Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness

24
May
13

Really needing some stamps

Several years ago Jesus gave me a promise in regards to our family living on financial support. It was during a group prayer time where we had been asked to write Jesus a letter. Instead he completely turned things upside down, and showed me that the letter that he wanted me to put inside the envelope that we had been given was a letter from him. The letter is us as a family, and the message in the letter is one of honesty, hope, forgiveness and love.

He impressed on me to just write ‘God’ as the sender of the letter, and then I attached a permanent marker and a pencil to the envelope and left it on a chair. What Jesus had invited me to was to allow him to decide how the receiving address of the letter was going to be written. It is his business whether he writes the address with a pencil, so it can be easily and more frequently changed, or if he wants us to be in some location for a long time where he would write the address of the letter with a Sharpie permanent marker.

The symbolism was simple and beautiful, and I heard very clearly in my spirit: “And I will pay the postage!”

Jesus will pay the postage. That’s been our promise that we’ve been clinging to ever since I heard those words from Jesus 5 years ago. We have gone through many challenging situations financially, and he has always been true to his promise. But let’s face it….right now we could really use some more stamps!

I’ve been working on, alongside many other projects that require my attention, a major support raising campaign. Let’s be honest, so far where I’m almost done with it, it’s been hugely discouraging. We really need more monthly support to be able to continue doing what we know Jesus has called us to do. We have received some gifts towards our moving expenses this summer, and we are extremely grateful for those! But as far as monthly gift pledges, we have to accept that right now we are looking at a minus of at least $210. Yep, that was $210 less each month…..

Jesus, we just choose to quietly remind you of your promise. You will pay the postage!

A song I was just reminded of as my thoughts and feelings experience lots of turmoil:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4DgESWtCus

And a classic by Rich Mullins, sung by Big Daddy Weave:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOon2xQNZX0

Torben

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02
Jan
10

The word of the year: MERCY!

Today is the first day of the year of 2010. A new decade has begun. The last few days I’ve been thinking about what one word I’ve been learning the most about in the year that just passed. My word of the year is slightly different than the word ‘unfriend‘ which New Oxford American Dictionary decided on as word of the year 2009! It was pretty easy to find out. It has been all over the place throughout the year. It’s a difficult concept to grasp. I’m not very good at it. I’ve been mocking it most of my life. Seen it as weakness. God has challenged me this year with the ancient idea of mercy. Mercy, according to my dictionary, is:

Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm

I’ve learned a lot about seeing that there are more nuances on the palette of life than the black and white that I’m so comfortable with. I’ve learnt a lot about another word closely related to mercy, it’s the word well-meant. People generally mean well when they make their decisions. Even when they make horrendous ones that have terrible consequences. And in the many day to day decisions people make that can irritate me, I am learning to assume that they meant well when they did it. They didn’t do it because they wanted to ruin their lives (or annoy me!). They did it because they thought, however misguided they may be, that it was the best choice available to them. Sure, we all often make decisions based on our wounds and the flesh patterns we’ve developed because of those wounds on our souls. But we typically don’t set out intending to ruin our lives.

Mercy understands this. Mercy understands that we all make mistakes. Some of us make many. Mercy understands that even people who disagree with me or who choose to prioritize very differently from what I prefer, are people who are loved by God and whom I’m called to love. Mercy understands. Mercy forgives. Mercy gives another chance. Mercy assumes the best even when evidence seems to suggest that people will never change. Mercy is aware of the fact that all people can change. Because there is a God. And he can change the hearts of anybody.

I have also learned some about having mercy on myself. The dictionary definition talks about power. And it’s within my power to give myself a hard time when I make poor choices. I may even feel that justice is served when I hate myself or reject myself. Henri Nouwen reminds me that: “Self-rejection is the single greatest enemy of spiritual life, because it contradicts the voice that calls us the Beloved“, and I don’t want to live in self-rejection. I wan to have mercy on myself too.

I am excited to see what this new year holds. And I’m looking forward to taking more steps down the path of mercy. I need it. I need more healing of my soul. I am thankful that God’s mercy towards me is guaranteed:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

I wonder what word of the year 2010 will hold for me?

Blessings, Torben

30
Nov
09

The healing power of forgiveness

There is nothing quite like it. Nothing that has the same power to set you free. Often there is nothing quite so difficult. Often you have to practice it over and over again. Often it doesn’t produce change in anybody else but yourself. And yet, it’s always well worth the agony of doing it. We’re talking about forgiveness!

It’s essential to forgive to live in freedom. There is no way around it. I know many people who don’t live in forgiveness with other people and who are suffering because of that. I have been in situations where I didn’t forgive people. I was also suffering. A wise person once said these clever words:

Unforgiveness is the poison I drink while waiting for someone else to die!

These are powerful and true words. It’s always sad when you see people who choose not to forgive. So often it’s small things that hinder deeper and more fulfilling relationships. Words were said, value statements were put on people, and people choose to hold a grudge, stay in a place of self-righteousness, and the cancer of bitterness grows inside of you. It’s always like this. Whether you agree with this or not. Whether you are a Christian or not. Unforgiveness is a cancer that kills. It slowly takes life out of you. Whatever person you choose not to forgive, you’re tied to. You give the other person power. Power to control your life. You think about the other person, and you know that you lack peace and joy inside of you. It’s the power of sin. As Christians, as children of God we are forgivers per nature. We have been given a new nature, the very nature of Christ. And since he forgave us of everything, we are free to forgive other people for whatever they may do to us.

It’s the way of freedom. It always brings life. It always builds up relationship. It’s the road of brokenness. It’s the road less traveled. It’s always easy to find people, inside or outside the church, who will agree with you that it’s not reasonable for you to forgive, and that you’re right in holding a grudge. But the truth is that forgiveness has nothing to do with ‘fairness’. It’s a choice of life or death. If you forgive, you experience life in your relationships to God, yourself and other people. If you choose not to forgive, you experience bitterness and a lack of life.

Is forgiving easy? No, it rarely is. True forgiveness is painful. Often very painful. But it’s also freeing. I let go of the right I feel to judge and condemn other people, and I’m free to just be me, a human being who is aware of the fact that I often make mistakes myself and hurt other people and need their forgiveness.

Unless you’ve been broken by God and understand the power of living as a broken cup and relying on his strength and not your own, it’s nearly impossible to forgive. Why would you? You can always finds reasons why you shouldn’t take the first step towards forgiveness. Your flesh will tell you that your anger and lack of forgiveness is well justified. And other people will too. Misery attracts company, so it’s often fairly easy to find somebody to sit and whine with. It doesn’t bring any life at all. It just fans the flame of bitterness inside of you. Forgiveness is the highroad that’s painful, but life-giving to travel. It’s the road where Christ is and leads you. “Forgive them Father, they don’t know what they’re doing” were some of Jesus’ lasts words. He left us an example of how to live our lives. We are free to forgive, because we’re forgiven. Forgiveness, like anything else of great value in the Christian walk, is a response. We forgive, because God forgave, just like we love, because he first loved us, and we can draw near to him, because he first drew near to us.

I encourage you to forgive whatever wrong people may have done to you. It will bring life. Guaranteed.

Blessings, Torben

I love one of the first lines in this song: “You are strong when you feel weak, in your brokenness complete”




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