Category Archives: forgiveness

broken

broken ornament

Invariably, it happens every year. A wagging tail brushes a limb of the tree, or a little hand reaches out in curiosity, or sometimes it’s just a mystery – it just happens.  All followed by the familiar sound of crashing glass on the floor crying out, “broken.”

My first inclination is to quickly sweep up the pieces and toss the broken Christmas ornament into the trash.  But this time while carefully picking up the broken fragments, those jagged, sharp pieces, I am reminded how Jesus meets me in my brokenness.  And unlike how the world views brokenness, my Savior doesn’t quickly sweep me away and nonchalantly toss me into the trash heap.  He meets me there, in the middle of the mess of my brokenness. When I come to the end of myself, He meets me there in the brokenness.

Through adversity, in the disappointments, in the failures – I see my weakness, my need to depend on Him. And when I come to the end of myself, I do not see these as shortcomings, but am reminded that God works best through me when I am broken.   

So in this season of celebrating the birth of Jesus, I stop to reflect on the cradle, the cross, and the crown.

I’m not in a hurry to sweep away my brokenness because I know it is there He meets me.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:17 

 

 


Hope for the filthy rags

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Even at my very best, I have nothing to offer but filthy rags.

But I have the Hope that will not disappoint!

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ. 
We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 
 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5: 1-5


forgiveness. resentment. excuses. obedience

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 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice.  And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
Ephesians 4:31-32

Why is it so hard to forgive others?

But I’m in the right, I didn’t do anything against him . . .

She owes me the apology. I’m not the one who started this . . .

Can you believe how they treated me?  I deserve better than this. . .

I find myself struggling with forgiving those who hurt me – be it intentional or unintentional.

And when that happens, it’s like a pot sitting on the front burner of the stove.  The heat builds up and whatever is in that pot begins to boil, bubbles over, and spews out.  My being upset, angry at someone does that same thing.  It builds into resentment.  A resentment that tastes bitter to my heart.

Hurt.  It’s hard to forgive when you’ve been deeply hurt, especially when it’s someone close to you.  And when we’ve been deeply hurt, resentment sets in. There’s that gnawing desire to have them pay for it somehow.  Because . . .

They had it coming.
They shot their mouths off one too many times,
or they broke my heart,
or they didn’t return my calls.
They yelled at me first, and stormed off in a huff.
They turned against me, rejected me. 

Resentment.  Holding that grudge can feel like a sense of power, a sense of strength.

That surge of adrenaline when we’re self-righteously looking down at someone else’s sin, the false power of the unforgiving lording it over the unforgiven.

My mind tells me if I forgive them, ‘they’re just going to hurt me again.  Some how, some way.
So I hold on tight to resentment. I carry that grudge.  Afterall it’s their behavior, their actions, their attitude, their words.

Excuses.  A plea offered up for a fault.  Do I ask God to do just that for me?  Do I ask God to excuse my wrongdoings?  Do I ask Him to just accept my excuses?  Or do I ask for forgiveness?

Forgiveness says, “Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.” – C.S. Lewis

So, when the hurt comes {and it will} . . .

I will look up at the Cross. Forgiving grace and mercy looks down at me with His shed blood. And I think of the words and actions that have hurt me, the BIG and the small.

I have choices to make.
Do I stuff the feelings down deep inside my heart, carrying them around only to let them fester resentment?
Do I take it out on others around me?
Do I wear a grudge, like it’s a piece of my clothing?
Do I shut down emotionally?
Do I . . .?

~ OR ~

Do I follow in obedience . . . and forgive?

Do I make every effort to kill that bitter taste of resentment in my heart? – Not excuse, but forgive.

Forgiveness – I lay down my right to be right.

Forgiveness – I look at the other person through the lens of grace.

Forgiveness – I lay down the olive branch and forgive {even if it’s just between God and me} instead of becoming the victim of my hurt.

Forgiveness – I don’t keep an account. I don’t keep score.

God is the Final Judge, not me.


come as you are

As this new song by David Crowder reminds me  . . .  my hands are dirty.  I am not fit to sit at the Table.

Yet, He calls me and you to His Table.  It doesn’t matter how broken we are, or how far and how long we have wandered from Him, or how much hurt and shame we carry around.  It does not matter – our Abba Father calls us to come as we are.  He invites us to sit at His Table.

Come as you are.  Sit at His table and lay down your burdens, your broken heart, your shame, your wanderings, all your hurts that you’ve papered over through the years.  He will wash you clean and He will heal all the hurts.

 Come As You Are ~ by David Crowder
from Neon Steeple

Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken-hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Fall in his arms
Come as you are
There’s joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Come as you are

 


not disqualified

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I look at the face staring back at me from the mirror . . . thinking “Who do you think you’re fooling?  You’re so disqualified.  What in the world do you have to offer?  You are broken . . . of absolutely no use.”  It’s those lies speaking into my heart.

His Word tells me my brokenness placed in God’s hands doesn’t disqualify me.  He redeems me from that mess of broken pieces all over life.  My brokenness actually qualifies me for His use.

God used two broken stone tablets to cause the Israelites to repent of their disobedience.

God used broken earthen vessels (pitchers that covered torches) to give the impression of an enormous army accompanying Gideon and to cause his enemies to pull back in dread.

God used a broken heart to return King David to Himself.

God used a broken roof to provide access for a cripple to be lowered by four faithful friends into the healing presence of Jesus.

God used broken loaves to feed five thousand and then some.

God used broken fishing nets to challenge the disciples to depend on Him rather on their own efforts for their needs.

God used a broken flask of nard to express the love that flows out of a relationship with Him.

God used a broken ship to steer Paul to the island of Malta to reveal the gospel to the natives there.

God used a broken body, pierced for our sins, to provide salvation for all mankind.

from M. R. DeHaan, Broken Things:  Why We Suffer


forgiveness . . .

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Forgive – so that today’s hurts don’t become tomorrow’s roots of bitterness.


but you don’t know my story . . .

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The old hymn sings . . . “Grace, grace, God’s grace; grace that is greater than all my sin.”

The preacher says . . . “When you’re forgiven by Christ, you are forgiven – fully, freely, finally, and forever.”

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift.
Ephesians 2:8

But the past, the old flesh in me says, “But you don’t know my story… you don’t know my secret.”

Guilt.  Guilt, those lies the Deceiver craftily spreads throughout my mind and into my heart, he whispers in my ear.

Truth.  Christ knows my story.  Yes, every little detail – even the parts that I don’t want known.  He knows the secrets I hide in the dark places.  He knows because He created me.  He knows because He designed me and He knows every bent of my very being.

On the Cross, He knowingly took my sins – those known and those secret – and He made my sins no match for His Grace.  And the Cross shows how deep my sin goes, how impossible my circumstance is apart from His sacrifice for me.  The shame, the pain, the ridicule, the disrespect, the hurt He endured . . . the very things my own sins have caused myself and others. His Grace took what I so deserve.

There is nothing on my own, absolutely nothing, I can do to save myself, to earn God’s approval, to get myself out of any pit of destruction – known or secret – I’ve chosen to put myself in.  N.O.T.H.I.N.G.
Nothing but accept His gift of Grace and Mercy!

His Grace far outstrips anything I’ve done.  

He knows my story, secrets and all . . . and He forgives me.

I am Forgiven.  Fully.  Freely.  Finally.  Forever.


do ~ love ~ walk

micah 6-8.001

Another day begins . . .

Does your day start off with the “short-list” and “long-list” of things to do?  Typically mine does!

Yet, how simple is it what God requires of us each day?

Three things . . . easy to understand.  But so often we make the daily living extremely difficult for ourselves by willfully forgetting a step or even thinking one or all of these actions don’t necessarily apply to a particular aspect or circumstance in our life.  Either way, we’re not walking in obedience or righteousness.  

Three simple verbs.

  • Do justly.  In every thing we do – every action, every decision we are to act honorably, morally upright, and fair.
  • Love mercy. Embrace and shower compassion, kindness, and forgiveness on everyone, even those who have hurt us.  Remember, usually mercy is undeserved.
  • Walk humbly. Lifting up Him whom has shown me mercy. Walking with Him, without pride and arrogance because without Him, I am nothing but emptiness and brokenness.  It’s not what I bring to HIM, it is how I interact with HIM.  

My daily “to do” list – is to be the Walk we share.  Not just on Sunday mornings, or in those dark times of pain and hurt.  Or when I “need” something.  Instead, every day He desires these close and intimate times with me ~ listening and talking and praying.

  Three things to do each and every day 

DO justly
LOVE mercy
WALK humbly

. . . and at the end of your day, no matter what your “short-list” or your “long-list” had on it, HIS list become the longings of your heart.


not an orphan anymore

Big Top at OBT

Big Top at OBT

[Click to hear “Orphan” – Ronnie Freeman Band]

You think so much of me
You take delight in me
You paid the price for me
Then you adopted me

I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours
I stand before you now adored, I’m yours
Your cross has set me free
New life belongs to me
I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours

You took my guilt and shame
Gave me a brand new name
You call me your beloved
I call you Abba Father.

I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours
I stand before you now adored, I’m yours
Your cross has set me free
New life belongs to me
I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours


Now I feast at the table of the King

And His love is the banner over me
His Love the banner over me!

I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours
I lost the fight, but won the war, I’m yours.
Your cross has set me free
Victory has set me free


I’m not an orphan anymore,

I’m Yours.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The first time I heard Ronnie Freeman and his band play this song, we were sitting in a big tent, “The Big Top” at Outback Texas during a time called “Abiding, Gratitude, Sharing.”   It was an absolutely beautiful November weekend just outside Brenham, Texas.  Ministering to, praying for couples ~husbands and wives, parents and teens ~  as each began peeling back the layers, earnestly spending time restoring, building, strengthening their relationships with one another, experiencing the Glory of their Abba Father.  Then hearing this song . . . the words so simply stated. . .  tears began streaming down my cheeks.

Let’s go back to the beginning.  Being blessed to be born into a loving, Christian family who lived out Christ daily, I knew I was loved not just by my earthly daddy, but most importantly by my Father.  As a young girl I began my personal heart and life journey of grace, mercy, forgiveness, perseverance, patience, and courage with my Abba Father.  

Most times, the journey was easy, especially in those early years living at home.  Once out on my own, the journey began to take some difficult paths that I wasn’t familiar with.  I’d find myself diverted off His path, I’d come back, only later to walk a little bit off the path again. These side-trips were never of huge proportion.  Oh,but looking back each one deprived me of precious time, of precious Joy, of untold blessings.  As difficult, and as dark as some of those times would prove to be over the years – even a season of feeling totally abandoned here on earth –  I know .  .  . I know I was never abandoned by my Abba Father.

Those paths were of my own choosing, no doubt.

So what was it that made those tears stream down my face?  A multitude of things.

Gratitude.  Gratitude for having had the foundation of my life in Him laid down at such an early age. That even in my disobedience, He continued to pursue me, calling me back.  Gratitude for as broken as my life had been, it was no longer that way because of His Grace and His Mercy. 

Brokenness and Forgiveness.  I am finally able to begin to truly and honestly lay aside those things which have caused hurt and pain.  I am able to begin to forgive.  Most of all – forgive myself.  I know in Him there is no condemnation. 

A sense of sadness. Sadness because I was reminded of how I had spent so much time sitting underneath His table, eating just the crumbs that happen to fall, when I could have been enjoying His Feast.  Sadness for the fellowship, the close communion I had allowed myself to miss over the years. Sadness also because the words of the song reminded me of my Prodigal and how his choices are depriving him of the close relationship with the one he would call Abba Father as he would pray.

Peace. Peace because the victory is His.

Joy.  Joy because He gives me Hope.  Joy because I’m not an orphan anymore. I am His.


forgiveness {laying down my right to be right}

CS Lewis_forgiveness.001

  Forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.  Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.
Colossians 3: 13-14

But I’m in the right .  . .

He owes me the apology.  I didn’t start this . . .

She had it coming.  It’ll be a long time before I speak to her again . . .

Sound familiar?

 

When I read the following from a piece by Joe Dallas the other day, the comments started the replay button in my head.

When I’m at my most childish, I mentally line up the people who’ve hurt me, order them to face the wall, then fire off a few rounds. They had it coming. They shot their mouths off one too many times, or they broke my heart, or they didn’t return my calls. Whatever – their sins vary, from the kindergarten teacher who kept me after school to the close friend who betrayed me and never apologized. Sentencing them feels powerful; executing them feels omnipotent.

No wonder so many of us have such a hard time forgiving! Grudges endow us with a false sense of strength. We feel a surge of adrenaline when we’re self-righteously looking down at someone else’s sin, the false power of the Unforgiving lording it over the Unforgiven. But it’s crippling as well. It exempts us from God’s forgiveness, since Jesus made it clear our Heavenly Father withholds grace from those who withhold it from others, and it keeps us forever feeling like victims when we remember the wrongs others have done us, then mentally exact our revenge.

I think C.S. Lewis had it right.  Forgiveness sounds like a really good thing, the right thing to do – until I’m the one who has to do the forgiving. And then it can be a difficult thing to do, especially when the source is someone who close – at home, in the family, at church, at work.

And then I look up at the Cross. Forgiving Grace and Mercy looks down at me with His shed blood.  And I think of the words and actions that have hurt me, the BIG and the small.

I have choices to make.  Do I stuff the feelings down deep inside my heart, carrying them around only to let them fester?  Do I take it out on others around me?  Do I shut down emotionally?  Do I . . .?

~ OR ~

Do I follow in obedience . . . and forgive?

Forgiveness  – I lay down my right to be right.

Forgiveness  – I look at the other person through the lens of grace.

ForgivenessI lay down the olive branch and forgive {even if it’s just between God and me} instead of becoming the victim of my hurt.

Forgiveness –  I don’t keep an account.  I don’t keep score.  God is the Final Judge, not me.


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