October Theme: Can You Rush Forgiveness?

October Theme: Can You Rush Forgiveness?

Hey Friends,

Short answer. Hell no! Many of us would like to think that when we say sorry to someone we’ve hurt, that they should automatically forgive us. And not only automatically forgive, but forget it as well. Then, everything will magically go back to normal. I’m here to tell you, friends, that is not how it works.

I’ve known (let’s call her Jane) since I was a small child. Jane and I have known each other for a very, very long time. She is what I would call eclectic. She has her own way of thinking. She is very outspoken about how she feels with little to no regard on how it may make the other person feel. Most of the time it comes from a place of love, and other times I question if she finds joy in hurting people with her words. For the past couple of years, Jane and I haven’t been as close because I believe that she is suffering from a mental illness that causes her extreme outburst and delusions. And when I brought it to her attention, let’s just say she wasn’t happy about it.

So, I’ve been slowly detaching myself from Jane mainly because I’m unable to handle her “outburst” and I don’t think I’m the only one. I am noticing there are a few people in Janes life that feel the same way. Some people are doing what I am doing and slowly detaching themselves; only communicating with her every once in a while. Other people have abandoned her altogether. And sadly, other people only come around her when they need a favor or if she can provide a service to them.

One thing about Jane is that she expects people to forgive her right away after one of her outburst. Her outburst is what many would call indiscriminate expression. Indiscriminate Expression is when someone tells anybody and everybody exactly how they are feeling. It may feel good to Jane when she is verbally “letting off steam”, but this form of expression has the potential to destroy relationships; family, friends, and work.

I for one have been on the tail end of Janes indiscriminate expression and it has broken my heart so many times. I find myself reluctantly forgiving her because I know that she will do it again. But God says that we must forgive because “He [God] has forgiven us” (Matthew 6:14). Also, one thing I must remember is that God loves her just as much as He loves me and if you know God that way that I do, He is really big on loving one another (John 15:12).

Sometimes we don’t like to forgive because we feel like we are letting that person “off the hook” for the how they hurt us. But forgiving has more to do with us, than the other person. When we hold onto hate or hurt, it can rot us from the inside out. In Psalm, David explained that when he “refused to confess his sin, [his] body wasted away” (Psalm 32:3). Plus, it causes anger, frustration, and a number of other negative emotions. Then you may find yourself taking it out on other people that don’t deserve it. 

One day, I want Jane and all of the Janes of the world to know that when they hurt someone, do not put pressure on that person to forgive them right away. Just because you have moved on from it, doesn’t mean that person has. It is an unfair expectation. AND if you are a repeat offender, it may be possible that although you’ve said sorry, and that person has forgiven you, they may not want to have the same relationship with you as they did before. I love Jane and I will always love her. I have forgiven her for the hurt that she has caused me, but do I have any interest in rebuilding a relationship with her? Absolutely not!

God says that I have to forgive her, but nowhere does He say that I have to have the same relationship with her as I did before. God doesn’t want us to be doormats to other peoples abuse. Nor does He expect us to immediately forget the pain that was caused. God knows that forgiveness is a process for both parties.

So, if you have a Jane in your life, pray to God to help you forgive them so YOU can have peace of mind because malice and love for Jesus CANNOT coexist in the same heart. And if you are a Jane, pray to God to help guard your lips against any sinful words/actions and to help heal whatever is going on with you that is making you lash out.

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. -Psalm 141:3

Thank you all for reading my thoughts. Please read my related post Journey to Forgiving Yourself and Please Forgive Me. I pray you are having a wonderful start to your week. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. -1 John 1:9

September Theme: Who Are We To God? Part 2

September Theme: Who Are We To God? Part 2

Hey Friends,

When I was 12 years old, I found out that I had a family in my hometown on my dad’s side of the family. Just to briefly tell you, my dad is what you would call a rolling stone. (If you don’t know what a “rolling stone” is, please refer to The Temptations Papa Was A Rolling Stone.

I am one of the numerous children spread across the country and needless to say my father was never around. He would come to my town and visit once every couple of years. He would stay a few hours and get back on the road as a commercial truck driver. One day, my father called me and told me that his brother and his wife moved to the city I lived in and they wanted to meet me. I was so excited and nervous at the same time.

After I met them, we immediately clicked. My uncle was like the father I always wanted. He was caring, funny, easy to talk to, and only lived 30 minutes from where my mother and I lived. As the years passed, my uncle would express his distaste for how my father treated me. He promised me on numerous occasions that he would never leave me…that he would always be “my dad”. And although I had my reservations, I trusted him.

A few years had gone by and my aunt and uncle decided to get a divorce. My uncle soon after met his current wife and decided to marry her. Then, I didn’t like his new wife, not because of anything she had done, but because she became the new center of his world and I felt extremely neglected. I thought she was taking my uncle away from me and that he would do to me what my biological father had done to me. So I became bitter.

Related Post: September Theme: Who Are We To God?

One day, I decided to express my feelings to my uncle. I let him know that I felt like his new wife was becoming more important than me and my young children, and the reasons why I felt that way. Looking back, I can see how I was being a brat. How I was allowing fear of rejection bring up issues from my biological father and how they were interfering with my relationship with my uncle and his new wife.

He then told me that since I didn’t like his new wife, that I could no longer be in his life. And that he was officially disowning me. At that moment, I’ve never felt so rejected and foolish in my life. I was truly heartbroken. I felt foolish because I knew I shouldn’t have believed him when he told me he would never leave like my father did. I thought I should have trusted my instinct and never allowed him into my heart. Again, I have another “father” who didn’t want me. And for what? What was so wrong with me? What did I do so bad to be disowned by, not one, but two fathers?

After this, I said I would never trust another man ever again. And I didn’t. It’s been 13 years and I still have trust issues when it comes to men and the “promises” that they make.

I started to notice that I began to see God as another man that I couldn’t trust. The only difference is, I love God so much and I want to make sure that I do everything I can so that he doesn’t disown me, too. Every time I would mess up, I would beg God for his forgiveness. I would even mumble under my breath, “Lord please don’t abandon me. I can’t lose you, too.”

This showed that I didn’t have a clear understanding of who God is and who I am to God. Why? Because…

  1.  God never breaks a promise – God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Numbers 23:19
  2. God promises to never leave us – So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deut. 31:6
  3. He never changes his mind – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
  4. God loves us more than we could ever comprehendBut God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) Ephesians 2:4-5

Sometimes I still think about the last moment that I had with my uncle. Maybe I could I have said something different. Maybe I could have not said anything at all. I don’t know. I like to believe that everything happens for a reason and maybe one day we could speak to each other again. But until then, I am choosing to rely on the one relationship that I know will never fail, and that is with my Abba Father, my Daddy, my Yahweh, and my Jehovah.

If you have lost a bond or relationship with someone, please know that it will never happen with God. The enemy will try to trick you into believing that you have to be perfect in order for God to love you. But scripture says that God loved you before he even made the world (Ephesians 1:4).

Thank you all for reading my thoughts. I truly appreciate each and every one of you who take the time out to read my mess of a life. I love you, God loves you, and please remember to pray for one another.

“We are saved by how we believe, not by how we behave.” -Neil T. Anderson

July Monthly Theme: Emotionally Healing

July Monthly Theme: Emotionally Healing

Hey Friends,

The past few days have been filled with much needed up’s and downs. The ups are always wanted and appreciated, but down days are filled with learning and worship. Does that make sense? I know it may sound crazy, but I’ve learned to take my bad days as learning experiences from God. Like little pop quizzes from what I have learned from good days.

Instead of allowing my mind to be filled with doubt and despair, I’ve learned to rely on the strength of the Lord to get me through. It doesn’t feel like the end of the world anymore. Better yet, it feels like God is giving me more time to correct my life so I can become who he needs me to be for his glory and kingdom.

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My down days have forced me to deal with bitterness that I didn’t know I was harboring. I thought I was over it until my ex-husband decided to make a decision that would not only change the lives of our lovely children but everyone in our family. My ex-husband decided to move to another state despite how it would affect our children. Needless to say, I was angry. Mostly because I knew the pain that my children would feel since I experienced the same abandonment and rejection by my own father.

Right after the move, I concentrated on making sure my children felt loved more than ever. I initially ignored my feelings so I can concentrate on theirs. I felt as though I was over it as the days and months went by because of the feeling of “I want to rip his head off” became less and less. But then, he would say something rude or selfish and those “I hate you” feelings would come rushing back.

Unbeknownst to me, I was becoming bitter. Or maybe I was already bitter and didn’t know how fast it was growing inside of me from the moment I heard “I’m moving!” Recently, I began reading this book called Chaos Beneath The Shade: How To Uproot And Stay Free From Bitterness written by Tracey Bickle. It shined a light on how I truly felt and what I need to do to get over my feelings. I don’t want to “hate” the father of my two oldest children. I most definitely don’t want how I feel to spew out onto them. That would break my heart even more.

So, I’ve come to the realization that I need to heal from the situation. I’m not the first woman to be left to raise her children without the father and unfortunately, I won’t be the last. Plus, I have a wonderful husband who has gladly stepped in to pick up what my ex-husband has left behind. So, first I began to pray, Lord, please heal my heart. Please remove this hatred stirring inside of me. That wasn’t enough though and Tracey Bickle let me know why.

How to Begin to Heal Emotionally

  1. Pray for the person that has wronged you. At first, I didn’t like this idea, but there are a couple of reasons why praying for the person that has hurt is effective:
    • Forgiveness breaks the cycle- So my children won’t be affected
    • When you consistently pray for them, your heart will begin to heal itself
    • Jesus said so…But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! -Matthew 5:44
    • Why did Jesus say so? Because “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.” Matthew 5:46
    • “[Forgiveness] softens our heart to see the temporary nature of the conflict.” -Tracey Bickle
  2. Going through the process of forgiveness is helping you trust God and because you are being obedient, He will bless you. He will then hold the person who offended you accountable for their own actions. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” -Luke 6:37
  3. Talk it out. Seek counseling or talk to someone who you trust that would be able to help you look at the bigger picture. We need those who can see what we don’t and with compassion, tenderness, and kindness, they can help us walk through it.
  4. Let it go. It was hard for me to let go because I felt like he is “getting away with” abandoning his responsibilities, while he’s living his best life; doing as he pleases when he pleases. But I have to trust that God will hold him accountable for the real reason that he left. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” -1 Timothy 5:8

Simply put, this is not my fight, nor my worry anymore. I love my children more than anything! I will do anything for them to have great lives. And if that means letting go of the bitterness that I hold against their father, then I HAVE to do that. Plus, bitterness causes illness and I’m already sick enough, so this is my declaration that I am letting it go.

Thank you all for reading my thoughts. I pray that if you are holding onto any bitterness from someone that has hurt you, that you are able to hand it over to God so you can begin to heal. I love you all. Please remember to pray for one another.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. -Ephesians 4:32

**Pictures borrowed from google pics*

Please Forgive Me

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Forgiving those that have hurt you can be difficult, but asking for forgiveness from someone that you have hurt can be even more challenging. Growing up in a large family, we didn’t apologize to each other that much. We were taught, unconsciously, that if you have wronged someone, you would go a short amount of time without talking to that person and then out of the blue, pick up the relationship where it left off. For instance, I would hear my mom and my aunt get into big fights over the phone. They would go a short amount of time without speaking, but when they eventually did, it was as if the argument never occurred. They would continue life as normal until the next disagreement. This eventually lead to a lot of resentment within our family.

If we got into a fight with someone we couldn’t avoid, like one of our siblings, we would carry on with life like nothing happened. We never apologized, nor spoke about what made us angry. If we tried, most of the time that person would become angry and defensive. Personally, this caused me to close up completely and not share my feelings with anyone, friends or family members. It wasn’t until later in life, after a few failed friendships and intimate relationships, I learned what it means to truly apologize to someone and mean it.

Some people like to think that simply saying I’m sorry is good enough, but sometimes it is not. Sometimes, the pain is so deep and so hurtful that simply saying “I’m sorry” will not fix the damage that has been done. I would like to share with you lessons that I have learned along that way. Please feel free to comment on ways that you have learned to ask for forgiveness. Let’s get to it.

Rules to Asking for Forgiveness

 

Be Patient

When you apologize, do not expect that person to forgive you right away. It may take time for them to move on from whatever you did to hurt them. They may forgive you right away or decide to never forgive you. It’s their choice to decide how they would like to move forward. Everyone heals in their own time. You rushing them to forgive you will only make things worse.

Respect how they feel

You may not like it, but you have to respect it. If you did something hurtful and you don’t understand why they are hurt, try to have a calm conversation with that person. Try to see it from their perspective. If you are still unable to understand why they are upset, respect their feelings. Do not put them down or call them stupid. Everyone is entitled to their feelings.

Explain what you did WITHOUT excuses

This may be hard for a lot of us. When we apologize, we tend to say, “I’m sorry, but…”. When someone is hurting, the last thing they want to hear is excuses. Hearing the reason why you hurt them doesn’t really matter. We are all tempted to justify our wrongdoings, but if you apologize without excuses, that person would be more willing to forgive you. They would feel like you are taking responsibility for your actions, thus learning your lesson.

Acceptance

Accepting the consequences of your actions is hard because, in our fast-paced society, we have been programmed to want results right away; drive-thrus, text message delivery notification, internet access, etc. Plus, not that many people like to admit when they are wrong. I used to have a huge problem with it. Sorry, I digress. We are so used to having instant results, but forgiveness doesn’t work that way. If a person doesn’t forgive you right away, accept it. Move forward. If the relationship can be salvaged, try to save it with love and compassion. If it cannot, move on. Accept that what you’ve done cannot be forgiven at the moment. Do not force them. Do not try to guilt them. All that will do is push them away further.

Throw Away Expectations

Do not go into an apology expecting anything. The person that you are apologizing to may not react the way you want or they may react the total opposite. If even they have wronged you as well, do not expect an apology. Expectations will only cause more problems and possibly another incident. If you are apologizing from the heart, then it shouldn’t matter how they react. Expect little, but hope for the best.

Show that you have changed

Everyone loves to see progress. Don’t apologize for something just to go back and do it again. If you’ve hurt someone, apologize, and then hurt them again, you would be a liar. You would lose their trust. Trust is complicated because it can take seconds to lose and years to gain back. Show that person that you really are sorry by not doing whatever it is you did to hurt them in the first place.

Remember, you are not a bad person

I always say, there are two types of people; good people who do bad things and bad people who do bad things. The majority of people who make mistakes are good people who just simply made a mistake. Don’t beat yourself up because you are only human. If you hurt someone, know that you are not a bad person. You a person who just made a mistake. If the person doesn’t forgive you, that does not measure your value as a person. It just simply means that they are so hurt at the moment, they are unable to see the bigger picture.

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Forgiving and asking for forgiveness is draining for both people, but very necessary. Forgiveness has known to lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones, and strengthen the immune system. I believe that forgiveness is vital is to leading a happy, healthy life, but it is a choice. Forgiveness is a privilege, not a right. You are more likely to be forgiven if you’ve likable and understanding afterward.

Remember, you are loved. You are wonderful. You are beautifully made. I hope your day is as beautiful as you are. Stay blessed.

 

Never forget the nine most important words of any family: I love you. You are beautiful. Please forgive me. -H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Author