Monthly Archives: July 2015

As it turns out, we really don’t have to forgive everyone…

As it turns out, we really don’t have to forgive everyone.

I have knelt at an altar, placing the names of people at His feet. I have felt anger and betrayal, and if I told you each story, I’m willing to bet you would agree that I’m justified in feeling wronged in at least a few of the situations.

But, I have had to remind myself of something very important: There have been people kneeling at literal and figurative altars placing ME at the feet of Jesus. I’ve wronged people. Sometimes I had the best of intentions, but unfortunately did something to hurt another person. 

And other times? I just got it wrong. No, let me use the real word – I sinned. And therefore sent someone directly to an altar trying to forgive me, or sadly, directly in the opposite direction – where bitterness increases and peace is elusive. That place where we go to not lay people at the feet of Jesus, asking God to give us the ability to forgive them, but instead where we justify our feelings of betrayal and anger. That place where we dwell in a heap of self-destructive self-righteousness.

We are ALL sinners saved by amazing grace. Who are we to keep forgiveness from someone else?

We put others on a mental list entitled, “Not worthy of forgiveness,” while we couldn’t imagine our own names being on it. Do we truly think we are any more worthy of forgiveness than others? I mean, think about it…every sin has the same root: we think our way of doing things or our way of thinking is better than God’s way. The sins themselves have different degrees of how they shake out, how many people are affected, and how the world categorizes them. But, the root? All the same.

And God forgives us all without fail, repeatedly, and with arms wide open. 

So what I am saying is that even the people we would least like to forgive? We have done things equally as ‘unforgivable.’ We cannot say that they don’t deserve our forgiveness if we want to speak the truth. That leaves us with the only option left: we have to forgive them.

Wait! We don’t have to. Continue reading

Whose Voice Will You Listen To?

So, someone told you that you weren’t worth it. You didn’t reach the false standards created by someone that has no right to set them. So what? You have a choice. You can listen to that voice and believe it and even spend (waste) time trying to prove that person wrong. Or, you can listen and believe the voice of the One who created you. The One that created you for a purpose. You were not an afterthought or a mistake. You are worth it, worthy of Him giving His life for, and wonderfully and fearfully made by the Creator of the entire universe. If you stop and think about it, for real…that’s kind of a big deal!
Imagine if there was a debate between the two voices? Your detractor using words such as loser, unsuccessful, worthless etc. and Your God mentioning something to the effect of, “I created the universe, I can calm the raging seas, I tell the sun when and where to rise and set…And I have always had big plans for that gal that you called a loser. She’s my creation. I’ve given her unique gifts and a unique personality. She’s simply amazing, so…” I believe His voice would be the one with the last word!
His Voice has proclaimed that you are His child. (John 1:12) That you are His friend. (John 15:15) His voice says there’s no condemnation for those that belong to Him. (Romans 8:1) That you are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) That He saves, rejoices over, and sings over you. (Zephaniah 3:17) That He abounds in love for you. (Psalm 86:15) That nothing can separate you from that love. (Romans 8:37-39) That you’re chosen by Him. (Ephesians 1:4)
I choose that voice. I do have to remind myself of that sometimes. When someone’s voice threatens to drown out the voice of God, the best thing you and I can do is to sit down and read His Words, His assurances, His love letter. His words of truth will become louder and clearer, and we’ll be reminded of our genuine value. I refuse to listen to a voice of someone that’s interested in tearing me or my self-esteem down. I don’t have time for it. I’m too busy leaning in to hear the voice of Someone that loves me beyond description. He is the voice of authority on the matter. And I’m determined that from now on, He will always have the last word. I’m hoping that when it comes to determining and defining your value, you’ll allow Him to have the last word also.

Coincidence? God answers in time of doubt

During the early years of my marriage, I went through a phase of feeling very inadequate. The voice that casts doubts on whether we are good enough, smart enough, witty enough, pretty enough, interesting enough, capable enough etc. was screaming at me, and I was listening.

You know that voice? Sure, you do. It whispers, speaks, or shouts at different levels and at different times during our lives. Some of us are just much better than others at quieting it. Some of us have even found a way to turn the voice off. Unfortunately, at that point in my life, I didn’t know that not listening was an option.

I vividly remember one early morning sitting down in my living room recliner asking God through tears why I couldn’t be this…or that…or more this…or more that. And that particular morning that voice had convinced me that my husband was wishing or hoping or even praying that I was more than I was. What I was struggling with the most was that I didn’t feel beautiful enough…on the outside or inside. Mirrors constantly reminded me that I had never seen myself as beautiful. And comparing myself to others constantly reminded me that I wasn’t interesting enough to ever be described as having a “beautiful” personality.

My Bible was in my hands. I opened it, and it ‘happened’ to be these words that I read on page 1384: “Instead, it (beauty) should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” A rush of tears came and fell. I wept because He answered me so specifically, so intimately, and so perfectly. God heard me. God cared about me. And God cared about what I cared about. Goodness gracious…my Bible “fell open” to that particular verse…a verse I had never noticed before…a verse that hit the nail precisely on the head with my pain of feeling like I lacked beauty inside and out! He’s just that good. What I received from that answer to my tearful prayer was the promise that God says that the quiet, gentle trust I have placed in Him makes me beautiful, and it’s a beauty that does not fade. (1 Peter 3:4) The Bible says so.

I should mention that my husband hadn’t done anything to make me feel like I am not enough. This mindset was invented courtesy of me and the voice I hadn’t learned to hush. I am now confident that when he looks at me, he sees inside and outside beauty that he’s pretty thrilled with! I should also mention that I’m not saying a woman has to be reserved and quiet in order for God to find her valuable! The Bible doesn’t say a gentle and quiet personality…it says a gentle and quiet spirit. A gentle and quiet spirit comes from an assurance that God is taking care of you and that He loves you, despite what life’s circumstances might lead you to believe. It’s the type of assurance that gives us the peace that “transcends understanding,” talked about in Philippians 4:7. Our spirit doesn’t have to be caught up in the rush of anxiety and “disquiet”. We don’t need to be controlled by unrest, wondering if He has our best interests at heart. He does…and He proves His faithfulness over and over.

God gave me a confidence that day. It was placed in me by the One who knit me together in my mother’s womb. Wow! It’s a confidence that says I am of great worth in His sight. You can have that confidence too! That is a beautiful truth about a beautiful God who created people that He finds beautiful. People that sometimes just happen to open the Bible to the exact verse that speaks to their exact issue at that exact moment. What a beautiful coincidence.