"Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart; one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them." ~ Marvin J. Ashton
I have to admit that lately I have been more of a tearer-downer than a builder-upper. Today was one of those days! I must confess that the one I tore down was my own beautiful, precious daughter. Life has been a little stressful around our house lately and I haven’t handled it well. While there are plenty of things that I should be rejoicing over (such as our house selling within 3 days of being listed) I have allowed the stress (of moving) get the best of me. I, in turn, have taken it out on the ones whom I hold dear. I have had to apologize a lot, and I mean A LOT! Saying I am sorry doesn’t right the wrong, erase the words, or completely heal the hurts but it does humble you. I believe as a parent, a spouse or a friend, we have to be the one willing to say “I’m sorry”.
The flip-side of that coin is that I need to be the one willing to forgive when someone apologizes to me. I need to be willing to say “You’re forgiven." “I’m Sorry” and “You’re forgiven” are 2, two-word phrases that could change someone’s life. Those two little words may be the cornerstone it takes to start strengthening or rebuilding a relationship.
I would like for you to join me and make an end of the year resolution. Let’s be the person Marvin J. Ashton wrote about. BE the ONE who nurtures and builds. BE the ONE who has an understanding and a forgiving heart. LOOK for the best in people and ALWAYS leave people better than you found them.
This week's follow-up is a bit different. After Claire's blog post, one of you sent us 2 poems you had written as well as a great quote. Darla, you were touched by her blog and we were touched by you!
We postponed our next follow-up so we could share these poems and quote with you. It is so beautiful to hear how God speaks differently to us all. These 2 poems say SO MUCH and we know you'll be blessed by them as we were.
Thanks to Claire for writing the personal post last week, and thanks to Darla for sharing parts of her journey with us.
Blessings to you all this week!
"Perhaps that is the very reason we are in this world where sin and sorrow and suffering and evil abound, so that we may let You teach us how to react to them, that out of them we can create lovely qualities to live forever. That is the only satisfactory way of dealing with evil, not simply binding it so it cannot work harm, but whenever possible overcoming it with good. "
Behind my wall
I find myself again
Sheltered and safe, no one can get in
A place I go to heal
And hide away
What I must remember
This is not a
Place I can stay
Isolated and hidden
No harm can come to me
But over time and
With a prayer or two
God will help me see
To be His servant
And messenger of His word
Behind a wall
I can not be heard
Take a chance
On the people He sends my way
We're here to learn from them
Trust in who He sends
Getting hurt is a maybe
But God will guard my heart and
Catch me if I fall
His hand waiting for me
Reaching behind my wall
The Bible says to me
Sometimes this road is filled with obstacles
That I did not see
Can I find it in my heart
To forgive the hurt and pain
I know that when I can forgive
There's so much I will gain
A sense of peace and freedom
A burden lifted from my heart
Dear God teach me to forgive
Please show me where to start
Forgive myself and others too
You can show me how
There is no more waiting
The time to begin is now
Forgiving is the first step
To start my walk with You
Dear Jesus take my hand
Show me what to do
Show me how to break down the wall
And give You more of me
To forgive means to trust in You
This is the life I seek
Be with me as I take that first step
Sometimes on shaky ground
It is in Your grace and words
The next step can be found
I recently read a wonderful daily devotion regarding forgiveness. Forgiveness is a very interesting word that carries with it all kinds of emotions. Some of those emotions are negative, like disappointment, bitterness, and even anger - which are emotions which might have caused reason for forgiveness in the first place. And some of those emotions are beautiful - emotions such as joy, peace and relief from experiencing forgiveness.
But forgiveness is also a word loaded with action! Forgiveness only happens when action is taken, right? The ACT of forgiving. We could focus on so much when it comes to the action of forgiving, but today, I'd like to focus on forgiving YOURSELF - who, for many of us, is probably the hardest person to forgive. When was the last time you actively forgave yourself? I know that might be a strange concept for some of us, but when? When was the last time you did something that you regretted, had to ask someone for forgiveness, AND THEN actively forgave yourself for the wrong-doing? When was the last time you said something that was misunderstood and even though the other person didn't hold it against you, you held it against yourself and carried that guilt with you?
There are many situations in which we might find a need to forgive ourselves so that we don't carry around the guilt and condemnation that comes with UNforgiveness. And, if God can forgive us, then shouldn't we forgive ourselves?
Here's the devotion I read last week. It's written by Os Hillman.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9
The apostle Peter was one of three disciples who walked with Jesus closer than the other nine. He was the most enthusiastic and the one man who was willing to step into territories where others would not dare. He was the first to step out of the boat and walk on water. He wanted to protect Jesus at times when Jesus rebuked him for having a demon influence him. He cut off the ear of the guard who wanted to arrest Jesus in the garden. As Peter matured, the Holy Spirit harnessed his many extreme emotions.
The greatest trial for Peter was when he denied the Lord just before Jesus was crucified. Three times he denied knowing Jesus. Jesus predicted that the cock would crow after the third time just to reinforce the prophecy to Peter. Peter was crushed when he realized he had failed His Lord so badly.
The Lord forgave Peter for his denial. However, gaining forgiveness from Jesus was not the most difficult part for Peter. The hard part was forgiving himself. As we mature in the faith, we begin moving in victory after victory with our Lord. Then out of nowhere, an event happens that reveals our true sin nature, and we are confronted face to face with this reality. We cannot believe that we are capable of such sin. There is no good thing in us save the grace of Jesus Christ and His blood that cleanses us. When God looks at us, He looks at the blood of Christ that has covered our sin. He does not look at our sin once we confess it.
When we have difficulty forgiving ourselves, this is pride at its deepest level. We are making an assumption that we should never have sinned and that we are too mature to sin. This is a trap from the enemy of our souls. People who cannot forgive do not recognize from what they have been forgiven. That includes us."
Satan is the author of confusion and he's rather good at it! If you've considered yourself to be a Christian for a long time, sometimes it's REALLY hard to forgive yourself when "confronted face to face with [the] reality" that we are still capable of sin. We still hurt others with our words, we still do things we shouldn't, we still think things we wouldn't dare vocalize. And because of that, Satan can really push the guilt on us! He can confuse the issue - make us feel we are being humble by being hard on ourselves, rather than potentially prideful. He can confuse the facts that Jesus' blood covers ALL sin no matter who sinned and no matter when we sinned.
And if you are a new believer in Jesus, Satan can confuse the fact that no matter who you are or what you've done or haven't done, if you confess your sins and believe in Jesus, you will be saved. That's it! Jesus' blood that He shed on the cross covers ALL the sin and God FORGIVES ALL THE SIN! His forgiveness is not an excuse to keep sinning, but rather a call to actively forgive and, as Jesus said, "Go and sin no more."
If you are trying to become all God created you to be, then maybe you should forgive yourself of your past - whether distant past or recent past - and move toward Him. His arms are open. He forgives you - maybe you should, too! :)
Thanks for being you!
Q: Can you think of something right now for which you've had a hard time forgiving yourself? How did you handle it? Have you forgiven yourself? Comment on this post, or email us with your answer. (You don't need to give details of what you needed to forgive, just answer the latter questions.)
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