All posts tagged: Forgive

Painting by Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939) Credit: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Wikipedia

The invisible woman

Do you sometimes feel invisible to the people you interact with during the day.  Even if acknowledged it often doesn’t feel sincere enough to satisfy you. I felt that way for many years. I believed I wasn’t significant enough to be acknowledged and seen for who I really was. People didn’t really know me. I have learned after all these years that the way I was feeling (insignificant in the eyes of others) was a mirror reflection of the way I really felt about myself. I had to dive deep into my emotions and my  past  to find the source of my  invisibility pattern.  So much of what I was mirroring to others was directly related to things that happened to me 10, 15 or 20 years ago. In other words, in my own eyes I was invisible and felt unworthy of the attention and significance that came from wholesome relationships that I really longed for. Often women are stuck in ‘old stories’, experiences and unpleasant memories that leave us struggling in our everyday interaction …

Credit: Johndan Johnson-Eliola/Flickrt/Creative Commons

The river of life

I remember five years ago, when I deliberately chose once and for all to forgive those who had wounded me over the years. It involved people I regularly interacted with at church and work. In my mind’s eye, I dumped it all on a garbage heap and burned it. When I looked back there was nothing left but smoke. Every time, I was reminded of the incident and was tempted to look back, I only saw blackened earth. There was nothing left to remember or react to. On my journey to wholeness over the past few years, I have learned that offense throws me completely off course and away from the purpose and plans God has for my life. Unforgiveness, and its children anger and resentment, created a current in my life that pulled me backwards and worked against the moving of the Holy Spirit. It was an extra weight in my boat as I navigated up the river of life.  I was not gaining ground spiritually and my boat was sinking. Unforgiveness attracted the …

What is your story? Credit: rafaelsoares/Flickr/Creative Commons

Changing your story

We all have a story to tell and often people read our story before we actually get to tell it. I have learned that we often give people evidence about ourselves by our words and actions. My insecurities have spoken for themselves and my perception of myself and life has shone through. Literally, I have handed over my story to others by the way I talk about myself, present myself and perceive life. In a matter of moments, people will take what I present and form an opinion of me. We are an open book to this world. So the question is what story am I telling? Is it one of hardship, struggle and pain, a perpetual victim-hood that never ends or is it one of a victor — a person who is overcoming each and everyday? And if it isn’t the latter, do I want to change my story? Our struggles, our pain, our disharmony with life, circumstances and people are opportunities for growth. They provide the platform to dive into the depths of …

Credit: abbyladybug/Flickr/Creative Commons

Turn Down the Noise

Recently I learned one of the most important lessons in my life. Why can’t we learn all the important lessons at the age of 12 or 14? A few years ago I knew an older couple, and the wife was a severe critic of everyone. You know the type. The problem for me was our failed relationship. When I visited them I always left angry. Her criticism of me was irritating, but maybe I deserved it and maybe there was some good advice in her cruel words. My breaking point was all the judgmental things said about other people. I didn’t want to join in and sometimes I tried to defend my friends. I can remember my anger as I write this. It’s impossible to correct an old critic. These old people were devout church-going Christians, respected by everyone who knew them, and I am a Christian, so this was one of the biggest defeats in my life. My clinical description above doesn’t show my emotions; those people made some of us crazy. And then …

A wintry day in Sheffield, England. Credit: Wojtek Gurak/Flickr/Creative Commons

Forgiving a Christmas Eve murder

It was December 24, 2012, and organist Alan Greaves, 68, was walking to Christmas Eve midnight mass at St. Saviour’s Anglican church in Sheffield, England where he was scheduled to play. On his 10-minute journey, he ran in to two men — Jonathan Bowling, 22, and Ashley Foster, 22.  Both had left a Christmas gathering earlier that evening in a foul mood. According to court records, the two men were looking for trouble and saw Greaves as easy pickings. They attacked Greaves with a pick ax handle and hammer and he would later die in hospital from his injuries. But in a powerful testimony, Alan’s wife Maureen Greaves, 63, shared in an interview with the English newspaper, The Guardian, of her journey to forgiving the two men who murdered her husband in the unprovoked attack. Maureen, 63, currently serves as a lay minister with the Anglican church working with a group called the Church Army. Married for forty years, she and her husband have four children, two sons and two daughters. She recounted the night …

Why do some Christians love to hate? Photo: Bart/Flickr/Creative Commons

Christians Who Hate

Wikipedia has a list of “List of terrorist incidents, January–June 2016” and it is a long list for just six months, with everything from mob violence to airport bombings. Human beings are violent and unhappy. When I check the news, someone else has died in some terrorist attack, somewhere in the world. I hope we never get immune to the fact that most killers, in these news stories, hate and kill in the name of God. The good news for Christians is that most religious violence has come from other religions; until now. So can Christians hate? Can we hate people, and not just bad things? Would the death of anyone make your life better? I know that the mean and miserable people in my life are growing older; but every time one of them dies, my life does not get better. There is no improvement down that road. My happiness is tied to God, not to them. So is there any possibility of Christian-inspired violence in the world? Yes. I have never met someone …

Florida-based Chick-fil-A restaurant. Photo: Robert du Bois/Flickr/Creative Commons

A Christian response to the Orlando attack

Chick-fil-A is a popular American-based fast food chain operated by Christians — the Cathay family. Over the past several years the restaurant has been in the sights of gay activists because of statements made by Chick-fil-A’s Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathay in a 2012 interview with the Biblical Recorder when he publicly came out in favor of “the Biblical definition of the family unit.” Since then gay activists and supporters have launched many boycotts and  protests of Chick-fil-A restaurants. This includes picketing their restaurants, trying to stop the chain from setting up restaurants on university campuses and most recently the New York City Council called for a boycott of restaurants in that city. After the horrid massacre of 49 people at a popular gay night club in Orlando, Florida on early Sunday morning on June 12 by an Islamic terrorist, Chick-fil-A broke one of its own cardinal rules to lend a hand. The chain purposefully closes its restaurants on Sunday, allowing its employees to go to church or spend time with their family, if they …

Photo of graffiti: David Perry/Flickr/Creative Commons

Are you vulnerable to satanic attack?

Several years back my wife and I went to Sunday lunch with the pastor of the church we were attending at the time. The restaurant was bustling with an after-church crowd. Then we saw a couple sitting on the other side of the restaurant along its large plate-glass window. I don’t think they saw us, but I watched the pastor’s eyes immediately fix on them. They had attended his church several months earlier and had left offended. Though gone they were now accusing the pastor of all sorts of things, that simply weren’t true. These accusations had made their way back to the pastor and here they were sitting probably 70 feet away and it was obvious their presence was distracting him as I watched him repeatedly glance over. I had no idea what was going on in his mind. The couple had finished their meal and I watched as the waitress walked over to their table and dropped off the bill. As soon as that happened, the pastor pushed back his chair and stood …

Can we change the past through God?

[by Dean Smith] I won’t pretend to understand anything these guys are talking about, but I am always fascinated when scientists talk of Quantum mechanics. In a recent study, a scientist has suggested that contrary to our personal experience time runs both forward and backwards. Our experience with time is that it goes from the past to present to future and only the past and present can affect the future. However, professor Kater Murch from Washington University has been looking at quantum mechanics and discovered that time in the quantum world seems to run both ways. And by doing so, the future has the ability to change the past. As odd as this sounds, I sometimes wonder if these strange theories may help us understand some puzzling statements made by Jesus in the Gospels. But before we get to those verses, let me explain a bit more about Murch’s theory.

The blank column

[by Earl Blacklock] Tex Wilson was a newspaper editor in the U.S. midwest, 40 years in the business. At 65, he purchased a local newspaper as his retirement project. He was editor, photographer, and reporter together. Whether there was celebration or sorrow in the town, Tex was there to record the event. Over the years, the community learned to appreciate Tex and his newspaper. There was one thing, though, that gave them pause. On occasion, the paper would be printed with a column or two totally blank. It seemed at first an oversight, like someone forgot to lay the page out properly. But it happened often enough that speculation as to its meaning began.

Forget and forgive

We are often told to “forgive and forget.” From World War II comes a story about Steve, a wounded soldier who first had to forget before he could forgive. Steve was recovering from his wounds at the U.S. Army Halloran General Hospital on Staten Island when his doctor noticed in his record that he was married. Odd, he thought, since the soldier had received no visitors. Thinking there had been a mix-up in the notification of the spouse, he tracked Steve’s wife Laura down, and she promised to come. When she arrived, she questioned why she had been contacted since the couple was headed for divorce. They had married very young, with very little time together before he was deployed. She was immature and selfish, indulging in an affair which Steve had heard about. He sent a letter home telling her he could never forgive her. Surely Steve had no interest in seeing her. It was apparent she was filled with regret, even self-loathing for what she had done.