The following posts relate to your walk with Christ. These posts show question, struggle, angst, peace, joy, and faith. Peruse for some encouragement. You may find you identify with more of these than you realize.

Why Can’t I Just Forgive?

Some times when I’m mad at Mike, he might ask me if I’m still mad at him. Sometimes I respond, “I’m only on seventy times two right now!” He knows I’m referring to Peter in the book of Matthew.

“At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, ‘Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?’

Jesus replied, ‘Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.’ ”     Matthew 18:21-22

I always thought it was kind of funny that Peter gave a number of times when he asked Jesus this question. Seven does seem like a mystical number in the Bible. Maybe Peter was thinking, Hey, I can live with seven times, I mean six just doesn’t quite seem enough and more than that just gets to be too much! Ha! I can just see Jesus throwing his hands and shaking his head while slightly exclaiming, Seven! Thinking, Oh Peter, if you only understood

Why was Peter asking this? Jesus just finished explaining to them the importance of working out conflicts with someone who has hurt you. He makes it sound like a “process” of actively pursing and choosing to forgive that person. Jesus said try talking to him, if that doesn’t work, talk to him with someone else present, and if that doesn’t work, talk with someone who might offer guidance to him and guess what? If that doesn’t work, “you’ll have to start from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love” (Matt. 18:17).

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What?!? Start from scratch? That might be why sometimes I feel like I just can’t reach forgiveness with someone. It also sounds like a lot of work to reach forgiveness. Although, he did mention seventy times seven, hmmm… Why is forgiveness so hard?

I’m not one who believes that I have to do tons of work to get God to love me or forgive me. If I do this and this and this then all is well in the God department. I don’t think it works that way. Now, when it comes to forgiving someone else, I do think there is an action required on my part. I think Jesus is pointing out that you have to choose to forgive. That is an action of course, but by making that choice, you have to trust God will take care of the rest. Notice how he doesn’t say, once you do these steps for forgiveness, the other person will finally understand. No, he says you might have to start over, meaning you might have to keep choosing to forgive that person. And you might have to do it seventy times seven times! He doesn’t say you will get that other person to change their ways. He doesn’t say you will get that other person to come forth and apologize. I’m starting to think the whole forgiveness “process” is really for the person who is hurt, more than it is for the person who has hurt you.

That’s not to say your actions of continuously choosing to forgive a person wont have an impact on them, but I wouldn’t worry about it being your responsibility to change that person’s feelings. Yikes! That is way easier said than done. I have to trust that I am doing what I believe is right and God will take care of the rest. I’ve heard several pastors say something along the lines of how forgiveness is really for you, the person who is hurt. I think Joyce Meyer said once that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill the other person. Double Yikes! I don’t really think about that when I’m caught up in the anger I’m feeling or bitterness. Although, I bet poison tastes pretty bitter…

I’m a big believer in speaking the Word out loud. So, what do I do when I’m harboring unforgiveness and letting it eat away at me? I speak God’s truth out loud. Even if I don’t feel it, that doesn’t mean it wont

 

work in my heart. The Holy Spirit is the one who ministers to my heart. I particularly like Galatians 5:1

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you!”

I like this verse because it reminds me that I am letting unforgiveness make me a slave and I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I realize that I am letting Satan control my emotions. I am free! Woohoo! I don’t have to feel that way! None of us do. I’m going to choose that freedom. Even if it’s seventy times seven times or whobody knows how many times.

Peace,
Glo

Marriage Is Hard

Marriage is hard.
This sounds like the Biggest. Understatement. Ever.
(This post may contain affiliate links, so if you click and buy anything, I get a tiny commission. Thank you!)

I recently have been reading the book of Matthew in The Message Bible (Eugene Peterson’s translation). I’m a big Peterson fan and have loved reading this Bible. If you’re unfamiliar with The Message and are looking for a Bible that feels comfortable and simple to read, I would encourage you to try this one.

In Matthew 19 Jesus is talking about marriage with the Pharisees, who are “badgering” him about divorce. They ask Jesus about when it’s OK for a man and woman to divorce and He gives him the answer (verses 8-9).

Jesus said, “Moses provided for divorce as a concession to your hard heartedness, but it is not part of God’s original plan. I’m holding you to the original plan, and holding you liable for adultery if you divorce your faithful wife and then marry someone else. I make an exception in cases where the spouse has committed adultery.”

Of course the disciples, always reminding us of our human selves when Jesus is explaining things, make their interjection by asking Jesus what’s the point then of getting married if you’re “stuck.” Jesus replied in verses 11-12

But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a though. Others never get asked–or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”

Holy Buckets. How have I missed this verse? Did I read that right? “…mature enough…certain aptitude and grace…growing into the largeness of it...” I went to look at other translations and now I see why I felt like I’ve never read it this way before. I think what Jesus said here can be easily overlooked. Other versions say something like “not all can accept this saying…but he who is able to [accept it] let him...”

Jesus just said marriage is hard.

For some reason, that simple statement gave me a big umph of encouragement. I’m thinking if the Creator of the universe says marriage is hard, then I’m not crazy. Whew. Not only did he say it was hard, but he said we grow into it. Meaning we don’t always stay the same. We are always changing during the different seasons of marriage.

This made me think of a marriage book I read once that talked about how a couple was arguing because the husband felt like his wife had changed since they first got married. The counselor responded with something like, “Duh. We all are constantly changing as we face new obstacles in life. As we go through new experiences. Those experiences change us.”

What should you do when marriage feels hard? Why wont your husband change? When marriage gets hard what should we do? What does Jesus say about marriage? Read on for more. #marriage #marriageadvice

 

 

I was reminded of how glad I am that I am not the same as I was when we first got married. I could not imagine how we would have handled having children then! Knowing that both Mike and I will continue to change and will continually strive to be in harmony together even though sometimes it feels like utter discord, is a good thing. I certainly hope I’m not the same in fifty years as I am now. Even if he feels like my roommate sometimes, I know there are different seasons in marriage.

I can’t help but notice that sometimes pesky word grace. I’m reminded of the book Love and War by John Eldredge.  One part of the book discusses how God put you and your spouse together in order to draw you closer in your relationship with Christ, that’s why Paul compares marriage to Christ and his love for the church, for all of us (Ephesians 5:22). Uhm, wait, I don’t think I realized this when I signed up for marriage.

The truth is, I need that grace. I think of all the times I wish Mike would change and stop myself to ask God what he’s trying to show me. Not what he’s trying to show Mike. Sheesh. I’m not Mike’s Holy Spirit. What a relief when you really really think about that.

I may be a source of counsel to him, but I am certainly not responsible for his relationship with Christ.

Even though things get hard, they also get really really really good.  And there is no way I could get through any season of life without His grace.

Peace,
Glo