FORGIVE & FORGET!

It’s Hard to Forgive; It’s harder to Forget

by Andy Lee

My friend Andy Lee has written one of the best blogs I’ve ever read on how to forgive and FORGET! I wanted to share it with you. Visit Andy on her site at: wordsbyandylee.com

How to Forgive & Forget

Forgiveness is almost impossible sometimes. We know we should. We want to, but the memories keep the pain alive. Unforgiveness is dangerous. It can cause sickness and stress and makes us bitter, angry people. It is the root of the problems in many friendships, marriages, and working relationships. On our own we can’t do it. We need help. We Need Enabling Grace.

This is what I love about God. He never demands anything from us that he will not provide the help to do. He also doesn’t require anything of us that he is not willing to do. How do we forgive others? Well, we start with the heart of our God and his gift of forgiveness. Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea (Micah 7: 18-19). He delights in showing mercy. He delights in forgiving us! I want to be like that.

The human heart usually wants revenge, but revenge never brings new life, only death. Death of friendships and marriages. Death of joy. By God’s grace, we can extend grace. His undeserved favor can empower us to be forgiving people. Remember this and pray for his empowering grace before you lash back. Breathe. Count to ten. Wait as long as you need to respond rather than react. Wait until God gives you the words and the grace to respond kindly.

Forgiving & Forgetting

God’s Perspective. Oh, to have God’s perspective. Jesus used the precious air left in his lungs when dying on the cross to cry out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Jesus could see the true hearts and thoughts of the people crucifying him. He knew their ignorance. Pray to see the people you can’t forgive as Jesus sees them. Hurt people hurt people, right? We all know that, but our defenses rise up and we want to lash back. I see it with my middle school students all the time. They can’t see the pain of the person stirring up trouble, so they lash back which intensifies the battle. But kindness can disarm the anger. Pray: “God, help me see ____________ as you do.”

How to Forgive and Not Remember.  So, here’s the deal: we may never completely forget, but God will soften the memory and heal our wounds as we choose to forgive. The Bible tells us that God will “remember our sin no more.” But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD. I will put My law in their minds and inscribe it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor,or a man his brother,saying, ‘Know the LORD,’for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sins no more.” says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and orders the moon and stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD of Hosts is His name:… (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Understanding Hebrew Culture. The Bible tells us that God will “not remember” our sins, but we need to know Hebraic culture to really understand what it means to “forget” and forgive. Many of us fear that if we can’t forget then we haven’t forgiven.But according to Lois Tverberg, there’s more to forgiving and forgetting than having it erased from our brains. In her book, Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus, Tverberg explains that in Hebrew the word for “remember” is zakhar. It means both to remember and to take action as one remembers. The Hebrew word for “forget”, shakach and nashach, also holds the idea of not acting upon the memory.

Notice the psalmist cry to God: “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will You hide your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1). Tverberg explains: “Here the psalmist is saying, “Why do you ignore my prayers and not intervene in my crisis?” God does not forget, but sometimes it seems as if he does. We know that feeling don’t we? When circumstances don’t get better it feels as if God’s inaction proves He’s forgotten us even though He hasn’t.

To Forget Is More than Memory Loss. In the same way, when God forgives and no longer “remembers” our sins, he is not acting on our sin. In the same way when we forgive and “forget,” it’s not that the memory is erased, it’s that we don’t retaliate.. We don’t lash back with hurtful words or actions.

When I read about this Hebrew concept of “forgetting” in Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus, I felt such freedom. This is what I love so much about our God and His Word. It is freeing. It’s not demanding. His commands don’t suck the life out of us. If they do, we aren’t interpreting it correctly.

Quit Striving to Forget. Listen to these words from Brian Simmons, the author of The Passion Translation of the Bible. When you know Me, you will no longer strive to be better or strive to be loved. When you experience My endless compassion, you will learn to forgive. To strive is to leave My strength and embrace the cares of life. To refuse to strive means you will enter the life that I give to all those who love Me. Faith rests in hope. Know that I will never fail you or disappoint you. So My child, this is the day of Sabbath joy when you will enter into the realm of My kingdom.

In God’s Kingdom there is forgiveness, and the Kingdom of God is in us who have asked for Jesus to come into our lives and be our king.

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Praying for Those Who Hurt Us

Forgiving others

Forgiving even when it’s hard.

Recently, I saw a poster on Facebook that said: The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies!

It’s so true, because when betrayal comes from those closest to us—friends, relatives, church members—its sting is deep.

So how do we handle it? Usually, we react with a defensive attitude and a desire to strike back, but Jesus tells us to forgive: And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins(Mark 11:25 NIV).

“But what if they don’t apologize?” you might ask.

Forgive them.

“What if they don’t repent?”

Forgive them.

“It doesn’t mean you act like everything’s fine, and it doesn’t mean you will be reconciled with them,” says Mark Driscoll. “It doesn’t even mean you overlook the offense or bless the offense. But it does mean you give up the inclination to vengeance and pass the matter up to God’s court for trial.”

Because we’re sinners, vengeance is a natural inclination, so we need to ask for God’s supernatural inclination to forgiveness. We also need to stop rehearsing the offense over and over in our mind.

We also must ask God to search our hearts so that we might see our own sin in the matter. We need to pray as David prayed: Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting(Ps. 139:23-24 KJV).

Mary Geegh, a missionary to India, once faced a situation where someone had blamed her unfairly and when she asked God what to do, He said, “Face your five-percent-to-blame.”

That’s a great little motto to place over our hearts. In any situation there’s usually always something for us to confess: pride, blame, irritation, lack of love, etc.

Finally, we need to begin to pray for the one who hurt us. Pray God’s blessings for them. Pray for their spiritual growth and for God’s love to fill their hearts.

National Day of Prayer–May 3rd, 2018

National Day of Prayer 2018

Pray for America

Please take time tomorrow to pray for our nation–its leaders, churches, schools, families, military, etc. Whether you join a large gathering to pray, or just pray with one or two people, you will be joining your voice with thousands of people across this nation–humbling yourself and asking God to intervene in these perilous times.

National Day of Prayer Theme for 2018
The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. In 1988, the law was unanimously amended by both the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on Thursday, May 5, 1988, designating the first Thursday of May as a day of national prayer. Every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.

Prayer brings people together. Prayer builds bridges between opposing persons and even political parties. Prayer reminds us that we are created in God’s image and He desires for us to represent Him everywhere we go. Prayer brings UNITY.

In 2018, our theme will be Pray for America – UNITY, based upon Ephesians 4:3 which challenges us to mobilize unified public prayer for America, “Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

For more information go to the National Day of Prayer website. You can find a prayer guide there as well as see if there are any organized prayer events near you. There will also be a Livestream available at 7:30 PM EST.

 

 

I Want to Soar Like an Eagle

Is. 40:31

My husband and I once asked each other what we wanted to come back as if we had a choice. (Disclosure—we don’t really believe in reincarnation!) I immediately said, “An eagle!” He said, “A bear!” Our logic—he would be able to catch lots of salmon to eat on the banks of rivers. Me—I love to travel and I love high vistas, and an eagle represents a sort of wild freedom and strength to fly high above everything life might throw at me.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with some real and some imagined issues that come with aging. My body isn’t as strong as it used to be. I’ve developed pains and physical issues and sometimes I focus too much on these instead of trusting God to meet me in whatever situation I face. Continue reading

Freedom in Fasting

A fast that God approves

Many churches and individuals begin the New Year with a 21-day Daniel Fast. My church has done it for the past several years and I have participated in many of them. Last year I did not because I dreaded facing weeks of preparation reading labels, spending extra money on appropriate food items, looking for recipes that were Daniel-fast approved, etc. etc. etc.

(In 2016 I wrote a post about why this approach to fasting was troubling to me—see the link below to read that post).

To me this whole modern approach to fasting seems to be the antithesis of Daniel’s motivation for fasting. Daniel 10: 1-3 says he was in mourning because of a vision: “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” (NIV)

Two things strike me about Daniel’s fast in this passage:

(1) Daniel’s motivation for fasting was about a Great War he saw in a vision. What if we entered our fast truly mourning the “Great War” the enemy is waging against our nation, our culture, our youth and the Church and crying out for God’s intervention.

(2) Just as Daniel entered his fast focusing on the spiritual by denying his flesh and refusing the king’s rich food—so our focus for fasting should be on denying our flesh and humbling ourselves—not spending our time focusing on what foods we can and can’t eat during the fast.

This year I am participating in the fast, but with a new freedom. I’m simply giving up what I personally consider my “choice, rich and pleasant foods” and focusing my attention on spending time drawing near to God in His Word, in worship and in prayer.

If you are participating in a fast this year, I suggest you search your motives and seek God for how He wants you to fast. Trust Him to lead you.

Click here to read my other post about fasting: The Daniel Fast: Are We Really Denying Ourselves?