Monday, August 30, 2010


I've had to write about forgiveness before. It might be because it's an important topic. It might also be because I am not very good at it.

One of the things we've changed in our ministry is that I am doing a lot more with Mike. My favorite might be premarital counseling. I love talking weddings and getting to know the couples. This summer is the first time I have sat through every single session. I think the hardest one for me, by far, was forgiveness. Even harder than submission. Ha!

There are some things and people I just don't want to forgive. I am not a mean ogre. I feel like the unforgiveness in my heart is justified. It needs no explanation. No one would argue that I have been hurt. It is obvious that forgiveness is not deserved and they are not worthy.

It feels good to hold on to that; the grudge, the upper hand. Doesn't it?

I was reminded of the sad state of my heart while we were talking about forgiveness. I think I forgot that great moment in history when Jesus died for the forgiveness of my sins.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
Romans 5:7-9

Jesus forgave me while I was still a sinner. In case I have you fooled, I am a dirty rotten sinner. I am unworthy of forgiveness. Is it a step of faith then to forgive others no matter how unworthy they might be? Maybe they will never ask for forgiveness. They definitely may not deserve it. It doesn't matter.

It's not my job to declare people worthy. It's my job to follow Jesus. It's my desire to be like him. In faith, I must forgive. Without judgment or begging, but offering it freely out of love.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Colossians 3:12-14 The Message
, emphasis added

I wish I could have grasped on to that earlier in my life. But I'm glad God is teaching me about it now. There are so many people whose lives are ruined, relationships severed, families divided because they cannot bring themselves to forgive. The hurt is too great. There is money involved. The years roll on and it just gets worse. I desperately don't want my family to end up like that.

My kids have been squabbling a lot the last few weeks. I say squabble because that sounds a lot better than to say they are fighting and I'm worried someone is going to get hurt. I might lose my mind. I've not been at 100% and there has been a lot going on. My kids are pretty spirited. I'm so happy for you if yours aren't. Maybe yours would never do the things mine do. I don't want them to just get over it. They need to learn and practice forgiveness. In faith, forgive as the Lord forgave you. Even if the hair puller doesn't deserve it.

God's plan for fixing the destroyed and broken relationship with humans was to send His Son to take my punishment and broker forgiveness. That wasn't easy. Jesus had to suffer and die for that. The answer to our broken relationships is forgiveness too. It won't be easy. It will take selfless sacrifice.

It's an act of faith. Do you believe that you are worthy of Jesus' forgiveness? He did it anyway. Go and do likewise.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

'Tis the Season

Everyone knows that as Christmas approaches women kick it into high gear: shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating and parties. They have lists and lists. Some wake up early to shop on black Friday. Cell phones buzz as they talk about deals and traditions and gifts. Large groups of women gather to bake cookies. Men don't understand that. They try to ignore it or just watch a lot of football.

Well, there's another season coming. This one is different. Male social circles are buzzing. Men I didn't realize even knew how to use a phone are calling about arrows and bows. Camouflage things are being created.

Men are gathering around targets. Camouflage coats and masks are being aired out. For weeks. To get rid of the scent. Really, do your clothes smell that bad?

That's right it's time for hunting. As much as Mike doesn't understand my compulsion to make everything perfect for Christmas, I do not understand hunting. Why would you choose to walk into the woods in the dark and sit in a tree stand in the freezing cold to bring home a bunch of meat that no one really likes. Seriously, who likes venison? (Ok, I do a little bit now). I know Pa Ingalls did it but I'm pretty sure they didn't have perfectly good meat at Super One Foods.

I may not understand but I'm just going to go with it. Man time in the woods and a freezer full of meat is worth a lot. And I don't want to hear one word when I get up at 4:00 a.m. to forge my way into the cold, fight the crowds and go shopping on Black Friday. I may, in fact, have to air my own clothes out after that. It may even be a benefit to wear a little camo that day.

To each his own.