments

Most of us have heard the old saying, “He who angers you, controls you.” I contend that anger is not the only emotion that we can let others to control us. These emotional ties come from many sources: past abuse or trauma, abandonment/rejection, unfaithfulness. Other sources include current disturbing behaviors such as substance abuse, violence run away, etc. They control us because we choose to have our lives driven by our emotional reactions to the behaviors of others. Lets discuss these two very different scenarios.

First lets look at control from the past. Please consider the following example;

A young man feels and believes he was abandoned and rejected by his birth mother. Despite being raised by a loving and caring step-mother, he never gets over the feelings of hurt, anger, resentment and bitterness. As a result of these feelings, he grows to believes that he is not worthy of being loved or wanted. So all of his relationships are either short lived because as soon as things start getting “too close”, whether consciously or not, he sabotages the relationship and pushes others away. This is not true just in romantic relationships, it can also be true in platonic relationships as well. If this is not what he does then he finds the “sickest” or neediest girl that he can and goes to work making her dependent on him. Why? If she need him to take care of her, she won’t leave, and thus abandon/reject him. (So he believes anyway).

 So what is the driving force behind these behaviors?

 His behavior is controlled by his unresolved issues from his mother. Thus, I would say that because he allows these beliefs and emotions to continue to shape and direct his life, he chooses to give the control of his life, the pen of his story, back to his mother, rather she wants it or not.

 When we continue to look back and let issues from the past control our emotions and behaviors then we are surrendering control over our destiny back to the person or persons that hurt us to begin with. I once said it like this: we had no control over the abuse in the past, but now we hand them the bat.

 Now, lets look at the other scenario, current disturbing behaviors of others that control our emotions and behaviors. As mentioned above, there are a number of behaviors that may contribute to this type of reaction: substance abuse, anger, violence, criminal behavior, run away, manipulation, etc. We have all been in this situation to some degree or another.

 Here again, lets look at another example:

 A young lady is in a relationship with an alcoholic/addict that disappears on binges for days at a time. She sits at home, crying and worrying that he is OK. When he does finally come home, she nurses him through coming down and withdrawal and then does everything that she can to clean up after him. If he misses work, she calls the boss and tells him he is sick. She keeps the secret hidden, yet she is miserable, lonely, depressed and hates every minute of it.

So here again, why? Similarly, she believes that is what a “good wife” does; “no one else would love me and want to be with me.” Whatever the case she continues to let his behaviors and her emotional response. This is especially difficult when the individual is not a spouse or even a parent, but your child.

To a degree, you feel responsible, you blame yourself, you ask yourself over and over, “What did I do wrong?” The truth is, for most of us, we did nothing wrong. Our loved ones/children have made their own choices. Despite all of our efforts now an in the past, we have no control over their choices and behaviors.

On the other hand, when we allow ourselves to be consumed by worry and attempts to “save them from themselves.” then we are giving them that exact control over our lives. We allow their behaviors and our emotional response to them to consume our very being.

We all know exactly what I am talking about; it is classic “codependency”. Sometimes we are aware of it and are even willing to acknowledge it, but we have been this way so long, we don’t know any other way to live. We have completely lost our identity as an individual because we are so enmeshed with our addicted loved one.

I hear you saying, “thanks for pointing out all that is wrong with me. That was really encouraging.” I truly understand, but what is the first step of solving a problem or fixing something is wrong? We have to recognize that what we have been doing to this point is number one not changing the other person, and number two and most importantly we are unhappy and in fact, miserable.

That brings me to the good news or bad news depending on your point of view, some recommendations on how to change this cycle and reclaim our emotions and behaviors. Here why I say it could be considered bad news: It is NOT going to be easy, and it WILL take a lot of work. So if you are ready to take the challenge and start living YOUR life again, then keep reading, if not good luck.

When we continue to look back and let issues from the past control our emotions and behaviors then we are surrendering control over our destiny back to the person or persons that hurt us to begin with. I once said it like this: we had no control over the abuse in the past, but now we hand them the bat.

Whether, it is the current or past, we must find a way, to do the hardest, but most important thing: “LET GO”.

 We must accept that there is nothing that we can do to change the events of the past. Holding on to the pain, anger, and any other related negative emotions only hinders our ability to move forward and meet our full potential. I know that this is a painful process and we can’t just let go and walk away that easy. Take your time, surround yourself with support. If possible being involved in some kind of counseling is also a good idea. This may be individual or a group of others with similar experiences.

 The same is true in regards to letting go of the expectation that we can change the dysfunctional and negative behaviors of our loved ones. Our worrying about them, nagging, yelling, threatening does not effect positive change, in fact many of these behaviors lead to exactly the opposite of the desired effect.

 The very best thing that we can do is express our love and concern for our loved one and then pray believing that the Heavenly Father will keep is eye and hand upon them. We can not go on protecting them from the consequences of their choices and behavior. When we do so, we simply enable the behavior to continue.

 Just like overcoming the past, and moving on, I know this is a difficult and painful process and we can’t just let go and walk away that easy. Take your time, surround yourself with support. If possible being involved in some kind of counseling is also a good idea. This may be individual or a group of others with similar experiences.

 The next step is probably just about as difficult, we must start reclaiming our own identity. For many of us we have been so entangled in the past or the behaviors of others that we have lost even the ability to recognize who we even are without that to define us.

 Start simply, set aside some time with just you, paper and pen or your computer.

  • List all the current roles that “define” you (mother, father,son, sister, teacher, friend, etc).

  • List your values? (What is important to you? – faith honesty, kindness, family, friends, etc.)

  • List the character traits that either define you now, or that you would like to do so. (strong, independent, hopeful, etc.)

  • List your strengths. (What are you good at?)

  • List your weaknesses. (What do you need to work on?)

  • What are your goals? (Where are you going, what do you want to do with your life?

  • Finally, write out a narrative that would describe you as person. Start with the list from above and describe your personality, your likes/dislikes, strengths weaknesses and most importantly where are YOU going in future?

Now, each day wake up, believe and strive to demonstrate this simple affirmation:

 “I and I alone choose my destiny, I control whether I am happy or sad. I am responsible for me and me alone. I can love and support others, but they must choose their own path. I choose to live MY life; I choose to write my own story!”

I feel like this article has been a little disjointed, but I hope and pray that it helps you to let go and start living your own life again.

Thanks for reading!

R2R

 

Whom seek ye?   5 comments

Jesus … said unto them, “Whom seek ye?”John 18:4

Who or what are you seeking in your life?

Love?                                      Money?                          Power?                                Happiness?

                   Recovery?                               Peace?                              Friends?

Yeah, it sounds a little funny including Recovery with these. There is absolutely nothing wrong with desiring any or all of them to some degree or another, but even if you did have that one thing that you seek, there would still be a whole in your life waiting to be filled. So I ask you one more time what are you REALLY seeking? What are you the MOST passionate about?

I tell you it is my opinion that there is a BEST answer to the above question, and if we answer it correctly, then ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we need WILL BE taken care of. So what should be our Passion, what should we be seeking?

To draw closer to God.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:20-35

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:19

When we serve Him and truly recognize Him as the Lord of our lives then we have NOTHING at all to worry about, if we will just believe and trust Him. There will be times of bounty and times of lack, but He will insure that at ALL TIMES our NEEDS are met.

In the event that you feel that you NEED something that has not yet been provided then ASK!

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

Remember who your DADDY is, THE God of Heaven and Earth. He owns the “Cattle on a thousand hills”, and for that measure, he owns the hills too! So no matter what your need: physical natural provision, healing, hope, peace, joy, etc, HE is not like a man that will give you a stone instead of bread or a snake when we ask for a fish. He is a GOOD God who loves us and only gives us GOOD gifts. He knows our needs even before we ask, and sometimes he just test our faith in Him by withholding that which is needed until we ASK.

…yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. James 4;2-3

11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:11

 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

I know you are thinking, OK that is a good study and makes sense to “normal” people. What about those of with some many issues. We can’t just abandon all control and our old beliefs and ways of doing things.

He asks that we have an open mind heart and simply seek after HIM. Fortunately, Faith is very much like our recovery. It is a process and a journey, He does not ask or expect us to be perfect automatically, However, the closer that we get to Him the more like Him we will desire to be. As we take one step at a time further done the road, He helps us to learn new ways, His ways, As we read and study His Word, and give lay our lives and our wills over to Him, we are transformed more and more into His image.

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. I Timothy 2:15

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12-1-2

 …Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word Ephesians 5:25-26

My dear friends as we come to faith in God and truly accept what Christ death and resurrection accomplished for our lives, we will begin to realize that we are NOT the same person that we were in the past. We are being renewed and made more like Him from the inside out. As we peal one layer off from the outside, He renews the layers one at a time from the outside in. So step by step we become a little more and a little more the new CREATION that He as destined for us to be. Unfortunately, as each of these occur it can and WILL be painful at times. Even harder, some of us will have resentments, beliefs and “issues” of which we will NOT want to let go. However we MUST in order to be ALL that He wants us to be!

The closer we get to Him, the more of THE Truth that we know, and as John says, “the TRUTH shall set you free.” HE is the TRUTH.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:10

...“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

So finally my friends , I conclude the same way that I started…

Whom seek ye?”

I pray that you will join me in seeking after He whom is seeking after you!

Blessing my friends,

See you on The Road….

R2R

Forgiveness Part 3b   Leave a comment

As I begin this post, I start thinking about this very simple yet paradoxically complicated word. There are so many implications. This word affects us in all relationships areas of our lives:  with God, with friends, with significant others and within ourselves. Each of these is intertwined delicately with each of the others. All of us have needed to forgive and be forgiven at some point in our lives. I believe that being able to forgive and willing to seek forgiveness are attributes that must be developed and honed in order for any individual to truly live a fulfilling and successful life. We have covered two of these three entirely and one side of the other thus far. With that said here is Part 4 (or 3b), applying forgiveness in our relationships with others by accepting it when it is offered.Forgiveness in our Relationship With Others – Accepting

As noted I the previously, the concept of forgiveness in our relationships with others is a two-edged sword and as mentioned in our earlier discussion of forgiveness, is dependent and entangled with both of the others as well. As we have begun to discuss, forgiveness in our relationships with others entails two separate yet delicately intertwined actions:

  • Being willing and able to grant forgiveness to those whom have hurt, disappointed or otherwise offended us.(See Forgiveness 3a)
  • Being willing and able to receive forgiveness from others whom we have hurt, disappointed or otherwise offended.

Some of us struggle with one or the other of these two, but unfortunately, most of us struggle with both.  They are each necessary for us to be healthy and whole; but at the same time they are very difficult. Neither is more important or needed than the other.

So, let’s take a look at this final component of forgiveness – Being willing and able to receive forgiveness from others whom we have hurt, disappointed or otherwise offended.

Receiving forgiveness from others has two very distinct elements:

  •  Being able/willing to seek forgiveness when we are conscious of either intentionally or unintentionally offending another.
  •  Second, is accepting forgiveness when it is offered by another rather freely or sought after.

It takes a lot of courage to admit when we have made mistakes and to sincerely seek to make amends.  Many of us have said, “I’m sorry” so many times with no intent to actually change our behaviors, and continued in this pattern for so long that we have invalidated the great impact and power which those simple words could have in our relationships with others. Those closest to us have learned that when we say “I’m sorry”, our words are empty. Thus, our insincere apologies fall to the floor unreceived, because they have no faith in our actual willingness or attempt to change.  I am reminded of a quote I believe that most if not all of us are familiar.

“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”   Mark Twain

Yes we need to seek forgiveness with our words and confess them before God and man, more importantly is that we are sincere and follow up our words with corresponding and appropriate actions.  Consider the following scripture reference:

“Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.” Proverbs 14:9 

Another translation uses the word “wise” in place of “godly”.  Thus seeking reconciliation and forgiveness can be considered not only the “right” thing to do, but also the “smart” one.

Admitting our guilt and mistakes to ourselves is part one, then we take the next step and acknowledge them to the ones that we have wronged.  I will let them speak for themselves, but take a look at the “heart” of the 12 steps of AA:

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact   nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make          amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

What do we see… FORGIVENESS and reconciliation in our relationships with                     God and man.

In conclusion, one final Biblical reference:

 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may   be healed.”  James 5:16

Confess… I will restrain myself, but could go on and on just looking at that one word.

Confess your faults… pray for one another… so that you may be healed.  In this one verse we the summary of forgiveness as it relates to our relationships with others.

  • Confess your faults:  Seek forgiveness when needed
  • Pray for one another: Grant or Receive forgiveness as needed.
  •  So that you may be healed: Reconcile and let go of the hurts of the present and past and let time do its healing work.

So much of our ongoing suffering is easily resolved when we stop looking back and “reliving” our past hurts and disappointments, whether they are our own doing or someone else’s.

Finding a way to practice forgiveness is not an optional component of our recovery, it MUST be a skill that we develop and use on a daily basis. We must face each day and situation granting, seeking and receiving forgiveness, because if we do not do so we will not truly live. We will survive from day to day the slave of our anger and unable to experience life and love to its fullest. Finally my friends I remind you one last time:

Forgiveness Part 3a   4 comments

Some of us struggle with one or the other of these two, but unfortunately, most of us struggle with both.  They are each necessary for us to be healthy and whole; but at the same time they are very difficult. Neither is more important or needed than the other.

Let’s look first at first at forgiving others, and then we will turn our focus to accepting it.

There is no greater barrier to having healthy, happy, caring relationships than unresolved unforgiveness.  We can harbor these feelings for the slightest of offense to the most heinous abuse. I will admit to you and to myself, I have been as guilty as anyone of this in the past, and have to continue battle with the very same challenge.

I have been blessed that the hurts and offenses that I have experienced are no where near as traumatic and scarring as those that many of you have been subjected to. I understand and agree that there are some behaviors, physical abuse, rape, child molestation, neglect, etc which do not deserve to be forgiven. It is this harbored unforgiveness that which over time becomes resentment, and resentment becomes hatred.

When resentment and hatred have taken hold, then we become their prisoners. They no longer only control our feelings and reactions regarding the person/situation that were at the root, but they affect us in all areas of our lives and all of our other relationships. It has been my personal experience that individuals like this have significant difficulty in maintaining relationships, and the relationships that survive are typically strained. Why? They are strained because all of those unresolved emotions rest just below the surface and rather than a small offense or hurt being just that, the old “stuff” is stirred up and we often overreact with displaced anger and often with rage towards the unfortunate people may be in out vicinity. The saddest part of all is that when we are at this stage we often react in anger to situations in which we perceive as an offense and in reality, no harm has been done. I am sure, this concept is not new to many of you, as you read these words you find yourself, nodding in agreement and saying to yourself, “That’s me”, or “I do/have done that.” So now you’re asking, “If this is true and these emotions when left unresolved are this powerful, “How do I break this chain? What I do now to change and fix this problem.  The easy, to say, but hard to follow-through answer is “FORGIVE”. I reiterate, some of those that perpetrated evil acts against us, do not deserve forgiveness. However, I remind you of my statement made in the most previous article in this series:

 Forgiveness is NOT based on being worthy or deserving of it.

Forgiveness is an act of grace and mercy.

Ultimately it is an act of LOVE!

 We do not forgive for the sake of the other person. Many will not be affected by my choice to grant them forgiveness or not. They live their lives, often not even knowing that the have offended or hurt us, or at least to the extent that they have done so. We forgive, because it sets us free. Let me illustrate with a few quick quotes:

         He who angers you conquers you. – Elizabeth Kenny

        The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.  ~Eldridge Cleaver

 Hate cages all the good things about you.  ~Terri Guillemets

Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.   ~Henry Emerson Fosdick

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.  ~ Lewis B. Smedes

I really like all of these and they do a very good job expressing my point. Our willingness and ability to forgive others is about our inner healing FIRST and then about “making amends” in our relationships with others.  I one to point you back to the first and last quotes: ”He who angers you conquers you.” And “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” When we learn to forgive and let go of our hurt, offenses and anger, we realize that we are not letting the other person go free, they already were, we are freeing ourselves from the inside out. We are reclaiming the control that I have given away. I know that is MUCH easier said than done, but start practicing with little things day to day. As forgiveness becomes easier, facing the bigger and more painful hurts will not be as difficult to let go off. It WILL take time and work, but hang in there you will overcome. NEVER FORGET you have someone at your side that knows a LITTLE about forgiveness, Jesus.

On the other hand, as we will see in the next and hopefully final chapter of this series, our ability and/or willingness to accept forgiveness is a whole other issue, entirely.

 BE FREE – FORGIVE

Forgiveness Part 2   Leave a comment

As I begin this post, I start thinking about this very simple yet paradoxically complicated word.

There are so many implications. This word affects us in all relationships areas of our lives:  with God, with friends, with significant others and within ourselves. Each of these is intertwined delicately with each of the others. All of us have needed to forgive and be forgiven at some point in our lives. I believe that being able to forgive and willing to seek forgiveness are attributes that must be developed and honed in order for any individual to truly live a fulfilling and successful life. This is part two.

Forgiveness in our Relationship Within

Once we have resolved our need for forgiveness in our Relationship with God, then and only then can we begin to consider forgiveness in the other two areas. However, neither of them is as straight forward as the first and they are very much entangled together. Let’s look first at forgiveness within. It is often said and is no truer than in the life of those in recovery: “We are our own worst enemy.”  What exactly does that mean? To me, it means that we beat ourselves up over the smallest mistakes. We look for every weakness and imperfection and focus on them, and taking every effort to point them out to those with whom we have relationships. Even when others point out our strengths, or other positive attributes, we discount there compliments and deny them completely. In other incidents, when we offend or otherwise hurt or disappoint someone else, including God, and they forgive us, we will not let it go and move on; we are unable or unwilling to forgive ourselves.

My friends, we have all made mistakes and had to suffer the consequences of those decisions and behaviors. For some of you those consequences have been VERY painful and costly, on all levels. They have affected not only us, but those around us, especially those which we care for the very most; thus, confirming within our psyche that we are more “trouble than we are worth” and thereby not deserving of forgiveness and validating our poor self-esteem and self-worth. Let me refer briefly to a verse from Part 1:

 For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23

We have ALL have sinned.  EVERYONE of us has made mistakes, it is called being human. As noted, some are bigger and have more detrimental to our relationships, recovery, wellbeing, our LIFE! However, there is no mistake that is not forgivable.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

My ability to accept and experience within is dependent on my surrender and willingness and ability to accept forgiveness in my relationship with God, as previously discussed. Unfortunately, for many of us, even that is very difficult.

Here is the hardest message as it pertains to forgiveness and it is true for ALL aspects (with God, with others and within)…

 Forgiveness is NOT based on being worthy or deserving of it.

Forgiveness is an act of grace and mercy.

Ultimately it is an act of LOVE!

 We must first accept and acknowledge the forgiveness that is given to us by God, not because we deserve it but because we don’t. We accept it as his gift of grace and mercy. What is the purpose of His forgiveness? The purpose is to restore our relationship with him.

If the Almighty God, the Ruler of the Universe and Giver of Life, is willing to lavish us with his love, grace and mercy, forgiving us of EVERYTHING, then who do we think that we are not being willing to forgive ourselves. We need to grant ourselves the same mercy and grace that He has so richly given.

Even then, learning to walk in forgiveness within is going to take practice and it will not come to us overnight. The pain and suffering that resulted from our poor decisions and behaviors will remain and heal slowly, but it will heal.

There will still be times and situations in which we struggle to forgive within. It is in those times that we must “Let go and let God.” We confess our struggle and inability to forgive ourselves and we ask Him to help us and to heal us from the hurt and pain that are deep within which are holding us back. As we draw closer and closer to His mercy and grace, it becomes easier to grant and apply mercy and grace to ourselves.

Forgiveness   2 comments

As I begin this post, I start thinking about this very simple yet paradoxically complicated word.

There are so many implications. This word affects us in all relationships areas of our lives:  with God, with friends, with significant others and within ourselves. Each of these is intertwined delicately with each of the others. All of us have needed to forgive and be forgiven at some point in our lives. I believe that being able to forgive and willing to seek forgiveness are attributes that must be developed and honed in order for any individual to truly live a fulfilling and successful life. This is the first of either two or three parts on this issue.

Forgiveness in our Relationship with God

I do not make this blog an avenue to “preach” or “proselytize”, however, I have never concealed my personal faith. It with that in mind that I believe that ultimately there is only one place that we can start when we begin to consider forgiveness, our relationship with God.

It does matter who you are, where you are from or even what you have, we have ALL made mistakes and done “wrong”. Scripture calls these “wrongs” sin.

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, itis  sin for them. James 4:17

Just like in our personal relationships when there is some offense between us and someone else, when we have sinned then there is an offense between us and God and thus a strain on our relationship with Him. However when he confess our sin, acknowledging them to ourselves and before Him, then He forgives and the relationship is restored.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalms 32:5

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalms 32:5

And finally, last but not least:

Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, Psalms 103:2-4

I especially like this last verse, because it expresses completely what God does in and for us when we come to Him. Let me explain briefly.

“Forgives all your sins” – He forgives ALL our sins and mistakes that were made in the past. The smallest to the largest there is no difference.

“heals all your disease” He heals us from our past hurts and disappointments, with His  help we can overcome our mental illness and addictions.

“who redeems your life from the pit” – He lifts us out of the pit, though many of them are self-induced, he delivers us from the consequences of our past sins and mistakes, setting our feet on solid and stable ground.

and crowns you with love and compassion”– He goes simply lifting us up out of the pit,  he puts his crown of love and compassion on us claiming us for himself.  Though we  have never known or accepted unconditional love He gives it to us freely.

So I ask you my friends, what are you waiting for?

He anxiously waits to hear you call out to Him.

Of course that is not quite so easy for some of us. We have our own issues and hurts and are angry AT God. We believe that He has wronged us in some way or another. We are angry because he “took” someone that we loved greatly. We blame Him for the terrible and traumatic things that have happened to us or others near us. We do not understand how he could be a God of “Love and Compassion” and allow bad things to happen to “good” people.

Unfortunately there is no easy answer, to these questions. U can simply reference one passage:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares  the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Ultimately there we may never have the understanding that we so desperately seek, but at some point we must accept that He is God, and though I do not understand, He had a reason and I must move on. Sometimes the only answer will be, “He is God”.

Isaiah 55:6-13

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”

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