Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness’

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QUOTE (Mitsuo Fuchida) – April 14

April 14, 2014

English: pd-Japan, Japanese production of mits...

“I would give anything to retract my actions at Pearl Harbor, but it is impossible. Instead, I now work at striking the death blow to the basic hatred which infests the human heart and causes such tragedies. And that hatred cannot be uprooted without Jesus Christ … he is the only answer.”
~ Mitsuo Fuchida

In honor of Mitsuo Fuchida, the lead pilot of the December 7, 1941, raid on Pearl Harbor who shouted the war cry, “Tora, Tora, Tora!”. He became a Christian on this day in 1950.

Resources:
Today in Christian History – April 14, 2014
From Pearl Harbor to Calvary
Know Your Bible Recordings – Mitsuo Fuchida

 

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I SEE NAIL PEOPLE – Mar. 27

March 27, 2014

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye.  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3

 Nails Italiano: Chiodi Ελληνικά: καρφοβελόνες

It’s Not About the Nail (This post will make more sense if you watch this video first)

I see nail people walking around like regular people. They go through life seeing only what they want to see. They don’t know that they have a nail sticking out of their forehead. (I See Dead People)

I am a nail fixer.

I want to pull these nails that plague nail people’s lives.
I see the logical consequences of nails.
I am saddened by the blindness to their nail.
I don’t like to talk about nails.
I find little benefit in dwelling upon nails.
I just want to pull nails and be done with it.
I am frustrated by damage that never needed to have happened.
I mourn the inevitable results of nail blindness.

I am a nail fixer.

Yet, those who I try to fix are often scratched and scared by my efforts.
Often, my frustration only makes the original snag worse.
Frequently, the force of my pull on the nail acts more like a hammer.
The fruit of my nail fixing can logically mean only one thing…

I am a nail person.

My nail is the nail of  “I”.
We all have nails that we are blind to; a blindness that God often allows.
A nail of  “I”  supplants the sovereignty, grace and mercy of God.
None of us have been called to indiscriminately pull nails in our blindness.

We have been called to love our brothers and sisters as ourselves.

In that love, the personal nail of  “I” is bereft.
In that love, we may be called to help pull a nail.
In that love, we may be called to hold a hand through obvious consequence.
In that love, we may be called to pray in silence.

In that love, we are always called to glorify God.
In that love, we are always called to trust in God’s sovereignty.

In that love, we allow our personal nail of  “I” to fade into the great “I AM”.

PRAYER: Father, you know that I am a blind fool.  You know the log of “I” that has blinded me for so long. Lord, remove the log from my own eye.  Help me to love others as myself.  Enable me to love without the plague of my nail.  I want you to be glorified in all that I do.  Forgive me of the times that I have only made things worse.  I want to see beyond myself.  Teach me how to focus on you and thereby love the ones you have called me to love.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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QUOTE (Corrie ten Boom) – Feb 28

February 28, 2014
Corrie ten Boom, "The Hiding Place"

Corrie ten Boom, “The Hiding Place” (Photo credit: Corrie ten Boom Museum)

“Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: ‘A fine message, Fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!’  And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He would not remember me, of course—how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women?

But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.

‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’  No, he did not remember me.  ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’  And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

English: Betsie, Nollie, Casper, Willem, Corne...For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’  I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then.”

~ Corrie ten Boom, “I’m Still Learning to Forgive”

In honor of Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian and Holocaust survivor, who on this day in 1944 was arrested by Nazi police for hiding Jews.

Resources:
This Day in History – February 28
Corrie ten Boom Story on Forgiving

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QUOTE (Gladys Staines) – Jan 23

January 23, 2014

staines“I feel sad that I do not get to see my sons growing up. Christ has been my companion, but at times I miss the support of my husband. God gives me great support, and the prayers of people has been
a source of great consolation…It is Jesus who is the source of every consolation and support. God gives us the strength to be able to carry our cross and to live in
His will. Our life and our work here on earth has to go on according to His holy will.”

“I forgive the other, because I have first received forgiveness from Jesus Christ – I have encountered the presence of Jesus in my life and this is the spirit I share. When we forgive, there is no bitterness and we live our lives and continue the task entrusted to us – with His grace and peace… All Christians who have known the intervention of Jesus in their lives will have this gift to forgive and to be the witnesses of His peace and presence. Support them with your solidarity and prayers.”

~ Gladys Staines

In honor of Graham Staines and his sons, Australian missionaries to India, who were martyred on this date in 1999.

Resources:
Today in Christian History – January 23
Widow of Graham Staines: “Do not give up hope, pray for India”

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“STRUGGLE TO FORGIVE – AGAIN” – Jan 18

January 18, 2014

“…You wicked servant!  I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?”  Matthew 18:32-33

“Awww…crap on a cracker!”

My Coffee Mug 002That was what I thought as I began to read the new testament portion of my Bible reading plan this morning.  I am fully aware of the absence of the “Christ-like” nature in my response but I immediately realized that I was about to be divinely called out.  My response was that of a third grader whose parent just confronted them of their blatant disobedience.

Allow me to digress and explain my activities of the last week that I have allowed to fester into unforgiveness and hate.  It has been an attitude that I have been fighting and confessing all week but last night, actually early this morning, I allowed my mind to relish in the deep resent of being wronged.  Therefore, I was not surprised this morning to discover that my heavenly Father had orchestrated His Word perfectly to address the wickedness of my heart.

My company is going to be sued.  The process of being sued is not some abstractions when you own part of a small business that has been targeted.  It is personal.  It is even more personal when the chief antagonists are people who you once considered friends.  I wrote about this in “But I Don’t Wanna Be Slapped”.  That blog was written over a year ago and the saga is still on-going.

Mediation has finally been scheduled and documents provided with the assertions of our wrong doing.  My week has been spent reviewing those documents and writing responses.  The deeper I dig the more incredulous I have become at the sear lack of integrity, at least from my perspective, which my antagonists are abiding within.  I have been praying for them by name every night this week.  I have been asking God to bless them in obedience to Jesus’ command to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 6:44).

The façade of a struggling heart was stripped away in the early morning hours when my brain awoke to thoughts of the case.  My mind drifted from facts to faces; faces that were once welcome in my home but now are enemies of my home.  Yes, they are my enemies for which I was shocked at the disdain that welled up for them.  I was even more shocked at the personal hate that I felt for their attorney and expert witness.

Worse than those thoughts was the fact that I drank them in.

Therefore, I was not surprise by the scripture that was awaiting me with my morning cup of coffee.  I knew what was coming.  My wicked heart had been clearly revealed.  My Lord cut me to the core.  He crushed any and all pretense and justification that I had created in my pre-dawn ranting.  He showed me how easily I have accepted His mercy, which was more costly than any mercy that I am being commanded to show.  I was confronted with my hypocrisy.

i am real estate photographer / Foter.com / CC BY

I realized that God in His continuing mercy toward me was showing me that I was forgiving from my mouth but not from my heart.

And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart. (Matt. 18:34-35)

I know that this lawsuit may go on for a few more years and I don’t know how many times I am going to be coming back to this very same wicked place.  How can I forgive when the process does not allow for reconciliation or resolution? I am reminded of Jesus’ response to the question of who then can be saved.

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matt. 19:26)

Therefore, I walk the path of a disciplined servant – I repented of my sinfulness, I thanked my Savior for His grace and mercy in forgiving my debt, which was much greater, and I asked Him for the strength to follow Him with all of my heart because I can’t do it myself.

Forgiveness is not an elective in the curriculum of servant-hood. It is a required course, and the exams are always tough to pass. ~Charles Swindoll

PRAYER: O Lord, thank you for not allowing me to wallow in my sin.  Thank you for confronting the wickedness and disobedience of my heart.   Thank you for being a lovely Father to me.  Help me in my unbelief.  Help me to be so enamoured by the grace and mercy that you have shown me that will will naturally flow out and onto my enemies.  Lord, be with them.  Show them the same love that you have shown me.  Draw them to yourself.  Enable me to forgive them not only with my mouth but with my heart.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“CRAFTING FORGIVENESS” – July 4

July 4, 2013

“For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.”  2 Corinthians 2:6-8

Motivation can be as difficult to discover as any buried treasure.  It lays buried deep within, tainting all of the actions flowing through it.  This filtering effect of motivation can sour all the right activity or it can sweeten the most misguided.

Therefore, an action’s quality is dependent upon the actor’s inspiration.

The treasure of our inspiration should be a hunt that never ends.  It should be a quest that commences every time I am moved into action or inaction.  This becomes even more important when reconciliation becomes necessary.

I wish it were possible for us not to hurt each other.  I wish that we all could live in a big, happy community: without speaking insensitive words, without differences driving a wedge, without the dashing of expectation.  I have yet to find that community.  Ponce de Leon’s search will probably be fulfilled before I discover the community without the need of forgiveness.

The perfect community will never exist as long as it is populated with imperfect people.  We, followers of Christ, still struggle under the oppression of our sinful flesh.  The ugly manifestations of our sin are the obvious imperfections within our Christian communities.

I look forward to the time when interpersonal forgiveness will be a theory.  I long for the forgiveness of a wronged person to be relegated to the rudimentary toolbox of a dark age.  However, that day of glorification has not yet come.  So, the need for the craftsmanship of forgiveness still has a role to play within our communities.

English: Photographer: Randy C. Bunney A sharp...

English: Photographer: Randy C. Bunney A sharp wood chisel in combination with a wood drill bit is used to form this mortise for a half-lap joint in a timber frame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, this craft does not seem to have enough skillful practitioners.  Forgiveness is not easy.  I have been disappointed many times when forgiveness has not resulted in the reconciliation that I had hoped.  It makes me wonder if our fumbling of forgiveness results in part from a contamination of motivation.

Why do you want someone to ask for forgiveness?

Why are you asking for forgiveness?

Why are you seeking the one you have wronged?

The variation of answers to those questions reveal our motivations.

We might be seeking justice.
We might just want things to get back to normal.
We might want vindication.
We might want it known that we were wronged.

The emotions and motivations of the hurting can be difficult to untangle.  However, I think that we often make it harder than it needs to be.  True forgiveness flows from those whose actions are filtered by a motivation of love.  The reason forgiveness fumbles from unskilled hands is often due to motivations for something other than the love of that other person.

I should seek the forgiveness of the person I have wronged because I love them. 

Forgiveness sought from love wants to heal the past wounds that have been inflicted.  Also, forgiveness removes the future stumbling blocks of resentment, bitterness, and disunity that can come from unresolved conflicts.  Therefore, the love of our neighbor’s soul, past, present and future, should be why we earnestly seek out those who we have wronged.  We do it because we love them.

When I have been wronged, I should seek reconciliation with that person because I love them. 

My love for them should not be contingent upon their action.  However, that does not mean my hurt is not real and it does not mean I should sweep it under the carpet.  Holding my brother or sister accountable to their action can be one of the most loving things I do for them.  Usually, actions that are hurting other people are a result of sin.  That person needs to be made aware of their sin and the consequences of those actions.  The love of the hurt should be for those who have hurt them to repent and to have a right relationship with God.  Forgiveness is more about the restoring of the transgressor’s relationship with God than with the one they wronged.  By God’s grace, usually when the transgressor gets right with God, the Spirit will motivate them in love to get right with the one they wronged.  That should be the loving hope of the wronged.

Genuine forgiveness will always craft reconciliation when all parties are motivated by an abounding love for one another.

We are all stuck in a world where relationships will get funky.  Therefore, we must become skillful masters of the craft of forgiveness.  It is an essential skill of a follower of Christ.  May we always set our heart on love before we pick up the tool of forgiveness because inspiration that comes from love will be manifested in quality actions that glorify God.

That should be our hope.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for so often losing sight of love when confronted with a conflict.  Forgive me for caring more about myself than those I am at odds with.  Help me to love others as You love them.  Give me a love for others that is beyond me.  Make me a peacemaker and a master craftsman of reconciliation.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“REAL LOVE” – June 24

June 24, 2013

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have love you, you also are to love one another.”  John 13:34

I was recently going through some old papers and ran across a list of goals that I had written shortly after graduating from the University.  I was newly married, had a new career, and was on the cusp of the adventure called my life.

I remember making that list.  I remember the reasons for making most of those goals.  Through the last couple decades, I have been successful in achieving most of them.  I find it interesting that the reality of now standing on the future side of that list does not match the anticipation felt when condensing dreams into goals and writing them on paper.

I have found that to be the universal case.  Reality has a hard time living up to my dreams.  My mind creates theater.  It does not create documentaries.

My mind creates a stylized version of reality, past or future, that can be mesmerizing.  My mind can direct a whole world of utter fantasy.  The mental special effects of this world can be so convincing that reality blurs with the make-believe.  I can become so enamored with the theater of my mind that I love it more than what is real.

The real is the present.  The real comes to us with all of its flaws and imperfections.  The real has uncertainty.  The real can hurt us and make us unhappy.  The real can disappoint.  Our minds often create elaborate sets to soften the stark documentary quality of the present.  However, the present is the only thing that is real.  Everything else is a dream or a fading memory.

The battle for the real has tangible consequences for how we love.

We all love much and in a variety of ways.

We can love our family as they are or

            We can love our family as we want them to be.

We can love being married or

            We can love what we thought marriage would be.

We can love our job or

            We can love what our job is when we get that promotion.

We can love where we are or

            We can love what we were.

We can love where we are or

            We can love what we will be.

We can love what we have or

            We can love what we will obtain.

We can love others where they are or

We can love them based on what they should have done or did not do.

Our love can easily slide from what is real to a theatrical concoction of our mind.

God loves me.  He does not love a future me or a past me.  He loves the present me.  He loved me before I loved Him.  His love is not conditioned upon me becoming the someone I long to be.  His love is for the real me; the present me.

In the same way, God has called us to love others.  We are to love real people.  We are not called to love a person who we hope someone will become.  We are not called to love someone who used to be someone else.  We are to love real people.  That means we are to love people as they are.  We are to love real people with all their faults and failures.  We are to love people with all of their blemishes and bandages.  We are to love people in their weaknesses and through their wanderings.

This does not mean that weaknesses are irrelevant.  Weaknesses are the touchstone of the real.  It is only in the dream where a weakness drives one away from another.  A weakness will destroy a dream.  Therefore, the love of the make-believe is fragile and can be easily crushed by the weaknesses of a real person.

However, a real person’s weakness can truly be conquered when we love that present person.  When we love the real person, we are drawn closer by their weaknesses.  The love of the real person becomes our motivation to strengthen them in their weaknesses.  We pick up their cry when they have disappointed, once again.  We lift them up when they have stumbled, once again.  The love of a real person does not have a limit since it does not rely upon the conditions of a dream.

“When in loving it is a duty to love the men we see, then is there no limit to the love; if the duty is fulfilled, the love must be limitless, that is, unchanged, however its object changes.”  Soren Kierkegarrd

This is the way that God loves us.  We are justified in Christ.  He has given us His Spirit to overcome the weaknesses of our flesh but the love that He gives us today does not depend upon what we hope to be.  God loves real people.

May we love like He has loved us.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to love others as you love me.  Forgive me for loving dreams.  Help me to love others where they are today.  Help others to love me where I am today.    Father, I want to have a limitless love for You and other people.  Fill me with the love that only can come from you.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

Reference: “Works of Love”, Soren Kierkegaard

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