Archives for posts with tag: love

Have you ever had one of those philosophical moments where even the simplest action ignited a myriad of thoughts?  Well, for me, today was one of those days.

This morning as I drove to work I began to wonder: What did Jesus mean when He said, “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father,” (John 14:12, NIV).  What do those greater works actually look like today?  Back then, Jesus sighted the blind, healed the lame and raised the dead.  So what does greater works look like in 2013?

As I continued my drive, I reflected on the act of driving.  Could the fact that I was driving a car be an example of the greater works that Jesus mentioned?  Back in His day, travel was either by foot or by animal.  Truly, when we think about it, our technological and mechanical advances are pretty miraculous.  Through God’s grace we have been able to explore the Earth and challenge some of it laws.  Our planes challenge the laws of gravity.  Our submarines manipulates the force of buoyance.  Our miracles don’t just stop at transportation.  Modern medicine has also come a long way since Jesus’ time.  People are living longer and healthier because of human advances in medicine.  However, as wonderful as these advances are, and they are wonderful, in my heart, I wonder whether our technological advances are the “greater works” Jesus was referring to.  With that being said, I beg the question, “What are the greater works that Jesus was referring to?”

When Jesus gave us the promise of “greater works,” it was given as a conditional and not an absolute.  In order for us to see the manifestations of greater works, Jesus said we had to believe in Him.  This belief is not simply an acknowledgment of Jesus’ existence but a conviction of His might.  This belief has to be activated by our faith.  Maybe, just maybe, the reason why we haven’t seen an abundance of “greater works” is because we are limited on our faith.  In the Bible, we saw numerous examples of great faith and great works.  When the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, she knew that she was healed.  In fact, Jesus told her that her faith had healed her.

In 2013, there is no reason why we should not be experiencing people being raised from the dead, limbs being regenerated, diseases being cured and people walking into their Canaan. If you think that this sounds a little silly, then that’s actually part of the problem.  I think that when we begin to believe, God will do the supernatural (the impossible.)  He will either do it the old-fashion way by simply yelling, “Lazarus, get up,” or He could do it new-school by yelling, “Clear” (reference to a defibrillator in a hospital).

There is no reason why you and I should not be able to see greater works.  When Jesus died and was risen, he left us the gift of the Holy Spirit.  In Joel 2:28-29 God said, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, (NIV).  In John 14, Jesus said that He would not leave us as orphans (verse 18).  Jesus left us the Holy Spirit to teach us, guide us and protect us.  With the Holy Spirit guiding us and protecting us, there is no reason why we should not be seeing our “greater works.”  My prayer is that, today, God’s people will begin to believe and do greater works.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible,” (Hebrews 11:1-3, NIV).

Most of us have said at some point that we won’t believe it until we see it.  But according to the verse above, even the things we CAN see were birthed from the things we COULD NOT see.  Therefore, our beliefs in the tangible (the things that are seen) is the beginning of faith.  Basically, what God is saying is that nothing is impossible.  He made what is perceived as possible from the impossible.  This gives us the comfort to know that the absence of a promise in our lives does not preclude its manifestation.  We have to trust that God is working out the details.

It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood.  He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before (Hebrews 11:7, NLT).

Not because something has never happened before does not mean that God can’t or won’t allow it to happen in the future.  However, sometimes the promise(s) made to you is not for you, but for your generation.  For example, God gave Martin Luther King Jr. a dream that he did not get to see, but his generation is experiencing the manifestation of his dreams.

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth (Hebrews 11:13, NLT).

On this final day of the 30-day Marriage Challenge, I want to remind you of one final point:  When Jesus died, he said, “It is finished,” (John 19:30).  Please know that the end of Jesus’ life was actually the beginning of ours.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed. (Psalm 139:13-16, NLT).

The above passage in Psalm says that before we were born, God had recorded every day of our lives in His book.  Before we were born, it was finished.  Every promise in our lives was finished before birth.  Every dream was finished.  Every relationship was finished.  Every soul was finished.  When Jesus gave his life, it was finished.  In other words, He finished His life so that we could begin ours.  It is finished!

I hoped you have enjoyed the 30-Day Marriage Challenge series.  This series was never intended to be solely about earthly marriages.  It was about our marriages to God.  You see, before we can commit to anyone, we must first commit to God.  Isaiah 54:5 says, “For your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth, (NLT).

Our spiritual marriage should supersedes our natural marriage.  God is and should be our husbands before we walk down the aisle.  If our relationships with God is faulty, then our earthly relationships WILL fail.  We will never be the right spouse.  We will never chose the right person.  Our relationships will never reach their potential because Jesus was never the center.  People cannot and should not complete us.  No person can fill the God-shaped void in our lives.  Today, wherever you find yourself, single or otherwise engaged, trust God.  Do not attempt to live a life independent of God.

Dear Father,

Today, I pray that that we will trust you.  Be our husbands, Lord.  Lord of Heaven’s Armies, please be our redeemer.  Give us the strength and the courage to trust you.  Let us place all our desires, dreams, relationships and promises in your hand knowing that, “IT IS FINISHED!”  Let us not settle for earthly counterfeits when we could have true treasures.  Let us not give in to the desires of our flesh out of desperation or out of a spirit of fear.  Let us wait on your word and trust that you will order our steps,  because Jesus has already said that, “IT IS FINISHED!”

One of the great lessons that love teaches us is that not everyone loves the same, and we should try to refrain from being disappointed because others love differently than we do.  We are all created differently, therefore, we express love differently.  If we keep looking for replicas of ourselves, we will miss out on opportunities to experience great friendships, wonderful relationships, and true love. 

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to experience love that is expressed differently from yours.  You just might find out that you have been missing out on something good!

There are moments in our lives when we will feel as though the walls are closing in around us and that we are surrounded by enemies on all side.  In those moments, it seems like there are more of them than there are of us.  That is when we are called to stand firm on the Word of God and scream the name of Jesus.  Deuteronomy 28:7 says, “The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven,” (NIV).  This morning I speak God’s words into your situation.  I pray that when your enemies comes at you in one direction, they flee in seven.  The Bible is filled with many verses for various situations.  Below are just a few:

Your enemies are attacking you and have surrounded you on all sides.                

“The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven,” (Deuteronomy 28:7, NIV).

Your faith is being tested and shaken.

“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Show us how to increase our faith,’” (Luke 17:5, NIV).

The foundation of your marriage is being tested.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love, (1John 4:18).

But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord.A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife.  (1Corinthians 7:10-11).

Your relationships are being tested.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence, (Jeremiah 17:7, NLT).

Your finances are being attacked.

The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it, (Proverbs, 10:22).

The devil is robbing you of your peace.

 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done, (Philippianss 4:6).

Doctors, man, have spoken death and sickness over your life.

O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved.  My praises are for you alone, (Jeremiah 17:14).

Doctors, man, have given you the news of infertility.

Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant (Genesis 25:21, NIV).

Man has spoken failure over your life.

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.

When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing, (Psalm 146:3-4).

Man has spoken curses over you and your family.

Listen, I received a command to bless; God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it, (Numbers 23:20, NLT)!

A few years ago, a network television station featured a woman who was living with HIV.  The HIV-related story had piqued my interest for several reasons.  As a graduate student, I had the opportunity to work as a graduate assistant to one of the frontier epidemiologists who studied the trends of HIV when it first emerged in the US in the early 80s and whose role in the discovery of HIV was documented by Randy Shilts’ 1987 best-selling book, And the Band Played On.  However, as much as I was interested in the topic itself, it was the underlying tale of that feature presentation that, even until this day, has held my interest.  My memories of the details of the story have faded over the years, but the take-home message still resonates in my mind.

The purpose of the story was to document one woman’s daily regime of living with HIV.  The story began with the tale of young love that fizzled out, only to be rekindled later on.

The woman featured in the documentary was in love with the man of her dreams.  Like with most young women, she wanted more than simple romance.  She wanted commitment.  She wanted to be married.  Unfortunately, her beau disagreed.  They eventually broke up.  She met another man, and they engaged in a sexually encounter.  As I remember the story, he was her first.  So it was no wonder when the woman was contacted by the health department to inform her of her exposure to the HIV virus, she knew where she acquired it.  She was tested.  The results were positive. One single decision had changed her life.

One of the few details that I remembered about the story was how this woman made herself vulnerable on camera so that other women could learn from her experience.  She explained to the interviewer that the disease had committed her to diapers because of her incontinence.  I am assuming that her incontinence was a result of the drugs, but I can’t exactly remember.  The story continued in the kitchen.  The camera panned her drug cocktail.   The woman described how taking the medley of pills often made her nauseous and would sometimes cause her to regurgitate them. Whenever she vomited, she would have to retake the cocktail.  Both the disease and the treatment had made her very weak.  It was almost an entirely sad tale.  Almost!!

Remember our prince charming from the beginning of the story.  He resurfaced.  Not only did he return, He married her.  Yes, you read right.  He, fully aware of her condition, chose to marry her.  Not only did he marry her, he cared for her, and he loved her.

This is where I pick up with my second point.  This man married this woman with a disease, which at that time, many people feared and believed to be a death sentence.  Wow.  It made me wonder.

I believe that life is predestined to a certain extent.  Sure, we have free will, and there is a direct correlation between our choices and where we end up.  Even so, I still believe that there are some things in our lives that are just meant to be, and regardless of which path we take, we will end up at the same destination.  That is my belief.  So with that belief in mind, I started to wonder.  What would have happen had she been patient?

(Disclaimer: There might be some people reading this story who are attempting to pervert the discussing by making the assertion that I am somehow suggesting that this woman acquired HIV as some form of punishment.  Such thinking is—well—WRONG!)

I digress.   What would have happened had she been patient?  Would he have still returned?  Could she have been married to the man of her dreams without the baggage?  There is no way to know for sure, but it does make you wonder, even in our own lives.  Could our attempts to preempt God cause us unnecessary misery?  I wonder how many of our bumps and bruises that we receive on our way to victory are a result of our own doing—our pursuit of the infamous free will.  Could our lack of patience take us through tumultuous journeys?  The answer is, there is no way to tell for sure, at least on this side of time.  Fortunately, regardless of what decisions we make, God is faithful, and He will do whatever He has promised.  The Bible says that His Words will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).

One of the greatest gift that God has given us is the gift of grace.  Regardless of whatever decisions we choose, His grace will ALWAYS be sufficient.  He will always give us more than what we deserve.  This woman’s one poor decision did not render her to a life of despair.  God gave her a life partner who would love and care for her despite her past mistake.  This story is one of the most beautiful manifestation of God’s love.  Sometimes it is impossible to live a pain-FREE life, but we can attempt to make it pain-LESS.

Lord,

Please grant us patience in everything that we do.  Give us the courage to trust that your Word will NEVER return to you void.

Isaiah 55:10-11

New International Version (©2011)
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent.

 I can do for you what Martin did for the people
Ran by the men but the women keep the tempo
It’s very seldom that you’re blessed to find your equal
Still play my part and let you take the lead role
Believe me
I’ll follow this could be easy
I’ll be the help whenever you need me
I see you hustle wit my hustle I
Can keep you
Focused on your focus I can feed you”

Upgrade U, Beyonce Knowles

Yesterday, Beyonce’s titled song, Upgrade U, played on the radio.  It had been a long time since I had heard it.  As, I jammed in my car to the midday mix, I was struck by the lyrics above.  So many scriptures came to mind.  Yes, God is present even in R & B.

Ran by the men, but the women keep the tempo.”

1 Peter 3:7 says, “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered,” (NLT).

Proverbs 31:11-12 (NLT) says that a wife of noble character could be trusted by her husband, “and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

God has given dominion over the Earth to men.  In the Bible, God has called wives to submit to their husbands.  Submission as defined by the Bible is a reverent term.  It implies respect and love.  Although there are those who have misinterpreted and have perverted God’s command in order to use it as an excuse to treat women indignantly, that was never God’s intention.  Listen, in EVERY situation in life, there are leaders and followers.  In the case of relationships, God has granted the role of leadership to the man.  However, God gave him a need and a desire for a partner.  God also knew the inclination of some men to abuse His word, so He issued consequences for men who abused their authority over their women.  God created a direct correlation between a man’s success and how he treats his wife.  According to 1 Peter 3:7 husbands who mistreat their wives would have their prayers hindered.  Man may run the show, but the woman keeps the tempo, Beyonce.

 Still play my part and let you take the lead role

The old saying, “behind every successful man is a great woman,” is reflective of Proverbs 31:11-12: “Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”  This is so true.  Women, we are very powerful, however, as wives, we are called to submit to our husbands.  Ephesians 5:22-24 says, “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.”

Submission is not an expletive.  I believe that the reason why most people have an issue with submission is because they have an ill-defined perception of the command.  Being submissive does not mean that you are living in your husband’s shadow.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t have your chance to shine.  It also does not mean that you have to accept and go along with everything that your husband says.  Sorry men!

Remember, we are ALL under submission to Christ, so your husband’s leadership and requests must be in agreement with God’s words.  Also, as human there will be time that we will simply have to agree to disagree.  Disagreement does not always infer disrespect.  It just means that we disagree.  Actually, some of the best resolutions are birthed out of disagreements.

It’s very seldom that you’re blessed to find your equal
The Bible says that we should not be unequally yoked with non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:14).  However, I believe the command to be equally yoked extends beyond our theology.  It is possible to be unequally yoked even in the body of Christ.  For example, one person in the relationship may have a heart for missionary work and believe that God has called him to move across the globe, while the other person’s idea of charity is dropping some spare change in the Salvation Army bucket during the Christmas season.  This is not to say that couple cannot express different interests.  However, the core of who you are should be compatible.  As a couple, you should be on the same page.  You should complement each other.  You should be both chasing after the same goals.

So what happens if you are already married and are unequally yoked with your partner?  If you are married and your spouse is not a believer, the Bible urges you to stick it out:

“Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a Christian man has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her.  And if a Christian woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him.   For the Christian wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the Christian husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy” 1 Corinthians 7:12-14 (NLT).

In the Bible, God, through Paul, addressed the issue of being unequally yoked with a non-believer.  However, there were no concessions made for incompatibility.

I guess the moral of the story is that we all have our roles to play in relationships, and each one is equally important.  We all need each other.

“Let me Upgrade ya!”  I bet you’ll never listen to Beyonce the same way again.

God definitely has a way of speaking to us.  This morning, I open my prayer journal and the scripture at the bottom of the page was Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous.  The Lord your God be with you wherever you go.”  I then opened my bible and it opened to Joshua 10.  The highlighted verse on the page was Joshua 10:25: “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” (NLT).

I guess I could safely say that the message of the morning is to be strong and courageous.  Life has a tendency to throw many projectiles in our way.  If we don’t stand on the word of God, we could feel as if we were constantly running for cover.  However, in these verses God is commanding us to not be afraid and to not become discouraged.  In fact, God is telling us that He will be with us in the midst of trial. 

How wonderful is it that no matter where we are, the creator of the universe is right there with us?  We are mere mortals, yet God considers and cares for us and places everything in the Earth under our authority (Psalm 8:-6).  God cares so much for his people that he even gave a man by the name of Joshua the power to command the sun to stand still (Joshua 10:12-13).

“Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel.  He said,

                                    ‘Let the sun stand still over Gibeon,

                                    And the moon over the valley of Aijalon.’

So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.”

If God allowed the sun to stand still for one man, He will allow the sun to stand still for ALL men.  What battles do you have in your life?  What battles are you facing in your relationships?  Know that darkness cannot reign in the presence of light, so ask God to allow the sun to stand still so that He can shed light on EVERY situation in your life.  God will allow the sun to stand still until you have defeated your enemies.  He will allow the sun to stand still until you have conquered all your vices.  He will allow the sun to stand still until your relationships have been mended.  He will allow the sun to stand still until all your needs are met. 

Before I close, I have to mention that there is a final piece to this puzzle. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  In John 8:12 he also said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Here is the final point.  If Jesus is the light, and there is no other way to the father except through Jesus, then every day that we invite Jesus into our lives and into our situations, God has allowed the sun to stand still.  Jesus is the answer to our sun stand still prayers!!

Lord, I pray that whatever darkness we face in our lives and in our relationships, I pray that you allow the sun to stand still.  I pray that Jesus will shine into every dark crevice and reign over our darkness to give us victory.  In Jesus’ name I pray amen!

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a big music fan.  One of my favorite gospel songs is, “I Need You to Survive,” by Hezekiah Walker.  The first time I heard the words to this song, they pierced my soul.

I pray for you
You pray for me
I love you
I need you to survive
I won’t harm you
With words from my mouth
I love you
I need you to survive

Hezekiah Walker

Wow!

“I pray for you.  You pray for me.  I love you. I need you to survive.”  What remarkable words.  If you evaluate the words of the song, it suggests that we need each other’s prayers to survive.  I once heard a pastor preach that we should always have someone in our corner to pray for us, because there might come a time when we cannot pray for ourselves.  There will be a time when we are so weighed down by life that we just cannot find the words in our hearts to pray.  It’s in those moments where we need prayer the most.

Times of adversity are not the only times we need others to pray for us.  As Christ followers, we are called to pray for each other all the time.  We are called to pray when times are good, bad and neutral.  Sometimes it’s hard to pray for others because we are so focused on self-what we want and when we want it.  Even when we do pray for others, it usually tends to be a drive-by prayer:  “Thank you God for ‘so-and-so.’  God bless them.  Amen.”  How often do we pray an intercessory prayer for others—a deep soul/gut-wrenching prayer—one we would pray for ourselves?  When was the last time we fasted solely for someone else and not simply as an add-on to our prayer requests?

I pray for you.  You pray for me.  I love you.  I need you to survive.”

In order to survive, we do need the prayers of others.  I know with EVERYTHING that I know that I know that I know, where I am is a product of many prayers from many different people.  I could not have survived without prayer—prayers of blessing, prayers of protection, prayers of provision.  As a result of the many known and unknown prayers that have been said on my behalf, I also pray earnestly for the people I love, and in some cases, people I don’t care too much for.  I don’t do this because I am some great person.  I do this because this is what God expects of me.  The Bible says to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).  We should pray for each other.

Our prayers should speak blessings into our loved ones lives.  Sometimes our prayers might even require that we put aside our selfish inclinations for the betterment of our partners.  On occasions, we should even try to pray for the needs of others before we pray for our own needs.  Imagine how much that could spice up a marriage.  There is nothing sexier than selflessness.

Lord, Create in us a generous heart—one that has compassion for others.  Give us the desire to pray for others more than we pray for ourselves.  In Jesus’ name. Amen!!

We all have baggage, but if we are not careful, our baggage could weigh us down and prevent us from living our best lives ever.  Sometimes our baggage could be the company that we keep.

Show me your friends and I’ll show you who you are.”

The Bible says, “Bad company ruins good character,” (1 Corinthians 15:33).  When it comes to our relationships, we have to be wary of the company we keep and the advice we receive.  Not all advice is well-intentioned, and even well-intentioned advice usually comes from an individual’s frame of reference.

A couple of weeks ago, I was given some disturbing advice on marriage from two COMPLETELY different individuals.  Not only was the advice similar, it was within a week apart.  The similarities were so eerie that I started to wonder whether God was trying to speak to me through these two people.  Their advice made me perceive marriage in a way that I had never thought of before.  On the surface, their message made a lot of sense, except it just didn’t align with God’s word.

For several days after the initial conversation with the two, I could not shake the impression their words made on my heart.  However, after much deliberation I started to think about the spirit behind the words.  Even though these two individuals were polar opposites, they had one thing in common: Divorce.  One had gone through a divorce and the other was in the middle of one.  Their advice came from a place of hurt, pain and anger.  There was no ill intentions towards me.  It was just that their views were tainted by their own personal experience. Now, does that mean that just because they had a negative experience they cannot give sound advice?  Absolutely not.  It simply means that I should be cognizant of the source when taking advice.  What is (are) their motive(s)?  What is (are) their experience(s)?

The first step when receiving advice from anyone is to make sure that it aligns with the Word.  Second, we have to make sure that the person who is giving us advice has our best interest in mind.  Lastly we have to make sure that they are not speaking solely from a negative experience.

Lord our prayer for today is:

Please allow us to carefully consider our source when receiving counsel.  Grant us the discernment to act in a manner that will preserve the integrity of our relationships and act according to the will of God.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

There are definite stand-out moments in our lives that transforms the way we think.  A little over a year ago, I had one of those moments.  It was a Sunday morning.  One of the pastors at my church had decided to relay a story that he had read about on a blog.  The story, he said, was written by a pastor’s wife.  Her blog began by stating that she had a seemingly perfect marriage until she received devastating news that would change her life forever.  Her husband, and pastor of their local church, had confessed to participating in an extramarital affair that resulted in his mistress’ pregnancy.  The blog further went on to describe the range of emotions that the pastor’s wife experienced after receiving the news.  She was angry.  She was hurt. She was humiliated.  Not only did her husband cheat, he had created a life-time reminder of his deception.  In her hurt and fury, she decided that she would separate from him.  During that time, she sought counsel from one of her pastors.  The advice that she received from this pastor was far from what she expected.  In fact, it was so startling that it not only impacted her life, but it also resonated with my soul when I heard this third-hand story. Her pastor said that she had every right to leave and punish her husband.  He went on to say that what her husband did was so egregious that no one would fault her for leaving and never forgiving him.  It’s what came next that made my heart race.  He said:

Even though you would be perfectly within your right not to forgive him, would you be willing to be a part of his redemption.”

Wow!  Would she be willing to be a part of his redemption?

Would you be willing to be a part of his redemption?  I bet you didn’t see that coming.  I didn’t see it coming, but that simple question has since shaped the way I perceive forgiveness.

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things that we are called to do.  It goes against our natural inclination.  When we are hurt, we either want to retreat or retaliate.  Forgiveness is seldom our first instinct.  Most of us have to make a concerted effort to forgive.

I have often heard that forgiveness is more about us than it is the other person.  While this is true, that pastor’s assertion suggests that forgiveness is also very much about the other person.  Sometimes our forgiveness allows others to forgive themselves.  This message is so critical that it is worth repeating.  Our forgiveness sometimes gives others the solace to heal.

“Are you willing to be a part of his redemption?”

Are we willing to be a part of some else’s redemption, especially if they have wounded us?  That is such a hard question and a costly demand.  It is impossible to get to this place of forgiveness without God’s help and grace.  We just don’t have it in us.  In those moments that require forgiveness, we have to ask God to step into our hearts and our circumstances.  There may be some situations so painful that only God can provide healing.  Know that only God can restore and heal that which has been broken.  Know that we will ALL be hurt by someone we love because we are all imperfect beings.  Remember, even though the degree and nature of the deception might vary, God is constant.  He never changes.  If we allow God into our broken relationships, HE WILL restore them.

If your trust has been violated and you don’t know how your relationship will ever survive, ask God into your situation right now.  Ask God to mend all that has been broken (e.g. your trust, your heart, your vows, your self-worth, your spirit, your dignity, your faith, your hope, your marriage, your relationship, etc).

I bet you are wondering what ever happened to the pastor’s wife.  Well, as the story went, she decided to forgive her husband and take him back.  Not only did she forgive him, she also adopted the child that was the product of the affair.

My prayer for today:

Lord, soften our hearts to forgive those who have hurt us.  Create within us the desire to be a part of some one else’s redemption.  Mend all that has been broken.  In Jesus’ name. Amen!