Tag Archives: Mercy Me

A Closer Walk: Essential Forgiveness vs. Optional Reconciliation

So many wounding’s in this life. For all of us. You cannot go far, even in the innocence of childhood, without feeling the knife. So we need to learn as early as possible forgiveness for the unkind words, rejections, disappointments… and worse.

Tell your storyThe trick as I see it, is remembering enough of your story so you can tell it, without becoming an archivist of injustice.

We begin when we’re young, growing in our expertise, learning to cling to our wounds in righteous and outraged indignation. For some, we carry that pain vociferously, telling any and all about the unfairness of what has been done to us. For others, we carry the pain privately, taciturnly stuffing all of it way down deep, trying to forget the damage done; hoping our wounds will scar over and be silent. By the time we reach our adulthood, most of us have a wide and varied collection of scars—some outward, but mostly, we all wear our scars on the inside.

I wish I could say that “coming to Christ” just magically changes that truth—but it doesn’t. It just changes the way we are to handle it. Belonging to Christ makes forgiving all offenders mandatory.

For me, this was really tough stuff.

woundresser.comYou see, I grew up in a home without forgiveness. It sounds awful to me now (to admit that) but at the time, I just accepted how things were. To transgress, meant you would “wear” the responsibility for what you had done from that day forward. That was the deal. The offense might not be spoken of, but it would always be the pink elephant in the room—always.

Since forgiveness wasn’t modeled, I didn’t “get the value” of the concept, let alone how to carry it off. Yet, God is faithful.  The Bible says, “…when your father and mother forsake you, I the LORD will take you up.” Which is good, because there are life principles to our forgiving that none of us can live without.

ForgivenessFirst and uppermost—is the principle that we are taken prisoner by anyone we refuse to forgive. Consequently, we then become the one who is unforgiven by God.

(Not good.)

Second principle—forgiveness is a process. The deeper the wound the longer the process.

Third—no guarantees of reconciliation. (A completely separate process.) Unfortunately, sometimes our offender will refuse to change or acknowledge their harmful behavior.

Therefore, to be “reconciled with them” is not possible.

Still, we must extend forgiveness.

Reconciliation might or might not happenFinally—we don’t give up until we succeed in forgiving. We are to genuinely ask God to bless our offender.

I once heard a pastor illustrate it this way.

“Forgiving is like climbing a slippery mountain made of glass. For every step forward, you may slide back three or four—but since forgiving isn’t optional—we keep climbing. Difficult, or easy, we keep at it because freedom’s view from the top will always, always, be worth it in the end.”journal

SUCH TRUST

You there… yes, you.

Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?

Your dreaming thrills Me.

(Your heart that forgives, and forgives…)

How I rejoice in you! Ask Me! Ask Me anything… I want to give you all that you desire; all that you are dreaming for others…

How those dreams of yours have changed.

ScarsOnce, they were so small and selfish. (We know.) Ah, but look… behold the beauty! How you long and weep for the pain of others. How you plead for their destinies.

(Oh, I AM so pleased with you!)

Ask Me! I AM here. The windows of heaven are full open! Your requests come at a favorable time… all that is Mine is yours!

You bring Me so much pleasure when you ask for such extreme, impossible things… for only the King of Universes could do for you all that you have asked.

How you honor Me child. Such trust! These requests of yours give Me such joy! Ask again, and again… My hand is open and I AM bending down My ear to hear even the faintest whispers of your heart.

How I love your holy audacity—your childish expectancy!

My, how you bless your Father.

How you give Me joy… here, My beloved… receive! Receive joy from Your Father who is delighted to give you His Kingdom!

(You are My rapture!)

a closer walk

Yes, ask anything, using my name, and I will do it!

John 14:14John 14:14
English: World English Bible - WEB

14 If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it.

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A Closer Walk: In My Suffering Just Give Me Jesus

The God-given-value of suffering is not a very popular subject, is it?

I remember once, when I was the editor of the newsletter for my church’s Women’s Ministry, I submitted some samples for a series of articles on the subject of suffering.

I wanted to use much of Isaiah and Jeremiah’s writing as an encouragement to the many women, whom I personally knew, were going through tough times.

(The idea was soundly rejected.)

Our leader at the time said, “We don’t want to hear about this stuff. Write about happy things.”

I thought at the time, “Hear that Isaiah? Just like your crowd who said, ‘speak to us smooth things’ even though Isaiah knew what was coming, and was trying to warn them; prepare them.

We’re not much different.

The subject of suffering is definitely not popular. Yet, look around you. This poor world is bleeding like never before. (And think of what is to come.) Do we not have an obligation to teach all of the Bible’s truth?

To help the hurting see the deep value of their suffering?

Not for sufferingI know our hearts and minds recoil at the idea, but don’t we do people a greater disservice, and perhaps even harm, to spoon feed them only “a saccharine-gospel” with heaping amounts of nothing but the syrupy sweet stuff piled on?

When is the last time you heard a sermon series on Jeremiah or Isaiah?

(I’m not talking about the once-over-lightly-touch.)

I mean an intense study of their books. When is the last time your pastor did an in-depth-series, on the life-transforming-power of suffering—from God’s point of view?

For myself, my answer, not once in the last thirty years!

And, you know what?

I am profoundly sick of all the sugar.

Sugar and sufferingI know sugar is very popular. (Oh, yeah.) Walk down the aisle of any Christian bookstore and the titles shout out to you from shelves (usually at eye level!) about a God whose love is demonstrated by giving you health, wealth and a painless journey.

Really?

(And what about the next time the bottom drops out of your life?)

Sugar and ashes?

Not a great combo.

Definitely, not!

For a decade before my accident, I had been listening to a steady stream of sermons made of candy-apples from cotton-candy churches. It all sounded so good—until I was living out my own private nightmare.

Then, I desperately needed substance—big heaping handfuls of tough-as-leather-hopeso I could grapple with my daily realities.

Sorrow & SufferingBecause, in the ashes?

Eyes swollen shut from tears?

Guts falling out on the floor?

Confusion and pain tearing your heart to pieces?

Trust me, you do not want sugar!

What did the old song say?

Oh, yeah… “Just give me Jesus.”

Why?

Because Jesus was on very intimate terms with sorrow and suffering.

And He’s on intimate terms with me—in mine.

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I SEE IT ALL DEAREST

Little One…

Do you think I don’t know what is happening in that heart of yours?

Child, come.

(…a little closer.)

Suffering & HopeI see it all Dearest, your pain, your confusion, those tears you think you hide (but not from Me.)

Oh, yes, a heart can weep. Your soul mourns.

I see it all—your suffering.

You wonder at My silence, don’t you?

How can I know about your pain, and seem, not to care?

(Is that about it?)

Ah, Dearest Child… your greatest growth comes through these times of silence and suffering. You come to Me. Search for Me… in your days of gladness. (Yes, I know.) But, never with the intensity; the fervency, that your suffering leads you to do.

When you hurt, ahhhh, then how you run to Me! How you seek Me out! How you grow, in depth, compassion, and understanding. Your repertoire of comfort is expanded, and therefore, you are a greater comfort to others.

(I know the cost is high.)

Worthwhile things are always born out of suffering.

(Think about it and you will see the truth.)

Suffering always precedes comfort.

Pain is always the price of purity.

How could you have the encouragement, without darkness, silence, and fear?

(I promise you.)

When suffering has polished, perfected, and purified?

Then, will come rivers of blessing for others.

(Is this not what you asked Me for?)

a closer walk

“Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed…”

Isaiah 41:10Isaiah 41:10
English: World English Bible - WEB

10 Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.

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A Closer Walk: Who Do You See In Your Mirror?

Who do you see in your mirror because how we see ourselves is crucial to advancing the Kingdom of God.

I struggled for years with the image of “conqueror” or “overcomer” because of my early experiences with abandonment. What my head knew, was frequently at odds, with what my heart felt.

cotton candy comfortIt’s all very well to talk about having boldness and courage to advance God’s Kingdom, but if you’re someone like me and your early years were punctuated with criticism, isolation, and rejection, not to mention a lopsided “fire-and-brimstone” presentation of who God is, it’s easy to fall prey to what I call the “cotton-candy-comfort” offered in many of our churches.

It Goes Something Like This…

If you just DO enough for God, if you just GIVE enough to God, if you just BELIEVE enough in God, or THANK Him enough, or whatever your particular brand of “enough” is, then your life will abound with sweet and painless blessings.

I swallowed that stuff for a good long distance until I discovered that it just isn’t Biblical!

The Bible speaks often of suffering and going through rough seas and dark places, and not just for the unbelieving, or the rebellious.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation.”

Many very Godly people go through very dark stuff.

still I shall followRemember Joseph, alone, accused, and abandoned in a prison?

What about Gideon hiding in a winepress, or David hunted and hiding in a cave, or the Apostle Paul ignominiously hiding at the bottom of a laundry basket?

You can make fine speeches all day long about what you believe, or you can declare yourself silly with positive statements, but it is in the darkness of that winepress or dark cave, or at the bottom of that laundry basket where you meet a God who walks with us THROUGH trouble, not far away from it.

I have wrestled over and over again with the concepts of Godly brokenness versus worldly brokenness, and frankly, I believe The Church as a whole struggles with these images too.

You could talk to me about “Christ-in-me” all day long, but that overcoming-truth seldom made it from what my head heard, to what my heart felt, or my eyes saw in my mirror.

looking into my mirror

The Church’s mandate about loving others and boldly advancing the Kingdom gets preached regularly, and it should, but I believe the core reasons we Christians so often fail to carry this through in our day-to-day lives is because a lot of us still carry the cumbersome baggage from a distorted Kingdom-self-image.

That Guilt Gets Translated To Our Intimacy Issues With Our Heavenly Father

Such had been my case.

I was seven years old when my Mother decided to forsake family in search of her longing to be seen as “a professional woman.” Predominantly raised by a father who had extremely exacting standards (that I often failed to live up to) I believed that my failures were letting him down, and that guilt became deeply engraved in how I saw myself.

I was raised by two very broken people who struggled all of their lives with their own defective self-images which meant I came to the conclusion early in my adulthood that God was impossible to please.

Therefore, why even try?

God was perfect. I was not. End of story.

Seeing myself as “a reject” in my mirror had become normal.

Now, here I was sitting in my own personal ash pile with my life in ruins, thus confirming once again my faulty-self as an utter failure, and an unworthy outcast of His Love.

I suppose that’s why God’s tenderness made me so uncomfortable. A critical demanding God I could deal with, but this “Abba-Father” who wanted to come close and get intimately loving and transparent with me, with all my messy issues? No way! It was way too touchy-feely for me.

And so, I kept pushing God away.

But what about our deal?

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YOU ARE BREAKING MY HEART!

Let’s talk about this mindset of yours.

Yes, mindset, because for reasons that are yours alone you refuse to give it up in spite of what I tell you.

Listen to Me again Mighty One.

To Him I am flawless

You are not rejected by Me.

You are not My outcast.

I will never throw you away!

Why do you dwell on the past deeds of others this way?

Why do you keep returning to this pigsty for just one more roll in the mud?

Jesus robes us

I have dressed you in snow-white robes of My righteousness.

I have covered ALL (Yes, all.) of your sins and failures with the red, pure blood of My Son’s heart.

I want you to stop this now because you are breaking My heart. I know your past. I know what others in your past have said and done to you. But, what about Me? What about what I have done for you?

Enough dearest—it is enough.

You are Mine not theirs. Mine!

I decide what you are to be called.

(I decide.)

I have chosen you

Do you hear Me?

Good!

Then listen again and wrap your heart in this truth.

Wash your mindset with righteous words.

Build a new image for your mirror—one that stands on—My love.

You are not an outcast!

I have chosen you and will not throw you away.

a closer walk“But as for you, …you are mine, my chosen ones; for I have chosen you and will not throw you away.”

Isaiah 41:8-9Isaiah 41:8-9
English: World English Bible - WEB

8 But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend, 9 you whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and called from the corners of it, and said to you, You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you away;

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