I’ve learned — 1
that you cannot make someone love you.
All you can do is be someone who can be loved.
The rest is up to them.
I’ve learned — 2
that no matter how much I care,
some people just don’t care back.
I’ve learned — 3
that it takes years to build up trust,
and only seconds to destroy it.
I’ve learned — 4
that it’s not what you have in your life
but who you have in your life that counts.
I’ve learned — 5
that you can get by on charm
for about fifteen minutes.
After that, you’d better know something.
I’ve learned — 6
that you shouldn’t compare
yourself to the best others can do
but to the best you can do.
I’ve learned — 7
that it’s not what happens to people
that’s important. It’s what they do about it.
I’ve learned — 8
that you can do something in an instant
that will give you heartache for life.
I’ve learned — 9
that no matter how thin you slice it,
there are always two sides.
I’ve learned — 10
that it’s taking me a long time
to become the person I want to be.
“But Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to those people God has called—Jews and Greeks.”
1 Corinthians 1:24, NCV
I’m not sure who wrote this, I can’t remember even where or how I found this. I’m obviously not the author. But it is an excellent piece of thought, I really hope it blesses you– making you see your life through some simple wisdom.
I do know that I have a Savior who is within me, living His life through me. Today, I choose to rest in His unfailing love for me.
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:32, NLT
Great hearts are often shuttled through experiences with intense forgiving. The Father tutors us through out our earthly lives, with many visits to this classroom. It is here we get our learning. It will happen several times in our walk, and we carry different nuances, or slants. Each time we are required to forgive authentically. The course is set for us. We can’t choose to skip these lessons without injuring ourselves, and harming others.
We are learning to love– it is our calling and destiny. There are no “accidents” or misaligned ‘drop-outs’ here. We step into our classroom, and the Teacher and Comforter begins His instruction. Many things will strike you as diabolical. Deep inside us we have simply no idea of how “this” will turn out for good. And you’d be right. But the power of God steps in, and “all is well”.
Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch Christian. After her release from a Nazi concentration camp, she began traveling the world and speaking to any who would have her. The needs of postwar Europe were desperate. She traveled as an evangelist telling people who Jesus is and spoke about His redemption. She gave many people hope.
Through her travels she came in contact with a few of the guards that had been a part of the Nazi regime and had to practice forgiveness that only Jesus can bring. The first encounter with one of her previous jailers proved to be most difficult.
Here is an excerpt from her book, “The Hiding Place”.
“It was a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there – the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain-blanched face.
He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,” he said. “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!” His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.
Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.
I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.
She then took his hand and the most incredible thing happened.
From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.
And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”
Corrie’s Wisdom for Us
There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.
Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.
It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.
When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.
Faith is like radar that sees through the fog-the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.
Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.
Thoughts from Other Believers
Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. Author Unknown
To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. C.S. Lewis
There is such a big difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. It takes two to reconcile, so it is not always possible to be reconciled. But it takes only one to forgive. So if people do you wrong, forgive them, whether or not they ask for forgiveness. You cannot cancel their sin. Only God can do that, and He will only do it if they repent. But what you can do is set aside your own anger, bitterness, and resentment towards them. Philip Graham Ryken
Forgiveness may be described as a decision to make four promises:
“I will not dwell on this incident.”
“I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you.”
“I will not talk to others about this incident.”
“I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.” Ken Sande
For her efforts to hide Jews from arrest and deportation during the German occupation of the Netherlands, Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) received recognition from the Yad Vashem Remembrance Authority as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” on December 12, 1967.
“The Hiding Place” and her many other books can be purchased at Amazon.com. It really must be read and there is a movie out with the same name.
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Colossians 3:13, ESV
Remember “Mr. Freeze?” (Not the rapper, but the supervillain.) He was a DC Comics ‘evil-bad guy.’ He wreaked terrible havoc using ice. It was his specialty, his weapon of choice. In the later issue comic books he wore a cryonic suit and used a “freeze gun” and his victims would be turned into an instant icicle.
But “freezing” people happens far too often. We don’t need a suit or a special gun. We do it with our words, attitudes, actions. It is called unforgiveness, or stigma, or just plain contempt. It locks another person in a place were they will stay forever, and you won’t ever have to deal with them.
We glaciate others with extraordinary ease. Someone offends me, or irritates me and I blast them. In my mind I solidify them into one spot, and there they are locked. Sealed away, and out of my thinking. (And I can avoid those pesky urges to humble myself.)
I have been frozen by others— and I have been the ‘freezer’ as well. The sad part is that we ourselves are so far from perfect. When we zap someone we will never, ever ‘receive’ from that person. We can even preclude them as outside of the grace of God. “You offend me, and I will never forget it, and you will never be more than an evil miscreant to me.” My rationale is “life is too short for hassling with jerks like you.” But I can’t fully accept that idea. That is not God’s will for me, and I know it.
We end up debasing ourselves by our own unforgiveness. We restrict others from the Holy Spirit’s transforming ability. In our mind’s eye, the wicked person will never be able to offer up anything of value. We freeze–locking them into a place. And a vast amount comes from an unforgiveness that is ‘fallen’, and an unbelief in God’s grace and power.
Perhaps all our personality conflicts are merely chances for us to learn how to love and receive special things from God. But we get confused with ‘our difficult people’ and situations. In our immaturity, we simply put them away where they cannot hurt us again. We may even encourage others to do the same.
Furthermore, any use of our ‘freeze gun’ freezes us as well. Unforgiveness turns on us (which we didn’t count on) and the effect is cumulative. We can only absorb so much and we get hard and cold.
One more thing. We do this to whole groups of people. The alcoholics, the mentally ill, other races. This can be called prejudice or stigma. Ask yourself this–have you ever been stigmatized or demonized? You will usually know it. But we cannot afford to be controlled by our unforgiveness. There is far too much at stake.
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop.”
I’ve been exposed to a lot of winds blowing through, and moving on. You learn to separate the chaff from the grain. Much of my life has been spent winnowing out to get to the good stuff. God, through his word describes a coming “trial by fire” over each person’s works. Romans 14:12 says, “Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.”
One time I walked as a backslidden Christian. I remember once waking up from a drunken stupor with my t-shirt soaked in blood. That blood was someone elses. I sobered up really quick. There was this shadowy awareness of beating someone to the point of death. I still catch myself wondering what exactly happened. There is so much stuff that will be revealed, and I have done many despicable things.
The judgment seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf and our faith in Him. All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them. We should not look at the judgment seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives. Yes, as the Bible says, we will have to give an account of ourselves. Part of this is surely answering for the sins we committed.
The word used is “bema seat”, it was where the judge sat during athletic contests. Think of the high chair on which a court official sits during a tennis match. His word is not to be debated or ignored. Jesus fully intends to judge us.
The issue will not be our salvation, but our faithfulness.
Loving Jesus must become your critical objective for the rest of your days, 1 Peter 4:8, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” We also read of the sinful woman who washed Jesus feet, “therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)
My dear one, practice loving him– starting today. Many are the doers, few be the lovers. The demanding weight of evangelism and world missions has quadrupled in the last 10 years. Now is our time! We love much! Time is becoming short.
October has been set aside for appreciation of our pastors. I encourage you to pray for them and their families.
Within our personal issues of vulnerability, there are usually great problems. These are tender areas: Alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illnesses, homosexuality, sex addiction, porn and chronic depression are all substantial issues of pain and conflict. But as defeated strugglers we are often intimidated by leadership in the Church.
It seems all we can see is their authority, and we are fearful. Typically, in our fellowships, our pastors and elders are men. And that alone can sometimes create issues in hearts looking for a tenderness that will heal.
Rather than opening our brokenness up to our shepherds, we fabricate illusions of sufficiency and invulnerability. We are afraid, and our pain still resides in our hearts. (We were never designed to carry this.)
As strugglers with great pain and confusion, we often brand ourselves as hopeless and completely defeated. Some of us secretly believe that they have committed the unpardonable sin. But this is a lie, as God forgives every sin.
They’ve heard they are going to hell no matter what they do, so they are permanently separated from God. They need to know this is a lie, because when “we confess our sins, the blood of Jesus covers them ALL and cleanses us from all unrighteousness”(1 John 1:9).
Many of us who struggle have a ugly and a twisted sense of our leaders in the Church. We get “really weird” whenever we meet them– an intense paranoia. Typically, we sense avoidance of those who try to pastor us. As a result our flaws and weaknesses will only grow us away (not towards) the Church.
Cellulitis is bacterial infection of the skin and underlying tissue. While I was in the Army, I developed this inflammation in my right forearm. It started as a very small spot. My arm quickly ballooned up, and within days I couldn’t bend my arm. The infection just continued to grow and spread. But I refused to see a physician. When I finally did, they had to drain the wound, and I was put on heavy-duty antibiotics and bedrest. I could have easily lost my arm.
Often we try to live a life separated from outside intervention. We avoid people who could really help us. But we are sick, and need a pastor or elder to work through these things. But they intimidate us, and we expect to be rebuked, reprehended and rejected. Certainly that there is often a need for scriptural correction, but always in love– and even some tears.
An Open Note to All Pastors and Leaders:
There is almost always a definite frailty that is common in the hearts of us strugglers. We have fought for our spirituality, sanity, personality and even our sexuality. We have very few relationships, and the ones we do have are seldom healthy. We are intimidated by authority and afraid of any kind of transparency. We live under a enormous pile of shame and nasty guilt.
We need “good shepherds” that can be deliberately gentle and tender. Pastors and elders ought to reflect the astonishing grace of God. We need His deep love, and you must show us what that’s like. Please show us. Verbalize it. We need to know that we have been forgiven, over and over. Make much of the Grace of God.
You may already know this, but some in your flock have broken walls. Our boundaries are down; they are crumbled, and we are in true danger. We need you to help us, and share His love and acceptance, and yours as well. We need to be immersed in the atmosphere of spiritual kindness and forgiveness. It’s not you being a perfect pastor, but us together knowing a perfect God, who flows through yours (and my) imperfection quite willingly.
“We don’t forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it–because we need it.”― Bree Despain
We are not like the “norms” in your congregations. It is highly unlikely we will be completely healed in this life. Also, many of us are gifted by the Holy Spirit, but we are flawed and we struggle a lot.Pastors must grow in their gifting, so maybe we will grow together.But please consider this; perhaps you need us as much as we need you (?).
“But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts.”
When you are in debt, whether $50 or $50,000 there is that anxiety of being in slavery to the lender. And when we begin to line up the spiritual with the physical we learn that we are all in debt. We all owe more than we have. Most of us realize this, and many just “turn off the spiritual apparatus” that seems to keep harping on this, and then we tell ourselves repeatedly that it really isn’t true.
All are in debt. Of course not everyone is the same, we have different sins. Some have lived a deliberately dark, prodigal life (as in “drugs, sex and rock-n-roll”). Others, embracing a strained moralism of some kind, have apparently sinned less (think choir boys, “Snow White”). But no matter, for “all have sinned and fallen short.” All means all. Fallen means a complete collapse.
In this parable, Jesus adroitly tells the story of two men who were indebted to a very rich man. One owed a relatively small amount, but yet it was significant enough for this man to worry and to hope maybe for some mercy. He knew that he owed, and knew he lacked the means to pay what was required.
The second man owed far more, many times beyond the first man. This guy was very deep in debt. The modern equivalent was close to $50,000, and in ancient times this would have been a staggering amount of money. But he too held out for mercy; and hoped for the forgiveness of his debt (stranger things have happened). The astonishing thing is that the rich man completely and unreservedly forgave both.
Kindness alone was that which motivated him. These two men would be released without any conditions, liens or liabilities. They walked into the room expecting imprisonment, and they walked out with all their debts forgiven. Plain and simple. The amazing fact for you and me is this– we have been released from the ponderous weight of our sins, and yet we are really confused. The sins have been taken from us and we bear them no more! The guilt of your transgressions has been cut away from your soul.
The work of Jesus Christ dying on that cross, not for His sin, but for mine, ours and theirs, allows even the most vile of us to walk, scot-free.
Some who read this have committed spectacular sins. You have piled up more sin and evil than others around you. But no matter, it’s all forgiven. It’s time to believe this, take your pardon and walk out into the bright sunshine as a free man or woman. There is no record of your sins, you can scour heaven and earth looking for it and there is no evidence. Except for His nail-prints.&
“Lord, I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better I’d have come running with a bucket.”
There can be no freedom from condemnation without submission to the saving life of Christ. This is a definite and critical point.
Without a faith in Him, we are left with the option of carrying our own guilt. This is a staggering possibility, and our lives turn to drinking and “drugging” and other things. We must escape from all this pain and sin. We are walking out condemnation, and the weight of this is immense.
Much of our life can be distilled from this viciousness. We absorb it, adapt to it, thinking it will ease up some. But it doesn’t, and it won’t. We turn to all kinds of ‘pain absorbers’ looking to cope with this mindset. There are escapes, and we try them all. But ultimately we end up with one that is quite imperfect, and we ‘sort of’ become a little numb. Our hearts become numb and hard.
Condemnation twists us and who are in Christ.
It deforms our spirit and destroys our confidence before our Father in Heaven. His love is still being poured out, but we have placed a cover on our vessel. We are blocking His mercy by our unwillingness to be forgiven. All of our guilt seems a reasonable reaction to the heaviness of our sin.
Humans were not designed to handle guilt, and its “cousin” fear. When we do try, we short-circuit. Pain is always avoided, and that ends up corralling us into bondage. From here, we can still mentally assent to the Bible; we can still have a sense of spirituality. But it will always be filtered through our sense of condemnation.
Faith in the complete action of Jesus is enough. Because I believe He carried the full weight of my sin, past—-present—future, I can walk out a free man. Yes, sin does require justice, it is to be condemned. But my faith, trust or confidence enables me to separate from the sin that would take me, straight to the bottom.
In this release, we are supposed to live. Freed from every condemnation. You must displace condemnation with grace.
We have the joy of the forgiven sinner, and that really makes no sense at all.
It isn’t at all rational. But it is legal, and it is binding. And permanent. There have been too many lies, for too long. Grace is meant to be the most radical concept we have ever confronted. And truly it is.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”