Sunday, April 3, 2011

Be Careful What You Ask For

Friday evening Jim and I had a pretty serious discussion. There is a person in my life who seems to be a thorn in my side. Every time I think I am 'over it', something else happens and I am up in arms with frustration and anger once again. (Not pretty, I know...but I am trying to be honest here.)

In the midst of our conversation Jim made the remark, "I can tell you the day that things changed between you and (blank)." In that split second a conversation from 2006 ran through my mind...and I knew the exact time for myself. Jim thought it was something that happened two years ago, but I knew that it had building for much longer than that.

Being my stubborn self, I fought it for another thirty minutes or so as we discussed details...but I was finally able to admit to Jim that I needed to forgive the hurtful thing that had been said.

Fast forward to Saturday night.

I was still struggling with what I knew I had to do. I looked up verses regarding forgiveness. I began journaling...and it all poured out of the end of my pen. The hurt. The anger. The resentment. The bitterness. The unforgiveness. I knew that this was hurting me more than the person who had offended me.

I also knew that forgiveness was commanded...making this a choice that I had to make.

I asked the Lord to help me to do the hard work that was before me because I truly don't know how to let it go. I asked Him to remind me when I was tempted to dredge up the past that I had decided to forgive. I asked Him to eventually be able to feel what right now I was doing out of pure obedience. I asked Him to forgive me for the ways I had acted out against this person. And I asked Him to show me how to obey.

From my journal (unedited): I don't know how to proceed -- so please guide me.

And on Sunday morning, He answered.

I knew it as soon as the sermon title was placed on the big screen. The Gospel of Relationships(How do we love someone we don't like?) - Romans 14:13 - 15:7.

And just in case I thought about ignoring it...the outline:

  1. Stop condemning (passing judgment).

  2. Stop putting stumbling blocks & hindrances in the way.

  3. Start pursuing that which makes for peace and mutual upbuilding.

  4. Start to bear with the failings of the weak.

  5. Start pleasing others more than yourself.

  6. Start praying for harmony.

  7. Start welcoming each other.

I know that these are instructions for the church body, but they ring with the truth of my situation as well.

I also know "this isn't going to be fact I think it may be one of the most difficult of my life...but with You all things are possible and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (prayer journal entry)

If the Lord should bring me mind in the days ahead, I would certainly covet your prayers.

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

I'm joining Michelle over at Graceful for "Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday"...and in this case on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday, etc.


Anonymous said...

How gracious God is to give us everything we need & to answer your prayer so directly. Forgiveness is hard but the bitterness that comes from unforgiveness is unpalatable.

Allen and Rita Smith said...

I have fought this fight and know exactly what you are going through right now even though I don't know the specifics of your situation. It is a tough battle to fight but it is winable. There are two parts to forgiving. Actually, deciding to forgive and saying the words. Believe it or not this is the easy part. The hard part is forgetting the wrong that was done to you. By getting upset all over again when a certain word, person's name, or an event is brought up. Feeling those same feelings of anger and hurt all over again means you have not truly forgiven. But once you accomplish true forgiveness you will feel wonderful. Like nothing can destroy you b/c with God in your corner nothing can destroy you. Don't get me wrong, you can't do this by yourself. It takes God's hand to do this.

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

It never ceases to astound me when God answers a prayer so clearly and directly. Thank you, Fonda, for linking up such an honest and true story -- we can all see ourselves reflected here in your words.

Tiffini said...

I know this careful what you ask for! I will pray with you. This is hard but you are hearing Him and He will help you as you have asked. Call to Him and He will show you great and mighty things:)

Deidra said...

Sometimes God answers us so clearly! And look at you, being brave and writing it all down here for us to see! Yes. I will pray for you when God brings you to mind. And for myself. That I will live in my relationships the way God wants me to.