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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

NEED A GOOD REASON TO LOVE GOD? EZEKIEL HAS ONE.

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

For a long time now I have loved the first 14 verses of Ezekiel 16, where God opens his journal and reads the graphic, love-soaked words to his beloved bride, Israel. Detailing his faithful love from her birth, through adolescence, and into womanhood, God tugs on the heartstrings of anyone who has ever held a child, invested in a teenager, or loved a spouse. Powerful. Intimate. Beautiful.

Hideous. A sudden shift occurs in verse 15. In spite of God’s devoted commitment to the marriage, his bride has left him broken hearted. Jealous, angry, and hurt, God reveals his disgust with her adulterous ways. He unloads: “You’re nothing but a prostitute. No, I take that back. You’re worse than a prostitute. A prostitute gets paid to sleep with strangers. You, on the other hand…you do it for free. Even worse, you’re the one paying for the sleazy service.” A little later in the one-sided conversation, God continues: “You’re as bad as Sodom. No, you’re worse than Sodom. As a matter of fact, you are so much worse that you make Sodom look good.” Heart wrenching. Pitiful. Disgusting.

Amazing. Another sharp break comes in verse 60. In spite of Israel’s rebellious ways, God vows his continued faithfulness to the marriage. God won’t let go. He can’t give her up. He renews the vows that she broke, pledging to establish an everlasting covenant with his wayward bride, atone for her heinous crimes, and someway, somehow rediscover the close relationship that has been lost.

Just in case you’re wondering, this story is not unique. It’s my story. It’s your story. It’s humanity’s story. Praise God for his amazing grace!

PERSON OF THE WEEK

November 7, 2009 1 comment

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This week’s Person of the Week is a lady I know particularly well–my wife, Heather. Besides being a preacher’s wife (yippee!), she’s the mother of our two young kids, an actual board certified doctor (optometrist), and a committed Bible class teacher at church. Of the many admirable qualities she possesses, there are three that top the list.

  1. Heather is incredibly forgiving. In the spirit of 1 Corinthians 13:5, she keeps no record of wrongs. Whether she’s suffered a minor slight or endured a major offense, when she gets over it, she’s over it. No hanging it over a person’s head (namely mine). No using it for ammunition in a future argument. You’ll likely never hear her bring it up again. In fact, even when you jog her memory she sometimes can’t even remember being wronged.
  2. Heather is a wonderful mother. She wants so badly to always have a close relationship with Haven and Pierce. She thinks a lot about what sorts of things she can do both now (while they’re still young) and later (as they grow older) to be involved in their lives and be their biggest supporter. She’s aware of the little amount of fleeting time we have to raise our children, and she’s determined to make the most of it.
  3. Heather is unassuming in a most beautiful way. This quality manifests itself in her unpretentious interactions, her openness to differing opinions, but most noticeably in her commitment to dependability. She gets this quality–I might add–from her dad, who is a humble and faithful and responsible servant himself. Like her father Lyle, if Heather agrees to do something, the last thing she’ll do is shirk her responsibility and leave others scrambling to pick up the slack. She doesn’t think she’s an exception to any rule. Part of what makes her so special is that she doesn’t realize just how special she is. Her true beauty is the hidden person of her heart–the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4).

I could say more, but you get the idea.

Shortly after Heather and I started dating, my grandfather asked me if I thought I’d end up marrying her. My response was, If I don’t marry Heather, I’ll marry someone just like her. Fortunately, I didn’t have to settle for an imitation. I got the real thing–the woman of my dreams.

SYLVIA BROOME ON FORGIVENESS

November 5, 2009 Leave a comment

In the movie The Interpreter, Nicole Kidman plays Sylvia Broome, a translator at the United Nations who has lost all her family in the political violence in Matobo, a fictional African country. In this 5 minute clip from the movie, Broome (Kidman) describes an African forgiveness ritual. Vengeance, she says, is a lazy form of grief. Very powerful. Very Christian.

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CUT IT DOWN AND FORGET IT

October 19, 2009 3 comments

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Some time after his surrender at Appomattox, General Robert E. Lee was shown a tree in Lexington, Virginia, that had been all but destroyed by northern artillery. It stood in the yard of a lady who was extremely bitter toward those responsible for the damage. Lee listened to this lady rant about the tree and, when asked his feelings on the matter, sternly replied: Cut it down, dear madam, and forget it.

Good advice. Hard to swallow…but good advice, nonetheless.

Rather than harboring resentment and bitterness and anger, why not forgive? Why not cancel the debt? Why not close the account? Why not begin getting over your hurt?

Forgive. Don’t allow someone else’s sin against you to become your sin against God.

I think Paul would agree with Lee’s advice. It was the Apostle who wrote:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).