Friday, October 29, 2010

Justice or Mercy?

How would you react if you were called to forgive the terrible hurts that have been inflicted upon your very soul?  It could be a scar from days gone by or a wound fresh and yet bleeding.  Would you be willing to readily and freely forgive as God so often entreats us to in His Word?

This is an area I have struggled with and have since found it best practice to take no offence no matter what.  It is far easier to choose not to be offended than having to go through the entire process of having to forgive someone for a trespass and worse still, it could even be an imagined one. 

Unforgiveness wreaks you.  It stagnates your progress towards your God given purpose and calling in life

O the woes of forgiving others!  How does one deal with this nerve racking process of first having to admit to oneself that I have been hurt.  Denial is not an option if I want to enjoy the freedom that comes with being a child of God. 

There is the temptation to mull, chew and meditate on the exact words of offence and go over the scene frame by frame in my mind.  Imagining how I could have dealt with it differently, the words I could have mouthed.  The tit for tats and the smug expression I too could have sported.  Picturing the defeat in my opponents eyes, justifying my actions as defence, even making up my mind to call them right away and give them a piece of my mind or making a mental note to let them have it the next time I see them.

And then, having to chuck it all, going before my Father with angry tears rolling down my face.  The wounds demanding justice for a wrong done. Screaming for my just God to rise up on my behalf, even confessing scripture  "Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD without wavering." (Psalm 26:1) 

 At long last my body settles down quietly on the floor, seems like no more tears left to flow.  I can hear the silence now and then a still small voice asks "Justice or Mercy?" As the implication of those words dawn on me I surprise myself with the sound of my own uninhibited sobbing.  The questions screaming in my mind, How could you ask me to forgive?  Can't you see how much I have been hurt? 

His quiet comforting voice replies "Justice will prevail, and Mercy will draw you closer to My heart".  Then like on a gentle breeze I see the verse float before my eyes  "Ephesians 4:32"  which read "And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you."
Unrelenting I retort, "Did you have to bring that up Lord?"  I sat in stubborn silence for a while, reluctantly recollecting all the terrible things I had done.  The words like sharp daggers that had left my own mouth, the wounds that I had inflicted, sometimes foolishly, sometimes deliberately. 
And then I remembered the moment I had encountered the all encompassing grace of God, His forgiveness of my own sin.  The release I had felt and the warm embrace of His love.  I remember thinking then, 'everyone needs to experience this.'
Who was I then not to extend the same grace to the one causing me such great pain.  The choice was clear now.  Mercy had to triumph over justice. 
A peace that is beyond my understanding began to fill my heart.  At last I could quietly pray "I forgive Lord just as you forgave me.  I release love and blessing to the one who has wished me harm." 

1 Peter 4:8 "Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]"

Only the realization of His unconditional love for me, had given me the strength to readily forgive others. I don't know about you, but pure unadulterated Love always brings out the best in me!

Smothered with His love,

Monday, October 25, 2010

His Tender Sword

The one thought that kept resonating in my mind this whole week was "It takes humility to admit you are wrong."  I felt pleased with it, like something that tickles your senses and you want to put it on your FB status or tweet it.

I have learnt by now though, that when a thought like that one won't let up then it has to be God.  He just loves me too much to let me skip over it so quickly.  Yet I ask "Are You talking to me Lord?  I have no clue what this is about"  I hear one word "Exactly!"  And I'm thinking we go again. 

Fear and excitement at the suspense and the thrill of discovery.  What will He say to me this time?   What will He reveal to me?  I love those moments as much as I dread them.  It's a sort of an uncomfortable place.  I don't suppose any of you have been there or have you?

The best place I find to go when I feel these prompting is the Word of God of course.  Sometimes He tells me where to go chapter and verse.  Sometimes I just continue reading what I had been already, only this time I'm listening.

So on this particular occasion, I mulled over the thought "It takes humility to admit that I am wrong"  So what is it that I am so proud that I can't see is grieving the heart of my Lord?  My immediate response is to get on my face and say Lord I'm sorry for whatever it is.  An almost routine response, while sincerely wanting to deal with this and let my life go on.  He asks" what are you sorry about? I'm uncomfortable now...whatever Lord I am really sorry.  Can't He see the sincerity of my heart I wonder.  And He says "If you don't know what it is you won't change a thing."  

I decided to look up that word Humility in the Bible (not the word Pride mind you)  I was almost looking for a Word Spa to make me feel good about myself.  Turned out to be more like a workout, your body aches yet you feel good at the end of it. I have discovered that with the Lord it always turns out for my good.

Every verse I read on humility caused me to be cut to the heart.

Proverbs 18:12 Haughtiness comes before disaster, but humility before honor.

Philippians 2:5 Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves].

Ephesians 4:2 Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another.

These were just a few, and by now I definitely knew what I was repenting about.

I just love the Word of God.  It has the most amazing way of doing a work deep in your soul.  It cuts, and cleans the wound and then applies soothing ointment and binds up your wounds.  There is never any fear of deep gashes being left open and exposed. 

Hebrews 4:12 say "For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart."

But it does take humility to admit that we have wounds deep within our soul that need to be bound up.  It takes humility to admit we need a Saviour to save us from our sins.  Let no one deceive you that yours is a hopeless situation.  Jesus said  "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] (Matthew 11:28)

As I reflect on His goodness and quieten my heart, I pray Lord "Let Your tender mercy and loving-kindness come to me that I may live, for Your law is my delight! (Psalm 119:77)

Wielding His Sword,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The R & R factor.

Remission & Reconciliation.

As I read the Bible these two words seemed to ignite a plethora of emotions in the depths of my being.  I remember my eyes skipping over these words as 'too big for me to handle right now' in my early walk  with the Lord.  The gentle nudges in my spirit wouldn't go away till one day in exasperation I said aloud "OK Lord what are you trying to tell me here?"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Preparing my heart.

My quest to find the way to His heart led me to realise I need to prepare my heart first before I begin my journey into His presence. 

As I meditated on 1John 1:9 "If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action], I believe God places a high value on the confession of my sins. When I come before Him and freely admit that I have sinned it takes me to a whole new level in Him. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Understanding Loneliness.

Another milestone in Him. What did I learn today? His prompting towards the word loneliness led me to look it up, and look where it brought me.   I discovered my own neediness and loneliness.

The concept that loneliness might be a gift from the Lord is foreign to me.  It is true though, that all through my walk loneliness has driven me to the Throne of Grace. Sometimes in anger, sometimes in self righteousness, sometimes on my face and in tears.