Forgiveness

If You Feel Far

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If you feel far from God, ask him to open your eyes to see the open door he has set before you. Pray for strength to stop running far in the wrong direction—to turn from where you are and to return to the God who knows you, loves you, and has the power to set you free.

 

Photo Credit: File:The ruined Tyn Llan viewed through the open door of the …

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New Things

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“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Cor 5:17)

 

Source: A Case of Stolen Identity

Photo Credit: Vernazza trail Italy open gate.jpg | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Identity Crisis

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There is a truth that is greater than the lie. Our identity is not found in what we’ve done, for the good or for the bad. Our identity is not about who we’ve been but whose we are. Jesus Christ died on the cross that our identities can be transformed. In him, we are given a new identity. We’re no longer the addict, the prisoner, the failure. Instead, we’re chosen, redeemed, forgiven, loved…and free.

 

Source: A Case of Stolen Identity

Photo Credit: File:Flower reflection.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Washed Away

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All we’ve done, seeming so worthy of condemnation, is written in sand, washed away by the love of God the moment we choose to turn from the lie that tells us freedom is doing whatever we please to the truth that freedom is found in a life lived for the one who created us with greater things in mind.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-3)

 

Photo Credit:  Footprints in the Sand | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

A War Hero’s Greatest Triumph

An eighth-place finish at the Olympics is a dream few attain. And it’s no small exploit to survive 47 days stranded at sea. To endure two years of cruel treatment at a Japanese prison camp is unimaginable. Yet there’s something more remarkable about Louis Zamperini’s story than any of these feats combined.

The life of an Olympian-turned-war hero is a treasure for the history books, but Louis Zamperini accomplished something greater than these other impossibilities. It’s found in the words of a letter penned by his own hand, written to the man who’d tortured him during those years at prison camp…

“Under your discipline, my rights, not only as a prisoner of war but also as a human being, were stripped from me. It was a struggle to maintain enough dignity and hope to live until the war’s end…The post-war nightmares caused my life to crumble, but thanks to a confrontation with God through the evangelist Billy Graham, I committed my life to Christ. Love has replaced the hate I had for you. Christ said, ‘Forgive your enemies and pray for them’I also forgave you and now would hope that you would also become a Christian.” –Louis Zamperini (Unbroken)

Reading these words, I’m humbled to consider the depth of suffering and staggered to contemplate the degree of forgiveness on the part of a man who suffered so greatly. This overcoming of unthinkable trials, this forgiving of unimaginable torture is the war hero’s greatest triumph.

It reminds me of Corrie ten Boom, who after saving the many lives during World War II was sent to prison camp—there tortured and starved, there losing her family. Years later, upon encountering one of the guards who’d dealt the blows of suffering—she forgave. Or of Elisabeth Elliot, who after her husband was speared to death, returned to the tribe responsible, living among them and teaching them the way of love.

Ultimately, it reminds me of Jesus who, beaten, tortured, suffering, and dying on the cross spoke words of forgiveness to his tormentors. If I am ever to forgive the unforgivable, love the unlovable, and overcome the impossible, I look to my Savior, who went before me in the way of suffering and forgiveness. And who enables me to do the same.
 
“But I say to you, love your enemies and bless the one who curses you, and do what is beautiful to the one who hates you, and pray over those who take you by force and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand, Random House, 2010, pp. 396-97.

Source: A War Hero’s Greatest Triumph

The Day I Exploded

What happens in one moment can affect a lifetime, and too often hurtful things are said and done in those moments that we wish we could take back. But what is done beyond those moments is equally important. What will we model through how we respond when conflict does arise (as it will in every relationship)? Will we say we’re sorry when we’re wrong? And will we forgive those who wronged us? Those examples will outlast everything else.

Source: The Day I Exploded

There’s a Junk Monster Lurking in the Hallway Closet

Blog_ClosetDoorYou think the house is finally clean. The counters are clear, the table empty—the floor no longer a series of land mines. Even the kids pitch in, making a good show of putting their stuff away. It’s all good until you open the closet.

Little do you know there’s a junk monster lurking in that hidden place, poised to attack the first victim to open the door. Just when you think it’s all clear—BAM! He strikes without mercy and you’re overcome with a barrage of stuff you thought was history.

It happened to me recently, though not in the literal sense. Insensitive words from an old friend ushered in a flood of unwelcome emotion. Things I’d forgotten, forgiven, and left behind resurfaced with the touch of one trigger. Ouch. Words can hurt, peeling scabs off old wounds. Winter rears it’s ugly head in the midst of your blissful spring.

Encounters like this can either force us back into hibernation, or shift us into deep-cleaning mode. Too often I choose the former, when the latter will bring lasting change. Hibernation is comfortable, but we can’t stay there. A change in seasons forces us to examine our hearts. What’s lurking in there? What hidden things are suffocating life and joy? It’s time to let go that lasting change may take root in our lives.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)