February 11, 2010

Faith is thicker than Blood

From the beginning, I have told myself, that I would not write a bunch of superficial, hyper-spiritual fluff on this blog. I want to be as honest and as real as I possibly can in order to share who Christ is in my own life as well as whom He is for everyone. I believe everything that I share and I believe that the Bible is God breathed and that every word of it is true. Knowing truth and applying it to our lives does not make us perfect Christians. Truth be told, NO one is a perfect Christian or person for that matter. Many portray a life that will lead others to believe that they have it all together or that they live without sin but it just is not true. We each are human and because of our sinful human nature, we all sin.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Romans 3:23


"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives."
1 John 1:8-10

Because of our sin, we hurt others. I truly do not believe there is a sin out there that does not in one way or another touch the life of someone else when committed. This means that we need either to ask someone for forgiveness or be the one to forgive and that can be a HUGE undertaking. I know because scripture commands it, that I am to forgive those who have wronged or hurt me but actually following through with that command is a very different story. Sometimes our hurt runs so deep that it consumes us. Sometimes our hurt comes from years of pain that our hearts become callused that we just do not know which way to go. Sometimes we think we have forgiven until we actually see that person again and want to run the other way due to the pain we feel stirring within us.

God created each of us with a unique personality and the will to choose the decisions that we make in our life. When we are hurt by someone and want to forgive, God does not just flip a switch within us that then makes everything better. Every trial, struggle and pain that occurs in our life happens to grow and mature us in our faith.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

James 1:2-4

Forgiveness is a process and takes times. If we do not truly forgive, oftentimes we push our hurt to the back of our minds and try avoiding it all together and it becomes "scabbed" over. As time passes, things pick away at that scab and the wound is revealed yet again and may become infected from lack of forgiveness. If we ignore our pain instead of choosing to deal with it, it will begin to fester within us and our whole spirit will be infected by the bitterness and resentment caused by this pain. Once infected by bitterness, it requires healing that can only come from our Heavenly Father, the greatest Physician and the One who can heal every hurt we suffer but can only be accomplished when we actually turn it over to Him.

Now for the honest part of this posting. I need to forgive. There is forgiveness that I need to extend and quite a bit of hurt I need to let go but the struggle is quite great. I know what I have written is true but my sinful nature reminds me every time I think of these people, the hurt they have caused me and I actually find myself dwelling upon it at times. I guess it is safe to say that my wounds are not healed and I am picking away at those scabs completely on my own. I have dealt with unforgiveness in the past and the bitterness that it causes and I do not want to find myself there again. I want to find the good in people and I want my faith in people to be restored. I want to know that "the church" IS for good and that "the church" IS family. In a sermon on Sunday, it was said that Faith is stronger than blood. Simply put, being Christians makes us a family and we should stand beside one another and love one another just as we do our immediate families. This means extending forgiveness and showing grace to not just our immediate families but our church families aw well. We are to love and forgive just as Christ loves and forgives. Doing this requires effort and love but when Christ leads us, it can be accomplished in our lives.

It is safe to assume we have not all lived a Pollyanna life that has been filled with rainbows and butterflies and where forgiveness comes with a simple "I'm sorry". For those who have suffered hurt at the hands of someone they have loved and trusted, know that forgiveness takes time. There is hope when we trust in the Lord and allow Him to clean out the hurt and begin to heal our wounds. We just have to allow Him to do so and once we do, there is a peace that comes and we are able to understand God's grace and mercy in much greater ways.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
       and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways acknowledge him, 
       and he will make your paths straight." 
Proverbs 3:5-6

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