Today in America is a day that we remember the heroes & victims of the destruction of 9/11 ten years ago. Many of us probably have clear recollections of where we were on that day & what we were doing. Such an attack on America hadn’t happened in almost 5 decades & our lives have changed as a result of the events of 9/11.
The destruction that occurred on that day has ignited many different responses throughout our nation & the world. But here’s my challenge: destruction can only be transformed with a constructive reply. Hurting someone who has hurt you doesn’t change hurt. Insulting those who insult you doesn’t change the insults. Let’s be mindful about our responses to hurtful things – let’s be constructive & decide not to perpetuate destructive & hurtful behaviors
I’m a big fan of being proficient with forgiveness – after all, we get to practice almost everyday! ,)
There are LOADS of benefits that go with maintaining a lifestyle of forgiveness, but the point for this blog is to refresh a few tips & to give you an opportunity to share some effective tips you’ve learned as well. So here’s a quickie sarah forgiveness primer:
- be ready to forgive more than you’re ready to take an offense – sometimes it helps to have a forgiveness mindset
- fast forgiving is easier than elongated forgiving: anytime I’ve nursed a hurt, the forgiving process gets quagmired & almost moribund before I know it
- some people require more forgiveness than others; some of us are proned to the foot-in-mouth syndrome so please don’t make us squirm as we try to get better
- forgiveness is about personal liberty: for those of us who are Americans, its hard for me to understand why we are so adamant about our external freedom, but we can be virtually oblivious to our internal incarceration
- I want to be super generous with forgiveness because Lord knows He gives me more than I can comprehend; people who are stingy with forgiveness are usually mean & lonely 😦
What are some more suggestions?
We often associate growing pains with childhood – when our joints were sore as kids or teenagers for some unknown reason. We might have been growing too fast for our bodies to adjust without some aches & pains. I think this is also true as an adult but in different ways.
Let me give you a few examples:
- being less selfish is often a painful decision, but it is one that frequently reflects a level of growth & maturity as an adult
- being more selective about when & how we communicate shows that we are making progress from “blurting out” whatever could be flying through our mind; this is a noble goal, but it can require painful discipline to shut our mouth when we have something really “zingy” to say
- doing what’s helpful, constructive or even sacrificial when we don’t want to; I surrender “getting my way” for something I consider to be more important – for me this relates to letting Jesus use my life as a platform to express His will (hopefully, with minimal distortion)
- getting good at something I’m not good at; there are lots of schools of thought on this idea: stay in your sweet spot, do what you’re good at, maximize your talents & minimize your liabilities, etc. But in my life so far, I find that I don’t get the luxury to do only what I’m good at – I’m required to LOTS of different things, many of which I’m not good at. So here’s my choice: do the things I’m bad at with ongoing sloppiness, using the excuse that I’m just not designed that way OR do the things I’m bad at with the intent that I’m going to try to get better at them each time I have to do these things.
Maturity requires growth & growing can be painful. But I’d hate to become increasingly older & remain as immature as I am now 🙂
Everyday, we get the chance to practice forgiveness in both quantity (lots of “small things”) & quantity (some really hefty, weighty & serious interactions). Here’s the black & white truth: all relationships remain shallow without forgiveness. The deeper the relationship, often times, the greater the need for forgiveness. Forgiveness, for me, is most important because I want my relationship with God to be deep, genuine & transformational. I find that when I’m bent out of shape with someone, it affects my walk w God. Consequently, if I’m going to nurture, guard & be part of growing my walk with Him, I need to continually practice forgiving, even if the person doesn’t apologize for their actions or is unaware of how they hurt you. Forgiveness isn’t based on what the other person does or doesn’t do – it comes from your heart & most of all from receiving forgiveness from your heavenly Father so you can let it flow through you.
Something helpful I’ve found in the forgiveness adventure is to forgive quickly – the longer I wait the harder it becomes to forgive. What helps you to be forgiving???
Ok, sunday i had the privilege of speaking about letting Jesus get close. Just to be totally honest – i had way too much fun getting to share on this topic. Seriously, this was a blast for me!!!
Here’s my gist: i think that we keep Jesus at a distance for lots of reasons, but some common ones include:
- busy-ness (i’m too busy, like Martha in Luke 10, i think),
- hurt / emotions (i’m disappointed or hurt by Jesus so i’m going to keep my distance, like Mary in John 11)
- unworthy (i’ve got WAY too much garbage in my life for Jesus to get too close, like the centurion in Luke 11).
Its unfortunate that we use these reasons to keep Jesus at arms length. I’ve found that if I ask Him to help me w my busy-ness, i feel closer to Him & He often does help me! I also find that Jesus is deeply moved by my pain & wants to be involved in helping me resolve it. Finally, the reality is that we all have huge quantities of garbage – but Jesus came to make us worthy. Keeping Jesus at a distance from our personal lives isn’t constructive. the end