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.

Mind the Gap – Depression Doesn’t Need Distance

I’ll start this off as I have my previous blogs on the subject: My name is David. And I’m a pastor who deals with bouts of depression.

I don’t specialized in the medical or psychological field, but as one who fights a personal battle while refusing to let others stand alone in theirs. My depression is considerably lower than others and happens, perhaps, less frequent as yours. I will not compare my pain to yours but would implore you from the beginning of this post:

You are not alone.
You have hope.
You can get help.

Back in 2005, my wife and I found ourselves in England with 25 students working in a local church Peterborough. Of all of the experiences of the trip, one phrase we heard there always comes to mind when I think of England: please mind the gap. If you take the London metro, you’ll hear it over and over. It’s the warning to pay attention to the space between the platform and the train. The announcement isn’t about falling into a hole (gap) as much as it’s trying to keep you from tripping into (or out of) the metro because of a few inches of a “gap.”

Luke 4 has, perhaps, one of my favorite stories about Jesus. He is in a crowd of people (which wasn’t out of the norm). Unless he purposefully pulled away from the crowds, they were always around him pressing against him.

And it was here that a woman who’d been isolated in her physical, mental, and emotional struggles pushed through the crowd to reach him and perhaps be healed. What is out of the “norm” was Jesus response. Why? It seems so odd based off his surroundings.

Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me. Luke 8:45-46

Most people who approach me to ask questions about my depression are those who don’t battle with it. Honestly, it’s encouraging. And the most asked question is this, “What does it feel like?” Before you think I’m going to talk specifically about the woman the story, you may need to step back and see something else in this very familiar biblical story.

Luke 8:45-46 gives you that glimpse into that world of deep despair. And it’s not necessarily what the woman was going through but what Jesus experienced.

I’m not advocating that Jesus was or battled with depression. But it’s the situation that paints a graphic picture of what those of us experience when the “funk” comes our way. Luke 8, tells us that his question of “who touched me” confused his disciples. In the midst of a crowd that was “pressing up against” him, how could he NOT notice them? How did he miss all the people around him?

Depression is the experience of complete loneliness while being surrounded by a mass of people. We can be in a stadium of people and yet, not detect any connection for which anything of relational or emotional substance is “transferred.” I’ve heard it said to me, “how can you feel that way, you are surrounded by people all the time.” But again, there’s a difference between proximity and intimacy. Being around someone (proximity) doesn’t equal meaningful contact (intimacy) with them.

So then the next question comes up, “How can I help someone in depression?” The answer comes from the same portion of scripture. “Someone deliberately touched me.

I recognize the word “touch” in our culture is a very sensitive word. Unfortunately, “touch” has been abused and taken to massive extremes. Research tells us we need 8-10 meaningful touches a day to be healthy.  It proves that the presence of a crowd doesn’t equate to meaningful connection.

We need to “deliberately” reach out. A hand on the shoulder. A hug. A handshake. Don’t even write off the awkward “hi-five.” Intentional touches are intimate interactions.

Yet don’t assume “touch” is limited to the physical (which is critically necessary). There are simple and effective “touches” that should be done that may not touch the skin but touch the soul.

A timely phone call.
Sitting down for a cup of good coffee.
A note sent via snail mail.
A thoughtful gift.

These are the simple things to cross the “gap” that depression creates in the mind. That gap that we think separates us from everyone else and feeling deep loneliness.

The friend or loved one you know who’s battling with this terrible condition doesn’t need you to “mind the gap;” he/she needs you to deliberately reach out and be a bridge over it. I know how those of us act and/or come off when we are in this mode. It would seem we want to push people away or we just “need to be alone.” But there’s a difference between “needing some space” and isolating ourselves. Help us know you’re there. Be available to us. Be patient with us.

What is powerful is amidst all of the people around Jesus in Luke 8, one deliberate touch caused something powerful to be transferred. Like I said, Jesus wasn’t battling with depression, but I’m willing to bet the woman did. To study this passage, you know the condition of isolation she lived in physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Yet a touch transferred healing, hope, mercy, peace, and love.

If you are dealing with depression, if you are in a place of inner turmoil, don’t stop reaching out. I know you’re tired. You are not alone. You have hope. You can get help. And deliberately reaching out puts you in position for healing.

If know you know someone, who is dealing with this, please don’t mind the gap. Depression doesn’t need distance. Reach out and transfer faith, hope, and love into them. Be the community they cannot detect.

If you find yourself in a place where you need someone to talk to, reach out. Don’t do this on your own. Whether it’s to your pastor, a counselor, a trusted friend, or to Anthem of Hope , know that you are not alone in this. If anything, let this blog be the first hand to reach out to you.

I love you. I’m praying for you today. There are those around you that can help.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

Don’t Hold it In

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:31

This is what I woke up to. This is what I needed.

I rolled out of bed, Opened up my social media messages and saw one message that said,

In my time of prayer this verse keep coming to me for you. Isaiah 40:31. May God fill you with His peace today.

No details or explanation. Just the faithfulness to make the effort and deliver the simple yet impactful message to start my day.

This kind human doesn’t know the craziness my week has been nor what awaits my packed schedule for today. This person doesn’t know the call I had yesterday and now I’m planning an unexpected funeral for someone who’d died far beyond his time. Because this is a church attender, there’s probably the idea that “Pastor Dave has a sermon to prep for.”

But non of that matters when the Holy Spirit prompts you to reach out to someone. When you have a message of encouragement, you don’t check to see condition of someone’s life before delivering it. When God gives you a word of encouragement, don’t hold it in. 

God is faithful; His timing is perfect. But on the flip-side, I’m not always faithful and my timing sometimes is “off.”

There are times God has prompted my heart to reach out and say something in a store, a coffee shop, or to send a simple message to someone over text or social media. And because of those thoughts of awkwardness, fear, or doubt, the message either gets delayed or not even delivered.

Don’t hold it in.

When the Holy Spirit gives us a word of encouragement, it’s just that: encouragement. It’s there to build up the individual. It is there to give reminder of the presence of God. Perhaps it will be the boast within their heart (like it was mine this morning) that, regardless of what I face, I will have “new strength” and “…run and not grow weary…walk and not faint.”

Has God prompted your heart to reach out to someone? Don’t delay. Don’t hold it in. Be the voice of God and the reminder of His presence to someone’s life. Find someone to encourage today.

(BTW: Thank you to the individual who breathed life into me this morning. You’re a rock star to me!!!)

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

1 New Year; 3 Words – What will you be known for

1 new year; 3 words.

Last week, I read an article about someone who visited the grave site of Michelangelo. Being someone who loves not only history but places and people of significant historical values, my eyes couldn’t help but soak in her experience at such a hallowed place. 

Of all of the details of the site, she described 3 specific statues that stand there. These are not random relics used to accessorize a headstone. They are intentional in their creation and their placement. The three stand there to represent and proclaim the 3 words left from his extraordinary life.

The lady of painting.
The lady of sculpture.
The lady of architecture.

The lingering legacy of Michelangelo summed up in three words: Painting. Sculpture. Architecture

Begs the question: What 3 words will I (we) we known for?

This week marks, for most, the start of a new era and time. Even if you don’t have kids going into a school, the beginning of an academic year sets the pace for routines and schedules.

This week is a place to not only launch into a new grade but to begin to write a legacy of what this year will be known for. And this can happen by asking the question: When June hits, what 3 words would my neighbors, classmates, co-workers, and educators say of me this year? What will the 3-word legacy I leave behind?

It’s not just questions for children going to school but questions for us adults to ponder. And the answer lies in having a prophetic vision.

Proverbs 29:18 ESV, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.

I love the way the ESV (English Standard Version) says that. By “prophetic,” it means it that which encouraging, edifying, and compelling. It’s looking past what the natural eyes can see and chooses to see that which God desires us to see in order to move us into His vision for our lives.   A “prophetic vision” is a God-given/inspired picture that launches us forward. And the words He speaks and the pictures He gives may seem like they don’t exist in the present but set your feet to a path to follow.

It makes me think of the story of Gideon. A man who thought very little of himself and his clan, was living in fear of others. It was in this mental and emotional state where an angel approached him and said the words, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” These 7 words didn’t necessarily describe who he was in the moment but what God wanted to draw out of him.

What 3 prophetic words can you speak over your kids this school year? What 3 words can you speak over your marriage? What 3 words can you speak over your life?

It may be a sentence of 3 words (“Love one another” “Embrace and forgive” “Engage in love”). It could be 3 separate words (“Grow, deepen, listen” “Watch, encourage, serve”). But quieting yourself before the Lord and listening to His voice this week can not only change the trajectory of the year but the tone of which each day is lived.

3 words.

What 3 words do you hear the Lord speaking to you? What is He speaking over your kids? What 3 words are you speaking over your kids?

Discover them. Write them down. Say them over each other. Live them out.

1 new year; 3 words.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Be A Proverb” #WisdomSeries #BeAProverb

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, we kicked off a new series at Kfirst. Every July we launch a summer series and this year we turned our focus onto Proverbs.

This amazing and often misunderstood book was used hundreds of years ago to prepare people for a wise life in service to their king. Today, we glean from it to help us live wise lives in service to Jesus our King. 

Check out this week’s message:

https://twitter.com/DawnHause/status/1018517380975165440

Other thoughts from Sunday:

  • Read our Proverbs reading plan by clicking HERE.
  • Wisdom is not in what you know but how well you live.
  • Surrender is saying “yes“ to God before receiving the “terms and conditions.“
  • Don’t look for a proverb to fix your life; be a proverb to shape the world.
  • “…but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24 ESV
  • Wisdom doesn’t reflect what I feel is right but what is true about Jesus.
  • Ask for wisdom. Repeat often.
    • “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” – James 1:5 NLT
  • Father, I offer my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my hands, and my heart to you, so that I can walk in wisdom in whatever opportunities you might offer me today.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s the new song we used yesterday.

Marital Traffic: 3 Ways to Face Marital Challenges

Periodically, when I’m performing weddings, I’ll read an excerpt from a piece written by Robert Fulghum called, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. ” It’s a fun take of how we can approach life, especially in marriage. It says”

Most of what I really need to know about how to live
And what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Flush.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life –
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.

I love to linger on that last line.

“When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.”

The statement is more powerful than most couples realize. First, traffic is present. There’s nothing inherently bad about “traffic.” Cars are not evil. But the metaphor is deep enough to warn us that every marriage faces things beyond themselves that are challenging. And challenges that are not properly navigated through can/will cause pain. That leads us to my second thought: though you can do nothing about the presence of traffic, you can maneuver through it safely if you walk together, work together, and stay together.

(If you’re a wedding officiate, congrats, you now have a great ending to your wedding ceremony.)

It’s not facing the “traffic” (struggles) that makes you feel hopeless, it’s feeling like you’re going through it alone. And THAT, my friends, should not be.

Tattooed on the outside of my right wrist is a meaningful scripture I want to give you. It’s out of Isaiah 43:2 and says,

When you go through deep waters, I will be with youWhen you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

This powerful word is not the denial of tough times but the promise of the Lord’s presence within them. Our marriages will face “rivers of difficulty” and “the fire of oppression.” But His presence is what helps us “go through” them and not get destroyed by them. Together with the Lord, our marriages can make it through “traffic.”

So if we’re going to face “traffic,” perhaps we can have a simple yet strategic approach to marital challenges that produce something out of our pain.

1. Go through it together.
I grew up in metro Detroit and I know traffic. I’ve also driven though Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York. And the reason why the traffic was worth enduring was the destination that was in my vision. Why “go through it”? Because your marriage is worth it. When you see something challenging in front of your marriage, talk about it; strategize about it. Grab each other’s hands, pray Isaiah 43 over your marriage, and go through it together. I love Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”

2. Grow through it together.
Going through challenges is inevitable; learning from them is optional. Don’t waste the struggle. Look at what you face (or are presently facing) and find purpose in the pain by growing from what you have endured. What could you (or both of you) have done different? What should you do the next time you face a challenge? How can you do a better job encouraging each other through things? What tools/help can you access to guide you both? Find a growth point personally and maritally and share those with one another.

3. Share the wisdom. 
Don’t be selfish with your lessons; share them with someone who needs hope. Sometimes “hope” is in the form of “We understand. We’ve been there. We know what you’re going through.” When you share your progress and your victories, you share hope. And a sliver of hope can be the catalyst for another couple to see a mountain they’re facing moved.

Love you all. Praying over you all as you face the traffic in life together, learn from the journey, and pour that into others.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.

Quality Beats Quantity: 2 Thoughts about Marital Communication

You may know what you are talking about but does your spouse know what you are talking about?

It’s a pretty sobering question if you really ponder on it. All too often, I take for granted, because of our 20 years of marriage, that Anne is just going to get what I’m saying.

Not necessarily true.

In fact, there is are more assaults on marriage through “assumptive communication.” That simply means that I believe my spouse understands everything I’ve been conveying. And if there is a misunderstanding, it’s probably their fault as I feel that I was clear enough with what I said. So instead of reviewing the “how” of my approach, I keep talking and talking waiting for them to “get it.”

More talking doesn’t mean better talking. Sometimes there is so much information given that your spouse cannot digest what came out of your mouth and your heart. Quality trumps quantity in communication. Think of it like the difference between going to buffet and a having a quality meal. You’ll walk way from a buffet “feeling” full but unable to digest the copious amounts of saying, “I’m not sure what I ate, but I’m full.” Now look at a good planned out meal. You’ll have the proper portions based off of the palette of the person(s) present. Not only will those eating enjoy the meal but they’ll be able to digest was presented (served).

1 – Quality communication is intentional; it doesn’t just “happen.” As I spoke Sunday at Kfirst, our communication has to go beyond information but strategy. So often I bring up the “3 T’s” of communication (time, tone, technique). Why? Because it is how you and I can intentionally convey that which is on our heart to share. Without that approach, we can feel like we communicated to our spouse not realizing, perhaps, that our tone destroyed our message or that our timing undermined our intention or that our technique misconstrued our heart.

In trigonometry and geometry, triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by forming triangles to it from known points. What we can do with our communication is to triangulate the communication “sweet spot” by making sure all of our information is strategically approached. Doing this is an act of stewardship. God has given us a voice as a gift and we have a responsibility to steward/manage that gift. 

2 – Quality communication necessitates a lifetime of adjustment. It’d be fine if we, or the person we are married to, didn’t change. But we all do. My oldest is 18 and just completed her freshman year of college. I don’t talk to her the same way I did back in 1999. Why? It sounds overly obvious so say she’s older, in a different maturity of comprehension, and in a drastically different season of life than she was when she was first-born.

Why is it we are able to adapt to children and their “seasons” but we don’t allow those adjustments with adults, specifically, our spouse? I think it’s, potentially, because we disassociate idea of growth with adulthood. You may not be growing “upward” any longer but you can grow deeper. And it is incredibly difficult for the marriage to grow deeper if you are unwilling to adjust how you communicate to your spouse.

I think of any athlete approaching “game day” based off the conditions they’re playing in. Rain, wind, and bright sun shine are all taking into consideration before he/she engages in their activity. Why? The conditions can dramatically affect the results. The same throwing motion in two different conditions can produce different outcomes because of the circumstances at hand.

Sounds like a lot more work doesn’t it? Actually it isn’t. When you weigh out the amount of time and effort needed to recoup from miscommunication, to forgive faults, and heal from misunderstandings, it really is beneficial in every way to approach your communication in a healthy way.  Intentionally communicating and adjusting to the time and seasons of life actually is much less work and more effective in allowing the marriage to grow deeper and aiding in seeing a greater level of joy between you two.

What do you need to start or stop doing in your communication? How can you approach each other that prevents miscommunication? Talk to each other about it. Share with your spouse how you plan on being more strategic with your communication.

Love you all. Praying for you all as you intentionally adjust how you communicate with each other.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

To my wife, thanks for letting me ramble these past 20 years…

I love you.

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.