thoughts from the trail

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by: Steve Fawcett

12/01/2022

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  All of us have stories we could tell about how someone at some time, hurt us; physically or emotionally, spiritually or financially; and some have been hurt in very serious ways.  In Matt. 5:43-48 Jesus gives us the stunning statement that as believers, we are to love even our enemies. We’re not to treat people the way our culture encourages us to do, which is to get even or hurt them back.

   Our enemy loves to come along and try to convince us to be bitter, upset and angry for what they did. He tries to convince us to get revenge or sulk forever.   That is all a lie.  It only ruins you and makes everything worse.

     One great way to love your enemy is to forgive them. To truly forgive another you don’t deny what they did to you or even downplay it, you recognize it, you don’t repress it, rather you fully accept and realize what they did to you and then you choose to forgive them, to let them off the hook.   

   The bible says that real love ‘keeps no record of wrongs’. Do you do that in your marriage?  We refuse to remember the wrong they did and we decide to ‘tear up that list of wrongs.’  Instead of telling your spouse: ‘I’ll remember that’ so you can bring that up later to help prove to them what a terrible person they are, you tear up that list. 

   Sometimes when we say ‘I forgive you’ is actually because we really haven’t and we just want to stick the knife in them to let them know how much they hurt us.

  The time to say: I forgive you is when you know she or he wants to hear that from you more than anything else.  Or you can say: ‘I do forgive you’ when people ask you to do this.  Otherwise, your forgiveness needs to be in your heart without perhaps them ever knowing your pain.  But God knows. He can bless you and He can deal with the offender.  Again, you don’t deny it, you don’t repress it, you acknowledge it and then choose to forgive. 

    Also, forgiveness means that you will not run around telling other people what somebody did to you.   Why is it that when somebody hurts us, the first thing some do is get on the phone and tell others, often, many others?  So we use our tongue to ruin that person in the eyes of others.  By the way, how would we like it if God told everyone else all He knows about us?!     He could ruin us in an instant.     We would all have to flee.

   Forgiveness also means that we won’t make other people afraid of us; of what we might say to them or to others.  Many marriages could be healed quickly if both husband and wife would completely, in every way, stop pointing the finger. Pointing the finger brings on fear. But perfect love casts out fear.  It means you won’t increase their shame.  It means you won’t rub their noses in it, some insecure people like to do that.

   And this kind of love, this kind of forgiveness is something we do as long as we live. We choose to do this. The love Jesus speaks about here is a chosen way of life, it’s not a temporary feeling.  

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  All of us have stories we could tell about how someone at some time, hurt us; physically or emotionally, spiritually or financially; and some have been hurt in very serious ways.  In Matt. 5:43-48 Jesus gives us the stunning statement that as believers, we are to love even our enemies. We’re not to treat people the way our culture encourages us to do, which is to get even or hurt them back.

   Our enemy loves to come along and try to convince us to be bitter, upset and angry for what they did. He tries to convince us to get revenge or sulk forever.   That is all a lie.  It only ruins you and makes everything worse.

     One great way to love your enemy is to forgive them. To truly forgive another you don’t deny what they did to you or even downplay it, you recognize it, you don’t repress it, rather you fully accept and realize what they did to you and then you choose to forgive them, to let them off the hook.   

   The bible says that real love ‘keeps no record of wrongs’. Do you do that in your marriage?  We refuse to remember the wrong they did and we decide to ‘tear up that list of wrongs.’  Instead of telling your spouse: ‘I’ll remember that’ so you can bring that up later to help prove to them what a terrible person they are, you tear up that list. 

   Sometimes when we say ‘I forgive you’ is actually because we really haven’t and we just want to stick the knife in them to let them know how much they hurt us.

  The time to say: I forgive you is when you know she or he wants to hear that from you more than anything else.  Or you can say: ‘I do forgive you’ when people ask you to do this.  Otherwise, your forgiveness needs to be in your heart without perhaps them ever knowing your pain.  But God knows. He can bless you and He can deal with the offender.  Again, you don’t deny it, you don’t repress it, you acknowledge it and then choose to forgive. 

    Also, forgiveness means that you will not run around telling other people what somebody did to you.   Why is it that when somebody hurts us, the first thing some do is get on the phone and tell others, often, many others?  So we use our tongue to ruin that person in the eyes of others.  By the way, how would we like it if God told everyone else all He knows about us?!     He could ruin us in an instant.     We would all have to flee.

   Forgiveness also means that we won’t make other people afraid of us; of what we might say to them or to others.  Many marriages could be healed quickly if both husband and wife would completely, in every way, stop pointing the finger. Pointing the finger brings on fear. But perfect love casts out fear.  It means you won’t increase their shame.  It means you won’t rub their noses in it, some insecure people like to do that.

   And this kind of love, this kind of forgiveness is something we do as long as we live. We choose to do this. The love Jesus speaks about here is a chosen way of life, it’s not a temporary feeling.  

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