Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 3 - Mirrors & Sandpaper

Romans 2:1 "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things."

We've all heard the maxim,
"The thing that irritates you most about someone else
                is probably a fault of your own."

There's a lot of talk these days about not judging others (and the subject of judging, in general, is a great discussion for another day less busy than today.) The Lord keeps asking me what I do that is like those with whom I'm so angry. Every time I start on a rant, and even when speaking forgiveness, my own transgressions come tiptoeing to mind.

It almost seems like I need to make some kind of list or chart to help me pursue the "forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us" idea.  Allowing the Holy Spirit to remind me of the wrongs He's forgiven me is great way to find the humility to back away from rage at another's trespass(es).

Have you ever noticed how God brings into our lives people who rub us the wrong way? It seems we learn a lot about ourselves when some 'sandpaper' acquaintance comes along to smooth off the rough edges.

Lord, please let me accept Your grace to respond well when you bring mirrors and sandpaper into my life. Let me judge myself, that I may be "judged of no man".

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 2 - Additions & Subtractions

So, a few more names/offenses popped up, and I had a little trouble with the "don't speak to any of them.." part. I need to add the new items to the list, and let the Holy Spirit lay His hand on my mouth.

Matthew 12:34-36 teaches that the mouth is the overflow valve for the heart, and my heart is full-to-overflowing with all this grief. The first time I had a chance to share this program/process with a friend (who also happens to be an offender), I found myself venting. To him. About him. oops.  Does it help that I said I was sorry, and acknowledged that my resentment has been my choice, my responsibility?

It occurred to me this morning that my time is terribly occupied with the continual rehearsing of all this mess. It's like I'm dragging all these people around behind me with chains, everywhere I go. I'm determined not to let them go until they say they're sorry, and give me back the personal worth I believe they took away.

It makes me wonder what my life will be like when I completely release them into the custody of my Judge/Advocate. How much time and energy have I been losing every waking (and sleeping) moment?

Monday, November 26, 2012

30 Days of Forgiveness

Long time between posts. A life of resentment takes up a lot of energy. Then the unsolvable health problems begin to emerge, bringing needed motivation to get back on topic.

In a recent discussion, it was suggested my chronic health challenges may be due to some emotional and/or spiritual blockages. A true friend repeated the challenge to forgive the offenders, for the sake of my own healing.
Well, how 'healing' is it to let bullies off scott free?

Elisabeth Elliot (widow of slain missionary, Jim Elliot):
           "Forgiveness doesn't make them right; it makes you free."

When I give my offenders--and the full dockets of their crimes--over to the Righteous Judge, He will deal His perfect justice to them. His grace grants me 'trusting obedience' and enables me to leave the courtroom in complete confidence. Once outside, the Holy Spirit envelopes me in His comfort and protection. The point is to continue on in His strength; and to resist the temptation to barge back inside and make sure the Judge is doing His job!

Trouble begins again when I don't see enough 'judgment' in their lives, or when they re-offend in mine. Trusting Obedience says, "Wait, His timing is best". Is my heart panting for vengeance or restoration? When God judged me for my wrongs, what was His motivation? A close look at His Law and Christ's teachings shows clearly that while justice is essential, the goal is restoration.

So what does Ephesians 4:29 mean to me?
  "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
                      even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

For the sake of the judgment Christ took on the cross, God has forgiven me for my unbelief and self-will. Not because I deserved it, but because Jesus paid for it before I even asked. Before I was even born. Because God so deeply loved me, and Jesus cried out to Him for my restoration. Is He not equally crying out for the restoration of my offenders?

So this is the challenge: 
Speak forgiveness for 30 Days 
Out loud, every day, in chambers alone with the Judge, my Advocate.
Demonstrating my desire and will to obediently yield it all to His resolution by deliberately, daily, declaring my determination to defer to His demand.

The abusive parent, the controlling spouse, the flawed spiritual authority figure, the stubborn offspring, the provoking co-worker, the backbiting employee, the gossipy family member, the bullying sibling, the contentious 'friend'. Each listed with just a few representative offenses, delivered to the Judge.
Each day.
With their restoration in view. Resisting the Devil, so he will flee from me, taking his accusations and lies--and torment-- with him.

      My Father, let me determine to speak nothing to any of them for the 30 days. As I meet with you in chambers each day, work your cleansing in my heart. Let me acknowledge my transgressions to You, so that I also may be forgiven by others.
     Shine the light of your Truth in the hearts of all concerned and free us from the fears that make us lash out. Let Your grace provide me the strength and desire to do Your will. In the Name and Power of the cleansing blood of Jesus I pray, Amen.