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Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

Forgiveness tastes salty. Sometimes, unconditional love tastes salty, too. The only thing I know to do when hurt comes, not offense, just hurt – is to call on the Father, maybe sometimes in a Knight in Shining Armor kind of way to save the damsel in me. Because sometimes when hurt comes, love and forgiveness are overwhelmed and need saving, He is the only one who can do it.

Prayer for when Love and Forgiveness feel Overwhelmed by Hurt

“Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me!
Take hold of shield and buckler
and rise for my help!
Draw the spear and javelin
against my pursuers!
Say to my soul,
‘I am your salvation!’”
(Psalm 35: 1-3)

Father, yes, contend against those who contend against me. Champion this damsel in distress. Let me feel your protection from the fight, the battle – you are my salvation. You are the only Knight in Shining Armour who can win this battle. But let your spear and javelin be the spear and javelin of truth that pierces hearts, lancing untruth, prejudice, negativism and applying the healing balm of your spirit.

“Let them be put to shame and dishonor
who seek after my life!
Let them be turned back and disappointed
who devise evil against me!
Let them be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the Lord driving them away!
Let their way be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the Lord pursuing them”
(Psalm 35: 4-6).

Father, if there is shame or dishonor, let it be only in the recognition of the truth and love of my heart. When turned back, let it be with peace and rejoicing in truth. Do no let them become like chaff before the wind, let not the angel of the Lord drive them away. Let their way become sure-footed, truth-footed, God-footed, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them for salvation, not destruction. Let your love and forgiveness be meted out by a heart embracing truth and love.

“For without cause they hid their net for me;
without cause they dug a pit for my life.
Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it!
And let the net that he hid ensnare him;
let him fall into it—to his destruction!”
(Psalm 35: 7-8)

The evidence is before you Father, the nets hid, a pit dug – all without merit. Yet, let not destruction come, let not traps ensare into destruction. Let Salvation ensare, captured by your saving grace. Let truth and love permeate  souls Father. Let redemption be found through your ways.

“Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord,
exulting in his salvation.
All my bones shall say,
“O Lord, who is like you,
delivering the poor
from him who is too strong for him,
the poor and needy from him who robs him?”

(Psalm 35: 9-10)

My soul rejoices in you Oh, Lord, exulting in your salvation. All my bones, from my toes upward cry out, “O Lord, who is like you” for you deliver me from situations too strong for me, from situations that seek to rob me, from situations I cannot comprehend.

“Malicious witnesses rise up;
they ask me of things that I do not know.
They repay me evil for good;
my soul is bereft”
(Psalm 35: 11-12)

 I try to love Father – in words, actions and thoughts. But my words, actions and thoughts are mis-interepreted, mis-used or lost in translation.  My soul is bereft: beggared, destitute, left without, impoverished, disinherited, barren, cast off, without breath.

“But I, when they were sick—
I wore sackcloth;
I afflicted myself with fasting;
I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother;
as one who laments his mother,
I bowed down in mourning”
(Psalm 35: 13-14)

Oh, father, I can only love the way I know how. Is there more? Is there a better way? I have tried every love language, tried to love your way, through you, sometimes graceless like a dancer with wounded feet, but always full-hearted, a no-holds barred loving.

“But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered;
they gathered together against me;
wretches whom I did not know
tore at me without ceasing;
like profane mockers at a feast,
they gnash at me with their teeth”
(Psalm 35: 15-16)

At each wrong foot unintentionally placed, at each word imperfectly chosen, at each moment awkwardly loved – offense was taken, resulting in retribution that tore at me, constantly. Not forgiven or overlooked, like spilled milk at a feast where it is cleaned up and camaraderie continues – but my gracelessness, my imperfection stays center stage, judged, ridiculed, continual bruising and scratching of my heart, no moving forward, no loving forward, hurt that nips and pulls at my soul. Who cares but you, Oh Father, about these wounds? Who but you can heal them?

“How long, O Lord, will you look on?
Rescue me from their destruction,
my precious life from the lions!
I will thank you in the great congregation;
in the mighty throng I will praise you.
Let not those rejoice over me
who are wrongfully my foes,
and let not those wink the eye
who hate me without cause.
For they do not speak peace,
but against those who are quiet in the land
they devise words of deceit.
They open wide their mouths against me;
they say, ‘Aha, Aha!
Our eyes have seen it'”
(Psalm 35: 19-21)

If there is something barring you from interceding on my behalf, open my eyes to it Lord. Is there a reason I am to walk through this Father? Please rescue from this destructive hurt. You have told me I am precious to you, a favored daughter. Rescue me,  Father. I will tell the story of my Knight in Shining Armour who rode out of heaven to lift me up, who saved me, healed blindness, healed embittered hearts, healed wounds – and restored.

Let restoration be true Father. Not a 6-year-old, “I’m sorry” to escape punishment – but real heart changes. Let there be change, deep soul-change: restoration where love flourishes, words embrace, peace flows from a Holy Spirit stream of heart – oh, Father, let us embrace each other inside the circle of your family with loving intent.

“You have seen, O Lord; be not silent!
O Lord, be not far from me!
Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication,
for my cause, my God and my Lord!
Vindicate me, O Lord, my God,
according to your righteousness,
and let them not rejoice over me!
Let them not say in their hearts,
‘Aha, our heart’s desire!’
Let them not say, ‘We have swallowed him up'”
(Psalm 35: 22-25)

Rescue me Father. You know the truth. Champion me, Lord. Ride to my rescue. Be. With.  Me. – be with this heart that strives imperfectly to live your cause, to live as your daughter, to love all your children. Vindicate. Exonerate. Defend me, Oh, Lord. You have said I am your daughter, a daughter of the King, the creator, the great I Am. You have pursued me, told me I belong to you, that every hair on my head is counted, that every tear is collected. In your mighty love for me Father, that is too much for me to comprehend, to big for me to fathom, in your mighty love father, rescue me, redeem me, restore me, save me from this battle.

“Let them be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who rejoice at my calamity!
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
who magnify themselves against me!
Let those who delight in my righteousness
shout for joy and be glad
and say evermore,
“Great is the Lord,
who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
and of your praise all the day long” (Psalm 35:26-28)

As I try to live love and forgiveness, Father, I ask for shame and dishonour to not be brought against those who hurt me. I ask that shame and dishonour be replaced with forgiveness and redemption, that hearts are changed, that souls are changed – and that love prevails. Thank you Father for surrounding me with those who encourage me, who know the righteousness of my heart, my intents. I thank you that they rejoice with me that you delight in the welfare of me, your servant, your daughter – and I will tell the story, the continual story of your Hero to my damsel in distress.

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My husband said quietly, “If you’re still talking about it, you haven’t forgiven it.” Forgiveness deletes stories.

I realized these hurts that I carry around were like cheap trophies boasting of no great win. War wounds continually picked at couldn’t heal, wounds not of nobleness and courage but of weakness and loss.  Not a fireside story of inspiration. Why did I keep telling the hurt stories? The injustice stories?

. . . because I wanted resolution, restoration, justice

But forgiveness is not about resolution. It is about letting go, and that means to stop talking about it – unless it is a redemption story, a ministry story, a where-God-took-me-after-forgiveness story to teach others about forgiveness.

God shows us how to forgive. He shows us forgiveness throws sins into unretrievable places.

  • He ” throw(s) them into the depths of the ocean!” (Micah 7:19)
  • as far as the east is from the west, “ (Psalms 103:12)
  • behind your back (Isaiah 38:17)

He WANTS to “remember(s) your sins NO MORE” (Isaiah 43:25). He does not retell how you have slighted Him. He sent His son to build that bridge of forgiveness to Him. He built it on the cross: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Today, I walked away from the offense, the hurt. Crossed the bridge of forgiveness into a place of blessing, green pastures, milk and honey, shade, streams of living water, peace. The hurt stories and the injustice tales couldn’t follow me across that bridge – and I couldn’t carry them across. If I wanted to get to that place on the other side, I had to drop, fling or just set those stories and tales down.

Across the bridge of forgiveness, God will heal me, strengthen me – and the stories I tell will change, transformed by my forgiveness, my setting down.

Are you still talking about it?

Do you need to hit the delete button of your story collection?

Messy Marriage

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springnestI didn’t want to talk about forgiveness – because how do you forgive when there is no resolution to the slights, the hurts, whether unintentional or not, whether carelessly, thoughtlessly given or not, but God would not let me walk away from this – because there are people God calls us to NOT walk away from. 

A storm whipped through during suppertime Saturday night. Power lines, big trees, limbs covered major and minor roads. In the morning, the boys picked up branches and twigs, lots of twigs – the kinds of twigs birds build nests out of, nests that are often hard to find, like nests of unforgiveness:

A maple twig of criticism, an apple blossom spray of disbelief, a sycamore’s shoot of confidence betrayed

and my nest of unforgiveness grows

and, because they seem so little, so harmless, so repetitive, I keep them

a hickory switch of rejection, unlove word-sprays from a dogwood, the laurel switch of deception

and my nest grows

a little birch of embarrassment, a cherry twig of dishonesty, an oak sprig of exclusion

and the plumage of my soul wears thin

Living forgiveness is not a one time action, a one time letting go. It is an over and over again thing – by people who should know better and people who don’t – our children, our spouses, the links and limbs of family, friends close and far, an inconsiderate college student who cuts in front of a 9-month pregnant mama’s parking space, souls we don’t know but brush up against in the wear and tear of daily living. Some hurts pierce and the deliverer doesn’t even realize their release.

“Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven
Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven”
(Matt. 18:21-23)

These hurtings, these twigs that pierce my heart and build a nest, from careless, unconscious cause-effect. I pick them up, not realizing the nest I am building, this nest of my unforgiveness.

And, then I remember who I am, who my Father is, how I do not have to live, that this nest I have built – I need to let go, so that when I see my brother or sister out of the corner of my eye or the edge of my mind, I don’t see the twig, spray or switch I picked up. I see the heart of another brother or sister in Christ, or maybe a brother or sister in waiting.

Forgiveness forgets, not just God’s forgiveness, but mine, too

like God forgives my cause-effect living

“And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins” (Psalm 103:12)

He keeps my wrong-doings as far away from me as possible, so that when He looks at me – He does not see my sin from the corner of His eyes or on the edge of His memory.  My sin was burned up in the living sacrifice of Jesus.

Like the worn mythological phoenix and her next of twigs, consumed in fire and reborn,

Let, O Lord, my forgiveness given,

fiercely ignite this nest of twigs,

both me and my nest of hurts,  burning, consumed in this redemptive fire

until I emerge from the ash heap of hurts

rebirthed through fresh forgiveness given

refreshed, cleansed, the plumage of my soul radiant

Recognizing that forgiving is not a one time thing

forgiveness is not resolution but rebirth through forgiveness

When the next storm blows through my life

leaving twigs, strewn about, and unable to help myself,

I once again bend to gather and rebuild an unforgiving nest of my heart,

My heart pinches, is pricked by these twigs, sprays and switches

Waiting for me to light the fire of forgiveness.

Hopefully, confidently, I will learn to forgive more quickly, to see the twig in my hand before I put it to the nest, or not bend to pick up but walk on by, but God knows what wounds me, what hurts me, that I am fallible, sin-prone and my mind is not like His.

Like the cycle of the Phoenix and her nest, I choose to ignite forgiveness and emerge renewed, unhurt. Unlike the Phoenix, Forgiveness is real and powerful – and is never used up.

Messy Marriage

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