When I think about forgiveness, you don’t have to convince me that I need to forgive – I’m already on board with that. The tricky part for me is the actual forgiving. Here are some tips that might help you:
forgiveness isn’t a feeling. Consider the Corrie Ten Boom quote, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”
forgiveness in the greek means “to let go or release”: when we forgive, we release the hurt, bitterness, judgment & pain
proficient forgiveness requires practice
forgiveness must be kept fresh – stale forgiveness can grow putrid in our emotions and thoughts
Here’s a cool & short video that could be helpful: forgiveness
I was reading this morning in Hebrews 12 about how God corrects, just like a loving father corrects & disciplines his children. I used to hate the whole idea of correction & being disciplined. If the truth be told, there has been an arrogance in me about receiving correction. In the past, I had the mindset that I did things so well that I didn’t need correction – which of course set me up for some very serious confrontations and painful corrections. Being corrected & discipline isn’t fun. It hurts. But here are a few points in Hebrews 12 that have helped me about receiving correction:
correction is evidence of love – Heb 12:6; no love, no correction
God’s correction is for our benefit – Heb 12:10
when God corrects you, decide to endure & change: don’t faint when God corrects you – Heb 12:5
God’s correction yields good fruit in our lives (peaceful fruit of righteousness) – Heb 12:11
I had an interesting conversation with a friend this morning who expressed some observations about me that could be kind of scratchy. If you’re like me, sometimes when I hear things about me that I don’t like, I want to blow it off & pretend that these things aren’t true. But just because we may not like certain things that we hear or see about ourselves doesn’t mean that they’re not true – in fact, sometimes the truth hurts, even if a person is trying to be gentle, kind & gracious.
So just because something hurts, does that give us the permission to ignore or lash back? Nope.
When I step back & pause, what I really want in my life is for The Helper, aka Spirit of Truth, to be comfortable to speak with me and to engage in my daily living – even when it costs me some rough spots and scabs 🙂
So here’s to listening, growing & learning, with band-aids, neosporin & Help 😀
When I was learning to snowboard, one of the super important terms / skills that was essential to master was the concept of linking turns – being able to turn from moving to the right to the left & vice versa – easier said than done. Today, I have no problem linking my turns & it’s close to second nature for me, but not without lots of falling, spills, pain, etc. What I’ve learned from snowboarding is that there can be lots of lessons I can learn from pain. These include:
*get up & keep trying
*transitions require lots of practice to be smooth
*when I get lazy, I tend to fall more
*sometimes I need to give my legs a rest
*remember the lesson but forget the pain 🙂
I haven’t met many people who enjoy being criticized. It’s not fun & can often be hurtful. But here’s some thoughts that might be helpful:
*listen & process – often times there is at least a grain of truth in some of the critical content
*forgive – criticism is usually hurtful & the most constructive way to deal with hurt is by forgiving
*grow – chose to grow & learn. Get better & not bitter
*intentions – when a person is critical of us they may have mean intentions or maybe helpful. What a person intends is not as important as what we do with the criticism 🙂
There are all different kinds of pain: a broken arm, a sunburn, rejection, aggressive words, neglectful behavior, perceived exclusion, disappointment, grief, . . . . . When we are in pain or have pain in our lives we don’t like it, not one bit. But in my mind, a significant challenge with pain is not that we have pain, but rather what we do with it & even how we manage it (rather than letting it manage us). Here are a few bullet thoughts that might merit some consideration:
*forgiveness can interrupt the continual cycle of pain in our relationships
*when we have pain, it’s important that we don’t perpetuate our pain by hurting others
*Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, He is our ultimate Healer
*we must be vigilent to ensure that pain doesn’t become our identity – a painful person
*focus is an important component with pain – it seems to me that the more we focus on the hurt, the worse it gets
*on the flip side, I’ve discovered that when I keep my focus on Jesus, The Healer, the pain decreases in the light of His majesty
May we experience Jesus as our ultimate Healer for every pain in our lives 🙂
I was reading earlier this week about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He was under tremendous pressure knowing that He would be betrayed, brutally beaten and crucified in less than 24 hours. In the Garden, He was in an extremely weak place emotionally and He asked 3 of His closest friends to “keep watch with Me.” It seems to me that Jesus wanted some company during this REALLY TOUGH time – unfortunately, His friends fell asleep and weren’t very good company.
But here’s my point, if you want to be close to someone and really connect and know them, you can’t just hang around when everything is smoothy groovy. Deep, genuine and constructive intimacy requires us to be present when the other person is in their most vulnerable and even weakest state. Let’s learn from the failure of Jesus’ friends and do our level best to be present for others when they are in difficult times.
At various times in our lives, we are all the targets & recipient of hurtful words. In elementary school, kids can often say things without thinking of how their words can be received. Then in Jr & Sr high school, it seems like we get more sophisticated with our ability to use piercing & hurtful words. By the time we’re adults, many of us have become very proficient at integrating sarcasm with our cleverly cloaked words so that we can slice & filet someone with very crafted and deadly words.
So what do we do with hurtful words? Here are a couple of helpful thoughts:
forgive – whether the words were intentionally hurtful or not, forgiving must be your first & continual action
dial down the emotions & see what could be truthful with the hurtful words
make a constructive decision to get better & not bitter – let the hurtful words give you motivation to make some healthy changes rather than letting them fester in your emotional memory being nursed & rehearsed
repay mean words with a smile rather than trying to craft a come back or pay back
take the hurt to Jesus & let Him bring His healing into that pain
Pain isn’t always the main issue. But what you do with pain will determine it’s results 🙂
I recently slipped in our big snow storm and hurt my ankle and no, I’m not any good at injuries of any sort. My norm is just to ignore them & keep going – no time to be gimpy! Unfortunately, this little ankle thing isn’t responding well to being ignored.
I think the same can be true with us spiritually. Sometimes there are injuries in our hearts that require some attention. Here a few ideas that could help:
ice: it cuts back on the swelling and the agitation; when our hearts are hurt, it’s helpful to cool down before making any decisions or having some conversations (cooling down doesn’t mean simmering to re-load ammunition or nit picking to fester the injury more)
elevation: lifting up our hearts to the Holy Spirit gives space and opportunity for divine involvement, where there is always healing, repair and rejuvenation
rest: sometimes we need to give our hearts a chance to recover and “breath”; heart trauma or injury often requires some time and processing to get to a place where there can be constructive progress (just be careful that rest doesn’t turn into withdrawal)
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Jacob wrestled w the angel / God in Gen 32. This interaction always captures my attention & I find myself thinking about this wrestling match several times throughout any given year. I was talking w a friend today about what happened to Jacob after his wrestling match that left him w a limp:
he was reconciled to his brother & father
he returned to his homeland
restored & ramped up his walk w God
transformed his name – character
Rightfully so, no one likes pain or hardship. But with God, hardship & pain can really be used by Him for some quite spectacular results! Consider – all things work together for good to those who love God & who are called according to His purposes. Our goal is to love God & stay in the groove w His pruposes in our lives.