Good Point

forgive those who hurt you

Advertisements

Red Ink is Mean, and Other Random Thoughts

red inkYes, you read the title right.  Apparently, red ink is too mean, and teachers can no longer use it to grade students’ work.  Well, so says the administration at Mounts Bay Academy near Penzance, Cornwall, England.  Here is the news article.  If you think this is an isolated case, think again.  I’ve heard these stories for years, and this is just another step in the utter wussification of the current generation.  But no worries, it’s just a first world problem.  Carry on…

Feeding the political junkie that is me requires a lot of reading.  It’s fortunate I love both…politics & reading.  The thing is, there comes a point where personal sanity is at stake.  Seriously, there are days when I have to laugh at the absurdity of our current political situation, otherwise I would cry.

In the interest of seeing the absurdity in action, watch this:

I feel the same way about the increasing hostility toward all things Christian.  It’s not all things religious, because the vitriol does not spew toward Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Druidism, Wiccan, Agnosticism, Atheism, and any number of others the way it spews towardwar on christianity anything Christian.  I do not get it.  In the United States, the only country in the world that has religious freedom codified into its Constitution, Christianity is becoming the unpopular, ugly stepchild that is fun to pick on because those of us who believe in Christ are not as “enlightened” or “cool” as those who don’t.  If I didn’t laugh (somewhat bitterly), I would cry.

Lest you think the above is exaggeration, I direct you to this blog post outline the lawsuit filed by Mike S. Adams against University of North Carolina – Wilmingtion, accusing them of violating his First Amendment rights by denying him promotion to full professor because of his religious and political beliefs.  Next, read this column by Mike S. Adams himself.  Finally, note here, herehere, and here that he won his trial, and UNC-W was found to have violated his First Amendment rights by denying him this promotion.  A judgment for damages is still pending, and yes <sigh>, UNC-W is considering an appeal.

Oh, and then there’s Bill Maher, and this “giraffe crap.”  To his credit, he did the obligatory jab at the world’s religions, but his ugliest words were for Christians.

Speaking of Christians, don’t you find it ironic that someone who is a staunch believer in Jesus Christ can also be a harsh and completely unforgiving person?  The acknowledging and receiving of the most profound and unselfish example of forgiveness simply does not translate into grace and mercy when dealing with other people, and there is no opportunity for redemption of the relationship once it has failed.  I find it the starkest – and saddest – illustration of irony I have ever seen, not to mention one of the things that continually tarnishes Christians.  Striving to follow Jesus while simultaneously rejecting anyone who has failed you.  Irony, thy name is <insert name here>.

a to z badgeI’m contemplating another go at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  You can read about it here.  I participated in 2012, and it was great fun, but terribly time consuming.  In 2013 I was all set to do it again, but I got sick and life got b-u-s-y.  I missed it.  So here we are again…I haven’t planned ahead this year, and I haven’t signed up…and the start date is rapidly approaching.  I’m wondering if any of my blogging friends are considering it (again for some).  Woman Never Sleeps, have you thought about jumping in again?  What about you, Good Food: Savories, Sweets & Stories?  I know you did the challenge in 2013…how did you like it?  What about you, Joy in LifeLiving Loving Breathing BoysA Homemaker in Training?

Dexter

Dexter

For the first time in 21 years, my pets do not include cats.  I’m a little sad about that.  I love cats, and I’ve had several really great cats over my lifetime.  However, our family has entered the season of young boys and dogs, and after watching our sweet new pup Dexter follow our 8yo son around today, plus seeing the look of sheer delight on our 6mo son’s face when Dexter licks his face/hands/arms/feet/legs/whatever part he can reach, I can’t say I’m disappointed.  It’ll be a new experience for me, and I’m embracing it.

And with that, I’m tapped out for now.

The Cycle of Bitterness

I love the analogy of wood vs. water to the fire, and it is so true.  It is so much easier to throw wood on the fire, though water is what is needed.  Such is our culture of self-centeredness.

Good and godly changes are never easy, but they are worth the effort.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

It was last night, at 11pm, that I really saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  The Bible passage I read yesterday included this verse:

Exodus 14:14…14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

If that doesn’t give you hope for the future, I don’t know what will.  Here are the children of Israel, finally freed from their slavery to the Egyptians and leaving Goshen after 400+ years, and what do they see but the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptians in their chariots in full pursuit behind them?  A hopeless situation to an observer who was not privy to the thundering proof of God’s sovereignty that had just taken place in Egypt.  And yet God tells them, “I will fight for you, you need only be still.”

There are days when that voice is so trampled in my own conscience that I can not hear it, but I heard it last night.  At 11pm, and it gave me hope.

Psalm 119:114…You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.

The Mirror Moment

Or What I Need (and Want) to Do, but Have Not Yet Succeeded in Doing

********************
Matthew 18:35:  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Mark 11:25:  And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Luke 6:37:  “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

Luke 17:3-4:  Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

1 John 1:9:  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

********************

cs-lewis on forgiveness

C.S. Lewis talks at length about forgiveness, and what it means to really forgive.  It is a task much more significant and difficult than simply uttering the words “I forgive you.”  It is a radical action, like love, that when done with the same desire and fervency that God has shown, wholly reconciles the relationship.  It is not forgetting, but putting it in the past and leaving it there.

I had a mirror held up to my face heart over the holidays, and realized that I have become that which I hate most.  I seek forgiveness from Christ for the most inexcusable in me, yet I have not done this for others.  I seek reconciliation and redemption from Christ, but I have not offered this to others.  I ask for God’s mercy and grace in my life, but I am reluctant unwilling to spare even a measure of it for others, even those who have granted me an undue portion.

cs lewis obeying godWhat do you do when you realize that all the navel-gazing in the world…that which you thought would give you a release from the bitterness, anger and frustration that has plagued you for so long…does so only minimally, but has the very real consequence of hurting others more than helping yourself?  When the mirror was held up and I saw SAW, I realized the bill of goods that I’d been sold…and believed.  In the effort to make others see, really SEE, I failed to see for myself.  And what I see…finally…is this:  I can not claim forgiveness for myself until I am willing to forgive trespasses against me.  I can not be reconciled to Christ unless I am willing to be reconciled with those in my earthly life.  With my family and friends.

forgive others

And it is HARD.  I have had this crutch, this safety net of anger & pain, for so long that to try and break it down is unbelievably daunting.  Tim Keller talks in Counterfeit Gods about how we don’t realize what becomes a false god to us until we recognize that we have made it more important than God Himself.  Why can’t I trust God to protect my heart?  I know He will.  Why can’t I rely on God to show me the way to redemption?  He always does.  Why can’t I lay at His feet the shackles of hostility, bitterness, pain, grief, anger, frustration, worry…and know that He is bigger than all of those barriers, that He is more than enough, and that He has only been waiting for me to cast aside my counterfeit god and truly rest in Him?

I hate being vulnerable.  I hate being in a position to be attacked, vilified, and ridiculed.  I hate feeling as though knowledge about me constitutes ammunition that can be used on me later.  There is a sense of protection in putting things out into the world in writing, so that I can say what I need want to say without immediate repercussion.  So I have taken the easy road.  I have written about the litany of hurts and slights in my life.  I have wallowed.  And I have hurt others.  I have made targets of people in a manner that allowed (I thought) for as little consequence as possible.  Except that now it is out there, and the bell can not be un-rung.

no-new-years-resolutionsI stopped making New Year’s Resolutions many years ago.  What was the point?  We all start the new year with expectations that it will be different from last year, and from the year before that.  2013 was no different for me…I started the year with no list of things to do better, no list of changes to make, no list of goals to meet (other than to try for the gazillionth time to read at least 100 books).  Then came the mirror moment that reflected how empty my soul has become, because I keep digging at the bottom instead of turning around and letting God fill me up.  I am tired.  I am tired of only partially trusting God, and in still thinking that I have to do the heavy lifting in my life.  I am tired of propping myself up with grudges and grievances.  rather than laying them down at His feet and moving on.  I am tired of what so much navel-gazing has rendered in me…which is nothing.  I am tired of being empty.

Here are my resolutions for 2013…a very different lot than had I made them 17 days ago:

  • Make God the biggest part of my life, rather than the grudges I have held onto for so long.
  • Think of others before myself, care for others before myself, serve others before myself.
  • FORGIVE.  My single, biggest impediment to quieting the personal demons, and to reconciling relationships that have been hurt by my inability unwillingness to forgive.
  • Understand that forgiveness is both an action and a process.  Do it daily, sincerely, and continuously.
  • Read my Bible every day.  Let it infuse me, and change me.
  • Stop making excuses.
  • Be joyful always.  In fact, do just as 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us:  16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

be silentPractically speaking, this means the blog will change.  A number of posts will go private, and I will not publish them again.  I have hurt and angered others by writing them, and that stops now.  I will not publish new posts airing grievances against others.  If I can’t find a way to focus my thoughts in an uplifting way that points no fingers, it will not go live.  I want to do something better with my time and my passion.

reconciliation-lizbydesignDoes it seem strange to look at this chain of events and thank God for the crushing blow of clarity?  Sometimes – MANY times – it takes exactly that to get it.  How many times do I need the mirror to be held up before I realize my brokenness is by my own hand, and I am crushed by the weight of my own sin?  I don’t know…I’ll let you know…this year…as I let Him help me out of this spiritual, mental & emotional pit I have dug for myself.

I believe, Lord.  I truly believe.  Please help me to take it to heart and live it out.