Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To forgive or not to forgive?


To be sincere, in retrospect, I really did not get it. What it was really about.

Forgiveness is easy to talk about, easy to understand when you are the one encouraging someone to do it. But when you've been disrespected, slandered and pretty much torn apart from the mouth of either someone close to you or someone whose respect means something to you. Then you really know if the Word is alive in you or if it is just conveniently alive in you.

It's been a little over a week since a huge blow up happened between me and a close younger relative and then my heart was exposed to me. I figured I didn't really care much about what this person says because she always came across as arrogant, ignorant and immature. I just laughed whenever she said something "interesting" about someone or if she acted in an "interesting" way. But when it was all turned up against me, a lot of the anger issues I was dealing with from other sources, which I didn't take up to God, came spewing out like an intense, scary volcanic eruption. I knew better, but to hell with better, I wanted to whoop some butt!

For the first time ever, I understood the bible verse "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." (Ephesians 4:26).

GOD's WORD translation puts it this way:
"Be angry without sinning. Don’t go to bed angry." Do not go to bed angry. We really do not give much thought to that because it's easy to accept and unconsciously convince ourselves that we are no longer angry. We easily accept that yes, we were angry, even God allows it, but no, we did not sin and more than that, we are not going to bed angry. But if truly we are going to bed without anger in our hearts, this is how we know:

"Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry - but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life." (Ephesians 4:26, The Message translation).

Do I need to say more? That pretty much explains what it means to be angry and sin, and what it means to go to bed with anger in your heart. Do not use your anger as fuel for revenge.

In my heart, even though I wasn't going to go on an attack rampage on this person, I was going to "put her in her place". I "needed to set her straight". That right there was completely out of God's will. Completely. I had essentially given the devil a foothold in my life. And as I read these scriptures now, I remember how that night was. I found it difficult to worship and be intimate with God, so I began to pray for the Holy Spirit to help me, for God to lift all barriers and as was praying I started to say I forgive this person and I went to say I forgive other people who had said things to spite me weeks earlier. Remember I said earlier that I took out all the anger bottling up in me on this person. The Holy Spirit took me back to that. Just an aside, I love how God is so real. The Word of God is alive and the Word says we do not know what to pray but the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. We Christians are quick to put God in a box and assume that's when you speak in tongues. But I was praying in English and every word hit me to the depth of my soul even though prior to that I thought I was over that incident. But God showed me through prayer the real intent of my heart.

As I said that prayer, tears were flowing out my eyes uncontrollably and I felt myself surrendering. Just plain surrendering. Some words are not enough to capture the intensity of the moment. And I literally felt something lift off me. I love God and this again shows His desire for me. It shows that even though I had given the devil a foothold and the true desires of my heart was like cursing God to His face, He still desired my company. He still wants me when I do not want Him.

This is forgiveness. When we left go of negative emotions no matter how much people hurt us, and turn around and say to God, I'll follow you and love this person. I'll forgive.

This is what happens when we do not forgive:

"14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:14-15).

The Message translation breaks it down. "In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part." (The Message).

The Bible goes further in Matthew 18:35 and says "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." This is when Jesus shared the parable about the servant who was forgiven his sins by his lord, but who wouldn't forgive another just like him for what he did to him.

Sweeping it under the rug isn't forgiveness. God forgives us from the depths of His heart. That is exactly how we should treat others. "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:21-24). Do not just sweep the matter under the rug.

But this cannot happen outside of God's help just because of man's ways. As a scripture in the Psalms says, return to God by the help of His Hand. (This is the God-Junkie Standard Version, when I find it I'll update this). We have to take God's Hand, which He offers us freely, opening up our hearts and letting Him be God.

People are bound to upset us, but as God's babies, we should imitate Him as dear children imitate their fathers. "Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him." (Luke 17:1-3)

May God bless and deliver you from all pain, shame and whatever else may be involved as you unbottle your heart and let God be God. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some thoughts

I`m just going to dive into it...

1. But really, is there a Prophet in North America??? Is there one in the world??? Just tossing back and forth in my mind the time Elisha said to the King of Israel "Let them know there is a prophet in Israel".

He understood something we are not really getting. And if Jesus had to die for us to Live in that kind of authority, I wonder if God is...well, not happy. Not saying all were called to be prophets; it's a bit deeper than that, but you get my drift. Still, who is willing to drop their inhibitions and all God is leading them to drop.

I am. I may fail 20x in one day and it ain't even noon yet, but God is smiling, beaming, because I choose constantly to walk in His will. His joy is my strength. That's why I do not fear condemnation. It is not from God, it is from the devil and he is under my feet. He knows it well, but guess what, I know it now very well. Therefore, I can repent freely, submit myself to the Lord without fear, resist the devil and my oh my, he will FLEE!

Also, do you know that Jesus said only those that do the will of the Father in Heaven will go to Heaven, not those who call Him Lord, or say they cast out demons in his name. That`s why God is extremely happy and pleased when we choose to do His will. ``Fireworks`` do not need to happen, but something beyond those ``fireworks`` do happen.

2. The place of praise and worship is the place of real intimacy. It`s not in the song. It`s deep. I have learned to slow down and chill in God`s presence when situations are a bit tough and my goodness, that is the place of perfect clarity...quiet assurance forever. I love reading my bible in God`s Presence. I love just talking aka praying in God`s Presence and above all I love knowing something I said got corrected by the Holy Spirit :). You know, when you are upset and u ``bring it to God`s Presence`` and you end up ranting and speaking from a place of hatred and just plain vileness (sometimes without realizing because to you, everything is ok and back to normal) and God just gently but strongly (can`t really find the word, let`s say effectively) corrects you. I love chastisement from God. I love God telling me He loves me, I love God just being God and me just being who I am in His Presence.

Try to soak more. I would really encourage you to do so. This is a note to myself as well :)

3. Some people must have thought Abraham to be a "damn fool" walking around saying his name is no longer Abram but Abraham (changed from exalted/respected/highly-placed Father to Father of many [nations]). Urm...Abram suited him perfectly. As in, it was a name that perfectly described who he was at the time. Old, rich, with many servants and respect among his new neighbors. But for an old, aged, wrinkled man who didn't have a child with his own old, aged and wrinkled wife to change his name to father of many nations after a slave in his household bore a son for him must have looked a bit...well, too much in the eyes of his neighbors. More like delusional. I wonder if the thoughts people had in their hearts about his name change hurt him whenever he saw it in their eyes. Father of many nations. And he believed. (His name change was from God, remember)

And that is what faith is all about. Believing God would give you what he has promised even though others do not get it. And moving on in your faith. But what is God really telling you. Do you soak in His Presence. Do you seek Him just for who He is; honest curiosity should get you started you know. Do you honestly hear him or your self.

4. I love God :) (Could not help ending it on that note, I don`t care if it sounds corny)

P.s. my keyboard is refusing to cooperate so I can`t use the question mark key (for those wondering if I skipped primary school) :)