Forgiveness Thoughts and Posts

I received this email today and he had some awesome revelations about forgiveness.  I asked him if I could share what he wrote and he obliged .

When I got shot in 1994 doing a traffic stop as a Memphis Police Officer wasn’t the first time I was ever shot at. I was shot at on two occasions in Illinois as a police officer and at the age of 8 by my father. My bad for stepping in front of my Mom. The cheap gun misfired and I’m still around. We made our peace right about the time I graduated HS and he died a year later. I’ve processed that well some times and not so well other times. But the one thing I never spoke out was forgiveness to my father for that experience and so many others. Just for the heck of it I thought who had offended me in the past and added them to the list of people I should forgive. An ex wife. Dufus supervisors, the guy that shot me. The kid that stole my skateboard in the 3rd grade. It was quite a list. I had apparently been caring around some offense. Yesterday I started the list. Today I go over the list again. Tomorrrow again. I’m certain over time I will add others to the list and over time remove some as well.

You can’t imagine what it was like for me with that strange feeling of intense closeness with God as I left your service. It has been years since I left a church building saying to myself that sermon was written just for me. I’m just glad others can bask in it as well. For that, I send my sincere thanks and admiration.

Amazing……Thanks for shareing.  Do YOU have a forgivenes story thatyou’d like to share?

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The Shack and Mack

Talk number four of our Shack series and the questions and feedback was amazing.  The topic was forgiveness and it is always stunning to me how valid forgiveness is, and of course due to its powerful nature, forgiveness is the one area that the enemy always tries to convolute the truth.   Here’s a snapshot of what we talked about on Sunday:

Forgiveness is NOT:
It’s NOT Renewing our trust in the person
It’s NOT Forgetting what they did
It’s NOT Excusing what they did

Forgiveness IS:
A choice
The key that unlocks our soul
An act of confessing and professing

The questions from the texting segment were awesome, and helped shed light in areas that we have been lied to for so many decades from the enemy.  Forgiveness is essential, and eternally linked, to our own forgiveness.  Holding on to un-forgiveness does not damage the other person that we are harboring ill will against, but it does decay our own spirituality from the inside out.

One person asked, “Why does it seem harder to forgive Christians than non-Christians?”  I think it’s easier to forgive ‘outsiders’ because we expect them to wrong us.  But Christians are supposed to do what’s right.  Christians are supposed to know better and act better.  But when it comes down to it, we have to remember that EVEN Christians still struggle with junk.  They are not perfect.  Forgiveness needs to flow freely from us to ANYONE that needs forgiveness.  We are God’s conduit of grace.

Someone else asked, “What do you do about forgiving yourself?”
When you do something wrong, there is an inherent part to our spiritual DNA that makes us desire to confess and reconnect that part of our lives back to God.  This convicting process is brought on by the Holy Spirit, so then the natural response, or first action, is to repent.  To recognize our wrong – whether it be against God or man – and then turn from it, and move closer to God.  Then, we move into the same steps of forgiveness that we talked about on Sunday, and you must confess and profess that you ARE forgiven.  Continually dragging your own tail through the mud is not healthy or beneficial to your spiritual growth.  Recognize the wrong, repent, then move on.  Accept God’s forgiveness and begin to walk in it until his forgiveness becomes your forgiveness.

Forgiveness is vital to our spiritual walk.  Not only that we get forgiven, but also that we forgive others.  If our horizontal relationships are not in order then our vertical relationship cannot be in order either.  It is this natural/supernatural juxtaposition that we as Christians must embrace and proclaim.

The Shack – Sarayu – The Holy Spirit

Sunday we did our third installment of our series on “The Shack” and we talked about Sarayu, which is the name given to the Holy Spirit in the book.  It was so much fun to teach and discuss the Holy Spirit.  I think I love it simply because there is so much controversy and division over the third person of the Trinity.  It’s ironic because discussing the Holy Spirit seems to bring stress, strife and some fear into the situation, when in reality the Bible declares that the Holy Spirit is our Counselor, our Guide, and our Peace.

Funny huh?

Ironic even.

At the end of my talk we opened it up for people to text in their questions.  We had tons sent in.  We answered several there Sunday morning, but most of the questions pertained to one topic and that was the gift of speaking in tongues.  I spoke on the Holy Spirit.  I talked about the fruits of the spirit.  I mentioned and read from 1 Corinthians and listed the spiritual gifts, and from ALL of that the main question still zeroed in on speaking in tongues.

I have always found it odd that when a discussion is started about the Holy Spirit, people only want to focus on speaking in tongues.  Why is that?  It’s as if that were the ONLY gift listed.  I know you’re wondering how many are listed.  Well here is the verse:
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 (New International Version)

7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Nine.

Not eight.

Nine.

Why don’t people ask questions about wisdom?  It was so high on Solomon’s list that God hooked him up and made him the wisest man on the planet, and his desire for wisdom, “pleased God.”  [1 Kings 3:10].  Wisdom, faith, knowledge…pick!  Why all the debate over just tongues?

I had somebody sit me down the other day and ask me, “So if I’m going to attend SouthPoint, I need to know if it’s a Spirit-Filled church.  So is it?”   Without batting an eye I said, “Of course it is.  God is in the house.  How can you accept Christ without the Spirit of God?  How can you have conviction of sin without the Spirit of God?  Of course we are a Spirit-filled church.  I can’t think of any other kind.”  They got a little uneasy at the way I answered it, so they pressed a wee-bit more and asked, “Do you allow the ‘gifts’ to operate in your church?”  I knew where she was going with it, but sometimes it’s just TOO easy and TOO much fun to mess with people.  I love it.  I said, “Of Course!  What would church be without the use of wisdom?  And man, we can all use some knowledge and faith too!”  She was now thoroughly perturbed.  “That’s NOT what I mean!”

I laughed out loud.

People can’t see past one gift of the spirit.  And many times since they can’t see past it, they either dismiss the Holy Spirit as being a valid part of their Christian walk, or they become a spiritual tree hugger.  They wrap their arms around one gift and hold on for dear life!  Neither is good.

So what is one to do?  So many questions…so few answers.

The last verse of the above quote is a goldmine of info:

11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

See we don’t need to really worry about it too much since He determines what to give each one.  HE DETERMINES.  Not you.  You are not in control.  You don’t get to choose like it is going grocery shopping for spiritual gifts.  The Apostle Paul said that he wished that we would all desire spiritual gifts.  Desire them yes, but the Spirit still chooses.  My kids can tell me what they want for Christmas, but I’m still the one that buys it and gives it to them.  I don’t always give them want they want, many times I give them what they need.  One way or the other they are not in the drivers seat, I am.

The Holy Spirit is real.  He is alive.  He comforts us, guides us and brings us peace that passes all understanding.  He also:  “gives them to each one, just as he determines.”

Don’t build your faith around one gift.  Build your life around and in Christ.

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