Sunday, March 2, 2008

Love & Forgiveness in Relationships - Post 2 of 4

As I tried to show in post # 1, I am beginning to understand God's love forgiveness and mercy even more each day. Once I started to really understand what He gives me - the next step was to apply it in my life and share it with others. I need to do whatever I can to be more christlike, being fully devoted to God - so that I can inspire others be fully devoted to Him. But how do we find out how to live for Him? His Word. The word is the light onto our path; The lamp unto our feet. The more we ingest of Him, His Truth and His word - the less we will sin against Him. Knowing He wipes all sin away, doesn't by any means lower the standard of living up to His word --- it raises it! I have realized I can't WILL myself to be more christlike --- there's no set rules, no set action plan....all I can do is draw closer to Him, allowing Him in, and He will fill me with His beauty and I will produce the intangible fruits of the Spirit. The more He is in me, the more I am a blessing to others - the more blessing and beauty is in my life!!! This gives me so so much freedom! I rely on His power, not anything I specifically do!!! It inspires me to do whatever I can to get more in tune to him and in line with Him to be able to be a blessing to others - to make my life a testimony!

I am learning what it really means to love people. Not so much my loved ones because that is easy --- but the ones that have been put in my life that I am not close with or I had problems with in my past. The people that are unloveable to our human flesh selves…...but loveable with Christ!! I saw this quote a few times this month and it was like a flashing light for me. “It is better to forgive and forget than to hate and remember.” Absolute forgiveness is forgiving and forgetting. Unforgiveness eats away at everybody involved. Any time we don’t have extreme and absolute forgiveness – that means we are not allowing Christ to totally take over that relationship – and that means that there is room for the devil to come in. And when there is even an inch for him to squeeze in – he will squirm in stealth-like inch by inch and before we know it he’s got a hold and has the majority of a situation!

This true and absolute forgiveness is so so hard for us though isn't it? I know it is for me. I can honestly say this would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to give to others without Jesus in me. It is SO difficult to forgive somebody that has hurt us or hurt somebody we love isn't it? Especially somebody who doesn't have any regret of their actions - or who hasn't said they are sorry. Whether a person says they are sorry or not, it is our duty as Christ-in-us new creations to extend mercy in the form of absolute forgiveness. If the relationship doesn’t work it doesn’t matter – it’s probably just a relationship that is meant to be in the past. Count it as a lesson learned….But even if relationships don’t work or we get burned, that doesn’t give us any excuse to pull away from others or stop seeking out relationships. The devil would want us to run away and become homebodies and use the excuse that we’ve been burned too many times. The devil wants to make us fearful of future relationships --- because he is fearful of the power we have to build up God’s army. The devil wants us to keep away from each other – but Jesus calls us to love one another and stop focusing on our own hurt as an excuse to stop reaching out to others.

The devil wants us to think the worst of each other and to just assume things about each other. But we must let God tell us what is true. We must seek out the deeper truths behind people’s actions. Like I talked about in my “people are loveable” post --- feelings or thoughts do not determine truth. Just assume the best in others and assume they are not meaning to be hurtful to you.

What about when we've been wronged? We all hate injustice don’t we? We are wired that way – we want truth to be told about us, even to those we don’t know! But we MUST realize that the opinions of others, even if it’s a majority, isn't the final word. Truth is what God says it is, and He is the lone authority when looking at our hearts and our situation and interpreting what is true and right. So get right with Him, start reading what the Bible says about you and let Him fill you up if others are not.

One of the biggest lessons I am learning is that WE are not the true enemies of each other at all --- there is only one enemy. He is unseen and wicked. We can't attack each other with human weapons that will never help a situation: gossip, ridicule, threats, blame, accusations, nagging, silence….. but instead, attack the enemy spiritually with prayer, which does get to the actual root of the problem!

So to end this post……..I say that I forgive people --- but I know in my heart that I've only TRULY forgiven - when I no longer define them by their past mistakes but instead let them start totally new in my mind. Absolute forgiveness means we have to do whatever we can to wipe away the records we keep of others wrongs. We have to somehow get rid of the judgements and labels we put on others because of their past mistakes. We have to continue to expect the best out of others even though we only have seen the worst of them in the past. This type of forgiveness and love is only possible when we believe in the power of Christ's healing and redeeming blood. I need to believe in His power in me - but also in others. If I focus on a person's faults, if I keep bringing up the past, I am trying to tear away what Christ has done in their lives - and I don't have that power. I need to focus on the Jesus in them.

I don't believe there is ANY situation that Jesus can't come in and cure! There is no sinner, no mistake, no embarassment, no relationship, no sin, no wrongdoing that He can't completely restore! There is always hope because of Him! Believe in people and have hope that God can turn anybody or anything around!!


Toia said...

It's me again.

You are on a roll. I know you mention about it being long and some may not read it. I'm going to read it. If I can take the time to read my favorite romance novel for about 30 minutes, 1 hour, or more.

You bet I'm going to take the time to read your posts (your series) on forgiveness, especially when I know it's going to help me become a better Christian woman.

I pray everyone takes the time to read it. It's been a blessing to me personally. I'm telling you now the devil is mad at you. That's a good thing b/c you know you are doing something right and it is what God wants you to do. So don't worry, I got your back all the way in SC. :)

Candy-Faith said...

:) Great post, so very true.
Its so easy for us to say "yeah, yeah, I forgive so and so" But do we really? Or do we continue to see the bad in them and remember what they did to us, and hold onto it against them? We shouldnt.
We have to let it go, totally and completely let it go, forgive and forget and start anew. GIve that person that hurt us, a second, third, fourth, billionth chance. Thats what real forgiveness and love is. I hope that anyone I ever hurt would totally forgive me and give me a billion chances just like Jesus does. And if they dont forgive me, well then thats between them and Jesus.
I try to be real quick to forgive and totally let it go because I just cant handle bitterness, poisionness, hurt in my heart. It causes me so much pain so Ive learned to let it go completely. I even practice it all the when someone might do something rude to me like say if a cashier treated me rude or something, I taught myself to always say in my head "I forgive you". And I let it go. We need to practice it all the time until it almost becomes second nature to us to forgive more easily.

Rebekah said...

As Toia said, you are on a roll! I am so thankful for what the Lord is teaching you and that you are encouraging and exhorting us to obey his Word.

carebear said...

This lesson spoke to me too. I find it quite easy to forgive and pick up right where I left off...whether it's been 2 days or two years, but I still can't "forget". Even though I do feel like I have completely forgiven...I guess I haven't really if I am still sometimes reminded of past hurt huh? Luckily, I have thick skin...guess that comes with being very outspoken and not caring how strangers view me! ;) But even if I think the slate is wiped clean, but something down the line brings up a flicker of the memory...does that mean it is not true forgiveness? I don't dwell on past hurts or anything, but thoughts do randomly pop in my head... Is it forgiving even if I can't forget...what about if I don't dwell or use it as "poison" against the person that wronged me? It's obviously not forgiven if you keep bringing it up and nagging about it to someone, but I don't (try) to do that (we all have our moments of weakness). What do you think?

Randi Jo :) said...

Hey CareBear!
Thanks for the comment! :)

My thoughts on your thoughts:

I think our humanness makes it almost impossible to completely wipe away past wrongs and past mistakes of others --- but Jesus isn't like that at all (see post 1 of 4!) and we CAN plug into His power source!!!!!! And so I believe my job is to do whatever I can to cover up my humanness with His righteousness! We have to align ourselves with Him more and more to be more christlike and to be able to not define others by their past! Even if those thoughts slip in, which they will because that's how our humanness and the devil works... we just have to say..."negative thoughts get out of here! (this person) is a child of God and they are not defined by those mistakes. Jesus has wiped away their stains, so I need to try to too!"

or something like that!!

Understanding that *I* make so many more mistakes than anybody I know --- and how much *I* don't want to be defined by my past failures.. makes me want to be able to give gracy and mercy that much more!!! I'm such a mess up and I want to be forgiven so I must do whatever I can to give that same mercy to others!!

So yes -- our humanness humbles us doesn't it? We NEED Him to intervene in our relationships - our humanness will destroy everything that is meant to be pure, beautiful and encouraging!

The only reason I have so much on my heart about this subject is because I have made many mistakes in these areas!! So don't think for a second that I by ANY means think I'm beyond human failure ---- my that I'm learning what I need to do --- and I'm getting BETTER! :) but I will never be perfect...that's why it's a journey not a destination I'm after!!!!! :)

Happy Tuesday to you!!!!!! :)