Let It Go

Let It Go

Forgiveness has been an issue for me. I want it when I’ve done something wrong, but when someone hurts me, I’m not as eager to let it go. I may act like I’ve forgiven you, or even believe that I have, but it’s the letting go part I need to work on…

I harbor resentment. I think that is a protective mechanism we all share. It has been said, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

We don’t like to be hurt by others because, well, it  hurts. Pain is something we are programmed to avoid. That make sense to our physical selves. We are careful when handling hot items, or going down stairs, to prevent physical injury, but when we are hurt by another’s actions or words, that pain isn’t as evident. We might pretend we weren’t hurt, but those wounds affect our heart, and that’s when the internal battle begins.

Satan would love nothing more than to convince us that the person who hurt us, doesn’t deserve our forgiveness. He will feed us lies and tell us we are somehow better than they are. He wants us to point the finger at others and forget to look at our own faults. We become arrogant and forget about grace.

God’s grace….

It is because of grace that we have been set free. The gift of grace is an unmerited favor bestowed upon us when Jesus died for our sins. Our sins, not just my sins. None of us are perfect and none of us deserve forgiveness. We could never earn our salvation. It is only because of Jesus’s blood and sacrifice that our sins are forgiven.

In the movie, The Shack,  the main character, Mack, struggles with forgiveness. Forgiveness for the way his father abused him as a child, and forgiveness for the murderer who killed his little girl. The Holy Spirit shows him what it looks like from God’s perspective by asking him to choose between his two remaining children, who would be saved and who would be condemned to hell. Mack can’t do this, and his answer was, “Take me instead! I will take their place.”

Convicted.

I would never promote allowing ourselves to be continually hurt by another person. That is abuse, and we do need to protect ourselves from that. I am saying, however, that there may be more behind why others hurt us.  They may have built a wall of protection around their own fragile heart. Therefore they may lash out and hurt us, to keep from being hurt.

I am a work in progress. I struggle with letting go; letting go of resentment when someone hurts my feelings. I know I am super-sensitive, but I am trying to see others through the eyes of Jesus, and to not stand on the throne of condemnation.

2 Peter tells us that, “God is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all come to repentance.”

If I had one thing to share with the world, it would be to forgive; and then, let it go. Do not harbor resentment. I believe if the world forgave each other daily, the way Jesus does, all of our conflicts would dissolve. There is nothing more refreshing than to know someone has forgiven you when you’ve hurt them, or when you don’t deserve it. When someone withholds forgiveness from you, it plants bitterness in both parties. These roots grow deep and strong, causing division, and hinders any spiritual growth.

Colossians 3: 12-13

“Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 
Lord, I ask that you give me your heart and your eyes, so that I would be more forgiving, so that others would know, through me, your great love. I ask that I would let go of resentments and let your peace wash over me. Help me to let it go….. all of it. Amen.

 

Listen to Him!

Listen to Him!

I woke up this morning thinking about that funny, viral video on You Tube where a little boy named Mateo is arguing with his mom saying, “Listen Linda, listen…” (You’ve probably all seen it and know what I’m talking about, but in case you haven’t, click here to make your day better!) I wondered why in the world I woke up thinking about that, but I made a mental note to call my friend Linda because we are way overdue for a lunch date.

I then went downstairs for a cup of coffee and to say goodbye to my husband before he left for work. We were chatting about a few things and as I began to reply to a question he asked me, he interrupted me mid-sentence, already assuming he knew what I was going to say. I stopped and said, “That’s not what I was going to say at all; can you please just listen to me?”

Yesterday, I noticed a friend often starts her conversation with, “Hey listen….” She has been doing this as long as I can remember, it’s like her thing and I love it, but suddenly I was made keenly aware of it.

We are collectively, as a church, participating in a 31 day devotional titled, Be Still and Know That I Am God.

be still

This morning, the scripture reference was from Matthew 17: 1-7. It is the story of The Transfiguration:

Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.”

I’ve heard so many times the scripture quoted, “This is my beloved son with whom I am well-pleased;”  However today, I immediately noticed the semicolon following God’s statement, and then God continued, “listen to Him!”  God wasn’t finished speaking. He certainly got the disciple’s attention! It says that the disciples were terrified. I would imagine that it is extremely terrifying when God himself tells you to listen!

Sometimes, when my kids aren’t listening to me, my husband may intervene with a bigger, scarier voice. It works! Daddy’s voice is strong, firm and demands instant attention.

Peter asks Jesus if he should build three tabernacles to commemorate this holy occasion and sacred place, when God interrupts him. Jesus is trying to show the three disciples something  – something amazing – and they were missing the point. Peter felt he needed to do something, but God wanted them to just listen to Jesus and understand what he was showing them through his transfiguration.

I have so much to learn from God. I’m always trying to figure out what God wants me to do, but all I need to actually do is be still and listen, so I can hear what He has to say.

As I meditate on the scripture, I am definitely receiving the word, ‘listen’ this morning.

Lord, help me to listen intently so I don’t miss the point. Thank you for getting my attention today. Help me to be still so I can hear what you have to say. Thank you for your word which is always perfect and timely.  Amen.

Hashtag Blessed

Hashtag Blessed

I recently read an article that a proclaimed non-Christian posted on her Facebook page titled, The One Thing Christians Should Stop Sayingby Scott Dannemiller. I was intrigued, so I opened it to see what he had to say.  In this article, the Christian author discussed the over-usage of the word ‘blessed,’ in response to feeling thankful or grateful for worldly or monetary possessions.  I emphatically commented, “Yessss!” in agreement after reading it. My husband was a little surprised by my comment, which led to a lengthy discussion on the topic. This once again led to me pondering…..

What does it truly mean to be blessed?

My husband asked, “Don’t you feel blessed when God answers your prayers? What about my job settlement?  Won’t you feel blessed if we win?”

I felt like I should answer ‘yes.’ After all, a win would secure our future financially and we’ve prayed for that. After more discussion, I asked him, “Will you still feel blessed if we lose?” That’s a tougher one to answer.

There are many definitions for the word blessed, but one definition is, “endowed with divine favor or protection.”

Is the person who is struggling with their health or finances less favored than someone who is financially well-to-do and healthy? It can often be misconstrued that a blessing is a favor not bestowed upon all. As if  it is contingient on our faith or goodness. When you are blessed with a child, is the infertile couple not blessed? Of course not, but it may seem that way to them. They may wonder why God hasn’t blessed them with a child when they have prayed so long for one.

In Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount. Of all he calls blessed, none have anything to do with monetary or worldly things. In fact, most who he calls blessed are struggling.

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Verse 4 resonates with me; “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” After losing my daughter to a brain tumor, I didn’t exactly feel blessed. If someone asked me how I was doing after her death, my first answer would not have been, “I am blessed.” I was definitley mourning, so why was that not my answer?

I think Jesus is telling us if we lean on him in all circumstances, we are blessed, whether our prayers are answered the way we want them to be or not. Whether we are rich or poor. Whether we are healthy or sick. By trusting fully in him through faith, knowing that no matter what, he sees us. He knows our heart, and he just wants us to trust him, always, and in all circumstances.

In verse 12 Jesus says, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven.” We are truly blessed because of Jesus and the grace he bestowed upon us. No matter what we face on this earth, our reward is in Heaven, and for that we are truly blessed.

Is it okay to respond and say, “I feel so blessed” or use the hashtag ‘#blessed’ when responding on social media, in regard to having or acquiring something? I think so, but I may replace it with the word ‘thankful’ or ‘grateful’ instead. I never want anyone to think God shows favor when it comes to worldly values or ideals. Our blessing isn’t of this world, he died for all and loves us the same. Our circumstances may be different and we may question the fairness sometimes, but life isn’t fair. That doesn’t mean that you are not blessed, because you are blessed just for being called a child of God.