Posts Tagged ‘Relationships’

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BROKEN, NOT JUST BENT- Nov 10

November 10, 2014

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

The desperate melody of Pink’s song Just Give me a Reason sends my mind into a memory garden; past the memories of acquaintances, friends and family who sing to me the lyrics of this song, “we’re not broken just bent, we can learn to love again; we just need a reason to love again”. I sadly shake my head as their dew clouds my eyes. “Your love is not enough; a reason will never remove what is written in your scars, you’re broken not just bent”, is all I can think.

I feel the pain of a husband whose wife sought the embrace of another. He sings “We are just bent, we are not broken. We just need to learn to love again; we just need a reason to love again”. Oh, the scars!

I imagine the quiet lament of a young mother slipping away into overwhelmed neglect. She sings “we are just bent, we are not broken. I just need a reason; just a little bit will be enough; we can learn to love again.” Oh, the scars!

I grieve for a pair of empty-nesters’ loss of connection. They sing “we are just bent, we are not broken. We just need another reason; just a little bit will be enough; we can learn to love again.” Oh, the scars!

I cry out over the children scarred by their parent’s broken dreams. They sing “we are just bent, we are not broken. They just need a reason; just a little bit will be enough; they can learn to love again.” Oh, the scars!

We are a broken and scarred people.

Surrounded by brokenness, the norm makes the just bent seem a counterfeit.
Being broken, we never know what it is like just to be bent.
In our inner brokenness, we lack a visible comparison of how things should be; how things can be.

I know of no better example of our brokenness then the struggle of broken people to maintain love through a life time.  There is no hope written in the scars inflicted by broken-hearted people upon the ones they’ve proclaimed to love. The best those scars can achieve is an earthly wisdom of cause and effect.

The highest state of these scarred unions is a learned state of peaceful brokenness, continually learning to love again… Oh, the scars!

I don’t think it’s sin to be broken. It’s the result of sin to be broken.
~John Piper

Sin has broken us all and it continues to break and re-break those who live according to the flesh. … Oh, the scars!

True hope lies not in our scars but in the scars of Another.
True love flows not from our sinful hearts but from the Source of all love.

My mind returns to that painful garden of memories and transcends it to see a forty-something man with too much gray in his beard; a man who knows his own heart; a man whose inclination is not to love his wife well. He is a man who wants his own. He wants to be made much of. He is prone to wander. He desires all the pleasures this world has to offer.

Yet, he knows what that heart produces. He fears the product of his own heart; that in his quiet cerebral world the woman he loves may one day sing “we are just bent, we are not broken. We just need a reason; just a little bit will be enough; we can learn to love again.”

He doesn’t want the scars.  He knows that his marriage can be crushed just as all those he has watched crumbled.

Therefore, he clings to the good news.

We are not bound to a life of peaceful brokenness, continually learning to love again. Those who are in Christ have been set free from the shackles of sinful brokenness. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus. We have been given the Spirit of God to create in us holy fruit, pleasing and acceptable to our Father.

Consider the freedom of the glory of the children of God that comes from the union of two children of the Most High, whose eyes are not focused on each other but set upon the things of the Spirit. That is a union destined to overflow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

That is how two broken people can maintain love through a life time.

However, it starts by acknowledging that we are broken and not just bent, receiving the free gift of Jesus Christ as the payment for our sinful hearts, and daily setting our all on the One who has shown us perfect love.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for my wife. Thank you for our marriage. Lord, protect our marriage. Shepherd our hearts and keep us from wandering from you. Lord, you have been so faithful; you have been with us through every step we have taken together. Every victory has been through your power within us. Never once have we ever walked alone. Never once have you left us on our own. Lord, may our union bring glory to you through all the days you have given us together.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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QUOTE (John Newton) – Feb 1

February 1, 2014

English: John Newton (1725-1807)

“When I indulge myself with a particular thought of you, it usually carries me on farther, and brings me upon my knees to bless the Lord, for giving me such a treasure, and to pray for your peace and welfare . . . when I take up my pen, and begin to consider what I shall say, I am led to think of the goodness of God, who has made you mine, and given me a heart to value you. Thus my love to you, and my gratitude to him, cannot be separated. . . . All other love, that is not connected with a dependence on God, must be precarious. To this want, I attribute many unhappy marriages.”
~ John Newton, from a letter to his wife Mary

In honor of John Newton, Pastor and hymn writer, who was married to Mary Catlett on this day in 1750.  They were married for 40 years.

Resources:
Today in Christian History – February 1
John Newton on Marriage by Review of Letters to His Wife

 

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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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