Sunday, August 14, 2011

Freedom in Forgiveness

I have covered a lot of different topics in my blog.  Society, paths, bad days, father’s love, becoming a child,   quiet moments, changing ourselves first, cracks, how we treat enemies, and the list goes on.  As I read through my postings there was one thing that I have yet to discuss and I felt God saying it was time to.  We are people that God created with emotions and feelings.  Sometimes those feelings are feelings of joy and hope, love and peace, excitement and anticipation.  Other times they are feelings of despair and grief, sadness and hopelessness, anger and bitterness.  I have been told that I am a very passionate person.  When I love someone I love with a sincere passion, one that runs deep.  When I hurt it fills my entire body with such deep passion and sadness.  I care deeply, love richly, and grieve severely.  There have been times in my life that having such passion has been a beautiful thing yet there has been other times that I almost feel it was a curse.  I have been hurt in unspeakable ways, into the very core of my being, where every fiber of in me is crying and trying to find a way to get back up.  A word someone said, a look received in passing, an act that took place, words left unsaid.  Yes I have been wronged in my life or at least I thought I was.  When I was younger I was told that I should just forgive.   Are you SERIOUS?  You have NO clue what this person has done to me.  The hurt and pain they caused.  Or maybe this person told me they were sorry and truly did not mean to cause me pain.  I would accept and yet inside of me still hold it against them.  Oh I could act the part really well.  Whenever I saw that person I was very friendly and kind only to later think to myself how they hurt me.  I have had lots of hurts in my life just as many of you have.  We all can go to a moment in time right now that was so painful for us that it can still bring us to tears when we think about it.  Yes pain is very real.  Friendships die because of it, love ends, divisions are made.  I know you hurt, I know you have pain from an individual but I’m going to ask you a question… what are you doing about that pain? 

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. “  ~ Colossians 3:12-14

The scripture tells us to forgive but did you notice that it didn’t say to forgive only if they ask for it?  Sometimes we just might have to forgive someone that didn’t ask for it.  It was only then that I was able to understand what it meant to truly forgive, to have a peace inside me from forgiving.  That unconditional love we are supposed to have applies here too my friends.  How can we be clothed in love if we hold some resentment toward another person?  How can you be kind and gentle while still holding on to bitterness?  How can you show Christ if you can’t be Christ to that person that needs forgiveness?
My challenge for you this week . . . is there someone you need to forgive deep down?  Maybe they have asked for it and you didn’t truly give it.  Maybe this person didn’t ask yet you need to be free of it.  I am here to tell you that if you do not make it right, it will just grow inside you and cause more bitterness, division, and pain.  Lighten your load and let go!  God forgave, we are no better than Him.  Forgiveness is the beginning of hope and life.  Allow God to show you and allow yourself to listen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Starting with ME!

I love to listen to music.  I love a lot of different styles of music.  I feel that sometimes a song can reach into our inner being and awaken something.  There have been many different songs throughout my life that has portrayed my experiences and said how I was feeling.  Many times a song has shown me something in myself that I needed to pay attention to and maybe work on.   One of my favorite times to listen to music is in the car when I’m by myself on a long drive.  I have it loud and you will find me singing with the windows down and my hair flying in the wind.  Such a freeing feeling for me!  I have a play list that has a lot of those songs in it.  So you can just imagine what I might look like in that car all by myself with my favorite life moment songs playing!  Keep in mind some of those songs are make you dance in your seat type songs. . .  Yep that would be me bopping around in the car!  However some of those songs are quietly reflect songs!  When you are alone in the car for almost 2 hours you have lots of time to reflect.  There is a song that plays if I make it to the bottom part of my list; my play list has almost 50 songs on it so a 2 hour trip doesn’t play them all.  Every time I hear this song it makes me really stop and look at my life.  On my trip the other day I was able to hear this song.  I heard a voice inside me say, “If this song makes you think so hard about who you are then don’t you think that it might be time to make others think too?”  So are you wondering what song it is yet?  “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson.  I really liked the song when it came out in 1988 but not until the last few years has it really touched me in this way.  I think being a little older, married, being a mom, and just living life has played a part in that.  I have more of a history to my life now than I did then.  That was a year and a half before my wedding.  So my life hadn’t really begun yet.  There were so many things to learn and do yet. 

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways 
And no message could have been any clearer 
If you wanna make the world a better place 
Take a look at yourself and then make that change
You gotta get it right, while you got the time
'Cause when you close your heart
Then you close your mind

Now that I have lived more of life this song reaches deeper.  It really makes a great point. 

I think we as humans look around and see things in other people that they “need” to change and be a better person.  We say things like “Can you believe what so and so did?”, “How could they say such things?”, “Don’t they know better?”  The list goes on.  You know what you have said before.  Are we so sure about ourselves to think we are perfect and we don’t need a little tweaking ourselves?  Guess what… WE ARE NOT PERFECT!!!!  I KNOW shock, I’m sorry! 

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” ~ Matthew 7:1-5

If we really want to make the world a better place we really better start looking at ourselves first.  How can you expect to go out and change the world when you have things going on that someone would look at and say “I’m not listening to that person, they don’t practice what they say!” 

My challenge this week . . .  look at your life.  Do you look at others and find the things in their life that they need to change and maybe even help point them out to them?  Are you so busy paying attention to them that you don’t see what you need to improve in your own life?  “If you wanna make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make that change.”