Tag Archives: Spiritual Growth

Forgiveness is the Key

The Wound

Have you ever been so wounded or abused by someone whom you swore you would never forgive them?

After talking with a close friend of mine recently, I was thinking about our conversation.  Anna (not her real name) is healing from a tragic childhood abuse of the worst kind. Over the past year, she and I have become very close as I have helped her deal with this horrible pain that keeps rearing its ugly head in her life.

Recently, a good friend of Anna’s almost died; Anna was very distraught about her friend. This friend has reached out to Anna just a few months ago. I think it would be good for Anna to work on building some friendships that she has cut off over the years. She fears letting others into her world, because they may hurt her. She has been betrayed by two very close friends. I mentioned not everyone wants to hurt her, and that she is missing out on the friendship and love of others. However, they are missing out on what she can offer them as well. As I was mulling over her fears one day, and through some reading and praying I realized a missing link in Anna’s healing and seeking friendships. Forgiveness . . .

She struggles to forgive the monster who stole her childhood and innocence. I can completely understand. Who would not? However, he is stealing her life now, and he is deceased. She is afraid to live. Her pain doesn’t stop with this one person it seeps into all her relationships. She is on a journey of healing, and will have a story to share with others. There are so many people out there just like her who nobody knows the hell they are living in. She will be their voice one day. God has a plan and a purpose for her, as He does for each of His children.

Open Hearts

Here is the connection I made for my friend to complete her healing. She needs to forgive the monster. Not because he deserves it. Not because he is dead. We forgive, because God has called us to forgive everyone as He has forgiven us (Eph 4:32). This will not happen in a moment, but will take time to peel back the layers of pain, grief and sorrow by releasing it to God. Somehow God has designed it when we quit clutching our pain and forgive those who hurt us then our heart is open to love and forgive others. You see my friend is clutching her pain tightly, and has for so long that it hurts to even look at it. Forgiveness looks impossible, because it has become a part of her like having a permanent scar from a gash 20 years ago, but the pain does not go away. However, God has promised us that if we make the decision to forgive – EVEN if the person NEVER asks for it – He will complete the healing process for us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Resoundingly YES! Ask anyone who has forgiven the murderer of their child, the cheating wife or husband, the prodigal son, or the betraying friend, they would tell you the same. It is hard to describe what God does in your heart when you are obedient to forgive. You are able to look at the pain, and not feel the deep wound anymore. The anger is washed away. Joy and love take up residence where all the poison used to reside. You make room for God to fill your heart with His love that spills over into others even the one that has hurt you the most.

For me, I have someone whom I forgave for a horrible thing they did to me a long time ago. I now just feel sorry for them. To be honest, I don’t feel a gush of love for them, but I love them as a part of God’s creation. I don’t know if they have Christ or not. If they do not have the love of Christ in them, they are missing out on so much life!

So Hard to Believe

Corrie ten Boom had a similar excruciating painful experience as my friend. She and her family were severely abused in a German Nazi Concentration Camp. She watched her sister starve to death days before they received freedom. Her family was put in a prison camp for hiding Jews from Hitler’s regime. After her release, and in the midst of healing from all the torture, she spoke at a meeting in Munich, Germany about what she had been through in the camps and about God’s forgiveness.

Afterwards, a former guard came up to her, and said that he had become a Christian recently, and he wanted to personally ask her forgiveness. She remembered him. She remembered being paraded by him naked. He stuck his hand out in an offering of peace and forgiveness. It was all she could do to shake his hand. She knew that she should, but she had this internal battle raging. She finally extended her hand out to shake his and when she did, she could feel the power and presences of God move from her shoulder down to where her hand met his. She had this overwhelming sense of love for the man. The forgiving power of God overwhelmed her. You see she stopped clutching her pain, and could forgive and love through the power of God.

Forgiveness Is . . .

Forgiveness is more about letting go of our right to be hurt, than it is freeing the other person from their responsibility. Forgiveness frees us to love others more deeply. I know it is hard, because there are times that I struggle with it too. When you are repeatedly hurt by the same person for the same thing over and over again, you want to curl up in your corner to have your pain party. Although, that is not what God designed us to do. Unforgiveness holds us in bondage and keeps us from the pure love that God has for us and the love we could share with others. Forgiveness is the key to get out of bondage.

Is there someone you need to forgive today? Maybe you need to forgive yourself and allow God to heal you. We are to be responsible for own actions, but that does not mean we drag that mistake, sin, or pain with us for the rest of our life as penance. This is the beauty of God’s design. His mercy and grace wash away our sin and our pain to open our hearts to be filled with His love. I pray that you allow Him today. Forgive as you have been forgiven by the Almighty Savior and Friend. He will flood you with His love.

This verse below became real to me during a particularly difficult time in  my marriage.  God revealed to me that He had forgiven me and I needed to forgive my husband just like He forgives me.  Talk about a spiritual 2 x 4!

Ephesians 4:32 “Instead, be kind to each other,

tenderhearted,  forgiving one another,

just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Please feel free to share how forgiveness helped you or any other comments on this post. I look forward to reading what you share!



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out of the Box

Note from Joyce:  I have been MIA for the past month while working on my next class in college.  Thankfully I am done.  Below you can read some of the fruits of my labor from class.  I can’t wait for you to share your story.  Part 4 of David’s story will be ready soon.

out of the Box

As I listen to the song My Own Little World by Matthew West, it is a stark reminder of how I take the basics of life for granted.

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world, population: me

The song inspired my thinking about what I can do to get out of my own little world, my box. How can I make time to help others with all the things going on in my life? I am a college student, a wife, a mother, and the chief operating officer of our home. As well as, I am currently seeking a new job, a writer, blogger and a Sunday school teacher. Yet the words of the song always sting my heart, because when I give out of my box I feel that I am truly living.

Even though I do not have all the material things that I would like, I have more than most people around the world. My eyes were opened outside of my box as I worked at a job in downtown Albany, Ga. The number of people walking to the drug store or work amazed me. On the side of town where I live everyone drives a car, because it is too far to walk most places. Many people downtown are walking because they cannot afford a car.

One day a haphazardly dressed man who wore a pungent odor came into our office with his rheumatoid arthritis prescription, and really struck my heart. He did not have the money to fill the prescription. You could see the knots of agony that had already damaged his hands, but he didn’t come asking for money. He humbly asked to borrow some paper towels and window cleaner to clean the windows of some store fronts nearby. He looked for ways to earn the money for his medicine. I admired his approach to his problem. When he brought the cleaner back to me, I gave him my ten dollars I had for lunch money. It felt good to help someone in such a small way, but I know it is huge to have medicine for pain. I have always had money for medicine and medical care. I realized how incredibly blessed I am to have something so basic, and so important to my comfort.

This thought of helping others actually has been nagging at me for some time. Due to my strong faith in God I believe it is my way of giving back to others the way people have given to me. As the song asks, “What if there is a greater purpose?” makes me realize that my helping others is not about me, but about them. When I take the focus off of my needs, my family, my life, I enter into someone else’s world and can make a greater impact than if I just stay “safe” in my own little box. The ultimate goal is to give not to receive. However, every time I give of myself to others I find I receive so much more in return.

What bothers me about my box is it’s all about “me”! In America most of us focus filling our box for us, and do not think twice about others. We consume our thoughts about what to buy next and what great trip we can take.   I am guilty of this crime by planning the ways to decorate my home and what car I want next. Rarely do we look for ways to help those that are hurting or just need a few dollars for medicine. We live shallow lives if it all about “us.”

It is hard to tame the monster inside each of us that desires for more. So, what do you do? What do you fill the box of your life with and why? Is being “safe” in your box and filling your box all there is to this life? At the end of my life I hope my box is empty from all that I gave. It does not matter how big or small, from the heart or from the wallet, seek to give out of your box in some way each day. For me life is more exciting when you give from the heart!

Leave a comment below how you have shared out of your box recently or in the past that brought that joy of giving glow to your face.    I can’t wait to hear your story!

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Falling in the Pit: Part 2 of 5

Falling in the Pit: . . . .  Part 2 of 5

. . .   The Decent Continues . . . 

Verses for Today:

 2 Samuel 11:1-27  Click on verses to read online

We continue our journey with David.  Last time we watched him take something that was not his, because well. . . He wanted it.  He is king, and he can get what he wants at any time that he desires.   Have you ever felt that way?  I know I have.  I deserve . . . it’s been a hard week, and I want . . .

It’s the little decisions along the way that lead to the great fall.  For the drinker it starts with just one beer.  For the drug addict it started with one smoke at a party.  For the depressed woman it started out as a way to give herself a perk, then she shopped to keep the feeling going till one day her husband finds the credit card bill and stares in disbelief.  We all wake up one day and wonder how did I get here?

The Coverup .  . . 

So today we read to the end of the chapter and watch David tumble-down deeper in his pit.  David plans for the great cover up.  Bathsheba is pregnant with his child.  Next, he sends for Uriah to come home.  Surely the man who has been out in battle for weeks, sleeping on the ground and exhausted, will want to go home, clean up and spend a little R & R with his wife, right?

David calls Uriah home and tells him, “Man, you have been doing an awesome job on the battlefield.  Why don’t you take a few vacation days and spend some time with that pretty little wife of yours?”  Uriah says “Sure,” but does not go home.  He stays at the King’s gate with the other servants and spends the night.

Plan A . . . Plan B

David finds out Uriah did not go home and asks him, “Hey, I gave you some time to go home.  Aren’t you tired after that long journey?”  Uriah has a very honorable response, “All my buddies are sleeping in an open field with the ark and dwelling in tents.  How can I go home to eat, drink and sleep with my wife?  I’m sorry King, but I just can’t.”  So, David’s plan backfired!  Uriah was a man of honor to his country and his God.

David tells him to hang out for a few more days then he will let him go back to the battle.  I can see David pacing around.  “Think . . . think . . . there has got to be a way to get this man to break.”  He stops mid pace, looks up and has an “aha” moment!  “I know.  We will throw a party for him before he heads back out, and I will get him to drink.  Once he is drunk surely he will want to see Bathsheba.”  Well, plan B backfired too.  So what’s a king to do?

The Death Sentence

The next event blows my mind.  He sends a note to Joab, the commander-in-chief of his army.  David gives the note to Uriah to give to Joab!!  Uriah delivers his own death sentence. That takes some nerve!  Notice, no one throughout this story questions the King on his actions.  Joab didn’t send a letter back or any messengers to find out what Uriah did to deserve this treatment.  In this culture that was just unheard of most likely.  You do not question the king’s orders.  You follow the orders of the king.  Joab is ordered to put Uriah in the heat of battle and retreat “that he may be struck down and die.”  Unbelievable!

Well, Joab obeys orders.  The sad part is that there were other innocent victims because of David’s “plan.”  Many times we think that our “little” sin doesn’t hurt anyone else.  Yet many times it does.  We take others down with us or hurt them along the way.

From Seduction to Murder to Marriage? 

David has seduced, lied, murdered and what does he do now?  Let’s make it all better and marry the poor widow of our fallen soldier Uriah.  Yep, that will make it all better now.  When we think we have got it all figured out and covered up, think again.

“But the thing David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27b)

The Work of Revival:   

                                            (This section is for a time of personal reflection)

Maybe you have your own story that just seems to go on and on from one stupid decision to another till finally it explodes in your face.  Yep, been there, done that, and well . . .  I don’t wear the T-shirt to prove it!  Maybe you haven’t committed adultery or murder.  However, you may have lied, run from God for years, harbored bitterness and nursed that betrayal.  Whatever your sin, whatever your pit, whatever is hurting you so deeply, God will forgive you and me.  Sorry, these are not uplifting stories, but we need to go into the pit with David, so we can rejoice with him when he gets out.  Please stay with me, and we will see how revival breaks out.


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