Wednesday, April 03, 2013
"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.' ... Matthew 24:10
I'm thinkin' we're so there.
I mean, I read these Christian message boards after a teacher/preacher has posted a (simple) forgiveness verse (or thought) and wow! People go ballistic.
"Forgive?! You don't know what they did to me."
"But I can't forgive! It's too hard. I tried."
"They don't deserve my forgiveness."
"Maybe I can forgive, but I can never, ever forget."
And those are the nice comments.
"Resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult ... someone who is offended is angry and upset by someone's behaviour or remarks."
But here's the thing:
"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." ... Matthew 6:14,15
Wow. How do we get around that? How do we tweak it? How do we enjoy God, enjoy Life and keep growing if we don't forgive?
And really, it's just that simple.
And I'll tell ya... This morning I had a major excuse to be offended.
See, a couple years ago I finally did as Tom asked: I began ironing creases in all of his pants. He'd asked for a long time, I'd whined about all the effort for a long time, but finally, for the sake of biblical submission only, I began ironing in those (annoying) creases.
Yesterday I ironed four pair of Tom's slacks, very carefully ironing-in those (did I mention annoying?) creases, but when I asked him this morning how his pants looked, Tom said:
"I wish you'd stop ironing out the creases."
Gah! And I, well, (hanging my head here) went ballistic. "Ironing them out?! What are you talking about? I spent all this extra time ironing them in, with four swipes each of the iron. I ironed, in fact, until my back hurt too much to stand up anymore."
Well, he spread out one of the pairs and even in the dim light we both saw--clearly--straight creases. Then he said, "Well, if you'd fold them along the creases, they'd stay in better."
Oh. My. Goodness. It's not enough to iron them a certain way, now I must fold them a certain way, too.
Sigh. Yes, I got offended and yes, I knew this was a test--would I quickly forgive? Would I recall that Tom doesn't ask for much and just start folding his pants the way he likes? Or would I spend this entire day fuming and complaining in my heart, ruining my what-could-have-been sunny hours?
So I asked God to help me forgive immediately. I'm no fool.
And then my sweet husband even came and apologized to me after awhile. (Really, he's a good guy. Maybe the new job has him on edge.) And everything is fine. We even joked about it afterward.
But of this I'm certain.... Go and let those little types of things stack up and they become huge Unforgiveness Piles which then become difficult to forgive.
Each day, forgive. Before things grow tall and really ugly, forgive and ask God to help and change you... and then move on to a much sweeter life while walking beside the One who, over and over, chooses to forgive us.
"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, ... Acts 3:19
(Don't you just love that 'times of refreshing' part? I do.)
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." ... Luke 12:48
Remember-- It's vital to God how we react to offenses. That's what matters to Him most.
How cool! I read this after I wrote this blog post. (Honest.) I love it when that happens. :)
A passionate love for Jesus changes everything.