Tag Archives: forgiveness

Lost in my thoughts….

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Uncle Ron… Gosh, I wish I had more pictures.

I haven’t written once again and although I consider it I am lost in my thoughts without much to say.

I recently commented to a few individuals I respect, how much I cannot understand the sin of the world.  It dumb founds me.  I mean, I know it is because of the fall of man yet I see so much evil and sin around me that I just have a difficult time understanding it or wrapping my head around it.   I think that’s why I haven’t been able to write.  I just cannot seem to say what I want to.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16

As I sit here on this beautiful day, I praise God that my family is together, we respect one another, we praise and worship together and we stand by one another.  I thank God for saving me and capturing my heart, turning me away from the sin of the world and for saving my husband and children.  I know that we will make mistakes and be tempted as long as we are here on this earth, yet I also know that God has instilled in us the moral character of faithful Christians who will recognize temptation as it comes our way so that we will have the ability to turn away and turn toward Him.  Oh the blessing of His saving Grace and for His Word that sustains and leads.

Last night we said goodbye to another beloved family member.  It’s interesting how life works and how even when a loved one has turned away from God for the purpose of self indulgences, family still stands by out of love for that individual and can pray and weep in mourning together.   He may not have been perfect, he had his faults, yet he was loved by many.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Corinthians 13:7

Over the years I sat by and observed how my uncle loved his children and those around him.  He tried to be a part of their lives in so many ways.  His children unfortunately, no matter how hard he tried, walked away from him in either silence or defiance.  Their sin was repeatedly overlooked by him due to his love for them.  I never understood why he continued to try so hard only to be disappointed over and over.  In the last few years of his life, my uncle had let go of trying so hard and accepted his place in their lives, which by witnessing his lifestyle became apparent he had a hole in his heart he was trying to fill.

I was sitting here this afternoon, resting, eating my lunch, and watching the end of a movie, during which I was profoundly overcome with tears and joy over a discussion that took place in the movie.  Let me recap the conversation:

Man:  “Do you love me?”

Woman:  “What is your interest in me? What do you want?  I don’t get it?  I’m old, I’m broke, I can’t cook a decent meal, I’m fat…Why would you love a ruined person that ruins other people?”

Man:  “Is that it?  You think that because you screwed up once you don’t get a second chance?”

(Fast forward through the  description of his sinfulness of adultery etc.)

Man:  “My kids are still mad.  I get a calendar for Christmas.  It doesn’t matter if your kids love you or not…It’s not their job to love you….It’s your job to love them!  That’s why you were put here.  That’s why you’re their mom.  That’s why I’m my kids dad.  I love my kids so much….”

I thought of two things:

  1.  While my uncle had so may years of loving and forgiving his children for their own sin, his love for them was felt and known.  Whether or not they accepted it didn’t matter, they knew he loved them unconditionally.  He didn’t put prerequisites on their behavior in order for him to love them, he just did because he was their dad.   He forgave them time and time again, waiting patiently  for them to come to him while still showing them he loved them.  With sadness, he never got to witness their homecoming back into his life.  It was on his deathbed that one of his children stood over him holding his hand telling him he loved him.  His other child lives across the country so it’s unknown what their reaction was.  I am betting that there was soul searching and a broken heart.
  2.  I listened to the conversation, with ears hearing that of the Father who gave so much for his children out of unconditional love.    I know that the movie did not intend to portray that of scripture, yet for me it struck a chord and moved me to finally be able to write what I’m thinking.  As a parent, do we love our children unconditionally?  Do I love my children and look beyond their sin?  Do I show them how much I love them?   When I am departing this world will my children be able to say, “Mom loved me and gave me her all.  She wasn’t selfish in her own ambitions in life, she was not into self indulgences, she was a woman filled with the Word of God loving, serving and forgiving unconditionally”?

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  1John 4:7-11

I am sad for my uncle that he could not see how much his children loved him, yet, as spoken above, I think God has used and will continue to use the examples he set for others to perhaps take note and consider.   If not now, then perhaps when and or if the Lord calls them by name.   He loved unconditionally and he lived and died unknowing.  I will miss his love for my family, especially for my mom.  He was there for her from the beginning, always embracing the roll of the big brother,  protecting and supporting in some of her darkest moments of fear, rejection and loss.  His love for my own family over many years was amazing.  He took an interest….. I think that’s the part I have missed and will continue to miss the most.   I don’t know whether or not I will see my uncle again as I don’t know where he stood with God. Sadly he did not live a life dedicated to Jesus Christ according to His Word.  I only know that whatever relationship he had with God is between the two of them, and God has blessed me with the treasured memories of a predominantly selfless man that will have to last a lifetime.

Perhaps this is a bunch of jumbled thoughts to you dear reader, yet I hope that through my writing I have offered you something.  Either sparked a thought, sparked a conversation or sparked an interest in learning more of a loving Father and that in which we are created for on this earth.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  1Timothy 1:5

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”  John 14:21

Bottoms Feeders. Really???

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Swimming with the fishes…perhaps we should look beyond the definition and remember that sometimes bottom feeders are also the ones cleaning the tank.

Kindness and integrity are something that are rarely seen today.  I know the answer to the why question is sin.  It still astounds me however, that even as “cultured”, well rounded,  and advanced we are as a society and in our understanding of the world and one another we seem to lack kindness and integrity.  Lost somewhere between the  “all about me” and “life is good” mentality.

Last week I received an invitation from a former doctors office (of which I left 3 years ago).  The invitation was for  classes that were coming up  called “Eliminate Bottom Feeders”.  The minute I saw the title I was stunned.   Reading more of it I was flabbergasted at the “all about me” instruction I was invited to.  It read:

How miserable are you with the toxic people in your life?  ARE YOU READY TO BE A BETTER YOU in every life situation no matter who is in front of you?……..instructions to transform your life into one of simplicity and freedom……Best of all, you’ll learn the proven methods to attract positive, loving, and inspiring people into your world today.

I cannot write any more of what is on this flyer.  I’m frustrated just writing it.  Seriously?  The all about “me” worldly viewpoint once again protruding off the page.  Call me old fashioned, call me old or call me anything, however, this is down right what is wrong with our society and world as a whole.  We fight for ideology, we fight for justice (as long as it benefits us) and we fight for happiness (our own).  What ever happened to fighting for others for no good reason or for justice just because it’s morally the right thing to do.  Our culture seems to enjoy reality shows where people are glamified in their sins and any redeeming quality that does exist is overshadowed by laughter, criticism and hatefulness.

Is this what is wrong with our youth?   Is the next generation going to serve a purposeful place in society?  The questions should be considered.

There are several situations that have recently transpired in in the last week where I’ve had to look around and consider how to handle individuals that have taken the “me” attitude.  In dealing with those situations, with those individuals I have considered just turning them away because as the class title states, they were bottom feeders.  Anyone who knows me however, knows that doing that is not in my personality.  I have had to consider in each situation the attempt to overshadow the “me” concept with love, forgiveness and kindness.  I’ve prayed over my own heart and asked for guidance in my reactions.    In order to understand more clearly I  also  looked up “bottom feeder” and this is what it said:

bottom feeder –  leech, or in other words a total lack of responsibility to provide for oneself. Relies heavily upon friends, neighbors or anyone really for sustenance.

This of course allowed something to lay upon my heart with great pressure.   That if someone is a bottom feeder, and they are going to rely on others for sustenance, can’t we assist them by being a good example and steward in what it means to give back?  I mean, if they are going to rely on us, perhaps that is God’s way of blessing us with opportunity.  Perhaps, that is where He will use us in our service to Him.  Just maybe, that person is someone that needs to see kindness so that they too may go out one day and bless another with the same.   What if we as a society, stopped watching all of the “me” media and reality shows with our children and rather, began to outsource our energy to brighten someone else’s day with a kind gesture, a kind word, or a smile.  What about a meal for someone who is unable to cook, weeding someones garden because they aren’t able, taking in a neighbors garbage can when it blows in the street or even opening a door for someone who is struggling whether it be due to little children or a disability?  What about a prayer and an email to someone you know needs the encouragement?   Most of all what about forgiveness?  The posibilities are endless.  Remember, bottom feeder are also the ones that are cleaning the tanks.  They are of value and they could be your blessing.

Our culture also tries to make our children and one another believe that every relationship is a fairytale.  That every day you wake up you should be singing, laughing and never complaining.  I’m sorry to say that you can read self help books till the cow’s come home and you will never find that to be true.  If all that is taught is what is in the movies or on reality TV about what they call “true” happiness, one is surely to be disappointed.  In fact, maybe that’s why so many people are on antidepressant drugs.   Perhaps, rather than instructing one another on how to rid ourselves of people who drag us down, maybe we should begin sharing with one another how we have dealt with struggles in our own lives. You never know, it just may assist in the mind set of someone who has a lack of coping skills.   Life is full of challenges and we cannot escape them, we need to learn to cope with them.

John 16:33English Standard Version (ESV)

33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Now, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  There are boundaries to everything, and there are priorities.  We should not be forsaking our families attention for that of others.  We do not put our families on hold so that we can attempt to “save the world”.  However, we should be able to balance our families and others who maybe don’t know what it means to not be selfish.  Even the example of serving our families can be seen by others.   When I was in College, one of our classes required us to read a book called, Give A Man A Fish and He Will Eat For A Day, Teach A Man To Fish and He Will Eat For A LifeTime.   A concept we have long forgotten.

As I ponder this week how I may assist in showing that which I know to be good stewardship to all those I encounter, I consider also what it means to be content.  Content with this life on this earth.  Contentment with illness, with family, with friends, with volunteering my time and with contentment in all things.  I hope that you too will consider where our society is today and the culture that is vastly becoming all of our reality.  How can we play a part in transforming just one person from being a “me” thinking individual to being a “difference maker”.

(I personally would like to have my own class…6 weeks in teaching others how to go beyond themselves in behavior and in thought.)  ha ha ha

ESV — 1 Timothy 6:1-10
6  Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants1 regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.

False Teachers and True Contentment

Teach and urge these things. 3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound 2 words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and3 we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Individually Created

Anecdotes for loving one another even if you don’t see eye to eye in every area of your lives:

1. Remember, God created each of us individually, a beautiful arrangement that He can look upon with joy!

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2. Think about how boring the world would be if we all behaved and acted alike. It’s okay to stand out and accept those who do not fit in a square societal box!

oliver in hat

3. Rather than asking yourself why others aren’t doing enough, ask yourself whether or not you are doing enough!

bench at Carnton plantation

4. Remember, true forgiveness and hope for restoration always come after repentance, not before.

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5. Keep in mind that most of us are ugly caterpillars before we bloom into beautiful butterflies.

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