Tuesday, July 28, 2015

“Does forgiveness mean restoring a broken relationship to its original state?”

A thought by Larry Osborne, (2009-04-04) from his book, Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe (p. 34). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

That’s a good question and this one goes with it is, “Does it mean we have to trust the other person again?”  There is great confusion in the answer to these questions.

Larry says, “Some people seem to think so. Once they've been forgiven, they expect to be immediately restored to full trust and relationship. But that's not the case. Trust, close relationships, and forgiveness are not necessarily related. While forgiveness puts aside all bitterness and all plans for revenge, it doesn't make someone trustworthy or turn the person back into our best friend. Trust has to be earned. Close social ties are a privilege. We don't owe anyone either one.”

That is so important to understand.  As he says, “While forgiveness puts aside all bitterness and all plans for revenge” and that is what God tells us to do.  We leave the revenge, the judgment up to him.  That is his responsibility.  And forgiveness has a way of taking away the bitterness.  We are not to be bitter. But then he goes on to say, “it doesn’t make someone trustworthy or turn the person back into our best friend.  Trust has to be earned.”  


Does that make a difference in a situation in your life?

Friday, July 24, 2015

"Biblical forgiveness doesn't keep score."


A thought by Larry Osborne, (2009-04-04) from his book, Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe (p. 30). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

But oh, we love to keep score.  One guy after a fight with his wife said, "She was historical."  The other guy said, "Don't you mean hysterical?"  He said, "No, I mean historical.  She brought up everything I have ever done wrong."  So the question is, "Do you do that?"  This thought says, "Biblical forgiveness doesn't keep score."

Larry says here, "When Jesus spoke of forgiving seventy times [Luke 17: 3-5] (or seven times seventy as some scholars translate the passage), he wasn't suggesting we keep a tally sheet. He was using hyperbole— or exaggeration for effect— to remind us to keep on forgiving."

He then goes on to say, "I think I know why. When it comes to keeping track of life's hurts, conflicts, and injustices, we all tend to use some rather creative math. We have an amazing ability to undercount our own misdeeds while multiplying the wrong doing of others."

And keeping score means we haven't fogiven them.  Larry says, "When it comes to forgiveness, it's foolish to refuse to forgive others when God has already forgiven us. That's why biblical forgiveness always starts with a look in the mirror. It doesn't start with the wrong that was done to me; it starts with the wrongs that I have done to others. It asks, 'What have I done and how have I been forgiven?” And then it offers that same kind of forgiveness to others."

As Jesus said in the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." (Matthe 6:12 NIV).  That mean, you still will remember it but you don't use it against them.

Do you do that to your kids, to your spouse, to your friends, to others?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

“Forgiveness is a decision lived out as a lengthy process.”

A thought by Larry Osborne, (2009-04-04) from his book, Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe (p. 25). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

This is a book that I think we all need to pick up and read to get some clarity about some things that we think that the Bible teaches but it doesn’t.  Forgiveness is one of those areas that we have some confusion and one area is the false belief that forgiving means forgetting.  That isn’t what forgiving means.

Now one problem that Larry says occurs when forgiving gets confused with forgetting is that “we tend to assume that if someone has forgiven us, whatever happened in the past should be a dead issue. The other person should just get over it and move on.”  “But” he says, “that's unreasonable. It unfairly turns the tables on the one who has been wronged. It assumes his or her pain should magically disappear. And if it doesn't, we get to write off the injured party as an unforgiving slob. Our sin is now their problem. Not a bad deal!”  But that is not the way it works.

He goes on, “Yet, in reality, healing takes time. Forgiveness is a decision lived out as a lengthy process. The expectation that those we've wronged should simply forget about it is not only unreasonable; it's emotionally unhealthy. People who can't remember what happened to them or who bury their pain are not spiritually mature; they're mentally or emotionally handicapped.”

In other words, to expect someone who you have asked to forgive you for a wrong that you have done to them and they have forgiven you and then to expect them to never remember it, that is an unreasonable expectation.  They can over time be healed of the pain which means that they have truly been freed from the act of the wrong that was done to them but they will never really forget it.  That is unreasonable.  But it is reasonable for you both to be freed from the act through forgiveness.  And the person by choice doesn’t bring it up again and again.  But that will happen as the one wronged asks for God’s healing of the pain of the wrong and the one who did the wrong being humble and repentant and asking for forgiveness and God’s grace.  And that take time.


So who are you being unreasonable with?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

“But whatever is hidden cannot be loved.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2015-05-05) from his book, Life-Changing Love: Moving God's Love from Your Head to Your Heart (p. 188). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

But for so many of us we feel that we won’t be loved if we don’t hide.  As John says, “I hide because I’m afraid that if the full truth about me is known I won’t be loved. But whatever is hidden cannot be loved. I can only be loved to the extent that I am known. I can only be fully loved if I am fully known. When I hide parts of myself, I seek to convince another person I am better than I am. If I’m a good enough hider, I may get away with it. The other person may express affection and love for me. But always comes the voice inside me: Yes, but if you knew the truth about me, if you saw the hidden places, you would not love me. You love the person you think I am. You do not love the real me, for you do not know the real me.”

But John goes on to say, “In Phantom of the Opera, the phantom wears a mask to hide his horribly disfigured face. He lives in the bowels of the old opera house, to cloak his presence and bitter misdeeds. But the woman Christine touches his heart. At the climax of the story, his mask is removed. In that moment he chooses to be known, to be seen. He knows that his face is hideous; he waits for her to scream in terror, but she does not. Her heart is moved by compassion and pity. She does not turn away. She gently kisses his scarred face.  And her love changes him, at least a little. He is able to let her go, to give her her freedom, even though he knows it is the end of his dream. When he was able to stop hiding for a moment, he could be known and loved as he was, even in all his disfigurement. First the mask must come off. Then love can penetrate the heart.”

And that is true of us.  “First the mask must come off.  Then love can penetrate the heart.”  And that is where real love comes from.  But of course there is a risk but it can be so worth it.


So what is it you are hiding?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

“Our universe is a perfectly safe place to be.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2015-05-05) from his book, Life-Changing Love: Moving God's Love from Your Head to Your Heart (p. 166). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. David C. Cook. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Here is the context of this thought.  John says, “Dallas Willard writes that Jesus lived a life of utter trust because he understood his Father to be unfailingly competent and wholly devoted. Here is the striking result: ‘With this magnificent God positioned among us, Jesus brings the assurance that our universe is a perfectly safe place for us to be.’”

John says, “A mother wakes up during a thunderstorm. She hurries to her son’s room after a particularly bright flash of lightning, knowing he will be terrified. To her surprise, he is standing at a window. ‘I was looking outside,’ he says, ‘and you’ll never guess what happened. God took my picture.’ He was convinced God was at work and therefore that the universe was a perfectly safe place for him to be.”

And then John goes on, “Matthew tells us that Jesus and his followers were in a boat once when ‘without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake’; a not uncommon occurrence on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were understandably frantic, but the text says Jesus was taking a nap. Why does Matthew include the information that Jesus was sleeping? Because Matthew wants us to understand. Given what he knew about the Father, Jesus was convinced that the universe was a perfectly safe place for him to be. The disciples had faith in Jesus. They trusted that he could do something to help them. But they did not yet have the faith of Jesus. They did not share his settled conviction that they were safe in God’s hands. This is what Paul called ‘the peace of Christ.’”

Oh that we would get to that place that we would have “the peace of Christ.”  That we would see that “with this magnificent God positioned among us”, and that He is unfailingly competent and wholly devoted and in that we can be assured that our universe is a perfectly safe place for us to be.  Oh God, I pray that I would have that utter trust that Jesus has.


Is that your prayer too?

Monday, July 20, 2015

“Our job is not to win the battle. It’s to follow God’s battle plan.”

A thought by Larry Osborne (2015-04-01) from his book, Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture (Kindle Location 1985). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I know.  That is not really what we want to hear on a Monday morning especially if you live in Los Angeles, California.  I mean every day on our freeways there is a battle to win.  Nobody waits for a space to open up so you can change lanes.  No we race to get in front.  We must win the battle.  But that isn’t necessarily God’s way.

Larry says, “There will be times when following God’s plan doesn’t seem to be working. But to those who have Daniel-like wisdom that begins with the fear of the Lord, that doesn’t matter. Even when God’s way seems to lead nowhere, it’s still the right path to take. He’s always right, even when we think he’s wrong. That’s why we call him God.”

But I know what is best.  No you don’t.  You and I aren’t God.

Proverbs 3: 5-7 (NIV) says it best when it says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes.”

Larry then says, “God draws straight lines with crooked sticks. He always has. It’s foolish to give credit to the stick.”

He also said, “What we call failure might well be the foundation of what God calls success. And what we call success might not be so great when we see it in the rear view mirror.”

Remember, “Winning or losing is not the right scorecard. Obedience is. When we do the right thing, we’re being faithful. Even if we get the wrong results.”


So is it winning or trusting and obeying for us?

Friday, July 17, 2015

“We also need to stay close to those who might be called ‘grace-providing’ people.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2015-05-05) from his book, Life-Changing Love: Moving God's Love from Your Head to Your Heart (p. 145). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

That is so true.  As John says, “We need some people who accept us, welcome us, and love us, no matter what. I need some grace-providers. You do too. You need them because you have other kinds of people in your life. You have some ‘grace-impaired’ people in your life, who will judge you and critique you and remind you of your raggedness in ways that will tear you down.”

He then says, “How do you recognize these grace-providers? Grace-providers notice things about you; they pay attention to your heart and life. Grace-providers speak truthfully to you — both easy words and hard ones. Grace-providers are not people who only say what you want to hear, but they speak the truth in love. Grace-providers simply never cease to love you. They see beneath the surface; they see the darkness as well as the goodness in your heart. But when they see the darkness they do not pull away. They are not repulsed. They move toward you. You may be a rag doll, but you are God’s rag doll, and grace-providers never let you forget it.”

Now my desire is also to be one.  I don’t just need one but I need to be one.  John says, “It is much harder to be ungracious to people, to refuse to forgive others, when we’re standing in the shadow of the cross.”  That is so true. 


So do you have a grace-provider and are you one?