Category: Forgiveness

The Devil’s Poison — Hate

Hate causes terrible consequences

Hate causes terrible consequences

Recently, a friend and I were discussing hateful feelings and she wondered how people can hate and yet share scriptures to justify their feelings and actions that are so contrary to God’s Word.  That is indeed a good question.  I certainly don’t have all the answers, but maybe I have an insight or two to share.

In the last few weeks I’ve had opportunity to reflect upon different people that have touched my life and it is with great sadness that I’ve had to realize a few of these folks have allowed themselves to be filled with hate due in part because they have chosen to believe lies, taken things out of context, talked their situations to death, made mountains out of mole hills, and in some cases just told themselves bald face lies, over and over and over again.  And yet, these same people were telling me that God had been doing so much in their lives, He was helping them move on and was healing their brokenness, they were overcomers.  Nothing was wrong with them.  “The ones who have the problem are the other people, not me!”

Not surprisingly, their bitterness, resentment, ill temper turned into such unmistakable hate and I could see it become like a poison, a cancer, in their life.  Everything they touched was black with envy, jealousy and spitefulness.  It reminded me, truthfully, of the evil Spiderman, in Spiderman 3.  (If you have read this blog for any length of time, you will know that I often talk about movies, because I can see so much that God wants to teach us right there on the big screen.  Don’t ask me why, but I guess I have a thing for movies!)

But, I digress.  I think oftentimes we think of God as being like we are, maybe just a little too much.  Yes, Jesus was flesh and blood, walked the earth as a human, sang, laughed, joked with His disciples and was their best friend.  He does much the same with us when we receive Him as Lord and Savior into our hearts.  But He is, after all, the Lord of All, King of Kings, Maker of Heaven and Earth.  He’s Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, He’s so far above us that our best could never be good enough.  We are sinful to our core and could never get to Him without His sacrifice to meet us where we’re at.  He came to this Earth in a lowly form as a human, in order to show us He is loving, kind, gentle, meek and lowly as well.

Having said that, I think we get on our high horses and assume that He thinks like us and would be highly offended by the people who have offended us.  We often try to find scriptures that agree with our point of view, and then refuse to listen to anything contrary to our thought and behavior patterns.  We just don’t want to be shown to be wrong…about anything!  We want God to hate what we hate.

But being God, He has an entirely different perspective than we do and can see the end from the beginning.  He knows what He’s trying to accomplish in us, what He wants to teach us, and only He knows best how to do that.  If it means we may endure heartache, insults, grief and sorrow along the way, He has made a way for us.  Remember, He walked in those same paths as a human, yet without sin, without hate.  He alone can make the pain go away.  He alone can heal the hurts.

But if we, on our own, decide we know how God is going to work things out and allow our emotions to get angry, angrier, angriest, then bitter, resentful, and filled with hate, we have totally missed what He wants to do in our lives.  He is on our side, but His ways have been tested over millennia of time and if we refuse to do things His way, we open ourselves up to His enemy, the devil.

Speaking of which, let’s discover a little about where hate originated.  When the universe was created, one of the most beautiful angelic beings lived in Heaven with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  He was revered and, according to some scholars, was apparently given leadership over music, the angelic choir, if you will.  His very spiritual body contained tabrets and pipes to make heavenly music and song for all to hear and sing.  He was considered an angel of light, beautiful beyond all angelic beings.  But he became filled with pride, forgetting his place and Who it was that had given him such gifts, and plotted to overthrow and become greater than God Himself.  He not only deceived himself, but ultimately a third of the angels believed and followed him, jeopardizing their Home and eternal future as well.   Before long a great battle ensued, the result of which left this former beautiful, gifted angel and all his cohorts plunging to their “death”, if you will, and the fall of this being was very great, as lightening streaking through the heavens!   Banished to earth, losing his important status in Heaven, and ultimately to lose everything—will be banished to everlasting hell and torment for his great sin and mutiny against a loving and great God.  Lucifer's Fall

Enter, stage right, Adam and Eve and all their descendants–you and me,  beings of the human persuasion, a little lower than angels according to the Bible.  We were promised a place in Heaven when we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of our lives.  We are promised health, wholeness, abundance in every area of our lives if we only will believe for it.  We are blessed, redeemed, honored, forgiven, healed and rich beyond our wildest dreams…wouldn’t that make you furious, filled with rage and hatred towards the ones God has chosen to replace you with??

Satan, or Lucifer as he has often thought to have been called in his glory days, became poisoned with hatred and now is on the rampage to try to destroy God’s creation in any way he can.   Pride, fear of lack, sorrow, self-righteousness, fear of all types, greed, sickness, disease, deviancy from all that is right and holy,  and so on and so on runs rampant in our world today, but is only the outcropping of the hatred in Satan’s black heart.  For now he’s the deceiver, the destroyer, the killer of all that is good, pure and right.  His lying poison has spilled out into our world in so many ways and for so many years that it is often difficult to determine right from wrong unless we stay very close to the Lord and the Words of Life He spoke through his early followers.  These Words never change, never falter, will remain the same forever and ever, unlike the confusion that the Enemy of our souls pours forth.

If you have allowed hate, or any of its’ lesser forms–if there is such a thing–anger, resentment, malice, bitterness, etc. to rise up in your heart, please know that you have a choice.  You can side with Lucifer/Satan and potentially risk losing everything you value, or you can turn to the Lord, repent, receive forgiveness and then forgive those who have hurt you.  What you will gain by ditching the hate is immeasurably better than anything you could lose by holding on to it.  Forgiveness is always the best way to go, and your example, Jesus, will help you as you allow Him to soften your heart and let His love flow through you.  Hate is a very hard task master and a thief of joy, love and peace.  Don’t let it steal any more from you.

Have confidence in the God of mercy….give him permission to take the hate and turn it into love, joy and peace.  Please feel free to share what God is doing in your life.  I’d love to rejoice with you as He brings you into His marvelous light.  Be blessed!

Whoooo Are You Hiding From?

Can you see the owl hiding in the tree?

Can you see the owl hiding in the tree?

  As a kid, I’m sure you played hide and seek.  At least I did occasionally.  And, as parents, I’ll bet you played peekaboo with your children, to their utter delight!  I can just hear their squeals of joy and laughter as you came out from behind the chair, or the blanket you’d raised over your face to hide from them, and then quickly pulled it down to say, “Peekaboo, I see you!”

As they grew old enough to figure out how to play the game for themselves, I’ll bet they enjoyed scaring the liver out of you when they jumped out from an unexpected hiding place to say… “Boo!  Scared ya, didn’t I Mom, Dad? ”

We do a lot of hiding in our lives, but most of it isn’t a game played with our kids.  We hide from people we don’t want to be around at that moment, such as in-laws, that rascally neighbor who’s always borrowing stuff from us, our parents who are likely to find out that we’re not living up to their expectations, our siblings who really know us better than we’d like but if we stay away maybe they won’t guess what we’re up to.  We hide from our boss, we hide from our kids–or at least we think we’re hiding from them.

But worst of all, we try to hide from God, our Creator.  You know, you’re not the first to try to hide from Him

This tree has eyes!

This tree has eyes!

.  Adam and Eve did it too, back in the Garden of Eden.  He had just created them, given them everything you could possibly imagine.  Peace, Security, Love, Health, Wholeness in every area of their lives.  He only asked one thing of Adam, that they stay away from the tree.  But then, the enemy of their souls came up to Eve and said, “Hath God said?”  And, being deceived, she took from the forbidden tree, gave to Adam, and he sinned, knowing that God had said no to the fruit of THAT tree only.  From that point on, they knew they’d done something wrong and hid from God.

So, why do we hide from Him?  Why do we try to escape going anywhere near where He might show up…. like church, Bible studies, fellowship with His people?  We know we’re not where we should be or doing what we should be doing and don’t want anyone to know ..that’s the most common reason, I think. Or at least that’s always been my reason.

But the funny thing is He already knows what we’ve done, what we’re about to do, where we’re going, and who we’re going with.  He knows what we’re thinking, what our motives are–good and bad–and He loves us anyway.  Not only that, He’s provided a way for us to be forgiven and set right with Him.  Through the sacrifice of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.  How cool is that??!

We don’t have to hide anymore.  We don’t have to wear masks.  He loves us, He forgives us, He cleanses us and makes us clean when we accept the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross for us.  His Blood makes us clean and right with God again.

So, whoooo are you hiding from?  You don’t have to hide from the Lord anymore.  Have confidence in God to take care of all the rest and be free to be who He created you to be!

Be Whoooo you were destined to be!

Be Whoooo you were destined to be!

God, Where ARE You?

Do you ever wonder what the heck God is doing?  Why is all the bad stuff in my life happening and what about all the bad stuff going on in the world and in our nation specifically?  What used to be good is now bad, and what used to be bad is now good.  How did that happen and where is God in all of this?  Isn’t He supposed to be able to fix all of this mess and make it better?  Then, where is He?  Is He on vacation, on another planet, or galaxy, or a neighboring universe maybe?

We’ve got runaway debt in our nation, people suffering physical and emotional turmoil over job losses, health issues, money problems.  Relationships are out of whack and families are being torn apart because of hate, strife, jealousy and worse.

Once flourishing cities are in ruins due to carelessness; children are dying by the millions because they are inconvenient.  Our world is topsy-turvy and things look totally impossible to be fixed, by anyone or anything.

Where is God?  Where is our Savior?  Holy Spirit, Comforter and powerful Friend, where are you?

Have you ever thought that He might be asking the same thing of you and me?

Where did YOU go?  You once vowed allegiance to Me, yet you’re not reading My Word, My Love Letter to you, My Instruction book, The Bible.  You said you’d talk to me everyday, sing to Me, worship Me, love Me, daily….where are you?  I haven’t seen you for a very long time and I miss you.  You said you’d share Me with everyone you met, feed My sheep, but they are blinded, starving and have no food because you never showed up to give it to them, to share My love with them.  Where are you?

The children I gave to you to watch over and guide are in trouble or gone because you didn’t raise them the way I showed you in My Book.  You decided that they were your possessions and you could push them around, punch them, embarrass, shame and mistreat them instead of honoring them as My gifts to you.  And, to your shame, you have murdered millions of them because they were an inconvenient reminder of things you had done that you shouldn’t.

My Word tells you about how to eat and take care of your bodies, but you continually mistreat your temple with food that isn’t healthy for you and will leave your body weak and unable to fight against sickness and disease.  That is not My Will for you.  I would that you be healthy, whole in all areas of your life, but you cannot do what you want and have My Will too.

You ask where I’ve been….I’ve been right here, where I’ve always been.  I love you, I miss you terribly and am reaching out to you to come back to Me, where you belong.  I’ll make you Safe. Secure, once again. But, that comes with some sacrifice.

Are you willing to lay down YOUR will for Mine?  How badly do you want to see Me work on your behalf?  If you want to see Me do the impossible, then you must lay down your works that conflict with what I’m trying to do in your world and in the lives of you and your loved ones.

Where AM I?  Not far at all….only a breath, a prayer away.

How many push-ups can YOU do?

There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the western United States.

Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution.

Every student was required to take this course their freshman year, regardless of his or her major.

Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery.  Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve.  Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going on to seminary for the ministry.  Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen.  He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor’s class.

One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him.

“How many push-ups can you do?”

Steve said, “I do about 200 every night.”

“200?  That’s pretty good, Steve,” Dr. Christianson said.  “Do you think you could do 300?”

Steve replied, “I don’t know….I’ve never done 300 at a time.”

“Do you think you could?” again asked Dr. Christianson.

“Well, I can try,” said Steve.

“Can you do 300 in sets of 10?  I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work.  Can you do it?  I need you to tell me you can do it,” said the professor.

Steve said, “Well… I think I can…yeah, I can do it.”

Dr. Christianson said, “Good!  I need you to do this on Friday..Let me explain what I have in mind.”

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room.  When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts.  No, these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls.  Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson’s class.

Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, “Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?”

Cynthia said, “Yes.”


Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?”

“Sure!”  Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten.  Then Steve again sat in his desk.  Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.

Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, “Joe, do you want a donut?”

Joe said, “Yes.”  Dr. Christianson asked, “Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?”

Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.  And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.

Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott.  Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve.  He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.

When the professor asked, “Scott do you want a donut?” Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own push-ups?”

Dr. Christianson said, “No, Steve has to do them.”

Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”

Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?”

With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten push-ups.

Scott said, “HEY!  I said I didn’t want one!”

Dr. Christianson said, “Look!  this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts.  Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.”  and he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little.  He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down.  You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.

Dr. Christianson started down the third row.  Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.  Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”

Sternly, Jenny said, “No.”

Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?”

Steve did ten….Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room.  The students were beginning to say, “No!” and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.

Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut.  There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten push-ups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts.  He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert counted the sets and watched Steve closely.

Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row.  During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room.  When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room.

He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next.  Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time.  He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Christianson, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”

Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your push-ups.  You are in charge now.  You can do them any way that you want.”  And Dr. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, “NO! Don’t come in!  Stay out!”

Jason didn’t know what was goin on.  Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.”

Professor Christianson said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him?”

Steve said, “Yes, let him come in.  Give him a donut.”

All kinds of donuts!

Dr. Christianson said, “Okay, Steve, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now.  Jason, do you want a donut?”

Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was goin on.  “Yes,” he said, “give me a donut.”

“Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?”

Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort.  Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Dr. Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters.  Steve’s arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity.  By this time sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his heavy breathing; there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders, and very popular.  Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, “Linda do you want a donut?”

Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”

Professor Christianson quietly asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?”

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda.

Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan.  “Susan, do you want a donut?”

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry.  “Dr. Christianson, why can’t I help him?”

Dr. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, “No, Steve has to do it alone; I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not..When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book.  Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade.  Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work.  Steve told me that in football paractice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups.  I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push-ups.  He and I made a deal for your sakes.”

“Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?”

As Steve very slowly fisnished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, ‘Into they hands I commend my spirit.’  With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, He yielded up His life.  And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile.

“Well done, good and faithful servant,” said the professor, adding, “not all sermons are preached in words.”

God gave us the greatest gift of all—His Son!

Turning to his class, the professor said, “My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He spared not His Only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all, for the Church, now and forever.  Whether or not we choose to accept His gift to us, the price has been paid.”

“Wouldn’t you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on your desk?”

Share this with someone.

It’s bound to touch their heart and demonstrate Salvation in a very special way.

(copied from an email received over a year ago from a very dear friend)

As far back as I can remember, I felt such guilt for not having the loving feelings for my adoptive dad that I always thought a daughter should have for her father.  He annoyed me in so many little ways that I tended to reject him without fully understanding what I was doing.  And, yet, he was such a wonderful man in all the ways that really mattered.  To say I was, and still am, conflicted about these emotions is an understatement!

I can remember at the age of seven or eight, in Pocatello, Idaho,  listening to a song on the radio called Daddy’s Little Girl by the Mills Brothers, a ’40’s and ’50’s singing group.  I cried all the way through it because I knew my dad felt the emotions expressed by the song and somehow I just didn’t, or couldn’t, feel towards him what I thought I should feel in response to those beautiful words of love.  I literally grew up feeling very little for him, bad or good,  except guilt that I didn’t feel more fondness for him.  Today, those same emotions and tears come to the surface when I hear that song.

My parents’ relationship always amazed me.  Mom will tell you to this day at the age of 95, that he was the most wonderful man, so good to her and they were so much in love.  To her, he was the perfect husband, they had the perfect marriage and after he passed away at 75, she would never consider dating, much less marry another man, because she had had such a perfect and fulfilled life that she didn’t want to risk messing it up.  After 41 years of marriage, that says a lot about Dad’s character, and hers too for that matter!

My Parents

They could sit and visit by the hour, or read or play cards, word games, etc. on their own and never say a word to each other for hours at a time.  They were best friends, partners in business and in life, and lovers all in one.

And, I have to say, in all the 22 years I lived with them, I NEVER heard either of them say a cross or insulting word to each other–ever!  If there were disagreements, they never discussed them in front of or in earshot of me, and by the time I got home from school, things were always back to normal.  A couple of times, I remember thinking that breakfast was a little quiet, but other than that, they really knew how to resolve any issues they had as adults and not involve “the kid” in their problems, if there were any.  What an awesome example they set for me of what a good marriage should be!

Dad was a friend to many, a counselor to even more, a moral man, and a man of integrity, and he counted it his joy to help people get healthy and stay healthy, body, soul and spirit.  The last  15 to 20 years of his life were spent working in the nutrition industry, among other customer service type jobs,  where he seemed to really find the most fulfillment.

After leaving our ranch in the latter part of the 50’s, Dad never was able to latch on to any one career for many years at a time.  Each position he held he performed to the best of his ability and was reasonably successful, if not so much in monetary terms.  I think he deeply regretted that he had been unable to make a mountain of money to take care of the three of us for the rest of our lives and he did suffer from depression over this from time to time.  But Mom, the eternal optimist, would always remind him that she was happy as a clam as long as they were together and the money was not important to her.  (It didn’t help tho’ that a business partner had taken off with $100, 000 of their company’s money and left him holding the bag in the very early ’60’s and I don’t think he was ever able to fully overcome that betrayal.)

My purpose in sharing my dad with you is not only to tell you how very proud I am of him for his hard work, ethics and solid faith in God, but, of course, his willingness to take on the raising of a child that was not his own, a feat not many men are able to do.  In addition, I also wanted to share my own conflicts in the hopes of helping someone out there in “blogland” come to grips with their own “father” issues.  He was, in my estimation, more than worthy of my love and adoration.  So, why the conflict?  I don’t fully know the answer to this question as yet as

Daddy and Me

I’m still learning and growing in this area, but having confidence in God to bring a positive resolution certainly helps. Be encouraged to have confidence in the God of Peace and Love to resolve any such issues you may have as well.  If you struggle to believe in God as Father as I sometimes do, it is logical to assume that many of our conflicts stem from issues with our earthly fathers. When we choose to forgive them for not being able to meet our needs adequately, and then in return ask them for their forgiveness for not treating them as we should have, we will be better able to trust our Daddy God and receive all the wonderful blessings He has for us.

On a more personal level, while writing a recent blog post on forgiveness, I was struck with the tho’t that to overcome this guilt for the lack of feelings for my dad, I needed to pray and ask the Lord to help me forgive my dad for not being all that I needed as a child.  As an example, I must forgive him for not loving me in a way I could receive and for thinking that tickling me would suffice as his way of showing affection.  (I HATED being tickled and repeatedly told him to stop.)  And, in turn, I need to ask God’s forgiveness for mistreating him and punishing him by pushing him out of my life as much as I did.  I basically just ignored him a lot of the time.

I don’t know how God is going to heal the hole in my heart, but I do know that I can have confidence in my God to bring about a good ending.  Dad’s been gone 26 years and 2 weeks now, but his memory is still with me and I can trust the Lord to relay my message to him.  I’ll see him again one day, and I’m sure I won’t have any trouble at all throwing my arms around his neck and telling him I love him and thanking him for raising me up to be a lover of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Until then, I can say by faith, “I love you Daddy!  Happy Father’s Day!!!”

Dad and Mom

Today I read yet another blog post about forgiveness, and given the propensity for us as human beings to offend others and to be offended by others, it seems a pretty good subject to discuss.

Although I can already guess what your response will be, how many of you have endured one or more mildly annoying on up to gut wrenching offenses that you just can’t seem to get over, or put past you so you can move on with your life?  Making things worse is the fact that that person, persons, or situations may have seemingly sailed on in their lives to bigger and better things–promotions, relationships, success, etc., but you are stuck in the past, remembering every last gory detail of the offense in living color and dolby surround sound!! Where is the justice??

I too have had people in my life that seemed to “suck” the life out of me as I headed for what now might have been considered a “mini” nervous breakdown.  I knew I needed to forgive them, because that is the right thing to do, but they were so….difficult to deal with and impossible to reason with that I had a hard time doing what I knew I had to, in order for me to remain “sane”.

Fortunately, God has helped me to understand that forgiveness is NOT forgetting and letting by-gones be by-gones as we often think it is, but rather a purposeful choice to “let the other guy go”.  I had to make a concious choice to not hold them in bondage in my heart and mind, but release the pain and resulting memories to the Lord.  As long as I continued to hold that person and event close to me, thinking about it often, verbalizing it to myself and others, building upon it, and making it bigger that it really was initially, I would forever be bound to them.

God showed me that this negativity produced toxins emotionally and spiritually which would eventually infect every area of my life like a venemous poison.  I would become increasingly more bitter, resentful and hateful.  Every relationship would suffer, in one way or another, and my body would suffer consequences as well.  I submit to you that many of our illnesses today are a direct or indirect result of the unforgiveness we harbor in our hearts!

Obviously, it seems that walking in forgiveness is the best way to go, but how do you get to where you can do that consistently?  Realistically, I don’t think you can, in and of yourself.  Forgiveness is not a “natural” human endeavor, since we are sinful by nature and pretty self-centered. I believe you need a little Heavenly assistance in order to achieve complete forgiveness, especially for some of the more intense atrocities that have been committed against individuals in our insensitive and hostile world nowadays.  I’m speaking of rape, murder, incest, etc. in particular.

However, it is not impossible.  A determination to have peace at all costs is a prerequisite.  A willingness to give up the pride is another. (I think PRIDE keeps us from doing a lot of the things God wants us to do in order to live free, and forgiving is just one of those areas that hangs us up.)  Another requirement is the willingness to allow your “prisoner” to leave, to be free.  Even free enough to let God deal with him/her however He chooses to.  (Of course, your “prisoner” has no idea they are in your jail because they are out there livin’ large! Unknown to them is how much you hate them and how many hours and days, weeks and months you think about what they’ve done to you!)

So, basically, forgiveness is not about them at all!  It’s about doing what’s right and doing what is ultimately in your best interest.  It’s not really even a selfish thing either.  Forgiveness makes you a better person, saves relationships (even if you never see or talk to that person again) because you have a healed heart, and helps to keep you physically healthy all the way around.

But, the most important aspect of forgiveness, one that I cannot emphasize strongly enough, is that it pleases God.  After all, He sent His only Son to take on mortal flesh so that He could show us how to live–pure and free.  Then, He laid down His life, on purpose, to die in our place and thereby ensure that we could receive God’s forgiveness for our sins, which are so much more abhorrent than any offense that we could possibly endure in our lifetime!!  If God can forgive us, through Jesus, we can and must forgive other sinful beings that offend us in some way.  It’s not an option really, it’s a command–one that holds great freedom and peace for those who will obey.  Jesus is our Ever Living example of Forgiveness.  He will show you the way, if you are willing.

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