Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Behind Those Eyes - Chapter 9

Chapter 9

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
Romans 4:7 NLT

I cannot describe in words exactly how wonderful I feel when I read that scripture.

I have been a believer for over 20 years. I did not come to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior until I was 24 years old. And it was not a decision that was easy for me. If you were able to ask the ones who knew me during this time, especially my Christian girlfriends who were praying for me, they would assure you that I was a tough nut. It took me nearly 5 years to make that decision.
But when I did, I knew I was flawed and forgiven.
Time moved forward.
I played all the parts that we have looked at in the earlier chapters, Ms. Perfection, Ms. Confidence, Ms. Happiness, and Ms. Spirituality.
And then I rebelled.
When life was more pretend than it was real, I decided I didn't like it anymore.
I had seen things that I didn't want to see.
In the church.
In my pastor.
In my best friend, who was the pastor's wife.
And I carried a secret for many years.
God knew I was about to bust. Explode. Things were wrong and I had no where to turn...so I thought.
I exposed things that were not mine to expose.
I wanted to take the revenge that was God's.
My sin was dangerous, hurtful.
When I finally realized, I repented.
Grief over took me.
I lost my best friend, but worse, I felt I had lost who I was in Christ.
It has taken me a long time to really, really hear and believe the words,


I have never understood this as completely as I do now, after this season (still sort of during) in my life.

When reading Lisa's statement, "We don't fully understand God's forgiveness because forgiveness by others so often eludes us on this earth."
I had to stop and think...REALLY think!
And then her question,
"What is so difficult about this?"
I struggle with forgiveness, or at least I used to. Not so much anymore because God has taken me on a long journey of learning.
Until this situation, I didn't really feel harmed by anyone, not seriously, not in a way that made it difficult for me to move forward.
But this...was tough.
I said "I forgive" for many years, but always added, "But I don't have to reconcile that relationship."
Recently, I have questioned this. Whenever I read of biblical reconciliation since this situation in my life, I see where forgiveness has always lead to a new start. Relationships in Christ don't end, they mend.
So, for me, I found that I don't fully understand God's forgiveness, because I had not been able to totally forgive. And even though my former best friend says she forgives me, she refuses communicate at all, even though I have apologized and asked for the opportunity to make right the friendship.
As humans, we put our limitations on God.
When I can't forgive totally, or I haven't been forgiven in my earthly relationships totally,
it seems to block my ability to grasp His forgiveness.

No more.

So, I spent time this morning in prayer, taking the three minutes to pray for those who have hurt me. It was recommended months ago, that I pray for her, her husband, and her friend who has made harsh judgments - every day. I have, every day for 5 months. But this morning, taking three full minutes per person, has created a deeper level of forgiveness, and I am glad that I took the challenge. (This is in the Bible Study section in the back)
Funny, as I drove to work, my favorite song on this subject came on the radio.
(Brandon Heath's I'm Not Who I Was)
I turned the radio up and sang with complete freedom. I have forgiven...totally.
And God has forgiven me,
even though I am completely flawed.

Oh, how I need Him.
And how I needed this chapter.

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
Romans 4:7 NLT

To read more on Behind Those Eyes
Write from the Heart


Cindy said...

Unfortunately forgiveness does not always mean mended relationships. In recent years (through church and pastoral hurts) I have learned to forgive totally yet those relationships may never be restored. They are a part of my past but not my future. I believe God is ok with that as long as my heart is right and if God did ever place those who hurt me in my path again I would truly be able to love.
I know this to be true as God took me through total healing in the relationship with my dad ~ who physically and sexualy abused me. I was blessed to be holding his hand when he took his last breath.
I will pray for your hurts and healing. Cindy

Darlene said...

It is so wonderful that you are sharing a real and true story of how God is working in your life. People are so desperate to see if this God-thing has any relevance to our day, or to our reality. Oh, He does! He mends, He heals, and He shows us where to go when we are in the thick of it.

You are bringing glory to God, by pointing to him through your "flaws." Keep telling the story, precious sister in Christ!


KMTM1970 said...

Prayer does changes things and most often it changes the one who is doing the praying. While earthly relationships may not be reconciled, we can be forgiven and reconciled with God.

Thank you for sharing. Keep praying.


Laura said...

Oh, how that hurts. No matter what the circumstances, losing a good friend just plain hurts.

Aren't you so thankful that we are completely forgiven? It can just blow me away if I let it. I love that song by Branden Heath too. We are all made new in Him.
Sometimes it takes time, Liz. I'll pray for this healing.
Love to you,

Tammy said...

I have learned when you do your part,the part that God has asked of you,the rest is lefted up to the other person.

I've had a friendship for over 20 years I wish would have been mended but I know now her friendship was for a season.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Thank you, Liz, for this wonderful testimony. I agree with you how you now see forgiveness as a new start with reconciliation. My beloved (legally ex) would probably say he forgives me but his actions (lack of actions/communication) and his extreme anger/bitterness speaks so much more.

I, too, have been hurt by several of my closest friends. Unforgiveness by one and abandonment by two others.

Thank you for this today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I too have had places and times where friendships have been ruined, or the closeness has not come back after forgiveness. It is really hard. But no matter what, you can't control the other person. Only God can change them. You can change only you. I am grateful to know that you took the challenge to pray for those who hurt you... I did too. It's hard, and it hurts, and it has revealed things about me that I didn't like. But at the same time, I know that I need to do it. She needs the prayers, and I need to learn to forgive on a deeper level. Hard, hard, hard.
May God bless you,