Monday, 1 September 2014

Dealing with difficult relationships: finding forgiveness

Grappling with understanding the title (above) and the labels (below), I found some useful resources:
Dealing with a surprise attack when someone says or does something unexpectedly hurtful or nasty. And the topic of forgiveness comes at me everywhere I turn: Faith Barista, a sermon in church on anger and forgiveness...the book 31 Days to Lovely by Sarah Hawkes Valente, which is proving INVALUABLE.

Of course, dealing with these things involves humbling myself: wow, how I DON'T like to do that. BUT:
For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Psalm 149:4  And I have found great encouragement in Psalm 139:23 - 24 which says "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see f there  be ANY WICKED WAY IN ME, and LEAD ME IN THE WAY EVERLASTING.

The way everlasting. The way with God. No other way will bring me the peace and contentment I long for. Sarah Markley says:

"we fail and we fall. We shouldn’t do so on purpose to exhaust His grace, but we all make bad choices and decisions once in awhile. When we do, can we see the beauty in the dust? Can we look for that? Or do we hate our mistakes so much that the beauty that He is longing to show us in the ashes is lost?
He is longing to show us the beauty.
It’s so easy to loathe ourselves. We pile hatred onto our fragile souls. We fail and make mistakes and we hate what we’ve done. Even failures can open doors but sometimes we are too blind to notice.
...What is He longing to show us? That even in our sins, even in our mistakes and misjudgments, He is still there. He is always there. And He is close and good and He hasn’t changed. He is brushing His fingers in the dirty ashes, trying to show us the beauty there.
So, as I struggle with unforgiveness, God is helping me everywhere I look. I have just been sent a free book to review, part of the Everyday Matters Bible Study series on developing spiritual disciplines. The title of the book I have been 'randomly' (God-chosen) sent? Forgiveness.  !!
And Peter Jobes, of Sixty Stadia, has just written a remarkable post. (I love his blog anyway, but the fact that he is a good friend of my gorgeous daughter-in-law Adele is a wonderful bonus.)  Peter says

"It’s quite simple, really, you feel wronged by a situation, circumstance or person and you decide that the answer lies in you putting it right....
....there are a thousand little ways this thinking can creep into our lives if we don’t guard against it. It’s a desire to get up and fight for what we perceive are our interests, even though we know we have a God who promises to do so. It’s a pride problem.
We serve a God who goes ahead of us, rustling through the tree tops to fight on our behalf before we even reach the field of battle (2 Chronicles 20:1-26). We serve a God who pledges His faithfulness to us and seals that promise in His own blood. We serve the Shepherd of Psalm 23 who prepares us a table in the very presence of our enemies. A God who thinned the ranks of Gideon’s army (Judges 7) so that the victory would be demonstrably miraculous. And yet we find ourselves thinking we can win under our own steam?
The truth is that there are many times when faced with a circumstance that the answer isn’t found in our desire to fight it but in our ability to take rest in Him. Where we stop and hand off to Him, His strength is perfected in our weakness.
When the Children of Israel reached the Red Sea they faced what seemed to be an insurmountable problem. God had led them, literally, between the devil and the deep blue sea. The Egyptian army closed in on them and with nowhere to go they started to doubt their deliverance; once again they entered confusion as their enemies seemed to prosper and Moses stood up and gave some wisdom.
The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.  Exodus 14:14 (NKJV)
Or, as other translations put it, we need only to be still, to be silent. When we seek our own path, to our own idea of justice, it’s not about God any more but about our being seen to triumph. Like Caesar returning to Rome, we want a parade of victory but part of being a follower of Christ is that the parade of victory is His.
It can be difficult in life at times, when you want to resolve problems in human fashion and yet know God’s will is for you to hold your peace. It’s so easy to either ignore it and make a mess, or instead revel in the feeling of being a victim, yet we must do neither. We must find a place of peace, and let God set our world to rights.
My prayer is that I will grow more and more into a person whose default behaviour isn’t to strap on the boxing gloves and go twelve rounds with a problem, making more mess, but to hand it over to the one who has already promised to deal with it.
It’s not about being passive, it’s not about being cowed and broken. It’s about having the courage to stand and pray and believe in God’s definition of setting things right above our own.
Finally, a little Bible study guide arrived in the post. I signed up for a copy of 'Everyday Matters Bible Studies for women' which cover a full range of spiritual practices.  There were twenty-four possible topics ranging from Bible Study and Meditation to Worship...I got...yes...wait for it... FORGIVENESS!
#lookingforwardto #gettingstarted #onthatonetoo
And for inspiration: The Forgiveness Project.
And finally: "...while some friendships won’t last forever, never lose hope that God can heal all wounds. Never lose hope that rich friendships can still be found." 

No comments:

Post a Comment