How Do I Forgive and Not Keep Getting Hurt?

pic by bing / healingthoughtsblog.com

I heard the following advice at a conference and later shared it with a friend. At the conference, the speaker was thinking large (like in relationships between countries) and small (like when a husband abuses his wife). My question for you, is this Biblical?

Forgiveness
As Christians we must forgive others. You need to forgive, regardless of whether you see the person again. Forgiveness does not require that person to apologize. Nor does it require reconciliation. Restraint may even be part of the situation. You forgive, but you restrain the person from hurting you or the ones you love.

Reconciliation                                                                                                             Reconciliation is when the relationship is put back in a right place. This requires repentance/apologizing (possibly on both sides). Reconciliation means you forgive and you come back into a right relationship with one another, AND you don’t hurt the other person because you have changed/repented.

Restraint                                                                                                                                      You can forgive someone, as in truly come to believe that they do not owe you anything (even an apology), without continuing a relationship with them (reconciliation). Some people do not change. If someone cannot stop hurting you or someone you love, restraint might be needed. Notice the use of the word “restraint” not “retaliation.”

Repentance
To really reconnect with someone I have hurt, I must repent of my actions. I must admit I did it, confess it is wrong and stop doing it. This is real repentance. Saying, “I’m sorry, but…” will not cut it. No excuses. Repent and experience reconcilitation. Without repentance, there is no reconciliation.

What do you think? Is this Biblical or am I trying to get out of doing what God calls me to do when someone slaps me on the cheek? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Monday Prayer

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pic courtesy of bing.com/internetmonk.com

Dear Father,

When we think about your awesome power, there is a lot to be thankful for. You light up the sky with flashes of lightning, you’ve made the sun at just the right distance so that we’re not too hot and not too cold, and the earth spins because you command it to.

And yet we are the crown of your creation, and the apple of your eye. You have done for us what no other man could or would do. You have sent your son to save us. And if that doesn’t open our eyes, then nothing will.

Help us O Lord, to remember the commitment we made to you at our baptism, the day you wiped the slate clean and let us start over. It is because of you that we have strength to overcome our addictions, our hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

We all share a common struggle with sin. The evil one wants to drag us down, but we want to be raised up. So raise us up, and where we have fallen give us the forgiveness to stand again, when we are tempted to give up, lift our eyes to the cross, and when we suffer, help us to remember that we have a family that suffers with us and a God who suffered for us.

As David said, “Wash us and make us clean. Turn your eyes from our sins and cover our guilt. Create pure thoughts in us and make us faithful again”

In the name of Jesus we pray, AMEN.

~ Murphy Majorie and Patrick Bowman

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Set the table

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This is a guest post by Michelle Harris Suter.  Wife, Mother of three and Follower of Christ.

Priscilla Shirer began her day of teaching last Saturday with this visual…”God has prepared an enormous banquet for you but you have to get your own plate, fork, knife and cup and take a seat at the table in order to benefit from this grand meal.”  I like what she’s saying already.  God has the goods, but we must take action as well to take advantage of it all.

The day was full of great teaching, studying the story of Elijah, his prophesy in front of King Ahab and notorious Queen Jezebel, his escape to the brook where he was miraculously cared for by ravens and shielded from King Ahab’s search party.  We looked at his transformation from leaning on his own ability to trusting God through impossible circumstances to see miracles happen — God ability. 1 Kings 17 and 18.  Go read it!  I loved how many great visuals Priscilla brought to light through this passage.

I am a visual person, cannot sit and read directions, just show me how to do it, right? Beside “setting the table” she talked about “slow cooking with Jesus” taking time to go through the process with Jesus so that he builds the character in us needed to do the tasks He’s prepared for us.  Ephesians 2:10

She told a story of her son who found a treasured acorn in the bottom of a mason jar, but when he tried to retrieve it, his clenched fist wouldn’t fit through the mouth of the jar. Sometimes God asks us to let go of something because He sees the bigger picture that we can’t.  Sometimes we need to separate ourselves from something that might be keeping us from the next step in our process with Jesus.  The idea being, trust God and let go. Can you see why I enjoyed all this so much?  Setting the table, slow cooking, mason jars….this southern girl is hooked.

The last image to leave you with was her morning cup of tea.  She talked about her tea kettle, how she starts the water and walks away to work on something else, coming back when the water is ready. On one particular day she decided to stand by the tea kettle waiting for the water to heat.  At the first sign of steam, she poured her cup only to find her tea lukewarm after just a few minutes.  I loved this, because she mentioned that we do this with God, we don’t always walk through the process of being prepared, developed — heated up, that we head off to fight the giants at the first sign of steam.  “Everyone wants to be sent, not everyone wants to be separated to walk through each stage of the process so that our character will be ready for the task.”

There’s a lot for me to still think and pray about, but this makes me ask, where am I in the process?  What do I need to let go of in order to move forward?  Gonna go get my plate and fork and sit at the table for a while.

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Heaven Is For Real

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The Beauty Within

pic courtesy of bing/Beautiful Flowers in Sky Background

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Campfire: Be Light

IMG_8543Having someone shine a flashlight in your face is no fun. Just thinking about it, my face curls up into that shape. You know what I’m talking about. Perhaps you have seen people shine the light of Christ in the face of others. The same facial expression is made.

God wants us to be light, but not to shine our light in people’s faces. Light in darkness does not need to be directed at people. In fact, it is not really serving its purpose when it does this. Light is meant to be in darkness to guide, direct, serve.

If you have ever been in the woods at night, you know the value of light. The best kind, of course, is a campfire. Oh yeah. Campfires provide not only light, but warmth. In a dark and scary place, campfires are a refuge. People are attracted to campfires in the woods.

Do you know what kind of light people are not attracted to in the woods? Forest fires. They run from those. Forest fires will hurt you at best and have the destructive power to kill you.

As Jesus followers, God calls us to be light. Choose to be a campfire and not a forest fire. Be light in darkness that guides, directs and serves rather than consumes, overwhelms and destroys. May you be light.

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Monday Prayer

pic courtesy of bing / heavenly father

pic courtesy of bing / heavenly father

Loving Lord, you tell us in the Bible that whatever wrong we have done you tread down our faults to the bottom of the sea.

We know there is no need to keep thinking about what we have done in the past, because you pardon the wrongs we have done, and you delight in showing mercy.

You bind up all our wounds and you renew us by your love.

Lord, you love all that you have made, and it is your very nature to love and forgive.

Lead us to be generous in accepting and forgiving others in the same way as you accept and forgive us. Amen.

~ Accepting and forgiveness in the scriptures (Micah 7:18-19, Isaiah 43:18, Psalms 147:3)

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