Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

Quote of the Day

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. –Lewis B. Smedes

Forgive2

Love Tip

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

LT2

Forgiven to Forgive

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

It’s easy to get caught up in the commercial side of holidays like Easter. Easter egg hunts, Easter bunny, candy, baskets, and egg coloring contests.  All of these things are fun, but they are taking over what Easter is really all about … an incredible story of salvation.

Easter is one of my favorite holidays because it is the most important day in my life as a Christian. It is the day that marks the moment the world was freely given a Savior. God had sent His only Son to us to die an excruciating and humiliating death just to give each of us the opportunity to be forgiven of our sins, enter into communion with God Himself, and be offered the gift of eternal life. The best part is that while Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross as the perfect offering for the world’s sins, that’s not where the story ends.

Three days later, after being sealed in a tomb, Jesus defeated even death by rising from the dead. That’s right, He conquered even death. Easter is a joyous celebration because it is a time to remember that we have a God that loves us so much, sacrificed everything when we were completely undeserving, and is victorious over all things. Now if that isn’t a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

As I reflect on the life of Jesus Christ and the freely given grace and forgiveness, I am reminded that it didn’t come without a cost. Christ forgave us so that we could forgive. We are to follow His example of love, grace, and forgiveness even when people don’t always deserve it. That’s what grace is all about – extending forgiveness and mercy without contingencies, expectations, or even apologies. Christ died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8).

Recently I watched the movie, The Grace Card­, and it was such a wonderful reminder of the power of grace. One of the characters in the movie says, “It’s easy to receive grace, but it’s hard to give it away.” It’s so true; we want others to extend grace to us, but then we get so tight-fisted when it comes to offering it to others. We give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, but then we assume the worst about those around us.

The Grace Card goes on to convey how relationships and lives are nearly destroyed because of unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, and the unwillingness to extend grace to others. In the end though, it demonstrates how powerful it is to offer grace to someone, and how it is never too late to restore relationships hurt by the lack thereof. Grace is an essential ingredient to everyday life.

Luke 6:37 tells us that we will be forgiven as long as we forgive. How can we expect our gracious Savior to offer us forgiveness freely when we refuse to forgive others? Earlier in Matthew 18:21 – 22, one of Jesus’ disciples, Peter, approached Jesus asking, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus’ reply was, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times!” Can you imagine? This message says to me that forgiveness is frequent, necessary, and central to being a Christian.

Trust me when I tell you that forgiveness is not something I always find easy to offer to my offenders. Justice is my immediate response, but I have come to realize that justice doesn’t satiate or satisfy the soul. The quest for justice, holding on to a grudge, seeking revenge only cripples me, not my offender. I allow myself to get injured and hurt over and over again as I dwell on the offense. The person who hurt me isn’t being punished; I am. My job is not to seek out justice here on earth for every wrong committed against me. What is required of me is forgiveness, and the rest is in God’s hands. Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

Forgiveness is a gift we extend to others, and it is a gift we extend to ourselves. There is so much freedom in grace that it is incredibly powerful. Of course, that doesn’t mean you allow yourself to become a human punching bag; you need to use discernment and wisdom within your relationships, but justice and avengement are not a responsibility you need to burden yourself with.

If you are in a marriage, you have come to discover the importance of grace and forgiveness. They are absolute central ingredients to a successful, thriving, and fulfilling marriage. You quickly realize that marriage is plagued with constant offenses, large and small, against one another. Most of the time they are accidental, but sometimes they are not. Regardless, marriage is one of the most important relationships to consistently and constantly offer up grace and forgiveness.

Some of you might already be formulating your argument against your spouse. You have all of his or hers offenses lined up and ready to spew off. What then? Well, in most cases I would say, “Throw out your list.” Let it go. Stop tallying and wearing yourself out trying to keep track of the score between who has hurt who the most and/or the worst. I really believe that there is no marriage, or life for that matter, that cannot be completely revolutionized and reconciled through grace and forgiveness. That doesn’t mean the path to healing will be easy or that all of the scars and wounds will disappear immediately. However, it does open the door for reconciliation to occur.

Depending on the depth of the offense and the length of estrangement between a couple that reconciliation process can take awhile and be grueling. My encouragement to you would be to hold on! Keep fighting for your marriage, praying, forgiving, and working hard at moving forward. I have seen amazing things happen when grace and forgiveness enter a marriage and a couple gets serious about moving forward with their relationship.

What happens when the other person doesn’t want to reconcile? Well, you are responsible for you. I would encourage you to seek out professional help, pray often, and continue to extend grace and forgiveness regardless of their position, attitude, or efforts. Grace and forgiveness is as much for you as it is them, so it shouldn’t be contingent on whether the other person accepts it or not. Often when someone sees that you are offering unconditional love and grace toward them, it breaks down their barriers. It can force them to change and grow regardless of their initial attitude or feelings. Any time we change, we change everything around us. It’s a domino effect.

This Easter season, as you reflect on a Savior that loved you so much He was willing to sacrifice His very life for you, begin to think about the relationships around you. Who do you need to extend grace and forgiveness too? Is there something that was done to you that has held you in bondage? Just like Jesus conquered and was victorious, we have that same power and opportunity for victory through Him. With His help, hand over the unforgiveness and pain you are harboring. Extend grace to those you have been withholding it from. Forgive because you have been forgiven, and see how your life is revolutionized.

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Talking Tuesday

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Share your thoughts, feelings, and stories as well as respond to others regarding this question: 

Easter is this Sunday, and it always reminds me of the grace and forgiveness I undeservedly receive every day from Jesus Christ. He was willing to die for me; that’s some serious love! That made me want to hear your answers to this question …

What is forgiveness? What is grace? Where have you either received or demonstrated this in your marriage (or any relationship)?

*To comment on this entry, simply click on the “no comment” link in blue just below the post (if someone has already commented, you will see a number instead of “no” in front of “comment”). Fill out the form that pops up. Your name & email are not required. Once you have entered your comment, click on the “Submit a Comment,” and it will appear once it is approved for posting.

Taking Out the Trash: Extend

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Often times we get caught up in what our spouse does wrong. We play the blame game and point our finger without every really examining ourselves with such scrutiny. Taking out the trash requires the ability to look at what you are bringing into the marriage that might not belong. It’s trying to identify, confess, and workout the baggage or problematic patterns that need to change for the betterment of your marriage. As a result, we need grace from our spouse, and we need to remember to also extend grace to our spouse.

Just like us, our spouse brings baggage into the marriage. Sometimes they can see it and sometimes not. Sometimes they are willing to hear you out on it, and sometimes they aren’t. Ideally it should be a reciprocating thing where both people can acknowledge their brokenness, identify the problematic areas, confess those problematic areas to each other and to God, and then work through it all together. We need grace and need to extend grace. Sometimes things don’t work out super balanced like that though. In those times we still need to display grace, love, and forgiveness to our spouse out of recognition that we too are broken. When you realize that you aren’t perfect, it helps you to forgive your spouse’s imperfections.

Extending grace, love, and forgiveness despite the brokenness of our spouse is our way of showing our commitment to them. It shows our understanding of our own shortcomings and brokenness, and it leaves room for both people to work through it all. So the final step in this process is to extend grace to our spouse amidst their humanity.

*To comment on this entry, simply click on the “no comment” link in blue just below the post (if someone has already commented, you will see a number instead of “no” in front of “comment”). Fill out the form that pops up. Your name & email are not required. Once you have entered your comment, click on the “Submit a Comment,” and it will appear once it is approved for posting.

The Cross: Love Tip

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Easter is a wonderful time of year to reflect on the blessings in our life. It’s a wonderful time to think about the message of Easter, which is one of love, sacrifice, grace, forgiveness, hope, and life. Amidst this weekend, I hope you can ponder upon this week’s series, the true meaning of Easter through Jesus Christ, and how you can apply these things to your life. Here is some food for thought:

  • Love & Sacrifice – When was the last time you showed love to your spouse when he/she didn’t deserve it? When did your spouse last show you love when you least deserved it? How did that feel? Is there something you could do today to show your spouse how much you love him or her? Perhaps a little personal sacrifice for their sake? Men, maybe you turn off the TV for the night to just talk with your wife. Women, maybe you just allow your husband to just veg out and relax without getting upset with him.
  • Grace & Forgiveness – Is there something that you are holding on to in your marriage that you need to forgive your spouse for & extend grace? Is there something perhaps you need to ask your spouse to forgive you for? Where can you extend more grace and forgiveness in your marriage? If something comes to mind, plan a little evening where you do an act of service for your spouse (a massage, cook a meal, run a hot bubble bath, etc.), and then earnestly and sincerely ask for forgiveness, offer forgiveness, and tell your spouse just how much you love and appreciate him/her.
  • Hope & Life – When was the last time you prayed for your marriage, for your spouse, for yourself as a wife/husband? When was the last time you prayed together with your spouse for these things? Have you ever invited God into your marriage? Consider joining a small group at your church to invite Christ into your marriage and make new friends that can help encourage your along the way. Too bold for you? Why not just try to go to church together this Easter Sunday? It can’t hurt!

Happy Easter everyone! I pray that this Easter is filled with joy, blessings, and abundance in your life!

*To comment on this entry, simply click on the “no comment” link in blue just below the post (if someone has already commented, you will see a number instead of “no” in front of “comment”). Fill out the form that pops up. Your name & email are not required. Once you have entered your comment, click on the “Submit a Comment,” and it will appear once it is approved for posting.

The Cross: Grace & Forgiveness

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Jesus died on the cross to act as the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins that we might have eternal life. Because of His death and resurrection, we are offered grace and forgiveness for all our sins. We are called to extend that grace and forgiveness to others.

One of the common things that occurs in marriages and relationships is this back-logged resentment. An issue comes up and suddenly a string of previous hurts, pains, and issues are brought up as well. Next thing you know, both people are sitting there bringing up everything in the past and going nowhere fast. This is why it’s so important to have a goal of resolve rather than winning. Winning means someone else is losing and usually your marriage loses too. Resolving entails listening to one another and trying to come up with a solution or at least an understanding. Beyond resolve, there needs to be an attitude of grace and forgiveness.

Many times in arguments, we tend to forget that our spouse loves us and isn’t intentionally hurting us. Both people love and care about one another, but there is something getting lost in translation. Relationships, especially marriages, need a good dose of grace and forgiveness. Grace means freely giving the other person the benefit of the doubt and choosing to show mercy and favor on them. Forgiveness is extending grace to someone and letting go of their wrongs. Forgiveness is a gift that we give ourselves as much as we give the other person because it offers us freedom from dwelling on and reliving the pain of a hurt. Marriages need grace and forgiveness. It’s not about winning, retaliation, getting even, or making sure the other person knows how it feels. It’s about healing our marriage and freely offering up grace and forgiveness to them. Just think about how much you need grace and forgiveness at times and realize that your spouse needs that as well. If we don’t extend it, then how can we expect to receive it? We all need grace & forgiveness from God, from our spouse, from ourselves, and for our family & friends, which is why we must learn to extend it to those same people. Grace and forgiveness in a marriage are the medicine and bandages that provide miraculous healing.

The Bible gives us many examples of grace, and I thought I would close with a few glimpses at those:

  • “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ~2 Corinthians 12:9
  • “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” ~John 1: 17
  • “For it is by grace that you are saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” ~Ephesians 2:8
  • “Let your conversation be always full of grace…” ~Colossians 4:6
  • “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” ~Hebrews 4:16

*To comment on this entry, simply click on the “no comment” link in blue just below the post (if someone has already commented, you will see a number instead of “no” in front of “comment”). Fill out the form that pops up. Your name & email are not required. Once you have entered your comment, click on the “Submit a Comment,” and it will appear once it is approved for posting.

The Cross: Introduction

Monday, March 29th, 2010

With Easter being this weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at what Easter is about and see how we can apply that to our marriage. Sometimes we forget what Easter is really about because of all the buzz around the Easter bunny, baskets, spring, coloring eggs, and all that stuff. The true message of Easter though is a powerful one that demonstrates an unconditional and ultimate love that is beyond compare.

I know not all of my readers are Christians, but I still think these principles are ones that anyone, anywhere can apply to their own life. The message of Easter is one of hope, love, sacrifice, forgiveness, grace, and life. Easter recounts the ultimate sacrifice by God of His only son Jesus Christ for each of us. Jesus suffered a painful, humiliating, and unjust death on a cross just because he loved each and every one of us so much and wanted to offer us forgiveness, access to all that God is, and eternal life. The best part though is that he overcame even death and rose again on the third day leaving us with forgiveness for our sins, the gift of eternal life, and hope for a better life.

The story of Jesus and the cross is one that leaves us in disbelief that anyone would love us that much. Whether you believe in Jesus, believe in the story of Easter, or not, there is still this wonderful picture of unconditional love & sacrifice, grace & forgiveness, and hope & an abundant life. This week, I want to look at those things, how we can learn from them, and how we can apply them to our marriage and relationships. Join me this week for an encouraging and uplifting series “The Cross!”

Blank Page: The Opposite Life

Friday, January 8th, 2010

One of my favorite parts of this whole series is the premise that we choose the life we want to live. So many times I hear people talk about how they are the victim, poor them, and there is nothing they can do about their situation. While it’s not that I don’t empathize (I do), it’s that the power of choice is completely neglected and ignored. We choose each and every day the quality of life we are going to have. We have a choice. We choose to either: wallow, resent, and be miserable with our lives; or take the hand we are dealt and make the most of it.

The pastor that presented the “Blank Page” series at our church, Kyle Zimmerman, put it so well:

“We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose our response to those circumstances.” 

This coincides so perfectly with one of my core beliefs as a Marriage & Family Therapist and person – we choose each and every day what our life is like. I know all too well about tough situations, deep hurts, trauma, drama, and disappointments. What are you going to do with that? As my mom always said, “become bitter or better.”

As I started out with at the beginning of the week, God is writing a great story in the good and the bad of our life. Either we choose to belief that and have faith in the bad times and choose to live responsibly, honestly, and with forgiveness or we choose the opposite. The opposite life is one where we are stuck comparing ourselves with others feeling that the great story God is writing is in someone else’s life. It’s one where we constantly blame those around us and God for the “crappy” times. And it’s one where we try to take control. We think it’s our responsibility to try and write a great story because we don’t trust God. That opposite life of comparing, blaming, and controlling leads to a life of fear, guilt, and insecurity.

It all comes down to a choice…the choice to have faith & trust that God is writing a great story known as your life in the good and the bad times. Just like Joseph who went through some of the toughest things I have ever heard someone go through – family betrayal, slavery, falsely accused of rape, imprisoned despite innocence – he chose to make the best of each and every situation he was in. He knew there was a reason for it all and couldn’t be bogged down by the life of comparison, blame, and control. Instead he chose responsibility, honesty, forgiveness, and faith. We all have a choice to make each and every day – what kind of life are you going to live?

*Just in case you missed it  – the sermon that I based my series off of this week can be found at the following link:

http://www.marinerschurch.org/video/weekend/20100103-service.html

Blank Page: Live with Forgiveness

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

One of the things I find to be very challenging in life is to forgive. Actually I would say forgiving and forgetting is the challenge for me. It’s so difficult to try and find the balance between seeking vengeance and being a doormat. Often times I want to see that justice for when I am wronged, but then I know that there is no justice I can seek that will really ease the pain of that wrong doing on my life. At the same time, I don’t want to lie down and be someone’s doormat. That balance can be so challenging, and yet I usually find the greatest peace when I choose to truly forgive someone and ask God for His help in doing so.

Joseph was an incredible example of forgiveness and that balance between justice and being a doormat. After his brothers hated him, stripped him of his special coat, threw him in that pit, and sold him into slavery where he set out on a whole other journey of ups and downs, he chose not to seek justice against them. What?! I don’t know about you, but I would want some serious justice. But no, Joseph shows us a different way. When he met with his brothers who were coming to Egypt in search of food during the 7 year famine, Joseph simply stated what they did and then provided for them. He just dropped it. He told them he was not God who is the one that manages justice. He did state the wrongdoings by them against him, but then he chose to forgive them freely. Wow.

What I love about this story and example is that is shows us the freedom in forgiveness. We think that justice will heal our wounds, but it doesn’t. Our drive for justice is insatiable and can lead to a whole lifetime of pain from holding on to the things done to us. Joseph shows us that we can embrace and acknowledge the wrongs against us, but then moving on will provide us the real comfort and ability to live our lives fully. Forgiveness is more a gift for ourselves than for others really because it allows us to stop being re-injured over and over again by something. When we choose forgiveness, that injustice loses its grip on our lives.

While it’s easier said than done (I know that all too well) it’s something I want to constantly strive to do. I want to acknowledge the wrongs against me, but then offer forgiveness freely so that I am free from that pain and the burden of seeking justice that will never really provide the relief I am seeking. Plus, forgiveness shows an example of the grace and perfect sacrifice that Jesus Christ so freely offered us. We were so undeserving and yet Jesus went to the cross to save us from our sins and bondage of this world. Wow – that is the ultimate love! Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and those who wrong us. Maybe a dose of forgiveness is exactly what your marriage or relationship needs to breathe new life into it and release you both from the bondage of seeking insatiable justice – a gift of unconditional, undeserving love.