Friday, October 15, 2010


When we first learned to forgive, we were probably standing next to a sibling or a classmate.  They were very reluctantly or insincerely offering an apology for something they probably didn't feel any remorse for.  And we were taught to say "I forgive you" and the adult told us to hug, shake hands, smile or whatever.  And now everything was better.  I'm not against that system of teaching by any means, but it has come to my attention that sometimes we, as adults, still try to make forgiveness work in the same way.

We will forgive, sure, if you count being able to vocalize that we forgive someone for something.  Although, adults rarely face their offenders, and if they do, have learned to cover over the reluctance and insincerity with many more layers and facades.

For the past several years, I have been learning that forgiveness isn't just an academic flipping of a switch.  We cannot just say that we forgive.  I have learned that forgiveness hasn't happened until the pain is gone.  Often, people will say that they have forgiven, but will readily state that they will not be hurt by that person again.  Pain is still present.  Or, "Oh yes, I've forgiven them," but go on to say that they can't stand to see them, or hear them talk about some matter, or be reminded in some way of what they did.  Pain is still present.  Forgiveness does not happen until the pain is gone.

Several posts ago, I focused on pain.  Pain is a blessing given by God to alert us that there is something wrong.  No one enjoys suffering with pain, in fact, my back let me know that something was wrong yesterday, and I wished it could have waited to give me that message until a more convenient time.  However, pain is there to tell us something is wrong and we need to fix it.  I cannot 'fix' other people.  I cannot remove what other people have done.  I can only fix my responses, my feelings, and my choices in the matter.  When there is still pain, it is never that the other person needs to change.  It would be nice if they would.  It would be a big blessing if they would.  But pain alerts the person who feels it that something is wrong.

What is wrong when we feel pain for an offense that has not been forgiven?  There are several things wrong.  First: we have not forgiven in the same way that God has forgiven us.  If we love God, we need to keep His commandments, otherwise, we will feel pain.  Second: when we choose not to forgive, we give a small slice of control over our life to the person who hurt us.  As a Christian, God is the only one who is to have that control.  And even apart from that, who willingly gives control of their life to a person who has hurt them?  Thirdly: when we don't forgive, it places a burden on a relationship that God may have given us to be an opportunity for ministry.  All of these reasons cause pain, because their is something wrong that we need to fix.

By all means, keep going through the motions of forgiveness.  Say you're sorry.  Say "I forgive you."  Give a hug, send a card, smile.  But make sure the pain goes away when you do it.  If it doesn't, remind yourself that they are forgiven.  Give another hug, send another card, bake a pie, cake or cookies (for them :)), and make sure that the pain is gone.  Love them until it is completely gone.  And then keep on loving them.

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."  
- Ephesians 4:32

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Choose Joy

Each life will have it's ups and downs
Each day brings both smiles and frowns
A lesson I learned long ago
Despite the sorrow, I choose joy

At times our hearts will ache and break
And we not know what we can take
Yet through it all the lesson stands
Even in pain, I choose joy

The Bible gives a promise true
A promise that is for me and for you
The lesson for each, at any time
A choice we have, I choose joy

I know my Savior loves me so
He paid a debt that I did owe
His gift has made it plain for all
There is a choice, I choose joy

Through years of life, through bad and good
I've found that my God always would
Do good for me in all I've seen
The choice is clear, I choose joy

Today we have a difficult day
It's even hard to stand and say
Yet by God's grace in even this
We each can say, I choose joy

Eber Kinne
Home with His Savior ~ October 5, 2010

"Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever." Psalm 30:11-12