There was a guest speaker at Bethesda this past Sunday. (R.T. Kendall.-- listen here) He was on the older side and to be honest, I had already turned my ears off when he came up to the podium. Why do I do that? Well, I was wrong. And this message was for me.
He spoke on the thing that causes me to want to bury my head in my pillow. TOTAL FORGIVENESS. But he brought a whole other facet to the word that I had never heard before. He spoke on "How you know you forgave someone". Well, dangit. Had I forgiven the people who wronged me? I thought I had, but I was so wrong.
"You know you have forgiven someone when you don't talk about it anymore." Kinda going along with the word's lesson from last week, huh? Didn't think of that until just now. I had apparently "forgiven" them, but I would still spout off if I was upset about something and vent about something that was in the past. Wrong. So very wrong.
"you won't let them be afraid of you." Perfect love casts out fear. They were afraid of me. They didn't know how to act around me now. That's not what I wanted. I never want to drive fear into some one.
And here's the kicker. "Don't let them feel guilty." But, wait?! Don't they need to know how hurt I was? No. He said that it's almost like we can't bear the thought of them not knowing how wounded we are. We can't wait for them to be sorry. We have to CHOOSE to forgive. You see, my mom always taught me that forgiveness was a choice, not a feeling. Even well into my twenties and even now she'll remind me to make a daily choice (sometimes hourly) to forgive people. She is and was right. I need to extend grace. Instead of rubbing it in their face, I need to cover their fragile ego-- because I know that God is ultimately at the bottom of it all and that HE is the greatest judge. Not me.
One of my favorite quotes from Sunday. "Forgiveness is a life sentence." meaning that I forgave you then and I forgive you now. It's constant.
Joseph was given a lofty position because he TOTALLY FORGAVE his brothers for sending him into slavery. But it turned out to be the greatest thing that ever happened to him. Imagine what God can do in your life when there is no bitterness at all!
This message changed my life. And I don't say that loosely. I put it into practice this week and I'm telling you.... I'm a better person and my family/friends are better because of it.
How'd you like that for my little life lesson from my twenties that happened 4 days ago? ha! I'm always learning something new!
Please, please, please listen to that message. It's about 35-40 minutes. SO much of my post above came from his message and my notes. I give him FULL credit (RT Kendall). I couldn't stop writing notes and this is about a quarter of them :)
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