Forgiveness Comes in One Big Package

Forgiveness Comes in One Big Package

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 “If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven  ― if there was anything to forgive  ― I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

Is there someone you are having difficulty forgiving? If you refuse to forgive someone, you sow seeds into the field of your mind that say, “You have to do something to earn forgiveness.” When those seeds take root, your subconscious mind tells you that you have to earn God’s forgiveness. But God’s forgiveness comes in one big package. It is an act of mercy; there is nothing you can do to earn it. By forgiving others (even though they may not have earned it), we are equipped to fully accept and experience God’s forgiveness for us.

Sometimes people have difficulty forgiving because they have the wrong perception of what forgiveness is. When you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean that your memory banks are wiped clean like when you reboot a computer. You will still remember what happened. However, forgiveness is a part of the healing process that allows the wounds of past memories to heal. Just like in our physical bodies, even when wounds heal, they can leave scars. True healing comes when we are able to see our scars as reminders of God’s faithfulness to bring us through situations rather than as a reminder of our pain. Forgiving others as God has forgiven you helps you focus your mind on what God has done to help you overcome your pain.

Forgiving someone is not saying that what the offender did is now OK. If what they did was wrong, it’s still wrong and forgiving them won’t make it right. You can forgive someone but still believe what they did was wrong. In our relationship with God, sin is sin. God doesn’t lower his expectations or wink at sin so that we are “OK,” He forgives us.

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Do You Need to Change Your Glasses?

Do You Need to Change Your Glasses?

Matthew 6:9-13  “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts (sins), as we also have forgiven our debtors (those who sin against us). And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'”

Matthew 6:14-15  “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” 

People can be really cruel. Sometimes people who are hurting and wounded lash out and hurt others. Given how cruel people can be, it seems that someone could do something that we feel is impossible to forgive. But Jesus taught us to pray, “God forgive us as we forgive others.” Why did He do that? And while it seems easier to forgive others for things they didn’t intend to do, how do we forgive someone who has intentionally hurt us?

Let’s look at how Jesus handled it. While Jesus was dying on the cross and the soldiers were casting lots for his clothes, he said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). What? Anyone could see that these guys were professionals and knew exactly what they were doing. But Jesus didn’t look at them through the same glasses through which others saw them. He didn’t see the soldiers as the enemy; they were who he came to save. Instead, He recognizes that the real battle is between His Father and Satan, and He knows they are fighting over the souls of all men, including the soldiers. On that level, they were clueless pawns; victims who were being lost in the war for men’s souls.

For us to really forgive someone, we have to look at them through God’s eyes. Then we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds and can test and approve what God’s will is  ― His good, pleasing, and perfect will: forgiveness. Instead of looking at others through a lens of our pain or of their actions, which makes it virtually impossible to forgive them, we must change our glasses. We must see them through God’s eyes.

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How to deal with extra “Turkeys” at your Thanksgiving Dinner

How to deal with extra “Turkeys” at your Thanksgiving Dinner

Going home for the holidays can often bring a mixed bag of feelings: the excitement of fond memories to be made as well as the stress of certain relational dynamics. When you are packing your bags this year, also think about what you need to put into your heart to be prepared for the “drama” you may encounter when you get there or when family comes to you.

Every family has its “Holiday Play.” If you think about it long enough, you can probably imagine how things will play out when you get together. While you can’t control what other people will be doing, you can control how you choose to react to it. Your reaction to anything says more about what is going on inside of you than what you are reacting to.

Before you go home or family comes to you, take time to think through the various scenes that may be acted out in your family holiday play. You likely know the “lines” of each family member. Do you need to change your “lines” in response to theirs? Keeping the welfare of your heart in focus, ponder how you can best respond to these roles your family members may play.

The Advice Giver: If someone is prone to give you advice, will you get defensive, or will you say, “Thank you for sharing that, I will take some time when I get home to think through what you’ve said.” Then, do what you feel God is leading you to do. Keep in mind you only have one God in your life and that best not be mom or dad.

The Critic: If someone is critical of you, will you lash back or will you respond to your own heart as an ally? Others may be your critic, but you can still be your gardener. Remember, your brain only listens to you. You ultimately decide what you tell yourself no matter what others say or do. Touch base with your heart and see what you need. You may even find yourself needing to write yourself an ally letter or simply say to yourself something like, “Heart, I am sorry you had to hear those hurtful words. I am here for you and I am for you no matter what others say. You are okay by me.”

The Rager: If someone breaks out in an angry rage, will you get angry back, or withdraw, or will you say, “I see you are angry right now. I am going to go in the other room, and if you get to a place where we can have a calm conversation about this, let me know.”

The Braggart: This person, perhaps a sibling, will only be able to get to you if you feel you have something to prove. If you are okay with yourself, you don’t have to “one-up” them. Remind yourself of your own worth and value. Then you can say, “I am happy for you for that accomplishment.” Or, “Congratulations.” Or, “I am glad things are going well for you.”

The Black Sheep: Maybe with the gardening skills you have now, you will be able to be someone who can listen with love and understanding. There is a reason that person became the black sheep, and your acceptance of them as a person, without having to approve of their behavior, could be a turning point for them and you!

The Alcoholic: Boundaries with an addict look something like this. “I care about you, but if you choose to continue drinking and acting like this around me and my family, we are going to have to change our plans.” The key with an addict is that you do not try to get them to change their behavior, but allow them to make their choices. However, you make it clear what your choices will be should they choose to continue their poor choices. Just be prepared to follow through on what you say!

The Downer: This can be a difficult person to be around especially when you want to enjoy the holidays. The tendency with this person is to try to cheer them up, fix their problems or dismiss their concerns. Often times this person is just needing validation. When they get it, they may not feel the need to keep looking for it. Validation might sound like, “I am sorry things are so rough for you right now.” Or, “I could see why that is hard for you.” “That does sound depressing.” If you are honest with yourself, you don’t want someone trying to get you to look on the bright side when you are feeling down.

The Controller: A person can only be controlled if they let someone control them. We teach people how to treat us. You may not have had a choice as a child when someone controlled you, but you do as an adult. Children are at the mercy of the way things are, but adults get to decide the way things are going to be. The key is healthy, appropriate boundaries. Remember, a person can’t cross your boundary if you have one.

Practice Makes Permanent! Rehearse your new lines before “curtain time” and the family drama begins. Remember: You can’t change others, but as you change, others around you will have to change. “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Praying you have an amazing Thanksgiving!


Jim & Kathie Hobson

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