Healing Begins with Forgiveness

Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

Last Sunday at Kfirst was pretty awesome. If you missed it, click here for the Livestream from it.

There’s something about seeing people, in humility, stand and admit, “I’m dealing with bitterness and/or unforgiveness.” There’s something about that step of faith that confronts your own issues in order to see growth and change.

And that’s where healing begins. Forgiveness is where healing begins.

There’s something about an heart that is broken by offense that heals different than a bone that has been broken by an impact. While a bone can heal and you may think nothing of it a year later, an offended heart can think of the offense a year later and want to return to the broken state.

And we in the church world can simply say, “forgive” and it will be all better. While the principle is correct, we misunderstand that forgiving someone is making the daily decision to choose mercy and grace over bitterness and resentment. It is that every day decision to follow Christ and not where our desires want to lead us. 

We forgive as quickly and thoroughly as we’ve been forgiven.

Forgiveness doesn’t validate the one(s) who hurt you. Forgiveness doesn’t justify their hurtful actions toward you or the ones you love. Forgiveness is that choice that says, “Despite what has happened, I refuse to be held captive to the offense. I will show the depth of grace that I have been shown in Christ Jesus.” 

Showing grace and forgiveness releases me.
It saves me.
It sets me free

As I’ve heard it said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Forgiveness doesn’t mean a trust is rebuilt. It doesn’t mean you don’t have boundaries in the friendship. Grace doesn’t mean the friendship will be (or should be) reconciled. It just means you are no longer living in the prison of bitterness.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you get what you want. But forgiveness ushers in the peace, love, strength, wisdom, and honor into a moment that could have left you defensive, bitter, broken, and hurt. 

Today, would you step out and forgive? Would you trust God to get you through this forgiveness journey so that you can finally heal?  I love the words of Isaiah who said, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you” (Isaiah 26:3). He promises to grants us peace when we stop fixing our minds on other “things” and put our trust in Him. 

Be honest with yourself and the Lord. Trust God with your offense. Give your hurt to the Lord through prayer. Say it out loud or journal them out. Lay them at His feet, release the forgiveness, and let the healing begin. 

And tomorrow, if your heart wants to go back to them because it hasn’t fully healed, rinse and repeat.

I love you all. I’m praying for you.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble.

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Rx for Offense” #PivotPoint

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and long workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together. 

We continued our current series at Kfirst. “Pivot Point” has been our study of the life of Jacob. Even though he didn’t have the “model life”, God always had something beautiful in store for him. Our goal yesterday was to help people understand: “We can’t live in the Land of Promise without leaving our place of offense.” (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

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So many of us want the promises of God but don’t want to be obedient to what the promises require us to do. And one of those areas of obedience is releasing offenses. Jacob left the land of promise because of the issues between him and Esau. And he knew when God called him to go home in Genesis 31:13, he would have to face his brother and a 50-year-old offense.

In the narrative of Genesis 32, Jacob gives us three examples of what happens when we don’t deal with offense correctly:

  1. Dwelt on offenses lead to misguided reactions. (v. 3-4)
    • Instead of responding with a personal interaction, Jacob pushes his servants to take care of things for him.
  2. Picked up offenses will exaggerated issues. (v. 6)
    • Jacob finds out Esau is on his way. He panics and begins to divide his family to, in his mind, preserve some of them from his brothers wrath he assumes is still there.
  3. Unattended offenses create self-serving responses. (v. 9, 16)
    • He puts it on God to deal with.
    • He sends his servants again with a load of gifts to buy Esau’s favor.

https://twitter.com/DawnHause/status/790207807073185792

In view of Jacob’s decisions, our heart is to dismantle what the enemy wants to use to divide the body of Christ. We want to step into a biblical prescription for offense.

  1. Be intentional about offense. Matthew 18:15-20
    • Engage with God.
    • Re-engage the person who offended you.
  2. Be intentional about humility. 1 Peter 5:5
    • Humility opens up the door for opportunity for others to listen and for us to grow.
  3. Be intentional about information. Ephesians 4:15
    • We should never express ourselves at the expense of the character of Jesus.
  4. Be intentional about forgiveness. Proverbs 19:11
    • I can’t choose the offense I’m offered, but I can choose what I hold on to.

Ask the Holy Spirit to check your heart. Ask him to show you if any offense is being held in your hands. Rest in the grace that Christ offers and be a distributor of that grace.

This week, if you need a scripture reading plan, check out this one.

Love you all.  See you on Sunday!

BTW, here’s a song this week for your devotions playlist that we learned on Sunday:

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: Forgivness in Perspective #Playlist

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday, and sometimes in the wake of a great weekend and long workweek ahead, you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together. 

Yesterday we had a fantastic day at Kfirst. Pastor Matt brought the word as we continued our series “Playlist” He brought us to  Psalm 130 (Read Psalm 130) as we put our focus onto the forgiveness that God provides. 

In his message, Pastor Matt reminded us of some great truths:

My two challenges for this week: 

  1. Read Psalm 130 every morning this week. The nature of God is mercy and forgiveness. And as you do read, you can’t help but be reminded what you have been saved from. Spend some time in quiet worship and gratitude to Christ for his amazing grace. 
  2. Let your life be a beacon of the grace of God. 
    • Personally:  As Pastor Matt challenged, if you’re struggling with sin, find a fellow believer to confess to. Why? God’s grace and forgiveness doesn’t empower us to sin, it propels us to live a life that exemplifies Christ. And what confession does is bring healing and accountability. 
    • Community: Look for an opportunity to express the width and depth of forgiveness you have received from Jesus. By reading Psalm 130, and seeing how much you’ve been forgiven of, it is incredibly difficult to hold onto bitterness, anger, and hate. 

Love you all.  See you on Sunday as we continue #Playlist by focusing on Psalm 131.

 

BTW: Here’s a song to put on your #Playlist this week: 

Brownie Points: 4 Reasons why they may not be good for your marriage.

Cards.  Candy, Socks (one of my favorite gifts). Flowers.  They’re all those things that we purchase and hear someone say, 

“Somebody’s gonna get some brownie points for that.”

In the completely accurate source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, Brownie Points are given a phenomenal definition. They’re a hypothetical social currency, which can be acquired by doing good deeds or earning favor in the eyes of another.  Regardless of the etymology, they’re essentially used for the purpose of earning approval of someone.

NOTE: I am not against gift-giving.  I’m not opposing to doing thoughtful things for your spouse.  In fact, acts that are kind, thoughtful, loving, and/or romantic should be consistently a part of your marriage (key word: consistently).  They should be the natural outflow of a healthy marital relationship.  The little things matter and need to be actively seen in marriage. But the connotation that “Brownie Points” carries, can actually be a very unhealthy to you and your spouse.  According to the definition, in the context of marriage, little acts are done to curry favor and approval that, apparently, either didn’t exist or have disappeared.  The love we see in our marriage should be spilling out from the love of Christ.  We see that love described in 1 Corinthians 13

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

And because of that here are 4 reasons why brownie points may not be good for your marriage. 

1. Score keeping. Couples that keep score deteriorate. Why?  If you’ve done more acts of kindness for your spouse, you can sit back and do nothing until he/she gets caught up with what you gave.  It fosters the misunderstanding that “marriage is a 50/50 proposition.” 50/50 simply means “I give in proportion to what you give me.”  So you sit back and keep track of who did what and, often, make statements about how much more you’ve given.  But a healthy marriage is 100/100.  That means that a spouse gives all that they are regardless of what the other gives. “Love is…kind.” I give100% because that’s what type of love Christ gave me. The kindness in his immense generosity knows no bounds. 

2. One upping.  I’ll admit, I like to outdo what I’ve done before because I love Anne and enjoy doing more for her.  But “one upping” can flow into an unhealthy mentality when 1 of 2 things happen.  First, when it’s become about pride instead of about love.  We perform an act of kindness/romance and stand back and say, “Look what I’ve done for you.  You’re lucky to be married to me.”  Now no body in their right mind is going to actually say that but that’s the heart behind it. Secondly, it fosters manipulation.  “Can you do _________for me?  I did __________ for you last week.”  There’s a terrible danger of taking what is supposed to be kindness and/or romantic and it’s become a weapon used to “make” your spouse do what you want him/her to do. Remember, “love…does not insist its own way.”

3. Sets the precedence that “favor” with your spouse is something to be “won.”  I don’t think there has been a time that Anne has ever had to earn my favor.  Have we had conflict?  You better believe it.  Do we annoy each other?  At times.  But love isn’t “arrogant or rude.”  It doesn’t let the marriage operate so that one person must be satisfied so that favor may be granted upon the spouse.  How arrogant are you if you demand that your favor must be curried? Love is unconditional because it’s what Jesus showed us. And scripture tells us that “nothing can separate us from the love of God.”  

4. Can make forgiveness dependent upon actions. Scripture tells us that “love is…not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” Most people struggle with forgiveness because they mistaken it for trust.  They are not the same thing.  We don’t let our spouse have to earn forgiveness by actions. We love and forgive based upon what was modeled in Christ. Trust, on the other hand, is built over time. It’s grown by the fruit (consistent actions) of a healthy, contrite, and teachable heart. Is it tough to do when our spouse has broken our hearts?  Absolutely. But love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  Love never fails.  

Hear my heart.  Keep doing the little things for your spouse.  Don’t do it because of what you can get out of it nor do them as penance for wrongs that have been done.  Let them flow out of the love that you saw and experience from the love of Christ.

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.

“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…