October 7, 2015

Come On; I'm A Sprinter!

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. ~ Colossians 3:12-14

We have discussed in the past, that loving others is not an option, we are to love everyone. That being said, thank God we do not have to live with everyone, or it would be much more impossible. Sometimes I jokingly refer to the relationships we don't have to live with, or those not under our roof,  as the relational "sprints". The weakest of runners can handle a sprint from time to time. It is easier to grab and pass the baton of light and lovely thoughts, with those who only interact with us during short spurts of time. 

At times those relational sprints take place with the same people over a long period of time, building a type of endeared community; however, we cannot compare it as relational apples to apples.  There are complexities which those under one roof must endure if they are to remain together. Although the relational sprints we develop can be dear to us, they can also distort an individuals ability to see them selves clearly, regarding those they do have to live with.

For example: The expectation and authentic need of sharing of your feelings, hopes and desires in healthy ways are avoidable,unlike in our homes.  We now become liberated to act and say whatever we feel is in our best interest, which encourages the fellow team mates to think we are a super swell individual.  So of course, in the community when we act against our public persona, we can claim "we are having a bad day", and everyone moves on easily.  Why? Because they do not have the insiders data on us, it is only for a sprint, a pass of the baton.....and then we go home to our real intimate relationships.

Just as love is not optional, for a Christian, neither is the forgiving.  Most people do not understand that forgiving a person and having a reconciled relationship are two different things.  If someone will not admit there is a problem which needs to be forgiven, then coming to them, in sincerity, to offer a gift of forgiveness is senseless.  It would be much like having floor mats custom made, as a gift, and eagerly bringing them to someone who is adamant that the car in their driveway isn't theirs; nor do they ever care to drive a car.  This is how wanting to forgive someone who assumedly, unlike yourself,  deems themselves cleared on a matter, leaves you stuck in the mud or spinning out.

Fortunately, God dealt with this dilemma.  Forgiveness is about what God desires, not man.  It began with Him, comes from Him, and displays Him when/if  we chose to extend it.  In conversations with individuals, they tell me they cannot forget what has happened to them and they can't seem to find it within them selves to forgive.  Believe me when I type, I understand this dilemma, the ability to forgive, what cannot be forgotten, is not within my ability either.   Yet I have done it, again and again and again and again, because I know the one who forgave me when He was dealing with the dilemma my choices created. It is Him within me, His power, in my inabilities which are the strength offering such a perfectly, loving, kind, generous, undeserved gift.

Understanding the magnitude of this gift, we must talk about this: Just because you chose to forgive someone does not mean you will not remember, grieve loss, become angry about injustice or any other normal expression of wrong done. Forgiveness is not optional, but it is our personal choice

When we desire to forgive and ask God for the ability to repent of any wrong we have done and forgive another person, we will loose the desire to be malicious toward the person.  We can speak of things without having to blame or accuse them.  Of course we cannot forget something which needs to be addressed, but forgiving them keeps us from injuring our self or others as we continue to live under one roof.  We also begin to express the heart of God and Christ's image become more and more visible within our homes and communities.

While being at peace with everyone as far as it depends on us doesn't always accomplish popularity, I pray that God give us all something much more fitting: the ability to ask for our self and others to repent and be reconciled to Him.   And IF it be His will, at His perfect time to allow the relationships we have with each other to glorify Him. Maybe even give us all a cross country team t-shirt (just kidding).

Hopefully, we will go deeper into this topic, next time.  Only God knows the plans He has for us all!

With love and prayers for us all, in Christ.

© 2015 by Candace Huffmaster
 Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc ®

October 3, 2015

Newsflash: Hell Isn't Freezing Over

We left off with the following thought and question:

What we know to be truth and do not do, whether we are sick, tired or sick & tired, God knows and it does not matter what the rest of the universe knows, thinks, sees or what ever.  In the situation, will we be humble enough to request that He multiply and be fruitful regarding His image and likeness, and to constantly subdue our human nature, that we might have a hope of becoming what He Divinely created us to be?

Under-girded by this verse from James 4:16 and Philippians 3:21 ending with the last part of the verse:

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
             ....by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

In Philippians 3 we are being told not to forget where we are headed, getting stuck in the muck of troubles here on earth.  We are to wait eagerly for, set our mind on and remember Christ Jesus.  How many times do we get bogged down and hurt waiting on people to do the right thing?  How many times do others sit around "waiting on us" to do the right thing?  Maybe we and others do not understand what the right thing is, and maybe we/they do?

As you know, I believe in giving others the benefit of the doubt.  Do you realize that some people could care less if I/you do or not?  Some are even so bold as to clarify their stance, just in case someone may assume otherwise, by way of statements such as "till hell freezes over".  They want to make it clear, I have no doubt about what I have done, or the way I am; I did it, I'm fine with it, I meant it, and know for sure that hell will never be cooler than it is today.

The reason I bring these things up and out is to help the one who would prefer to stand in the gap hoping for resolve. Some times we do not understand what the right thing to do is; and sometimes we do and don't do it.  The first thing we need to prevent is someone feeling stuck or responsible due to another persons free will. And the last thing we need is for a person to move on without resolving their position.

When there is much back and forth, spinning out of control and/or running away without direction it causes a heck of a mess.  Us and anyone in reach of the slinging icky muck will get splattered. This mud pit wouldn't easily be able to form in our relationships if we understood vital points regarding restoring relationships. Without forgiveness there are only two paths out of the mud slinging: stuff it till the top blows off again, or run far enough away to never see them except in your nightmares.

This is not another conversation regarding forgive and forget.  That is in the archives.  We are not built to forget important things.  We are created for unity, community and love.  But for us
"humans" what we need, what we want, and what we get can be horrible to make peace with; that takes a lot of forgiveness.  For this reason, we need to comprehend real forgiveness.  Most people never really understand what it looks and acts like.

When a person has tried to be at peace, yet every conversation ends in an argument, it is heavy on the heart, mind and soul.  So is defending your position till your head bleeds from banging it on the hard wall other put before you.  I do not really think those sounded like forgiveness to any of us; but we become confused regarding what a peacemaker would look like.  How do we walk away from the wall and refocus on what moving in a different direction might look like.

James MacDonald and Garrett Higbee's book Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling, had a tidbit which I feel may help many people clarify their position. They state that there are things we should consider on the topic of “if” we should forgive someone.  Is the offense too BIG? The larger it is the more quickly we need to get rid of it.  Time does not heal all wounds.  In fact this is a rather LARGE obstacle regarding getting stuck and spinning out.  And over time it simply become tenderer and we protect it from getting bumped.  Waiting for someone to say they are sorry is a ridiculous vehicle to depend on to help us dispose of their trash.  Think about that for a moment……   As James MacDonald states: Newflash: That person isn’t going to apologize!  And if by God’s grace a miracle were to happen and they did, your LARGE obstacle would prevent restoration.

And yes, you may forgive them and they just do it again.  That is why Peter was stumped when Christ mentioned how many times we are to forgive the one who comes to us in sincerity asking for our forgiveness.  The Good news here is this:  saying “sorry” isn’t necessarily asking for forgiveness.  Nor is telling someone they must forgive and forget; that not only shows lack of humility and compassion (archive on this), but it deeply, additionally wounds the person.  

We must realize how to deal with an unrepentant fellow believer.  Your forgiveness is not an open door welcoming multiple offenses. (James MacDonald statement)
This is enough for today, please pray about anything resonating within your heart and mind.  Realize that if you have been spinning your wheels, banging your head or slinging some muck, taking it to God is where you need to begin for direction, not the individual.  Allow Him to counsel you in the presence of His word. 

Read the book of James or 2 Corinthians focusing on chapters 1-5 and we will pick up here next time.

With love and prayers for us all, in Christ.

© 2015 by Candace Huffmaster
 Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc ®