Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Power of Forgiveness

On another blogspot, a post was made pointing out that life happens
too fast. Boy can I relate to that! Sometimes, a moment in time when
you just sit still and think can bring about the realization of how fast
time flies.

Just last week while we were in Idaho at the NAIA College Baseball
World Series, our soon to be 21 year old son (a relief pitcher for Biola
U.) came up to our hotel room and just collapsed from exhaustion and fell asleep on our bed. My husband commented, "Look at how big he
is!" I know what he meant...he is tall, 6'3" and 170 lbs. I can still recall the times I held him in my arms as an infant, the toddler stage, the
pre-school stage, the K-12 stage and now, as a junior in college who is about to turn 21, it seems as though 21 years went by so very fast!

We looked at him, asleep on that bed and felt such joy for the kind of young man he now is, with faith and hope in the man he is continually growing to become. I welled up with such emotion! My husband and I ARE enjoying these special times with both of our children. I'm so glad that my son is home for the summer months and we are back to our family dinners together every night! This fall, my daughter will be
away at college too. Mom will have to cope with empty nest syndrome!

Sometimes when I see young children, I can still recall my son and daughter at those particular ages. Thank God we took a lot of video.
That helps us to remember them at each stage in their lives. They enjoy seeing themselves at those ages (well, my daughter does). We have been very fortunate that our two have a very good brother/sister relationship.

In my Christian internet friend Stephen's blog, he shared the
admonition that in this life, as Christians, we are to forgive others.
Easily said but sometimes, admittedly, hard to do. This really rings
true for me.

My sister and I have gone through some ups and downs in our relationship over the years, but when she was sick or went through a nasty divorce, we were able to put that aside and talk. I won't go into much detail about all of the past, but recently she called me and was, understandably, very distraught over the death of her horse, Sassy.
She doesn't have children and as she said, crying on the phone, Sassy
was "her life". She has another horse named Louie, but Sassy was the
one (if I recall correctly) that won ribbons years ago in many horse
shows in and around Cape Cod. It was like the death of a child to her.
She just needed to grieve and talk about her Sassy and I listened and cried with her.

Suddenly, she felt ill and had to get off the phone. I called the next day from the laudromat (our dryer broke down) and left her a message
which included prayer asking God for strength in coping with her loss. She called me on Sat. and said how much that message meant to her.
In our conversation, we reminisced about old times. She asked me if I remember the time that I told mom it was her turn to vacuum, and
she got mad at me, vacuumed my long hair and it got caught in the vacuum rollers. Honestly, I didn't remember that incident. I just laughed. But I remembered another one where she was quite cruel to me...funny but she didn't remember that! She finally said, "I guess
that's why you hate me." I was hurt and sad. I had thought I hid those feelings of 'dislike' in the past, but apparently she saw right through it.
Of course I told her that is not true. Of course I don't hate my sister!!
We have had our differences and spats, but we must forgive each other for past hurts. Years ago, I had forgiven her for many things that she
had done to me in the past (perhaps unknown to her) and my husband and I visited her at the Cape with our two children. This was shortly
after my dad had passed away in 1995. Because I live in California and she live on Cape Cod, it was the first time she had seen my children.
They were ages 10 and 7 then. My daughter, brother, his son and our mom recently took a road trip from Virginia to Cape Cod to visit her again last summer. We met her friend Glenn who is very nice and has helped her cope with and get through her divorce. It was good to see
her healthy and happy again.

I guess what I am trying to convey about forgiveness is that what
Stephen suggested in his blog; about forgiving others first, even if you perceive that they should have been the one to ask for forgiveness first,
is often necessary to bring about reconciliation. Letting it go back then was truly liberating to me and we now have a much better relationship than we ever had before. I would have missed out on that joy of reconciliation with my sister if I had let pride, anger, hurt, sadness,
fault-finding etc. eat away at me in my life. That is the power of forgiveness. It is truly liberating.

The cross of Christ is the ultimate power of forgiveness that is available
to us all. How could I not forgive my sister when God showed me the power of forgiveness by offering up his Son to cover all of my sins,
which led me to repentance, forgiveness, mercy, grace and the ultimate agape love of God? It is truly liberating and I know that forgiveness is a huge part of what Jesus meant when he said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."


Anna said...

Hi Christine -

Appreciate your posts both here and on Stephen's blog.

We've been studying forgiveness. Bottom line - Jesus commanded us to forgive. The Lord says vengeance belongs to Him and he will repay (my paraphrase). We get the idea if we forgive somehow the other person is getting off Scott-free. In actual fact, when we forgive, we are turning it over to the Lord and letting Him handle the situation. This does not mean we become a doormat. Reconciliation and trust are different issues.

My Mom had a saying when I was growing up: "Two wrongs do not make a right." When we sin by not forgiving, we are compounding the problem, not solving it.

Blessings - have a great day!

Christinewjc said...

Hi Anna,

I have enjoyed reading your posts as well. Thanks for coming over and visiting me on my new blog!

It appears that things got hot and tempers flared at Stephen's blog. I noticed that he has changed the format to a moderated one. It was probably inevitable. That post by Jaded&Opinionated must have broken the camels back! She reeled into Stephen and was totally rude towards him and his ministry efforts. I don't think that's right. I just hope and pray that the new format doesn't chase away those who desperately need Jesus in their lives.

Thanks for sharing what you have learned while studying forgiveness. I hope you will continue to share on that subject. Isn't it amazing how we can take Jesus' forgiveness for our sins and be enormously grateful, but often fail to be forgiving, gracious and loving during times of needed reconciliation with others? Yet, the reward of forgiveness is the release of the negative influence that 'power'(Satan's realm)which that sin or "wrong" had over us. I agree. Allowing Christ's power to handle the situation is the best alternative.

Anna said: When we sin by not forgiving, we are compounding the problem, not solving it.

What a great statement! It is certainly true, too. I have often discovered that holding a grudge or being unforgiving hurts ME more than it hurts the other person! In our human weakness, forgiving may be difficult to learn to do, but it is far more detrimental to the soul to hold onto an 'unforgiving heart' within oneself.

Jesus showed us the way and necessity of redemption through his sacrificial death on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. His offer of grace, mercy, reconciliation and love through repentance is the only path to reconciliation with God. If we love him, aren't we to emulate his example of this agape love towards others?

Hope you will visit often Anna! God bless you too!

Anna said...

Hi Christine!

I just came from Stephen's blog. It is unfortunate people could not be civil.

The one thing I felt about my place there was to try and answer legitimate Bible questions and correct misconceptions concerning it. If people are going to disagree with the Bible, they should at least be disagreeing with accurate information!

My time is very limited. I could really get caught up in blogging and get distracted from my primary areas of ministry. I know Stephen was feeling the time crunch as well. This moderated method will probably free up his time.

Thanks for your comments concerning forgiveness, as well as for my posts on Stephen's blog. Only eternity will tell what effect they had. (I certainly hope it didn't do any harm. One has to choose words so carefully these days.)


Christinewjc said...

Good Morning Anna,

I went to Stephen's blog this morning and he has now returned to the original blog format. That's good. Not many posts yesterday. In fact, I emailed a reply post yesterday but it never appeared on the blog! Was it something I said?? In fact, I included a portion of your excellent reply to Jaded&Opininated. You are certainly correct when you said that we have to be VERY careful about what we say these days!

Here is a copy of the post that I emailed. Perhaps you could read it and tell me where I may have gone wrong?

Thanks for your input!



Dear Stephen,

I was upset when I read Jaded&Opinionateds rant against you and your ministry. I think she might need to look into the mirror when she made the following comment:

Jaded stated: “Even the devil himself isn't some hideous creature, or why would he ever be successful in recruiting? And yes, you can spread evil under the guise of religion. And you can inspire it without spewing it. Either way, it's certainly a sin.”

Anna said it so well on your blog:

“One thing standing out to me is the confusion about Jesus' position on various issues. Several people have said that Jesus didn't talk about this or that. Jesus' words and life must be taken within context of the ENTIRE Bible. One of the major errors made in Biblical interpretation is to take verses out of context and make them say something they do not say.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-20,
(NASB) "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven...."

A few weeks ago, I heard a portion of an MSNBC show that asked the questions, "What would Jesus do" and "How would Jesus vote" and "Would Jesus be a Democrat or Republican; Liberal or Conservative." There were two guests who were on opposite sides of the political spectrum who answered (according to their basic ideology of course) these questions and quite surprisingly did a great job for the most part. The one question that I think the host and hostess neglected to ask was, "what should be our source for absolute truth?" I think that question would have been interesting to peruse. The answer(s) may have been interesting to see, too. What "side" would each guest have ended up on? How would each side have most likely viewed the Bible? Would their view be that it is meant to be progressive, frequently updated and re-interpreted for the times with an evolving moral and legal structure to match? Or, is the Bible to be viewed as God's Word to all mankind which was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit? Is it the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living?
Think about it. How one answers that question determines how we will live as Christians. Both cannot possibly be correct. It is precisely because the Bible is inspired by God that it is perceived as truth without any mixture of error. That is how absolute truth is determined.
2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Psalms 12:6; 119:105, 160; Proverbs 30:5

Like you, Stephen, I will not compromise the truth. Sometimes the truth hurts and that is because of the presence of sin in our lives. In order to come to repentance, one must hear the bad news before the “Good News” of the gospel of Jesus Christ can be heard, recognized as truth and spiritually discerned in truth.

God's Truth in the Bible is how we discern which, of all the voices calling out to us today, is truly joining in lock step with the One and Only Voice of Truth, Jesus Christ.

As the Casting Crowns song called The Voice of Truth tells us:

But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story
The Voice of Truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of Truth says, "This is for My glory
Out of all the voices calling out to me

I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

God bless,


P.S. Ran across this interesting quote and I think it could apply here:

"I believe I am not mistaken in saying that Christianity is a demanding and serious religion. When it is delivered as easy and amusing, it is another kind of religion altogether." --Neil Postman

hashishan prophet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jojo said...

I found your question and posted an anwer for you there. Hope it helps. Read the post - YIKES! Don't blame you for wanting to delete!

Christinewjc said...


It's not working. I don't know how to just delete the comment.


Christinewjc said...

Just figured it out. I had to click on the little icon at the bottom of the post under the time.


Now I just need to learn how to block this creep's IP address...

Anna said...

Hi Christine -

Ha! Found TalkWisdom! Your post is on Stephen's blog - just came from there.

Noticed you have a way to delete posts. I wonder if Bru knows how to do this.

Posted a comment on one of your other blogs.