scripture

Finding Hope in the Midst of Real Life

I was lying in bed as another wave of anxiety washed over me. The lies were numerous and covered pretty much every area of my life. My marriage. Homeschooling. Finances. Health. You name it and it all seemed a complete mess. Where do we turn for hope, comfort, and peace when waves of life crash over us?

The dark, lonely hours when I should be sleeping seem to be the time hopelessness likes to visit. Sometimes I’m quick to take the thoughts and lies captive into the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) Other times, unfortunately, I let them linger and allow the negativity, fear, and struggles begin to overwhelm me before I finally remind myself that my hope is in God and his unfailing love.

hope real life

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. (1 Peter 1:3-4) NIV

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are born again into a living hope. Our hope is grown and strengthened as God leads us through the hardships and trials of life. (Romans 5:3-5) I know what God has delivered me from and I know He will be with me as I face the next trial in my life. We aren’t promised an easy life through salvation in Jesus, but we are promised that God will never leave us or forsake us.

What great hope! The God of all creation is with us as we face every trial and suffering in this life.

The Word of God is also an incredible source of hope for those who love the Lord. Memorizing scripture has been life changing for me.

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. Romans 15:4

what great hope

Singing praise and worship also allows space for hope to take root in my soul. I also find that reading the stories of other believers who have faced similar trials to mine gives me hope. If God can deliver someone else through similar circumstances, I know He can do the same for me.

Life may never look the way that I wanted, but I still have great hope that can only come from the Father above. Confidence that He will see me through no matter the outcome. And I know that He will do the same for you no matter what you are facing.

My prayer for you today, friend, comes from Romans 15:13:

 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When Your Hope is Weak, But God

Why do we put our hope in the Lord? I propose it has to do with two important words. The phrase ‘but God’ occurs in Scripture 41 times in the NASB. It is a power-packed  representing of a pivotal point, God’s interjecting Himself into time, though He exists outside of time. Those words are a reminder that our hope is in the One who orders and ordains not only our steps but all of creation.

hope but god

In the life of Noah, “but God”. In the life of Sarah, Abimelech, Abraham, Moses, and Joseph, “but God” made all the difference.

Judges 15.19 “But God split the hollow….”

I Samuel 23.14 “…but God did not deliver him into his hand.”

Psalm 49.15 “But God will redeem my soul….”

Psalm 73.26 “But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Acts 2.24 “But God raised Him up again….”

Romans 5.8 “But God demonstrates His own love towards us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

I Corinthians 1.27 “…but God has chosen the foolish things of this world….”

I Corinthians 7.15 “…but God has called us to peace.”

Philippians 2.27 “…but God had mercy on him…”

The power of God, His radical, personal, challenging, confronting presence in the lives of men and women, in our lives.  He is not a passive God, but an active, living God, a God who pursues us, stirs our hearts and demands our attention. What a beautiful thing it is to place our hope in the only One who comes after us as the gentle Shepherd looks for his lost lamb.

Often we forget the ‘but God’ moments in our own lives, the times when but by His own hand He sustained, provided, protected, enabled, encouraged, clarified and otherwise made our path straight. Sadly we chalk our circumstances up to ‘living right’, ‘luck’, ‘being at the right place at the right time’, or some other less worthy explanation. Let’s make sure we’re putting our hope and faith in the right place, friends.

Does your hope need a booster today? Take a moment to reflect on the times when God Himself has intervened. Interrupted. Inspired. Interjected. Pray and ask God to show you how He has guided your path, how He has made the rough places smooth, how He has made a way in the wilderness.

hope

Here is a starting point as you begin to contemplate His guiding hand:

I thought I needed

But God,

I thought I wanted

But God,

I thought it was time for

But God,

I thought I was ready for

But God,

I thought  my kids

But God,

Father,

You are holy. All Your ways are perfect: Your timing, Your will, Your plan, Your purposes. You alone sit on the throne, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” You are the Creator God, the Sovereign of the universe, He who spoke light into existence, Who placed the stars and limited the oceans. At Your word the whale lept from the sea, the eagle took flight and the lion roared.

Forgive me Lord when my hope in you is weak and I race ahead of You, when I doubt You, when I wrestle You. Forgive me Lord when I want my way more than Yours, when I don’t consider Your plan, when I leave You out. Forgive me Lord when my anger flares, when my pride blinds me and my selfishness becomes my shade. Forgive my weak hope, my unbelief, my lack of trust, my ‘little faith’ Lord!

I want to live like You’re on the throne. I want to walk in the light of Your presence. I want to trust You no matter what — no matter how dark, no matter how stormy, no matter how impossible. In all of these, You are God, The one and only true God, my God. I choose to live in submission to Your timing, Your will and Your plan. I choose to worship You when life and circumstances don’t make sense.

Father, I pray that You will glorify Yourself in my life, through me. I pray that others will see evidence of Your love in me. I pray that You will increase and I will decrease, that Your name will be high and lifted up, not because of anything I do, but because of all You do. I pray that my boasting will be in my weakness because You are my strength.

Amen

Hope: Expecting God’s Future Grace

Do your kids ever ask the same questions over and over? One day, I remember my children continually asking me if we were going to the park in the afternoon. I had already told them during breakfast that we were going. But they kept asking me.

“Are we going to the park today?”

expecting hope

We had a regular park day every Friday morning as part of our weekly routine. It wasn’t a new activity, but this day they kept asking me as if I would forget about it.

Then I realized what was going on. We had just come off of a few weeks of sickness. You know, that really ‘fun’ stomach bug that gets passed from one child to another. And, no, they don’t get it at the same time…they take turns with the throwing up and the diarrhea…just to prolong the excitement!

Well, because of that and some other things, we had missed park day for a few weeks. I realized that this was a big deal. They felt that they had to keep asking me because we had been inconsistent in our schedule.

Moms are like that. Not because we don’t plan and not because we are fickle. But our crazy life as parents sometimes causes our plans to change. That means we occasionally promise one thing and then have to do another. The promises given to our children are given by a flimsy promise giver (even if that flimsiness is unintentional).

I began to think about that, regarding hope. You see, we are all hopeful creatures and need to place our hope in something, whether it is our bank accounts, our husband, or our abilities. However, if the object of our hope is insecure or unstable, then our lives will be characterized by insecurity and instability. All of those things (yes, even your husband) are not completely sure. We are all fallen beings who struggle with sin. Thankfully, though, God is not flimsy like us. He remembers his promises to us and keeps them. And that is our comfort and hope in life.

Psalms 119:49-50 says, “Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.”

You see, we are only as secure as the object of our faith and hope. We know that God does what he says he will do. Hebrews 6:18 says, “so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” He is the ONLY person we can completely trust at his word.

And to go further, he is the one who “fills us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit [we] may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)

To be full

You see, if our hope is in God, we will be full…filled to overflowing. Some people call this a peculiar hope because it doesn’t start with us but comes from the Holy Spirit. We can’t manufacture our own hope. It is given to us. As we read through God’s word, we can actually see hope on every page. That is because it is an inherent part of God’s grace. It is the grace he promises to us for the future.

So, hope is the posture that our faith takes. It is our trust that God will do what he says he will do, both in the past and the present. He wiped away tears from long ago and will wipe away every tear in the future. Well, that changes the way we live in the present, doesn’t it? In the midst of suffering, hope won’t allow us to despair. We can lament while we are hopeful.

I don’t have to keep asking God, “Are we going where you said you would take me? Are you keeping your promises?”

As non-perfect parents in a fallen world, we can’t always keep our word to our children. And we cannot expect others to never let us down, either. The ONLY person we can completely trust at his word is the one who has filled us with joy and peace so that we can abound in hope.

Indeed, our hope is in the One who will never disappoint. It is trusting in the future grace he has for us. And that brings me comfort and joy, even when we have a household of stomach virus and a skipped park day.

Take some time today to read Hebrews 6:17-20 and be encouraged that “we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope [God’s future grace] set before us.”

Hope in God Alone

Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD. – Psalm 31:24

Where is your confidence? Where do you place your hope?

hope in God

Although I’ve been a Christian since I was seven years old, I often unconsciously placed my confidence in myself and my circumstances rather than in God. I’ve always been a capable, can-do problem solver, so when things were going well, it was easy to think it was because I had my act together. 

My self-confidence was shattered, however, when my husband of 15 years left me with four sons, ages 9, 6, 4, and 6 months. I wasn’t capable of handling this. My can-do became can’t-do. This was a problem I couldn’t solve. As a single mom, I had to rely on God in a new way and place my hope in Him alone.

The truth is that none of us can rely on ourselves; when we do, we’re only fooling ourselves.

But God’s grace is sufficient for us, for His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). I once heard a pastor say that suffering shifts our hope from something that is uncertain to something that is certain. 

The Bible describes hope in God as “an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19, NASB). People and circumstances are uncertain, yet we can safely place our confidence in God, knowing that His faithfulness is certain.

Are things going well for you? Thank God for His sovereign provision, and avoid the trap of placing your confidence in yourself. Are times hard? Are you tempted to despair? Place your hope in the wisdom and goodness of God.

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. – Psalm 42:5 

Hope in suffering

Hard times are a necessary reminder to hope in God. And if we heed that reminder, we can build the habit of hoping not in ourselves, not in other people, but in God alone—in both bad times and good.

Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You. – Psalm 33:20–22

Hope in Light of Darkness

Like a threatening rain cloud on a bright day, the darkness of life creeps in slowly. Before we know it, the sky is completely dark. Our souls seem to be smothered in darkness, grasping for hope. We fight it. Squirming and kicking like we are engulfed in a blanket that we’ve accidentally rolled up in during a nightmare. We scream out but our cry is muffled…the darkness keeps coming. We look for any evidence of this stifling suffocation to give way…and that’s when we see it.

hope

At first it might seem far away and faint, but it’s promise of warmth and understanding in the midst of our struggle helps relieve any fear that may be building in our hearts.

There you are, Lord! You see us in the midst of complete darkness. You are our light. You have not forgotten about us and you see and know our every inner and outer struggle.

Praise you for not forgetting us! Praise you for being our beacon of hope in the darkness!

Praise you for being there with outstretched arms to guide us through our struggles!

Psalm 33:17-22

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.

Where do we place our hope?

When we are covered in this darkness, we have a choice. In whom or what will we place our trust?

hope

We might not place it in a horse like the author of this Psalm says. But what about our husband, our friends, a counselor, a preacher, doctor, our bank accounts, etc? In what do you typically put your trust first?

Putting our hope in anything other than our mighty God, our Lord and Savior, is a vain hope. Our Lord will deliver us, if we will wait in hope for Him.

Prayer over our Hearts

Oh, Lord!  In you and you alone do we put our trust. When the darkness of this world or Satan’s shameful reminders of our forgiven sins try to instill fear and inaction in our lives, we pray we will search for you and your truth. Your light shines brightest in the darkness. You are always pointing out our way home. We never need to fear for our deliverance, when we hope in you, because you have promised to deliver us from death!  We rejoice in your holy name. May we steady our hearts to wait on you. “May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”

In the One who is the light of hope in our lives and our ultimate Rescuer- Amen!

 

Three Steps to Forgiving Yourself

“I will never be able to forgive myself for this.”

“After everything I’ve done, I don’t deserve to be happy.”

“I’m such a mess. I’ll never get parenting right.”

forgiveness

If you have ever found yourself thinking something similar to these things, there’s a good chance you were/are walking in unforgiveness of yourself. It can take many forms, but unforgiveness of self always leads to the same destination – nowhere.

The burden of our sins and failures, both real and imagined, can be heavy. The guilt of our mistakes weighing us down. When we choose to dwell on or relive our past transgressions, we become stuck and victims of our own hate and condemnation.

The enemy of our souls wants us to believe that we are still guilty. He knows that guilt chokes off new life and leads to self-destruction. (Proverbs 16:18) When we focus our energy and thoughts on regret and the past, it keeps us from the life in which God has called us. It denies the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection for us and God’s goodness. (Ephesians 1:7)

We cannot erase what we have already done, but we can free ourselves from guilt and leave the past behind. Forgiving yourself may not always seem easy, but the steps to get there are not complicated.

Repent

“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)

We must recognize that unforgiveness of self is a sin and repent. When we confess and repent of our sins, God promises to remove them from us. (Psalm 103:11-12) God doesn’t halfway forgive us when we repent and turn from our sin. He forgives us completely and moves on. (Hebrews 8:12) He desires for us to do the same.

Accept

In addition to repenting, we must accept our imperfections and that we are broken but forgiven people. When we accept who we are and leave our past behind, we can find our true identity in Christ. Praise God, we are no longer the person who we used to be.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Your past does not define you. The God of heaven and earth calls you His beloved. You have been forgiven and are no longer the person from your past. Be free!

Move Forward

Forgiving yourself does not mean you have forgotten or are excusing your past behavior, but God wants us to move on from our past. He wants us to keep moving forward as overcomers. (Philippians 3:13-14) When you do make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up. Learn from it so you don’t keep repeating it and move on.

forgiveness

Memorizing scripture has been one of the most useful tools in keeping me moving forward from my past. When the lies of guilt, shame, and condemnation try to sneak their way into your thoughts, you’ll be prepared with the living word of God.

I also find praise and worship to be very effective when thoughts of my past or current mistakes begin to plague me. I know that I may not be where I desire to be, but thankfully, I am no longer where I used to be. That is something to praise God about!

Father God, I thank you that your mercies are new every morning. I thank you that I can know forgiveness because Jesus has already paid the price for my sins. I repent for holding onto my past and not forgiving myself. I repent of letting my mistakes and failures control and hurt me. Forgive and heal me, Lord, as I choose to forgive myself. Thank you for the courage and strength to move forward in the freedom I can only find in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The Mediator We So Desperately Need

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5

You and I are in desperate need of a mediator. Yes, as Christians and adopted sons and daughters of the Most High, we are encouraged to approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). But sin still gets in our way. Every time we choose to indulge our fleshly desires instead of choosing to do God’s will, we distance ourselves from the Father.

mediator

We need someone to speak for us, to advocate for us before a holy God—someone who is blameless and without sin.

Jesus is your Mediator to God the Father.

Just as a mediator works to resolve a dispute between two parties, so Jesus is your Mediator. Although you were once an enemy of God (Romans 5:10), Jesus has reconciled you to the Father and made peace between you through His death on the cross (Hebrews 9:15).

Just as a mediator works on your behalf as a go-between, a liaison to communicate or transfer information between you and another person, so Jesus is your Mediator. He makes it possible for you to talk with the Father. That’s one reason why we pray in Jesus’ name.

Just as a lawyer is a mediator who represents you before a judge, so Jesus is your Mediator. He pleads your case before the One who forgives sins (1 John 2:1).

Do you feel unworthy to stand before the Father’s throne? We’re all in the same boat. You and I need Jesus to advocate for us and clothe us in His righteousness to make us presentable before the Father. Pray in Christ’s name. Let Him speak on your behalf. God will surely listen to His only begotten Son.

A human mediator could never represent you to the heavenly Father. His or her own sin would get in the way. You need a mediator who is without sin to safely approach God, who is altogether holy and righteous and cannot look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13). Also, a human mediator would have his or her own fleshly agenda and wouldn’t be appropriately concerned with your needs and problems.

mediator

But Jesus can—and will—properly represent you at the throne of grace. Because He is God, He knows the Father’s heart. Because Jesus lived as a man, He knows your struggles and the inclinations of the flesh (Hebrews 4:15). And because He lived and died without sinning, you are safe to stand before the Father through Jesus Christ, your faithful Mediator.

Lord, I am lost and alone. I am keenly aware of my need for a mediator. I dare not approach the throne of grace on my own, for I have sinned. Jesus, plead my case, cover my sin, and deliver me. I need you. Oh, how I need you! Thank you for interceding with the Father on my behalf. Amen.

Freedom from Unforgiveness (Of Yourself)

We live in South Florida, arguably one of the most beautiful states on earth, even after the recent devastation from Hurricane Irma.  If you think of Florida, beyond the storm, you’ll picture gorgeous waters, palm trees and tropical breezes. Certainly pictures of Heaven on Earth. I’m so blessed to be living here, fulfilling a childhood dream as a travel writer. I love sharing stories about many of the amazing places in God’s world that our family is able to experience. Being a journalist so close to Orlando allows for plenty of opportunities to experience the Walt Disney World parks.

forgiveness

People often say Disney World is the most magical place on earth. While a Disney Park is absolutely a blast (albeit exhausting!) while you’re there, and you’ll certainly make amazing memories, I disagree.

The state of forgiveness is the most magical place on earth, especially forgiveness of self.

Bitterness and unforgiveness are poisonous roots that pollute our soul. Hebrews 12:15 says,

“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”

It’s the same soul we use to commune with God, our husband, and our children. We wouldn’t feed our family poison, and many of us won’t even feed them food contaminated with pesticides. How can we expect to be giving our children a healthy does of love if it’s coming from a polluted soul? Matthew 18:23-35 says we’ll be handed over to the torturers, the tormentors,  if we don’t forgive others. I’ll bet Jesus was talking about forgiving ourselves, too. I’m not sure about you, but I’ll skip the torture and head toward grace! Joyce Meyer says, “Your fellowship with God flows freely when you’re willing to forgive, but it gets blocked by unforgiveness.”

Are we bigger than God that we can’t forgive ourselves when our loving, Heavenly Father, has forgiven us through His Son? Sheri Seligson recently wrote, “In a sense, I am denying the work of Jesus. God forgives me, so why can’t I forgive myself? I mean, I DO forgive myself in my head, but my heart keeps bringing up the guilt and regret.”

We’ve got to rely on God and enter His forgiveness, grace, peace and rest.

It’s in that state of forgiveness of ourselves where we can become the women of God He envisions for us: daughters of the Most High King, brave warriors armed for battle, gentle and kind souls sent to create beauty, life-giving words and atmosphere. And so much more than we can even see.

Truth be told, I’ve struggled with this myself, moms. I mean, often I forget we’re created to create and it’s really ok to just sit and play with the kids for a while instead of staring into guilt from the years of half- used (and often untouched) curriculum that might have cost too much to begin with. How about that parenting fail we’re carrying? The way we lashed out at our husband or didn’t do something we intended for a friend? Haven’t we all missed a deadline, or finishing that schoolwork, or burned a meal, or over committed in our church or co-op, often to things way out of our control?

When we miss the mark, don’t we beat ourselves up? Good news, moms: we aren’t meant to carry these weights and stress, we’re meant to live in grace, the free and unmerited favor of God.  Can you relate, mamas?

It’s a painful and poisonous cycle, mamas:

Do something wrong.

Get mad at self.

Hold a personal grudge so it probably happens again, and not be able to fully give to those around us while we carry the guilt’s burden. Let’s let it go!

Freedom begins when we forgive ourselves, just as our freedom in Christ began when He forgave us. Let’s live in this freedom!

We’ll begin to make different choices, plan better, prioritize and even say no sometimes. We’ll  take personal accountability and responsibility, thus modeling these amazing traits to our children, when we live in the state of personal forgiveness. Being ok with not being ok.

forgiveness

I’m so grateful I’m a writer for times like these when God reveals His beauty and grace through words I craft, often deep into the stillness of the night. The first thoughts- just an idea- form as a whisper, and come only when I’m in a state of forgiveness. And in a way only Holy Spirit can, life is breathed into my own soul as I write words for you.

I pray you are blessed and forgive yourself, right now, for whatever it is poisoning your soul. Take a big dose of His antidote of forgiveness and peace to see how your soul nurtures life all around.

Let’s take simple actions to make things right, through confession to others and to Papa and then enter into His promise of peace that surpasses all understanding. 

(Sometimes, I write poetry…)

Can’t we just forgive ourselves?

For the clothes we didn’t iron

The room that went haywire

Books still left unread

Thoughts raging in our heads

Words left unspoken

Promises broken

Weight we haven’t lost

Maybe a friend whom we have crossed ?

Is anything unforgivable for our King?

The one who gives us everything-

Who are we to assume his role?

The price is paid-

We’ve been made whole

When will enough

Just Be ENOUGH?

Let’s quit sweating the

Small stuff

Weed the poisonous root

Bear Spirit’s fruit

Return to peace

Release the bitter necess-

Ity

Of not forgiving ourselves so

We may simply model

His Forgiveness

Ephesians 4: 31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,(and yourselves) just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Blessings for your journey. Remember,  as you weed, get on your knees.
Vaya con Dios~
Jen

Why Do We Struggle With Forgiving

Do you find it easy to forgive others when they hurt you? How about forgiving others that hurt you over and over again even when you have told them that what they are doing bothers you?

forgiving

I struggle with forgiving those closest to me. I mean shouldn’t they be more careful to not hurt or offend me since they care about me?

Yeah, that is a selfish as it reads. When I think about all the times I go to my heavenly father and ask for forgiveness for the same things over and over, and yes over again; I have wondered if He gets tired of hearing me and wonders if I really mean it this time.

I presented my feelings once in a class and the group stopped to talk about forgiveness. What is it? What does it include? What should be excluded?

Let’s talk about what Forgiveness is…

Forgiveness is submitting to scripture and honoring God. It is His right to take care of justice. When we don’t forgive, and turn it over to God, we are saying that we don’t trust Him to handle it properly.

Romans 12:19Do not take revenge, my dear 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 multi step process. We can’t always just say, “I forgive” and be over the hurt. Sometimes we have to forgive as we heal, and that might take time. During painful events, I pray for God to give me the grace needed to forgive as I heal.

Forgiveness is a requirement. However, when we find that we are having to forgive the same person for the same offense over and over, we need to look at that relationship and perhaps set boundaries. If we allow someone to continue to have the power to hurt us, we will become bitter and they are not going to change their behavior.

Forgiveness is based on our heart condition and attitude. We can choose to forgive someone and ask God for the grace to let it go as our heart heals.

Okay for let’s talk about what Forgiveness isn’t…

Forgiveness is not allowing the other person to get away with their actions or not be held accountable.

Forgiveness is not allowing someone to hurt us over and over. If a situation exists like this, the relationship needs to be reviewed and boundaries put into place if you want to continue having a relationship with that person.

Forgiveness is not denying there is a problem or becoming the martyr. It isn’t okay for someone to continue to hurt you. However, sometimes we have to face the fact that there are individuals that are just obnoxious, mean, or unstable. When we are in a relationship like this, we have to face that they will not change their behavior but we can change the way we react or interact with them.

This world is full of evil. There will always be people that will hurt us. We have the choice of holding the pain inside and becoming bitter and angry or forgiving and allowing God to heal our hearts.

Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you have forgotten the offense. There will be times when you will see or do something that will bring those memories back to your mind. Instead of allowing those memories to bring you pain from the past, try thanking God that you were able through His grace to forgive.

Another area that I struggle with when I am allowing the things in my life to keep me too busy to spend enough time in the Word and in prayer is admitting that I have taken offense where none may have been meant. Sometimes I just get my feelings hurt and honestly have no valid reason to back it up. You know, that “look” someone gave me, or the person that didn’t speak to me.

forgiveness

During these times when I am feeling put upon or picked on (all in my mind and because I have allowed the world to draw me in to doubt and fear); I will post this scripture all around the house as a reminder.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 says: Do not be quick to take offense, for the taking of offense is the mark of a fool.

I pray that as we grow closer to God, we are slower to anger and to take offense. This only comes through daily time in the Word. Take time to read and study your bible daily. Spend as much time as you can in prayer. Allow both the word of God and His love heal your hurts. And if you are reading this, understand that I am not talking about abuse when I talk about someone hurting you. Abuse is never okay and should never be tolerated. Please seek help if you are in a relationship that you are physically or emotionally in danger.

When We Learn to Forgive

Have you ever been truly hurt by what someone has said or done to you? So much that you may have thought, “I will never forgive them or trust them again”? I know for most of us it is safe to say you have experienced this a time or two in your life.

forgive

Dealing with the pain and anger that’s generated by not forgiving someone can truly eat away at you. Our natural reaction as humans is to seek revenge, becoming angry, bitter, hold resentment, and pull away from someone who has wronged us. 

To allow our emotions to overtake us, especially by not forgiving someone who has hurt us, is not healthy. Holding on to that anger, it eats at us, it develops mistrust and negative thoughts in our minds. As a Christian, we have to learn to have a forgiving heart. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, but just like in Ephesians 4:32,

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

God forgives us when we sin, or hurt someone else. So why do we feel we can’t forgive others the same way He forgives us? 

Matthew 6:14-15 says, 

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive youBut if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Jesus reminds us that it is so important to forgive, and not to hold resentment in and allow that negativity to hinder our lives. A lot of times we might find we are angry towards someone, and when we see them our heart begins to race, we get sweaty and want to confront them. But, the other person we are angry at seems free and happy. This is because it is us who hasn’t forgiven and the other person probably doesn’t even remember or know they hurt us.

Holding that anger and having an unforgiving heart hurts us not the other person. 

forgive

When we learn to forgive and give it to God, an amazing thing will take place. That hurt, anger, resentment, bitterness that has been eating at is, is released. We are set free from the pain and are free. No matter if the person you are angry at never says sorry, learn to forgive and be free from the hurt. It can take time, forgiving, but you will be amazed at the freedom you feel. By forgiving you don’t allow them to continue to hurt you, you simply create healthy boundaries to protect yourself going forward if it is a person you have to continue to be around for work, family, etc. 

Prayer: 

Father God, I come to you now and ask that you help open up my heart to see those who I need to forgive. If I have areas in my life where I am hindering unforgiveness may it be brought to light, so I can be free from the pain and hurt I have been carrying around? I thank you that you forgive so freely, and allow me to be set free when I forgive others. I thank you for your unconditional love, even when I struggle and find I am not perfect. Lord, I pray that as I carry on throughout the day, I can build strong healthy relationships with my family and friends. If someone does offend or hurt me, I can learn to forgive right away, and now allow it to affect me. 

In Awe,