7 Habits of Highly Defective Marriages part 7: Curdled Heart

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A month ago, we started a new series of seven blogs designed to recognize unhealthy habits. If you missed the last four weeks check out our first FIVE Highly Defective Habits:

Habit #1: Spiritual Continuity.

Habit #2: The Single Life

Habit #3: The Fun-less Couple

Habit #4: Criticism Floods

Habit #5: Inconsistent Sex

Habit #6: Lack of Laughter

Here we go…#7 on the list of my 7 Habits of Highly Defective Marriages:

Defective Marriage

Habit #7: Curdled Heart

cur·dle/ˈkərdl
verb: To separate or cause to separate into curds or lumps. To spoil or turn sour.
Synonyms: clot, coagulate, congeal, thicken

After taking  week away because of some health issues, I’m bringing this blog series to a conclusion with #7 of my 7 dysfunctional habits.  I’m not huge on the KJV (King James Version of the bible), but I was raised on it. And there are some verses that will always stick out in my mind that are worded a specific way in the KJV:

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. 1 Samuel 1:10

Bitterness, to many people, is the most sensitive of the tastes. Most of us find it harsh and unpleasant. My case in point: Unsweetened cocoa. I remembered discovering it in our pantry growing up. To me, it looked like chocolate.  To my chagrin, my mouth was filled with the shockingly harsh taste of unsweetened cocoa. It blew my mind that anything bearing the brown Hershey label could taste so bad! It cured me of sneaking around to find chocolate…well, almost.

Identifying bitterness is not as simple as a taste test. A harsh or bitter person will rarely admit it. He/she will call themselves firm, melancholy, sober, principled or any number of pseudonyms for bitter. Here’s the reality: bitterness is very easy to see in others but hard to see in ourselves. It sits in our heart releasing its venom causing the curdling process to begin.  Over time the bitterness begins to spoil our attitude.  Our personality begins to sour and our defenses begin to thicken.  If not taken care of, bitterness turns to unforgivenss and causes hearts to separate.

Bitterness has now finished its work.

Defective marriages hold onto the toxin of bitterness, anger, and regret? I say quite often, unforgiveness (which comes from bitterness) is the cancer of marriage. And as a pastor, I deal with this issue more than most. Bitterness will break apart/curdle your heart and undermine your marriage.

In 1 Samuel 1, we find the scripture talking about someone in agony. The “she” being talked about is a woman named Hannah.  She was hurting.  She was broken.  And yes, she was bitter.  Unable to conceive, she was in inner turmoil.  The Hebrew word for “bitterness” means bitter taste or inner pain.  She was experiencing both.  We have limited knowledge to what was taking place here in 1 Samuel 1.  But we cannot help but speculate that her bitterness was taking its toll on her personally as well as her marriage.

The story is kept simple.  And even though we only need 10 verses to see Hannah’s agony.  We only need a few words to see her response to the bitterness.

Hannah turned to the Lord.

It may sound like a religious cop-out, but something far deeper was happening than a religious crutch.  She was emptying her burden/bitterness upon the shoulders of God.  It wasn’t for a moment of release.  It says in verse 12 she “continued praying before the Lord.” She refused to live in bitterness.  She didn’t succumb to its venom.  Hannah didn’t play games with it.  She opened up, faced it, and cried out to the Lord for help.

There is a beauty to the simplicity of Hannah’s response.  Bitterness wants to isolate you and curdle your heart toward your spouse, yourself, and the Lord.  It wants to do its work of separation.  But if we, simply, opened up to face it head on, we’d see that bitterness is normal for us to face but abnormal for us to carry. Your shoulders where never built to hold it.

One of my favorite scriptures says this:

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you. Psalm 55:22

Are you harboring bitterness?  Have you succumb to its venomous hold?  Has your heart started curdling toward your spouse? Then do yourself and your marriage a favor.

In bitterness of soul…cast your burden on the Lord. And if you will, his promise is he will sustain you.

For Hannah, God gave her a son Samuel that would bless a nation..  For you, I do not know what God has planned, but I believe though you, God will birth great things that will bless the world around you.

Stop feeding the defectives of marriage.
Stop being bitter.
Cast your burden on the Lord.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Stupid Spouse: A culture of demeaning our mate.

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I do like sitcoms (situational comedies).  I grew up watching them. You probably have your favorites. I’ve got mine (MASH, Newhart, Taxi, Cosby Show, and Home Improvement). The really good sitcoms take every day situations for the everyday person and makes them funny.  It’s what keeps our attention and helps us to see the humor in own lives.  Now that Netflix has “Everyone Loves Raymond,” I find myself finally watching the show right before I sleep just to let the comedy relax my mind before sleep.

But…it’s got me thinking.

At 30-minute intervals, we see situations revealed and the comedy unfold.  While we watch, we, and especially our children, subliminally soak in messages and quotes.  They sit in our minds and crowd up our memories.  (Even now, you’re thinking of your own favorite sitcoms and/or the quotes and moments that stick out to you.) Unfortunately, over the years, there seems to be a steady vein running through most sitcoms.  It was there from my earliest memories of seeing “The Honeymooners” and it lingers now into our modern-day shows.

The “Stupid Spouse.”

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stu·pid/ˈst(y)o͞opid/ lacking intelligence or common sense.

Most of you reading this won’t have to think back very far to see the sitcom with the “Stupid Spouse.”  You name the sitcom and you’ll have no problem naming off the spouse or the person in the relationship that has been chosen to be “stupid.” Not only is he/she the butt of the jokes, but the role that he/she plays becomes a laughing-stock of their family. Children are allowed to disregard dad because he’s an idiot. Don’t respect mom because she’s disconnected from reality. Husbands are spineless and weak leaders.  Wives are selfish and conniving. There is very little respect for marriage as well as parenting.

My wondering: has what we have been viewing and enjoying been allowed to soak into our own families? Have we allowed our entertainment to actually shape our marriages?  Have they become emotional pornography creating unrealistic ideals that ravage the reality of how the Lord has designed you both?

Do you have a culture of demeaning your spouse?

Our homes SHOULD be the place of safety. Our spouse SHOULD be our greatest supporter.  Our marriage SHOULD be the source of our greatest encouragement.

But somewhere in this demeaning culture, we have become what we watch.  We tear down our spouse.  Now we don’t do it to their face all the time. Let them leave the room first before we give a comment to our kids about how you disagree with their father/mother.  When our parents call us, we’ll start-up again on how “stupid” our spouse is.  We’ll even go to church and sing of the love of God and put on the facade to our friends of how our family is. Somewhere this has to stop.  Someone has to draw a line in the sand and make a stand for encouragement.

James deals this sensitive subject by saying, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

If you find yourself thinking about how stupid (lacking intelligence or common sense) your spouse is…
If you are constantly refusing to let your spouse be a helpmate…
If you cannot speak to them respectfully and lovingly…
If you cannot talk about your spouse without tearing them down to someone…

Husbands and wives…THESE THINGS OUGHT NOT TO BE SO!

Before you cancel your cable, Netflix, and Hulu accounts, take a step back.  I’m not telling you to go all “pharisee” on me with your TV’s and computers.  I’m asking for you to just pause and reflect.  It’s time to turn the tide of the culture of your home.

1 – It starts with you.  I’ve dealt with too many marriages where a husband and wife are acting like middle schoolers and not adults.  Don’t wait for him/her to make the first move to having a culture of respect and honor.  Thank the Lord that Jesus didn’t wait for us to make the first move back to him before he extended love toward us. “Drawing a line in the sand” ISN’T about “do this or I’m leaving.”  It’s about saying, “It stops here and now.” STOP TRYING TO CHANGE YOUR SPOUSE!  Let the change start in you.

2 – Ask for forgiveness.  Admitting fault is not a sign of weakness.  It’s a sign of strength. Hiding your faults is what makes you weak. Humility is the antibiotic for a pride-filled marital culture.  Proverbs 22:4 says, “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.”

3 – Create culture.  Embrace who your spouse is and how the Lord created them as an individual. Your differences are to be celebrated…not rejected. Create a culture where encouragement and praise becomes the norm. When there is a culture of edification, the constructive criticism that is needed for growth is received on furtive soil as opposed to calloused hearts that have been damaged by harsh remarks and disrespect.  You may have been married 2 years, 20 years, or 40 years.  It’s not too late to create a new culture of encouragement that will foster the atmosphere of healthy marital growth.

4 – Lastly, be dedicated to feeding the new culture.  Occasionally, Anne ticks me off.  I never make her mad (okay that’s a lie). But there needs to be a decision that, no matter how out of the norm it is for you, to feed the culture of encouragement and honor.  Your kids cannot see and hear you demeaning their father/mother.  Your parents cannot hear you tearing your spouse down.  Before other and before the Lord, chose to be a spouse who builds instead of destroys.  Ephesians 4:29 says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” You will have moments that you will not feel like feeding the “new culture.” That’s where we come to grips with the fact that love is a decision and not just a feeling.  Love your spouse to feed the culture of a healthy marriage.

If we were real here, we’d admit we ALL have moments where we are lacking intelligence or common sense.  Be humble to see that in yourself and that humility will feed into how you deal with your spouse.

Encourage liberally.  Laugh loudly.  Love unconditionally. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Marriage Series: Catchphrases – Stop saying “I’m Sorry!”

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My sole goal of this week’s marriage blog is simple:  I want you to stop saying “I’m sorry.”

Relax…get ya some tea (Moroccan is my fav)…and I’ll explain.

Two weeks ago we began a new series entitled “Marital Catchphrases” in which we look at the random phrases we toss out almost flippantly to our spouses while potentially losing the meaning behind the words. The scripture for this series is: Proverbs 13:3 “Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.” (The Message) In our last blog, we attacked the simple, yet overused catchphrase “Yes Dear.”  Today we hit another one.

Title Marriage Catchphrases

“I’m sorry.”

“Did you break this?” “I’m sorry.”
“You bought what?!?”  “I’m sorry.”
“I can’t believe you said that to the kids?”  “I’m sorry.”
“You invited your mother?” “I’m sorry.”

This simple phrase that our parents taught us so well has been so over-used and abused.  I think of when my parents were trying to teach my sister to say those words.  I remember it well.  Rachael hit me.  My parents saw her and sternly told her, “Don’t you ever hit your brother.  If it happens, you need to say ‘I’m sorry.'”  What my parents said and what Rachael heard were two different things.  My parents where trying to teach her remorse and manners.  Rachael heard something else.  She began to hit me while quickly following up the punch with a quick “I’m sorry.”  It got so bad she was actually saying  “I’m sorry” while her fist was flying through the air. To her very young mind, it was the escape from all consequence and responsibilities that were connected with her actions.

We adults are not all that different.

The more I counsel, the more I hear the same very disturbing words: “When my spouse says they’re sorry, it doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.

How do you get to that point? It elementary my dear Watson (sorry…I’ve been watching Sherlock).  It’s the same mentality that my preschool sister used that we still try to enforce today.  If I say “I’m sorry,” then things will go back to normal and I don’t have to face any consequences and take greater responsibility over my life.  We use these simple words as band aids for wounds that need serious treatment.  The words  “I’m sorry” have been used over and over and over and over…

…till the phrase has virtually no meaning..

It becomes a worse situation when that spouse really does have remorse over their actions and their spouse cannot take their word for it.  It didn’t have any meaning before.  It doesn’t have any meaning to them now.

Psalm 34:13 says, “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. If you and I are professing remorse with our lips but do not possess it in our hearts and our actions, we are not apologizing.  We are simply speaking deceit.  Something needs to change.  Something must be transformed.

Here’s some help: First, confront the issue.  James 5:16 tells us that confession leads to healing.  Talk to your spouse about the revelation you’ve come to. Confess your deceit and bring it into the light.  Quit hiding it and letting the darkness grow something that doesn’t belong in your life.

Secondly, Apologize correctly. Get rid of the words “I’m sorry.” Somebody taught us something a long time ago about apologies.  Take out the words “I’m sorry” and replace them with “Will you forgive me?” There is an amazing difference.  There’s something about the words “Will you forgive me?” that demands a two-fold action:
1 – For the person apologizing, there’s an action of humility and recognition that what you’ve done was wrong and hurtful.  You are humbling yourself by removing excuse and positioning yourself and your spouse for healing.
2 – For the spouse receiving the apology, there is a reciprocated action demanded.  There is only TWO responses to the words”Will you forgive me?” You will either hear “no” or “yes I forgive you.” There’s no other option.  If you say, “yes I forgive you,” then you are position yourself in a place of acting and living in forgiveness.

I remember quite a few years ago, Anne had done something wrong.  What I remember about the situation wasn’t what she had done to me.  It was the end of the skirmish that sticks in my mind. We were driving and she looked over at me and said, “Honey, will you forgive me?”

My reply, “Yes.”

After about a 3 second pause, she said again, “Honey, do you forgive me?”

I knew what she was asking.  We had agreed some time before that we would always apologize to each other in that manner.  We felt it positioned our marriage to walk in forgiveness.  To express the words “I forgive you” would put the onus on the other to let go of anger and bitterness and ACTUALLY forgive.  I remember not wanted to say it.  I wanted to linger in my anger…

…but that’s just it isn’t it?  We need to let go.  We need to forgive without stipulation the way Christ forgives us.

One more time, “Will you forgive me?” “Yes babe…I forgive you.”

This stuff may not be a big deal to you.  But the more “catchphrases” we can eliminate, the more we can position our marriages to walk in the heath that the Lord has designed for us to live in.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Undermining Your Marriage

Dave and Anne diagonal

For this week’s marriage blog, I began to ponder this thing of undermining marriage.  There are moments when you and I unknowingly act out situations that, if not corrected, will end up undermining the growth, strength, and future of your marriage.  Where I struggle, is when I talk with couples who are acting out in a specific manner and KNOW what they are doing.  Sometimes it’s out of retribution or frustration. Some actions can be explained out of the nurturing they received as they grew up observing their own families who raised them. But their actions are only keeping the deadly carousel of death spinning faster and faster to the point where someone wants off and out of the relationship.

Habakkuk 2:9-11 says in The Message “Who do you think you are— recklessly grabbing and looting, Living it up, acting like king of the mountain, acting above it all, above trials and troubles? You’ve engineered the ruin of your own house. In ruining others you’ve ruined yourself. You’ve undermined your foundations, rotted out your own soul. The bricks of your house will speak up and accuse you.

The context, obviously, isn’t marriage. But the principle is very powerful. By the actions of the people, they are undermining their foundations (what their lives are built upon). Their lives are “rotting out” what they are assuming is so secure.

I reading this scripture, I began to brainstorm some random thoughts that will undermine (rot out) your marriage.  Maybe you can help me and add a few to this list.

Criticism. 
There’s a difference in being constructive with your spouse and being a source of constant agony and criticism.  Your home should be safe.  You spouse should feel safe with you.  Part of the safety is to have deep enough relationship where things of correction can and should be shared. BUT…if that is all your spouse hears…if he/she NEVER matches up to what you think they should be….marital weariness will set in. Lethargy will consume your spouse and undermine your marital joy.

Purposely cause stress.
Every single person has to deal with one form of stress or another on a daily basis. It is just a fact of life. Scientists have yet to discover a miracle cure that will just make our stress evaporate and therefore we have to find other ways to deal with it. Stress affects everyone and there are good and bad ways to deal with it. When you know your spouse stresses over certain issues, your attempt to be playful by irritating those issues will not come off in a healthy way.  To attack sensitive areas of stress will speak a lack of care and creative a rift between you and your spouse. It will undermine rest and peace in your marriage.

Tolerate Pornography.
Guilt, mistrust, and anger about pornography can tear your marriage apart. Turning to pornography may cause your spouse to withdraw from your relationship because he receives instant gratification from his/her fantasies. When your spouse views porn you may feel disrespected, take it personally, and believe that you aren’t enough for him. This can create a wedge in your marriage. Pornography could make it difficult for your husband to see sex as a loving form of communication. As a result, pornography can decrease sexual satisfaction within your marriage.

Entertain a “single” lifestyle.
I read a great article by Focus on the Family which stated, “Over the past century, the path to marriage has grown increasingly dominated by an entertainment-based dating system that makes the time couples spend together full of ticketed events: movies, concerts, sporting events and so on. It’s a season characterized primarily by fun. After moving from that season into the routine life of marriage, couples often find it challenging to stop focusing on fun and begin the work of building a marriage.” We could turn this into it’s own blog, but when we entertain a single lifestyle, we get duped into a false sense of what we are missing.  It get’s our focus off of what we need to work on and into what we think we are missing. It will undermine our sense of fulfillment in our marriage.

Be too busy for your marriage.
Being too busy…such as not properly communicating or spending quality time. It’s not allowing intimacy. Workaholism is being unavailable on every level (spiritual, emotional, physical, etc). I understand busyness and I understand providing for your families. I understand sacrifices that are a part of life.  What I don’t understand is doing it all while sacrificing family. This is where openness needs to be fostered in the marriage to help warn against signs of workaholism and the dangers that come from absent spouses.  Busyness easily undermine the cohesiveness of your time together.

Threatening to leave.
This is an unnecessary risk and manipulation that may attract disaster to the relationship. If you make threats, you put in motion a destructive mentality. Why create what you don’t want? Why implant programming that undermines what you really want?
Why not foster an atmosphere of healthy conflict resolution so that you and your mate can make a mutual  commitment to heal upset feelings and work toward what you really want. Threats undermine trust in your marriage.

Fostering unforgiveness.
How can anyone behave differently towards you if you keep your hurts in the dark and do not give your spouse the opportunity to know what is true for you? How can you fully love someone else when you are holding on to the toxins of bitterness, sadness or regret? Unforgiveness is the cancer of marriage and I can’t preach, teach, blog, and counsel on it enough.  I deal with this more than most. Forgiveness is a decision.  Healing comes in time.  Trust comes in time.  Make a decision to walk in forgiveness and grace the way Christ has done with you.  Unforgiveness will break apart and undermine your marriage.

Refuse to admit you’re wrong.
It’s nothing more than prideful crap. I’m sorry to be so blunt. It’s a dumb facade that people put up to protect some false sense of security. Your refusal to admit wrong puts a barrier around you.  It’s not that you are not “touchable.” It’s that your spouse doesn’t want to come near you. Pride repels love.  Pride disfigures you and creates an unattractive image about you. Pride will undermine intimacy in every way.

Making decisions without your spouse.
Not letting the partner influence your decisions is a sure way to undermine oneness and invite insensitivity and defensiveness. By not listening you are not respecting your mate. I bring up Psalm 133 a lot in marriage counseling. “Where there’s unity, God commands his blessing.” I’m not saying you don’t have the faculties to make decisions without your spouse, but when your spouse doesn’t feel like a part of the marriage because he/she has no say in the marriage does nothing but undermine communication and vision for your marriage.

Refusing to care for yourself.
What does the way you care for yourself speak to your spouse? By not staying healthy (not taking care of yourself, your appearance, abusing substances, addictive patterns, etc) makes a huge statement to your spouse that you don’t care.  Why did you care before you were married?  Why not care about it now? I’m not saying that you need to be back to a form you were on the high school team or pre-kids, but effort toward taking care of yourself in a healthy way speaks volumes of concern, stewardship, and love to your mate.  To ignore it is to undermine your marriage.

 

Did I forget some?  Are there others that need to be on here?

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2 Minute Marriage Devo: “Throwing it in my face” #marriage

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June is our journey through some scripture selections on the topic of Marriage.  I want to invite you to join me. It’s as simple as looking at the blog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is Proverbs 17:9:

Proverbs 17:9

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

Tit-for-Tat

Dave and Anne walking

I told Anne my blog title and idea and she adamantly warned me to do some research on the origin of the phrase before using it. The look on her face reminded me of “The Princess Bride” where Vizzini keeps using the word “inconceivable.”

Inigo responds, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

My findings confirmed what I already knew about the expression while giving me a fill of historical understanding behind this lifestyle that people choose to live in.

Yes I said lifestyle…and some of you operate your marriage this way.

Wikipedia simply calls it an “equivalent retaliation.” But there’s more to it.

The phrase “Tit-for-tat” Is a blow or some other retaliation in return for an injury from another. 

The words “Tit” and “tat” (thanks to Phrase Finder) are both the names of small blows which originated as “tip” and “tap”.  Tip meant a hit, a shove. Tap was a retaliatory hit. These are recorded by Charles, Duke of Orleans in a book of poems that he wrote in 1466:

“Strokis grete, not tippe nor tapp.”

It’s a childhood game of “I got you last” turned into a marriage mentality. A punishment meted out to pay back an offence, measured to be equal and proportionate.

You yell at me, I yell at you.
You hurt me, I hurt you.
You cheated, I cheat on you.
You lied to me, I lie to you.

Tit for tat.

Marriages can get like that, tit for tat, tit for tat, tit for tat. The resentment and retaliations build until you feel powerless NOT to respond. The hurt builds and becomes habituated and before you know it, the lifestyle is set in concrete.

The tit for tat just is your marital banter.

Ephesians 5:21 challenges husbands and wives to submit “to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  So many times, couples stuck in the cycle of “tit for tat” and will contend that they won’t change until the other changes. Looking at it from different sides,  it can sound like equity and justice.  In my view, this lifestyle reveals a TRUTH:

The tit-for-tat marriage leads to an insane, mutually assured destruction. 

Can the insane carousal be stopped?

Absolutely.  It just takes one to do it.

For those marriages that find themselves stuck in the spinning tit-for-tat carousal, it only takes one to begin the process of forgiveness, change, and healing.

For those marriages experiencing strain and sadness…
For those marriages bowing under the weight of bad habits…
For those marriages that feel stuck in a rut of unhealthy patterns…

…healing can begin with only one of the spouse’s buying in “out of reverence for Christ.” I’m saying that your love for Jesus can motivate and empower you to decide, BY YOURSELF to shed old habits, act differently, and to refuse to return the equivalent retaliation.  It starts with you. And, yes I know it takes two to make a marriage.  But it only takes one to start the process of healing and change. And sometimes just getting that process started is enough to change the cycle and break the logjam in the relationship.

If being a Christ-follower means thinking of yourself less and if being a Christ-follower means turning the other cheek, then…

(brace yourself)

certainly being a Christ-follower within your marriage means not having to be right all the time. Not having to win. Not having the last word.

Make the choice…

Don’t go for the win.  Go for the love. Make the choice to forgive as Christ forgave you. Decide, today, to personally stop the cycle of insanity that is “tit-for-tat.” Chose to step into new habits of healing “out of reverence for Christ.”

Thanks for letting me ramble…

“Are you good at counting?”

1, 2, 3, 4, 5….

I swear it’s part of my DNA. I didn’t ask  for it. I was addicted to it. I also know it’s not just me. You might be guilty of it too.  You may still do it. Counting.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5….

Believe me, I should be the last one talking about mathematics.  Ask Cammi. As an eighth grader, I think she’s surpassed my mathematical abilities. I’m both proud of her and embarrassed that I can’t remember my algebra.

But that’s not the counting I’m talking about.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5….

Like an umpire in baseball uses a “Ball Strike Counter,” we have a tendency to count every strike, every offense, every hurt..

1, 2, 3, 4, 5….

We’ll say we forgive…but we don’t stop counting.  We’ll say we’ve let it go…but we don’t stop counting.  We profess to be Christ-followers…but we don’t stop counting.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5….

N.T. Wright says it best, “If you’re still counting how many times you’ve forgiven someone, you’re not really forgiving them at all, but simply postponing revenge.”  We feel it’s our right. We feel it’s our duty.  What we are really doing is stockpiling emotional weapons and ammunition like we are some form of “offense militia.”  We  thank the Lord for His forgiveness for our sins…but we keep counting.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5….

I don’t proclaim this as in easy issue. I’ve been hurt before.  I’ve been fractured by leaders.  I’ve been betrayed by friends.  My dreams have been stomped on by people I had respected.  I forgave…but I started counting.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5….

Around 2003, something changed.  I stopped counting.

1…

My ability to count ended because I caught some perspective.  Not mine.  My perspective is limited to what I know and see.  Many times it becomes my reality.  This revelation came from Romans 4. It says in The Message: “….the one who trusts God to do the putting-everything-right without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate man: Fortunate those whose crimes are carted off, whose sins are wiped clean from the slate. Fortunate the person against whom the Lord does not keep score.” I thought I was good at forgiving people.  I probably boasted about my ability to forgive. Yet I still kept score.  My counting came to a crashing halt when I began to comprehend how often I act out in my emotions…how often I crossed the line with my anger…how often I trusted myself instead of the Lord.

Daily. Weekly

1, 2, 3, 4, 5….

YET “….the one who trusts God…without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate man: Fortunate those whose crimes are carted off, whose sins are wiped clean from the slate. Fortunate the person against whom the Lord does not keep score.”

If Lord keeps score, he’s not forgiving. He postponing revenge.  “Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us.” He forgives. He stops counting.  How can I keep counting?  How can I stockpile offenses? “If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped.”

How often have you needed forgiveness?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5…

Today is your first step on a new journey of healing. Yes it is a journey.  It’s an every day decision. Let offenses go the way Christ let your offenses go. Trust Him. Lean on Him.  Stop hoarding the hurt.  Stop holding on.

Stop counting.

Thanks for letting me ramble…