Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

Mercy Says No

Last night we watched a wonderful story on forgiveness.  It was on Oprah’s new program, “Where are they now”.  Many years ago a brutally raped woman accused and put the wrong man in prison for this crime, due to a mistake on her part.  He had to be in prison for eleven years.

The story was unreal.  Can you even imagine being falsely accused by someone because you happen to look like the real criminal?  It seems horrific.  And yet this story has a powerful ending.  The man was released when DNA tests proved he was not guilty.  When the women found out her mistake she set about to rectify it.  She asked this man face to face if he could ever find it in his power to forgive her.  What he said to her next was so wonderful.  He told her, “I forgave you years ago – I had to let go of the poison of hate in my body so I could continue to live”.

As I watched the two of them who appeared on the Oprah show many years ago telling their story, and then an update to right now – their story did not end there.  They are close friends involved in each others lives today.  Their easy give and take is so genuine.  Truly love and forgiveness of even the most unspeakable things that people do to us CAN win out every time.  But that decision is up to us.

I have heard of people who were able to forgive their children or spouses murderers.  Stories of grace and God-given mercy.  It has to be God – in ourselves we are just not equipped to handle the emotions on our own.  We want revenge and for someone to pay.  But mercy says no.

Love Hope, Grace, Mercy, and Faith

Love Hope, Grace, Mercy, and Faith (Photo credit: nme421)

I think about what I deserve.  It is death.  It is wrath.   And I need to be reminded that if it were not for the grace of God I would be lost.  Because of that undeserved and unearned favor from God – and what he did to save me – I am free.  Freed by love.  Freed by something I could never repay.  Because of that example of total reckless abandon and outpouring – I can love and forgive others.  Oh it doesn’t come naturally to me.  In fact I don’t want to even talk to anyone who has hurt me – let alone invite them back into my life and live as if nothing has happened.  It is against my natural tendencies.  But because of God’s great love for me, I can take baby steps toward understanding this incredible kind of love.  I can take baby steps in showing grace – and in showing mercy.

I have a few people like this in my world.  Where it is an act of my will to just let it go.
I know that God will take care of them in the end.  But it is hard to
wait for that day that seems so very far away.  Where is the justice???  I don’t want to show mercy and grace.  I want them to pay and know how they have hurt me.  It is not a pretty picture.

When was the last time you had an encounter with the unlovely side of yourself?  The side that turns away, runs from conflict and those that have deeply hurt you?  Or the side of you that DEMANDS payment?  When was the last time you had an opportunity to show grace?  They didn’t deserve it.  They never will.  They deserved your wrath and exploding anger.  But you were able to dig deeper and lean on God’s great arm of forgiveness and understanding.  And instead of making them pay – you were able to let it go.  You found the strength to say, ‘mercy says no’.

My prayer for all of us today is that we can find that place to ‘let it go’.  I pray that you will come to that place where you practice the forgiveness that frees and releases.  I pray that you will continue to prosper even as your soul prospers, living happy, healthy and full of grace and mercy.

 

When Others Wrong You

“Living well is the best revenge.” 

George Herbert English clergyman & metaphysical poet (1593 – 1633) 

Asking For Forgiveness

Asking For Forgiveness (Photo credit: hang_in_there)

 

I heard this quote a while back.  I can’t remember where.  But it struck a chord with me.  All of us at one time or another have had an uncomfortable situation with another person.  A situation that leaves you feeling – well – confused, upset and sad.  Some of those same situations do much more than that – they make us ANGRY and wanting to retaliate.  Sadly, I have not always kept these feelings to myself and I have been angry and said things I should not have said.  But honestly, for me – silence or a soft answer is the best method.  It seriously will drive that person crazy!   Killing them with kindness and all that jazz :)
For me – I have not always been able to control what others say, think or even how they react.  If we look out through the  lens of our own uncertainty and insecurity – we at least know our own personal limitations and can anticipate an outcome.  But when it comes to guessing how others are thinking – we can expect  to get it wrong most of the time.
There was a time not long ago that a situation with another person caused me to look at things very differently.  I can no longer assume people always have my best interest in mind – or always have my back.  I’ve learned not to take things lightly.  I’ve learned not to presume that everyone who seems kind, sensitive and helpful – really is.  Sometimes things have happened and I’ve found out the very character of the person I thought was incredibly different. 
A while back it troubled me.  Really troubled me.  Now I just look at the incredible opportunity for growth and character in me.  I know that not everyone is going to react to stress and trouble in the same way that I do.  I can’t control the way people think, the way they were raised and the role models, both positive and sadly, negative that they have had.  And I’ve learned that while my heart wants to help and even rescue and change someone to be healthier and more positive – I just can’t do it.  Only God can fix the very broken and heal the heart.
When someone hurts you – it is often because they themselves are hurting.  If they are not healthy and whole, they will often lash out, retreat at the first sign of trouble or make themselves the victim.   Even those you thought you knew really well.  Even those who thought would protect and never hurt you.
It is sad but true.
One thing you can do  is come to a place of real deep forgiveness.  Even if the other person never forgives back.  Even if the other person cuts you out of their life and acts as if you are the problem.  When we forgive – it is for us.  It is a healthy place to live.  Forgiveness says, “You do not owe me anything – I freely forgive the pain and other things creating a wall between us.  I choose not to remember what you have done to me any more.  I value you above all the circumstances and pain.”  Forgiveness always gives a second chance.  Forgiveness always finds a way.  Forgiveness always reconciles.
The other thing to do is this:  Live well.  Do not allow the grievances of the past to control you.  Continue to grow as a person, to value others and not be afraid to love again.  Love is always a risk.  But a risk worth taking.  In living well – you are an example to the world of God’s love and forgiveness.  You will feel better and live longer.  That is a promise.
Try on a little forgiveness today.  Take on a ‘short-memory’ when others wrong you.  Start each day as a new day of opportunity and a find a way to bless others.  It is truly the best revenge.

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another: merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ. 

God Bless

You Are My Hiding Place

Last week at choir practice our director had us sing this song called “You are my hiding place”. I had heard this before and it put me in mind of the movie about Corrie Ten Boom, “The Hiding Place” – about a family who hid Jews during the Holocaust years. The movie is about an ordinary family living their lives during WW11 – doing what they felt they had to.  Eventually Corrie, her sister and their elderly father were imprisoned for suspected treason, although the Jews they hid in a secret chamber behind a wall in one of the upstairs bedrooms, were never found. While in prison camp, Corrie eventually received news that all the Jews they had hidden – were safe and had escaped. It was sent to her in secret code beneath a postage stamp.

It is an amazing true story that will move you to tears in both the film version and the book.  I love the end of the movie where they show the real heroes of the story in pictures alongside the actor who played them.  And then there is a word with the real Corrie Ten Boom.   She says she promised her sister (who died in prison camp) that she would tell of God’s great love and that “no pit is too deep that God is not deeper still”.

I hope you will be inspired by this song, sung by Selah.  And if you have never read the book or seen the movie, “The Hiding Place” – I hope you will check out this great and amazing true story that happened to ordinary people.  I know you will be moved and be able to see God’s hand on Corrie’s life even while she was in prison – what a testimony she has been able to share with millions of people during her later years!

God Bless

I Need To Really See

Forgiveness: The Real F-Bomb

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a nice idea

I like it so much

especially when it means I can point

and deflect blame, ownership… and such

I need to really see

In my mind I see how this should go

I ‘make nice’ – and so do you

we shake hands, admit our wrongs

become friends again – instead of foes

However, my perception is skewed

filled with selfish vision

I hold my hands over my eyes and ears so I cannot take you in

Ah – this is my fatal flaw

becoming much more than just a bad decision

I need to really see

And because the apology never comes

only silence and hiding away

I dream of how it should be

your humble repentant heart

full of remorse

your sweet contrite spirit to display

I am waiting for you to own up

and miss me enough

swallow your pride

write down every repentant thought

or bring it all to me in person

becoming something you’re not

I know now that I need to really see

God’s forgiveness is unique

it gives freely

regardless of whether I ‘own up’

casts no blame

requires nothing from me 

I want to forgive like this

without requiring you to feel the same

own up to your own ‘wrongs’

share the blame

For it is in forgiving you

that I am truly free

and when I don’t require you to feel the same

don’t expect you to forgive me

or love me back

that I learn the real lesson

it is then that I really see

 

 

 

 

A Pill That’s Hard To Swallow

Thanks to the Facebook page, Adoration to God – for this great picture!

How about you – do you you find the above pill hard to swallow?

God Bless

My Truth

A father and his daughter, 1923

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been watching the reality show about Ryan and Tatum O’Neil on the OWN station – the tumultuous father and daughter relationship resulting in a separation and silence for the past 25 years.  They both agreed it was time to put the past behind them and try to begin again to rebuild their lost relationship – through this series on cable.

It has been very interesting and heartbreaking at the same time.  To get a glimpse into someone’s pain is never easy – to feel hope for them as they talk and uncover much of their difficulties – and why things went so bad for them.  Through counseling, alone and together, they are getting to the deep issues which caused their separation in the first place.

But what I’ve noticed is this:  We all have our own truth.  It is ours.  

Truth cannot be negotiated or argued.  It is different for everyone.  It is something that we believe about ourselves, others and our situation.

In having my truth – I am not saying that you do not have yours as well – but my truth – is my truth.  It is my version of the story – it is what I believe in my heart of hearts.

We do damage to ourselves and others when we try to rewrite their truth for them.

When two people have different “truths” – and will not validate the other for having their own unique truth – there can be no settling of accounts – no matter how much counseling they have.  And at the end of the day – their personal truth will be all they have.

I really believe with all my heart – that all people just want to be recognized and validated for having their own truth.  No matter how weird it may sound.  Even if you think you know better and think they are ALL MESSED UP.  We want someone to say to us, “I understand.  I get how you could feel that way.  I see you”  So often we never get that response that we are seeking.

All Ryan needs from his daughter, Tatum is this:  “I see you Dad – I’m just as much to blame as you are”  And Tatum needs to hear Ryan say, “I take ownership in my part of our separation.  I made many mistakes and I’m sorry you felt abandoned”  Isn’t it too bad – they will probably never be able to really say those things to each other – too much history – too much blame – too much sadness.

I am glad to know this:   The only solid place for me to go when regarding the “truth” is Jesus. The Bible tells me that He IS the Truth and the Life.  And with so many personal “truths” out there – varying with every person on the planet – He is the only constant who never changes.  I can run to Him – feel that acknowledgment and validation from the source – the creator – who holds My past with all of its regret – the present with all of its unanswered questions – and the future with all of its secrets, not yet revealed to us.  When others shun, devalue and withhold from us – He is there holding out loving arms of truth to me.

Do you allow others to have their personal truth?  Do you feel validated from others?  Have you acknowledged Jesus to be the only real truth in your life?

God Bless

Breaking Silence

Broken

Image by PurpleGecko via Flickr

Living a ‘Christ led’ life has many challenges – and always has.  In the midst of these complications are people – different from ourselves that we are trying to do life with. Those that we take into our lives, learn to love – but often disagree with – then because of a cross word or other situation, we find ourselves removed from them.

The early church had a problem with forgiveness and superiority in general.  They learned to be critical of anyone different and felt justified in doing so. Jews felt superior to the Greek – Men felt superior to women – etc.  It is a very old song.  Grace, unity, forgiveness, justice, judgement.  Who should give it – and why?  Is anyone really qualified to do this?  Are you more spiritual than I am?  What makes you feel this way?  Should we ever forgive something unforgivable?  Why or why not?  Are there things that cannot be forgiven?

I would love to live in a place where being a Christian means that I actually can accept you just the way you are - not try to make you into something that will make  you acceptable.  Where I can forgive you just as easily as you can forgive me.  No matter what the problem was – bad behavior, inappropriate situation, or other messy circumstance.  I would love to not live in fear that  somewhere along the line – I will be judged by those who feel  they are better or more spiritual than I am.   Especially when I have blown it – or do not follow all the rules of conduct when it comes to accepting people into my life.  And especially when someone has hurt me – and I know I have hurt them – but I have chosen to forgive them and seek them out for reconciliation – because it’s the right thing to do.  When I was the one who was wrong.  But even when I wasn’t.

I am weary of those that would say that silence is best in some situations.  Really?

Silence holds hostage and punishes like a physical pain.

Hope and reconciliation are a part of God’s redemptive plan.  It is not weak to want to restore – and not naive to expect that it can happen.  Silence should never be a part of forgiveness – no matter what you may have been told.  Especially in those situations where true friendship lived and breathed.  Those that have a relationship with Jesus and have been forgiven much.  Those that have loved us and know that we still love them.

Make peace with those as long as it is in your power to do so.  Forgive and you will be forgiven.  Love in such a way that it will put other Christians to shame.  Do something crazy – let go of your pride and reputation – and actually start over – fresh and with a new purpose.  Not caring what others may say or how they may judge you.  While there is still life – there is hope.  And we are called to do this.  It is a “God moment”  - a Holy calling.

We need to be gracious in love – just like Jesus was gracious with us.  Today my friend Tony called it “Furious Love”.   And we all need a little of that, don’t we?

I am praying for you – that you would grab ahold of all that God has for you – that silence will be broken in your life – that you would have no fear in love.  With God – all things are possible and all things can be made new.  Forgive – break the silence and experience God’s “furious love” first-hand.

When was the last time you had someone turn away from you because of a misunderstanding or disagreement?  Has silence been a weapon and a barricade for not really forgiving and dealing with it?  Or were you able to  resolve it?   Are you still working on it?

 

God Bless

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