When I Don’t Want to Forgive

Nothing-doing.  No way, no-how.

I admit, those were often my go-to words when I needed to forgive.  I know the process should be as easy and quick as 1-2-3, but there were times when I couldn’t even get to zero.

Maybe someone comes to mind for you when it comes to needing to forgive, and the discomfort or pain is as deep as days gone by. Have you struggled with the ease of forgiving in a quick and easy 1-2-3 step? Maybe, like me, you are someone counting to 100 in order to get there….only to arrive at a snail’s pace counting by single digits.

No matter, the act of forgiving can be tough, sometimes coupled with lingering anger that can surprise us when hurt has occurred in our seemingly  safe, Christian, trustworthy circles or bubbles where falling-outs (ideally) shouldn’t go unresolved longer than a Supreme court ruling would allow. We can be challenged in  “manning up” to initiate forgiveness and seek resolution–once our nerves stop rattling from being the one having to do so.

Perhaps you’re holding onto bitterness that resulted from an unresolved exchange, dialogue or circumstance that erupted into a parting of ways or break in connection.  “Now what?” you’re asking. Maybe you’ve already reached out and took the stand to be the “bigger person” or are hoping the other person will be the one to stand tall and initiate contact or an apology. On the other hand, maybe you’ve parked yourself in anger and resentment with no plans of pulling out from that space.

To be honest, for me, staying steamed felt better than cooling off.  With one person in particular, I felt justified in remaining mad. Afterall, I was wronged, and even when I tried to bring about resolution, I was met with disinterest. Why continue to make amends when that person won’t even take ownership let alone be willing to connect to discuss the matter so resolution can happen?  What’s the good in that?

Jesus.

Jesus is the GOOD in THAT.

As a result of that goodness, I’m not paying the price for my mishaps and mistakes nor having to suffer judgment (not necessarily consequences but judgment) I deserve today, the rest of my earthly days, and days thereafter–all because of that GOOD Jesus did by dying on the cross.

That’s THE way Jesus chose.

He didn’t choose anger, He chose forgiveness toward those who sinned against him.  “And Jesus said: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ ” (Luke 23:34) HIS way of responding to a battle is opposite from our natural tendency to either pull back or rage ahead. Jesus released and continues to release all trespasses committed against him and all the offenses we commit against Him and one another. That right action makes my inaction, willful, weak and wrong in comparison. Once I understood that, I had to make different choices around my not-so-forgiving attitude.

A forgiven sinner forgives others–a truth we hear in our Christian circles that can convict us to the core  because we’re on the hook in having to forgive, and that’s not always easy when we have been wronged or deeply hurt. It can be tough, yet, in order to experience full freedom and model Christ-centered behavior as moms and women, we have to give out out of obedience what we have accepted in gratitude.

Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness.

Jesus gave it to us as quickly as 1-2-3.  Shouldn’t I?

I have to tell myself that kinder feelings about the person with whom I am angry at, will  have to catch up (or not) as I step out into obedience to forgive and give hurt an opportunity to drown rather than stay afloat.  If I wait until I am in the mood to forgive or for my feelings to shift from anger to love before I act, then I am following myself, not the LORD. Truth is, I may be waiting for a long time. I can take the step to forgive, and Jesus can then help to get my feelings or perspective in order and change my outlook and heart, all of which are really secondary to the forgiving piece anyway.

“Jesus already forgave –why must I?” asks that immature child in my spirit.

For starters, we forgive because He forgave us. He’s our model because He is supreme, creator, God. We forgive so we can  live and benefit from the affects of forgiveness and be released from the power  that anger and resentment hold in our entire being which then trickles into our relationships. Bitterness breeds bitterness and that will be our fate when we keep it alive. I see how the effects can grow and cause more pain, and subsequently, create reactions that call for more forgiveness! It can be an endless cycle. Jesus loves us so much that He wants us to be free from those painful effects that keep us trapped and spinning in the same volatile direction.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live  at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)

We forgive to eliminate having divisiveness in our relationships. Jesus died to deliver peace. If I am following my Lord and Savior, how can I act any differently? I am His child and that means irritation and anger really can’t take up permanent residence or I’d be a hypocrite. Letting the anger go, doesn’t mean it’s easy. THAT part, God has to help me with and that’s okay. He’s up for the job of healing my hurts and helping us grind out that hard, internal stuff that we struggle against.  The process might be lifelong, but I think as long as we are leaning on Him, we’ll get there under His guidance with a work being done that only He can accomplish.

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

God will deal with all people accordingly and hold each person accountable for their actions.  Let’s leave the judgment of peoples’ hurtful actions to God and the choice to move forward in forgiveness to us. God will equip and enable us to overcome the sorrow of hurt actions when we invite Him into our emotional mess that He can clean up and restore to a right and beautiful condition.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” (Acts 1:8)

We receive the power to forgive others through Jesus and only Jesus. His power to do so is readily available when we call upon Him to depend on His strength to do that particular work. If it takes me till 100, that’s on me, as it probably means I am going through the process in my own strength, rather than His.

Thankfully, His forgiveness timeline is as short and sweet as 1-2-3.

Who might God be calling you to forgive this week?  With the Lord’s help, can you make the process be as quick as 1-2-3 and depend on Him in the process of moving through the process of forgiving?

 

 

So Long Dry Bones

14458419_s

The BIG deals we make about little things can stay with our kids forever….let’s be dead to the small things that rattle us, including fatigue, the temptation to yell, the moment that we already yelled, where we blew it, where we are feeling frustrated and be alive to giving grace to our children just as we have received grace from the Lord. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a mama who dries up her kids’ bones.

And it’s so easy to do.

Our tone of voice. Our words. Our demeanor can be deflating to those around us.

Drying.

Hit the pause button before reacting and pray. Pray for self control. Pray that if firmness is needed, you’ll be firm not angry. Pray that if you need to sit down, that you can steal a moment to regroup. Pray that if there is an opportunity to smile, that you will soften your cheeks and communicate joy with the motion of your lips.

Let eye contact and sweet tone of voice prevail in your demeanor so your children can be filled with the love and warmth you feel for them that may not always surface among the day’s running around and to-dos. We live by the list, don’t we? We are always on to the next thing. Rushing. Running.  I know you are tired. I know you are stretched. Early days of mothering (and the ones that come later) can be fatiguing.

You are pushed.

Pulled.

You just want a break.

Let’s take our days and the power of God available to us and receive His mercy, strength and love so that we can pour those very same attributes into our children and give them good, moist, strong bones. Regardless of our moods, they are going to grow and have memories of their home. Memories of you. A relationship with you.

Let’s make their bones strong with what we can deposit. 

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Phillipians 4:13

Let the truth of God nourish your bones today, mom.

 

 

Brownie or Not, God’s Got the Plate

 

Image credit: bhofack2 / 123RF Stock Photo

 My how quickly can our good intentions and goals get overshadowed by the reality of old ways.   Where we have vowed to give up sugar, we  have nibbled with delight on something brown. With fierce determination where we have committed to have more self control, that impatient tone of voice returns.

Don’t despair, Mom. God is in control even 48 hours into the New Year.

Keep praying. Keep your goals ahead of you. Keep God in front and He will lead you to the places He wants you to be. To the habits He wants you to have. To the tasks He wants you to take on.

He can give you discipline.

He can give you self control.

He can give you patience.

All your wants and good intentions are still real and He will equip you to accomplish them. Or, He’ll turn you around and show you what He wants to accomplish through you.

He will strengthen you.

And He will carry you when you fall.

There is still a next time. New Year or Not.

His grace is sufficient in your failings and mistakes because of His love for you.

So if you eat the brownie or lose patience with your children, stop and pray for what you need in that moment and in the ones to come. By turning to Him, you can approach your goals, intentions and future opportunities with a fresh start and the right perspective.

His.

No matter how many hours into 2014 you are, turning to Him for strength and for your plans is the right direction to move. He’s got the plate–crumbs and all, and He’s got you.

 

Scripture References

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:13)

“I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10