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Monday, August 4, 2008

Moving On

Someone in my life is angry at me right now.

Last week, in the midst of frustration, I said some things that offended her. I didn't think my words were that big a deal, but, well, obviously they were.

The problem is that this person didn't let me know that she was angry. She just cut off communication with me. And it has been such a busy week that I didn't even clue in that she was angry for days. We were in a little “spat”, and I didn’t even know it!

This morning I was griping in my head about it. That silent treatment business is so passive aggressive, so childish. Just tell me I offended you. Give me a chance to apologize so we can move on with our lives.

Right then I heard That Voice in my head say,

You're doing the exact same thing.

Oh no, it's true! Achhh!

Someone else has offended me. For a good couple of weeks now, I have harbored a grudge. I have responded in the exact same way - silence. I have ignored her phone calls and emails, or only answered in a very cursory way. I have been passive aggressive one. I have been giving the petulant silent treatment.

I am - gasp - just like that other person whom I offended!

But God! I cry out. I don't know how else to handle it! This has happened in the past with her and it has never turned out well. Confrontation, whether angry or loving, only makes things much, much worse. She is never going to change. So what am I supposed to do when she offends me over and over?
I don't know what to do

Forgive her, the Lord says. Forgive.

And then the Holy Spirit tells me this:

Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his (her) glory to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 19:11

and this

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Matthew 18:21-22

and this

Above all, love each other deeply,
because love covers over a multitude of sins.
I Peter 4:8

Forgive. Love. Just overlook the offense. Get over it. Move on.


God has "gotten over" all my offenses. He has "moved on". When he looks at me, he does not see all the times I have hurt others with my words, or neglected to forgive others, or any of my million other sins.

He only sees me as pure and unblemished, redeemed by the blood of the lamb. I am dearly loved by God, and he proves that love for me by his forgiveness.

That forgiveness was bought with a price - the price was the absolutely excruciating crucifixion on the cross. But God is not asking me to do that in order to forgive the one who wronged me. He is only asking me to crucify my ego, and crucify my pride, and crucify my sense of entitlement that makes me think that everyone should put me and my feelings first.

And that is, frankly, just excruciating for me to do.

Excruciating, and flat out impossible to do by myself. I can try as hard as I can to be holy, to be sweet and forgiving, but all my efforts will be filthy rags. As Paul says in Romans 7:18-19, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

If I rely on myself to forgive others, and lean on my own countenance to overlook offenses, then I. will. always. fail.

But that same Lord who was crucified for my sins - like, the very fact that I am so unforgiving - sends me the Holy Spirit to enable me to be what I am not. He’ll show me the way, and give me the heart to obey. He’s just waiting for me to ask.

Lord, send your Spirit to break my proud and hardened heart. Teach me to overlook offenses, as you constantly overlook my own. Teach me what it means to love by forgiving. Amen.

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Blogger Denise said...

Bless you for sharing this wonderful post.

August 4, 2008 at 12:55 AM  
Anonymous Shara said...

Wow. We all need to be reminded of how the Lord sees past our offenses, and does it repeatedly for that matter. Thank you for sharing this.

August 4, 2008 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

Wow, this is just what I needed to hear after some "happenings" yesterday. Thanks for the reminder.
God is good and gracious and I will cast my burdens to him with a forging heart on my part also.
God bless

August 4, 2008 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Amy L Brooke said...

Great message. Great reminder. It is so easy to fall into the silent trap because it feels easier than dealing with the conflict. But it is so much healthier to own up to it all. And, of course, forgive.

Thanks for sharing.


August 4, 2008 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Tänia said...

YOU GO GOD! That is wonderful that God revealed this to you... isn't it funny how He does that sometimes? Let's us walk through the same experience to understand where we might have a weakness as well?

PTL that you have had the opportunity to see this and can forgive!

Thank you for sharing your heart today.

Tänia of

August 4, 2008 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Why 2nd Cup of Coffee? said...

I liked the way you tackled the nitty gritty. This is where we live life!

August 4, 2008 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Kelly @ Love Well said...

I always thought I was a forgiving person. I'm very happy-go-lucky, I don't hold a grudge. I rarely even notice slights against me, intentional or not.

Then God allowed something to happen to me that was horrible and scarring and wrong.

I came smack up against the fact that, when pushed to the limit, I wasn't as good at forgiving as I thought. I didn't have it in me to forgive this act. It wasn't right, it wasn't fair, it wasn't possible.

But when I finally fell flat on my face and said, "I can't Lord! I know I need to, I know You demand that, but I can't!" That's when I felt the Holy Spirit whisper in my soul, "I can."

And I learned in an incredibly intimate way the concept of grace.

August 4, 2008 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

It is easy to become frustrated with someone. I do think that when we hold a grudge; it is harder on us, than them! Thanks for the wonderful reminder. Cindi

August 4, 2008 at 6:50 PM  

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