Posted: June 8th, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: advice, aftermath, bitterness, faith, forgive, freedom, grace, healing, hope, love wins, sin |
13 Comments »
A few years ago, I had an affair that ended my marriage. All of my Christian friends will have nothing to do with me and I can’t get them to even talk to me.
What are we supposed to do in that situation? I know that God has forgiven me and changed me through this, but they don’t see it and they keep denying His power in my life. It crushes me. I know I was wrong, but they are, too. …
It’s hard to understand when people refuse to see the grace in your life the way you feel it. Sometimes it’s a battle to believe it for yourself. The bullets are still flying at you after the cease fire was called. It’s even worse when people you looked up to, who should know better, deny everything they preach with the way they treat you.
Times like this reveal a person’s true character. Sometimes it’s hard to watch it go down.
The trap to avoid is the urge to withhold grace from those who withhold grace from you. Grace doesn’t wait for the person to fix themselves. It doesn’t choose between bad and really bad. You should be an expert in that.
Don’t do anything you’ll have to apologize for later.
Nobody can take away what God has given you. It’s time to let God take care of your validation. He has His own timing for everything.
If you focus on the pain they’re causing you and are continually feeling like you’re being mistreated, then you will not get past focusing on yourself. It breeds bitterness.
This isn’t a battle between people, don’t let yourself sink to that level. You’re in a spiritual battle of faith. The battle is against resentment, self-pity, and entitlement. The battle is to believe Jesus when everyone else denies Him.
Every time someone attacks you, hell is trying to get you to doubt the power of the sacrifice of Jesus. That’s what is really going on. They taste the bile on their tongues and they think that’s the way your name tastes. They don’t know that the bile comes from inside them. As long as they don’t say your name, they don’t taste the bile. If they don’t taste the bile, then they never have to face their own disease of unbelief.
God is bringing them through their own journey, and this situation may be a big part of that. Be merciful because you know what mercy is. Be graceful because you know what grace is. Allow them the room to make mistakes and learn from them, just like you have.
Nobody who keeps a ledger of sins committed against them has a clue who God is.
You may never get your friends back. It’s a fact of life. I know it hurts and it may take a long time to accept, but just because you accept it doesn’t mean it will be set it in stone. I just frees you to be positive and productive while everything finds a place to land. Maybe they’ll come around, maybe you’ll be a little old lady when you get the call. But, maybe that will never happen on this side of life’s curtain. You have to let yourself heal without them. Let the scars seal in the good memories and don’t let the bad one’s infect it.
Remember, affairs are not just a religious horror, it is a horrible thing for anybody in any walk. It’s never okay. You have no idea what you’re mistakes have caused others to face in their own lives. Women whose husbands have strayed, but they’re working it out: you represent pain to them. To them, it feels like you undermine their fight for healing. Everyone is different and their takeaway value from your experience is going to reflect what is going on inside of them. Let it play out, it’s going to anyway. God knows what’s going on and He always gets His way. Relax in that. Find the freedom in the release.
You’re going to be okay. If He says you’re free, you’re free.
13 Comments »
Posted: May 3rd, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: bitterness, judgment, personal |
3 Comments »
I was sitting at a table facing my husband and the window behind him. The little restaurant gets all of it’s character from being in a turn of the century building. The nuance gets to stay because it makes patrons feel a little cultured. The place isn’t pretentious, but it has a flair of something that brings in the rumpled business man who likes taste more than stature, college boys having lunch with their mothers, and couples wanting to lunch in a place tucked away.
They crossed my line of vision as they walked down the sidewalk. He was young and a bit on the small side. His mechanic’s uniform was too blousy and new to have any street credit yet. Holding his hand was his young wife. She walked slightly taller and thicker than him. She was dressed a too hot for eighty-four degrees, like she worked in an office that was too cold and didn’t get a lot of business. They were just another couple grabbing an afternoon vacation, trying to feel a little human before they have to go back to jobs that just get them by.
I saw them walk in like they had never been here before. I was twisting my lemon slice into my water. I never can get all the juice out without getting it all over my hands. I don’t like to leave the lemon in my glass because I’m not sure how clean it is. If they slice the lemon too thin, it just gets mutilated and I need two or three to really give my water a little lemon bite. I sat smashing lemon bits against the bottom of my glass with my straw while the couple held my attention. It didn’t help that they were at my two o’clock, but there was something about the guy’s body language that made me watch.
He was looking around more with his eyes than with his head, like he didn’t want to be noticed, like he was feeling ‘less-than’. He was holding his own hands, now, and not hers. They were barely breathing, neither said a word. It was like they both felt they didn’t belong but wanted to see what would happen if they walked in. I think the door shutting behind them sealed their presence too tightly and he looked like he wanted to run. He had a dejected look from the moment they walked in, like he was expecting rejection, but he still stood there too afraid to move or make his presence known, but he held his head up. I liked their bravery, even though it wasn’t necessary.
Not a single person in there noticed them but me, and they became a piece of art while I listened to the sounds of glasses hitting wooden tables and forks scraping against ceramic. The low murmur of conversation wasn’t aware of the invisible battle of self-worth that followed them like dust from their road. Only two people were working in the front of the restaurant and both of them were waiters. They sat people as they came in, then waited on them once they were seated. Both were in the back when the couple came in.
The couple gave the world less than two minutes to undo a lifetime of struggle before they turned around and left. They walked in expecting to not fit in and I watched them fulfill their own prophecy. And I wondered, how many times have I done that?
They crossed my line of vision in reverse. A mechanic and his wife holding hands and walking without words. Both heavy with the rejection they brought with them.
3 Comments »
Posted: August 27th, 2010 |
Filed under: life | Tags: bitterness, grace |
5 Comments »
A friend of mine, Leonard Sweet, posted a facebook update yesterday. The question in it sharpened me. He was talking about a moment in his own life when someone asked him this and it was a ‘game changer’ for him.
“What is it in your life it takes Jesus to explain?”
You can answer this directly if you want, but that leaves too much room open to not think about it. If you don’t think about it, then you get answers like ‘everything.’ But, that’s not true. It sounds religious, but it’s void of depth. It makes my mind wander and I think about all the other things religion has copied and wonder if religion has copied emotion, too. But, that’s just a side note. Answers like ‘everything’ could very well be true, but if it really were the case, you would have specifics to choose from. ‘Everything’ or other equally ‘nothing’ responses are so distant and detached, it’s hard for me to believe that there’s anything there. Mainly because when there is something there, you aren’t blase about it.
I spend a lot of time listening to people tell me how they can’t forgive themselves for their mistakes. Most people are able to believe in forgiveness for others, but not themselves. What I have learned along the way is that the biggest obstacle in the way of forgiving yourself is the people around you. People are waiting for ‘permission’ from others before they can forgive themselves, accept God’s grace and move on into freedom.
There is a fear if they accept God’s grace and start to let go of their past, that there will be people who are not ready for their freedom or joy. They’re right. There are people who, no matter how much time has gone by or how much God has done in your life, will only see your mistakes when they look at you.
I have heard about someone in my own community who has a hard time seeing me ‘happy’. She says it’s not because she doesn’t want me to be happy, but it just makes her angry to think that I am. She can only see my sin and it’s been years since I’ve been free and happy. I won’t reserve my freedom until she or anyone else is on board. I won’t get self-righteous and indignant toward her either. There will always be those people and you can’t let them determine who you are.
You can’t limit your relationship with Jesus due to fear of what people will think. This sounds like a middle school youth group message where the ‘people’ referred to are the ‘cool kids’ or school bullies. However, I am talking about ‘big brother’ Christians who forgot that they’re not the Father and are bossing you around when they think He can’t hear.
If it really was your father and your brother really was bullying you and trying to get an edge on your dad’s acceptance, then you’d probably go talk to him to see how much of the nonsense was true. Do that with God.
“What is it in your life it takes Jesus to explain?”
You don’t have to worry about what people think of you. You don’t have to be held back by someone else’s unbelief. You don’t have to convince them, either. Does it help to know that God’s grace, forgiveness and acceptance come a lot sooner than anybody is ready for? It takes Jesus to explain that one.
And He will.
Just because Jesus is with you doesn’t mean He’s not with them, too. I’m talking to you, the one who fell. Spend your time answering to Jesus. Tap into the faith He’s given you so that you can experience the freedom that He died for. The freedom from yourself and your failures and the offer of another chance. Focus on that and believe that He’s with them, too. If He can change your selfish heart, He can change their hard heart. You have no right to be bitter toward people who can’t offer you grace. You’re doing the very thing to them that they’re doing to you.
We have to give one another the room to be wrong and to learn from it. Be for them, what they can’t currently be for you. Forgive the blindness. Show mercy to the deceived. Prepare your heart to be open to them when they turn from their own confusion and need your forgiveness. Do it before they ask. Isn’t that what God does for us?
When you hear that question,
- what does it do for you?
- what is your answer?
- does it set you free knowing you don’t have to answer for yourself?
5 Comments »