This blog is going to be intensely personal for me. If you could, please make any comments you have gentle ones, or keep them to yourself. *For the sake of the participants, I'm going to change their names, not that you would know who you were running across if you ever did. I come from an 8 member immediate family. My two parents, two boys, one on each end, with four girls in the middle. In the middle of those four girls are two twin girls. I was the last daughter born, coming after the twin girls. All of the family members are married, except my younger brother. While this effected the whole family, the main players were the oldest daughter, *Sylvia, her husband *James and one of the twins, *Marcia. At the time, Marcia wasn't married yet. This was a little over 4 years ago. My oldest sister, Sylvia, at this point in her life had already lived through personal experiences that rocked the family, starting with a child conceived out of wedlock, and marriage to a highly unstable man. Going through the divorce from this man, she was suddenly widowed. Briefly, and however ridiculously, there was some speculation that he was killed at my father's request. No one but Sylvia knows the actual cause of death. A couple of years later she became involved with James. At the beginning, there was some hostility towards James because of suspected child abuse on his part towards the aforementioned child. This was resolved, although some gaurdedness in this area remains. At any rate, this is all just to give some background that Sylvia and we as her family had already covered some ground in the forgiveness realm. Open wounds and hurtful words and actions had to be apologized for and given forgiveness for. All of these events happened between 13 and 9 years ago. Marcia, for her part, has a quiet and shy personality. She knows her own mind, and can be very stubborn and self-centered. When she moved out of mom and dad's house, she moved into an apartment that is attached to James' garage and is on Sylvia and James's property. After a year, I think, she came to the family and claimed that she had been physically taken advantage of by James, and she was moved out of that apartment immediately. As it turned out, it wasn't that he forced himself on her, but rather that they had an affair. So, she lied to us all. And she lied to her sister, Sylvia, as did James. Here's a shocker to top all that. Sylvia and Marcia have been Christians since they were about 10. After a lot of anger, and pain, and confrontation, and avoidance, and arguing, and defending, and rationalizing, there was finally repentance. Marcia was forgiven soon after. Sylvia is still married to James, and has forgiven him. For some reason, it took a lot longer for my father to forgive James. Finally, last year, he publically forgave James and asked pardon for taking so long in doing so. Sylvia cried with relief. We are still praying that James will come to a saving knowledge of Christ. So, why did I go into such detail about these things? Why did I put my family under such exposure? Because when I say what I'm going to say following this, I want everyone to understand that I am not making such comments lightly, as if referring to a teasing moment or a stolen t-shirt. I recently had a discussion, with someone much wiser than I am, about forgiveness. We were referring to a totally different incident involving teenage gossip in the church. He brought up Hebrews 12:5 about getting rid of the bitter root. Personally, I rely heavily on Colossians 3:13, which says "Make allowance for each others faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." (How wonderful that there is forgiveness for those who repent!) Somehow, the question of how to treat the forgiven party came up. This is something that weighs heavy on my heart, because of what the general consesus on this seems to be. That they are forgiven, and so are to be treated with kindness, but also with caution. How distressing to me! I believe that a person who repents and is forgiven ought to be treated as if the incident never ocurred! Yes, probably foolish and naive... Or is it? Is it wrong to believe and trust that a person's best will prevail? I certainly hope that God doesn't treat me with distrust, as if counting on me to stumble. How could he when He "remembers my sin no more"? Which, of course, doesn't mean he can't remember them, but as I understand it, that I'm not charged with that crime any longer. Isn't this the standard we are called to live up to? Yes, I know I'm believing in a hard thing. But this is something that I would have done unto myself, so should I not do it unto others? Can I forget that I'm forgiven, and not truly forgive others? Or is treating another with wariness a part of forgiveness? I think not. At any rate, this is how forgiveness looks to me, even in the worst of circumstances.
Excelllent Blog Who -- definitely challenging -- and yes forgiveness is to include forgetting -- unfortunately being human and frail we sometimes forget that "forgetting" is part of "forgiving".
my bishop often says that yes, we must forgive, because forgiveness is an essential part of our christian walk- He also says that we must not forget... the Word tells us that we must mark those that cause discord and stay away from them!
we forgive by faith, and that faith is not mature in every person- so if you're not mature enough to treat someone as if they never sinnned, do what you can, in faith and God will give you grace to deal with what you can't in the natural. There are times when we forgive and we must leave folk alone, because the word also tells us that 'in as much as lies within YOU live at peace with everyone!"
Wow , Who I truly will pray for your family,and keep them in my prayers. For all of our families need repairing and forgivness. I know mine does. God is our help in need of forgiviness. My thing I always have tried to apply to my life is when the bible does say. IF WE DONT FORGIVE. I WILL NOT FORGIVE YOU. So I know I need his forgivness. It can be so hard to do at times. Thanks for this blog... love AJ
Thank you for your openness and honesty, it must have been hard putting all that on paper!
Looking down the years at the things that Christians can do to each other and to non-Christians as well, there is little that surprises me now. Being inside a Christian organisation/College does not mean that people are honest. I have found this in the Christian Colleges I have been involved with.
My husbands first wife had an adulterous relationship with a fellow member of the church and followed that up with an adulterous relationship with a non-christian with whom she had a child. The divorce petition she filed (!) was based on the fact that she was 'forced' to go to church and 'speak in tongues'. (No, she didn't get her divorce the way she planned, and if you knew my husband you would also know he would never be able to force anyone to do anything - he is far too gentle for that). As you know, God doesn't force us into a relationship with him and nor does he force us to stay there. Once there is a weakness in the armour however, the enemy will get us down as fast and as far as he can. In our experience there were a number of other things that were done too, things that were unjust and illegal. I guess the point I am trying to get to is that whilst I have to let go those things which were done I would have to know from God for absolute and certain, that I was able to trust this person.
Twenty three years of pain and reminders hasn't put me in the same place as you, may be I still have some things to learn in that respect. I am thankful however, that we share the journey and with it we can share one anothers sorrows and joys.
You have demonstrated both great courage and strength posting this intimate information. I congratulate you for facing these difficult issues. Forgiveness is essential if we are to have a clear heart. We can't love if we still harbor the bitter root.
In an idea world, we would be able to also forget. But only God can see into the hearts of man and woman. We don't have that capability. A simple example would be a recovering alcoholic whom we've forgiven. We must still remember if for no other reason than to help that person stay on the straight path. There are many similar examples.
Forgiveness is tough in many cases. But that is part of the Christian path we walk.
You are a blessing to us, my young friend.
Alive in The Word
whobelieve, you have posed an interesting point.
We need to remember that there is discernment which the Holy Spirit can give to us who are led by the Holy Spirit on how to handle situations we face. As brother Jack says "It should be noted that because I trust one more than the other with the task does not mean I treat them different." The Holy Spirit who knows the hearts of man can help distinguish in a life situation whom we should trust more.
Each of us is given an instinct for survival. Either by intelligence or God-given ability, our natural antenna is raised towards those who have caused pain to us in the past. That is, we learn from history to keep away from trouble so the past is not repeated. This does not mean that we discriminate against a person. It means that we need to preserve our peace of mind and keep away from trouble. Does it mean we have something personal against that person?
As the Lord gives us a chance to turn from our wicked ways so we need to give people a chance to turn from theirs. Often it takes time and it is during this time that it is so trying whether that person should be raised in our measure of trust. We can forgive but when alternatives and options are available our natural instinct will lead us to reward those we have higher trust in.
The bitter truth is we will reap what we sow by natural consequence or imposed by community and so as Christians we must be especially careful of our testimony as lights in this world. A lifetime of testimony can be destroyed by a moment of weakness. May the Holy Spirit always be our guide to act in love towards a person who has been forgiven for a wrong to us. Love does not always mean siding for that person if it could lead to more trouble.
As mere mortals we must constantly ask Jesus our savior for assistance in mortal matters such as the one our family has gone thru in the blog. I know that I personally found it very hard to forgive in the matters spoken of due to alot of issues and still today find myself not 100% the way I should on it. I dont know if its the need to protect my loved ones or what but it is a very hard issue. As with all things in life though we must learn to move on and live our lives as God intends us to live. These difficult events are thrown our way for reasons we may never know but we do know that God does everything with a purpose and he makes no mistakes. Through this unfolding of events he had some purpose he wished to have seen and our goal and mission in life must be to become closer to God and be more God like. Yes, we will all fail at sometime in our lives but we must try our hardest not to and realize that we are making progress everytime that we stop just prior to doing something bad. My two year old son does things that are hurtful and considered sinful but as adults we have learned not to do such things anymore. That must be our life goal to constantly be learning and constantly becoming better, more godlike people until our chance comes to meet Jesus face to face.
God Bless, I know it took alot for you to write the things that you did.
And here I thought I might be the only one with uh, "family issues".
My friend speaks often of her former church where the church treasurer was caught after embezzling a whole lot of money from the church. When confronted, he was penitent and begged forgiveness. The church forgave him, loved him, embraced him. But they did not allow him to immediately resume being treasurer. Trust needs to be re-earned, and then there is the idea of someone being tempted again if all things are restored as they were.
God gave us a brain, and our brain tells us that even Christians may have the best of intentions but fall back into our old ways. Like my weight loss efforts, for example. Oh, how I am convicted daily that I need to lose weight. And oh, how well I do for a while. And then I backslide. What I mean is that we should not put ourselves in harm's way, or put someone else in harm's way just because we have forgiven.
Hope that makes sense.
wb..the subject of forgiveness is close to my heart, as I've had to forgive a number of people a number of things...! However, it cannot be stressed enough that we are to be wise as serpents when it comes to forgiving others... there are too many good Christians in bad relationships where they are exposed to more abuse and possibly death because they are forgiving their abusers and staying in the relationship. people that have been abused- especially Christians need time AWAY from the abusers.. time to heal from the pain and learn to trust THEMSELVES again... because if you can't trust yourself, you're gonna have trouble trusting God... and any relationship or circumstance that pulls us away from relationship with God must be examined and possibly put aside- nothing should come between us and our relationship with God.
Obviously, this topic of forgiveness is a very sensitive one, and it means different things to different people. It is challenging, and difficult, everyone wants and needs it, everyone has different reactions to it.
Thank you all for realizing what a difficult blog this was for me to write, and commenting accordingly. Thank you also, for taking the time to comment and minister to me, as I hope this blog has done for its readers.
I would like to point out that what I'm referring to here are situations of true repentence, calling for true forgiveness. In that regard, I'm going to have to go with what ptl and a few others have intimated- that how you treat that individual afterwards should be reliant on the Holy Spirit's guidings. Too often we confuse what our hurt and defensive heart is saying, or relying on what our worldly mind is whispering. The only correct path to follow, no matter how difficult, is God's way. He may direct that the person is to be avoided. Or, that complete healing has happened and that you may carry on a relationship with that person even better than it was before. He knows so much more than we do about if a person's heart is truly changed, if they are really repentant (which, by the way, simply means that you turn and go a different way than you were heading), and whether or not they will be tempted in whatever manner again.
To me, being as wise as a serpent means to follow the Spirit's leadings. To use the brain God gave us means to me that I apply what the Word says. Above all, in circumstances where a trust has been betrayed or pain has been inflicted, I believe it is of utmost importance that we do not factor our own reaction into the equation, but rely completely on God on how to handle it.
Difficult? Maybe impossible. But I know someone who works miracles...
I'm sorry, it's late and I'm tired. There is a correction I would like to make to my above comment.
I wrote: [quote]Too often we confuse what our hurt and defensive heart is saying[/quote]
I meant to say: Too often we confuse what our hurt and defensive heart is saying for truth, or the Spirit's leading,...
Just simply come
Getting through the emotions of the day
If man could just get hold of the simplicity of Jesus. Do you know about the secrets that keep us bound, the things we all have said and done. Does man know God made a way, a way that we could simply come, sit before his feet and just tell him about the things we have done. I must encourage you, when people say God does not care about your feelings; this is a lie, God totally created the human life, feelings is mans greatest gift , Jesus feels, he feels when you are hurting, he feels when you face disappointments, he feels when you have no one to turn to. It’s a simple massage, that we don’t need giant faith to know him, we can simply come. Sit at his feet and speak. He is the one.
It is only when all is stripped away; you have tried to find one, just one who with whom you can become completely naked. You get to speak from the very depths of your heart and cry out. Life hurts. This is the place that you get to be real, this is the place were you get to be honest and this is the place were God shows you, no matter who you are, what you have done, were you have been, no matter what mistakes you have made, no matter what, no matter what, no matter what, he is the one who gives you a new beginning. This is the place were you get to be you.
Did you know that the greatest fear of man kind is to be good, if we intend on being real, none are good, in fact our very best efforts are tainted with stuff from the past, but God right from the beginning thought of his created ones as very very good, his love so great when he created his children, his heart desired to care for them, but we are unable to see. Covered by the stuff we call humanity. Do we truly know that in the very heart of every life was placed a seed, a tiny little mustard seed to believe, that in our hearts is only good. This is the place were Jesus begins , as in the beginning the seed is planted as he looks down on you, no matter what your past, no matter what your future , his eyes look upon your heart , the warmth of his love settles upon you , and he whispers truth into your heart, you are good, because I made you, I am in you, come as you are, the way you were created in the heavenlies, before I sent you through the human womb. I knew you , the past, the present and the future, and no matter were you are right now, its is about to change , every heart that is made new in God , God simply looks back and says , “my word fulfilled, as in the beginning, “this is very very good”
If you do not understand these words, you got to know, this is the place, were God simply washes all sins away, can you hear his voice, he desires your praise, like the parent that he is, he desires you fulfill those needs, those secret places were you forgot to just be you, filled each day, simple love, peace and overflowing with joy, do you remember that, when you were born and your little feet was light, and you could just be. This is the place, when you get to simply come, sit at his feet and say, thank you God that you are the creator and I am the clay.
Give me a make over to live each day, give me my new heart so I may clearly see, that life’s not hard, it’s just completely me. Did you know that when a child is born, God placed the earth in his heart, and the Childs very jumping God loves, he loves every tear, he loves every bit of who you are? Being alone in his presence lifts the burdens of life, a place of rest were you can sigh, you can strip naked before him and admit the greatest truth, I am love, and why in this space that’s all there is. His word becomes flesh in you when we acknowledge the truth, when he said he loved the world and he gave up his only son, he gave him up to bring you back to him, his son he paved the way so man can see that God is in the end the only one that cares.
Time alone is what brings us in communion with the one who loves us, just simple sit and shed of all the worries each day, the worries they don’t go away , but when we still our heart and sit in his presence, the love he provides makes us strong to take on a new day.
Don’t be deceived, the gospel is the only pill that will lift the things that keep us bound from believing that we are not good.
If God created man, looked back and said, “this is very very good” when God speaks word, he also fulfils it, most people are afraid of the light, they are afraid of being truly good, don’t be afraid of being you , in the end Jesus opened the way so you may be just you, GOOD. Exactly how God created you.
People who are do not to celebrate their very existence , deny God , your very smile worships God, your very tears, brings joy to his heart, your very life gives God what he deserves , you ARE PRAYER, your life is worship and your very mistakes is what he needs so he can be the creator and you can be the created.
The next time you look up, don’t forget to look in, because inside of you he placed himself, and he waits on you to see , the closer you get to him, the real you begins to take shape, nothing on this earth can replace the value of human life that God has declared.
When Jesus said, I am the way, he was taking about the way to God, I AM THE TRUTH, he was declaring the beginning of how God created man in his image and likeness, and when he said I am the life, he placed in your very womb, the seed of life, the creation seed to be all he created you to be.
Don’t be afraid, to just be, GOOD!
In my daily lives , i have to go through the motions of my emotions, raise the kids, pay the bills, work and live, but through all of that I face anger, irritations, pain, frustration, I walk each day as I remember his word deep within my soul, and when my emotions rise to take control , I remember he made me whole, just remembering his word changes my every response, this is the gift he gives to us, that we can now partake of his divine nature.
Don’t be afraid to be GOOD!