Tag Archives: unforgiveness

Job 6-8; 1 John 1

Perhaps in today’s terms, he’d be authentic, vulnerable, transparent.

If my misery could be weighed
    and my troubles be put on the scales,
they would outweigh all the sands of the sea.
    That is why I spoke impulsively. (Job 6:2-3, NLT, in response to Eliphaz)

But his unlovely grappling with the tragedies in his life brought him criticism and condemnation instead of comfort or understanding–from his very own friends.

One should be kind to a fainting friend,
    but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty.
15 My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook
    that overflows its banks in the spring
16     when it is swollen with ice and melting snow.
17 But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears.
    The brook vanishes in the heat. (Job 6:14-17, NLT)

Job wades through turmoil. His successful, stable life and faith are scrambled by unimaginable tragedy. Whether his friends’ words were intended to help or harm, they certainly provided no comfort (think memes). He is in a pit, and whether they knew it or not, their words sparked a new burden.

I can replay his experience by rereading a passage, but in real time, real life, one often does not have the luxury to hit pause to contemplate life’s facets. In real time, replay takes place in memory and dreams, either bringing resolution or torment.

I, too, have been assigned months of futility,
    long and weary nights of misery.
Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’ (Job 7:3-4, NLT)

I think on loss, disappointment, grief, anger, hurt. I think of relationships where I’ve shared things in vulnerability and authenticity (really heartache), places I thought were ones of safety, but ultimately were not. And in that pit, the weight of loss, disappointment, grief, anger and hurt are the kindling that embitters sins of resentment, unforgiveness, grudge.

It was a recurring message in books I’d read last year: No one is coming to save you.

I realized I expected friends I considered near to rally around and help me out of the pit. But the truth is, they never said they would or could. No wonder I felt alone when I was grasping the vapor belief/hope that they should.

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. (1 John 1:5-10, NLT)

God is light, and I’m grateful for the intimacy I have with him through prayer and His Word. He is my safe place. He meets me in the ugly, scrambled spaces and speaks with clarity and gentleness–oh that I can hide his word in my heart so that I would not sin against him. Feelings let me know something is wrong–but left untended, they can become agitated and enflamed to sin. Do not be deceived. Offense and expectation have no cap on captives. Freeing others from unexpressed expectations freed me from sins of bitterness, resentment and anger. It also gave me newly found freedom to delight and invest my heart and time in more fruitful pursuits.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

2 Chron. 2; 1 John 2; Nahum 1; Luke 17

Today, seeing unforgiveness as a start into darkness.

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:3-5 (NIV)

I just finished reading a book called Recovering from Losses in Life by H. Norman Wright. About giving up anger and resentment, he includes a comment a client made: “Each day I wrote the phrase ‘I forgive you for …’ and then put down the first reason I could think of for not forgiving … Then I thanked [the Lord] for what He was doing, even if I didn’t feel like it. I discovered many things through this: I was full of bitterness. It kept me pinned down and stuck. I didn’t want to forgive. They didn’t deserve it.” (Recovering from Losses in Life, H. Norman Wright, chapter 10, pg 185.)

Sometimes, “I repent” is never uttered. Sometimes wounding continues intentionally. And sometimes forgiveness is not feeling, but action. I am learning this daily, and often it’s not easy. Sometimes I feel like a big fake, putting on smiles and kindness when inside I groan and grieve. A persistent weight that does pin and stick, unforgiveness. But where does it lead? Bitterness? Hatred?

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. 1 John 2:9-11 (NIV)

My study notes read: In the Bible hatred and love as moral qualities are not primarily emotions, but attitudes expressed in actions.

Lord, I don’t want to be blinded by darkness. I’m not sure I can trust my feelings, but you are trustworthy. When you tell me forgive, I want to.  Even if it means writing it out on a piece of paper every day, or smiling and acting despite the difficulty. It would be a lot easier if I felt like it in the face of circumstance, but I pray that I will act first–in forgiveness, in love–in hopes my heart will soften enough to feel later. Thank you for forgiving me! And thank you for showing me the very real danger of unforgiveness.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 John, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament

Gen. 41; Mark 11; Job 7; Rom. 11

Scripture

22“Have[f] faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 22-24 (NIV)

Observation/Application

I do wonder what my prayer life would look like if I could boldly and confidently approach the Lord with my requests. I feel something holds me back. I pray for others and their needs without hesitation, but when it comes to me … I have more trouble. And I wonder if it’s my on-going battle with forgiveness. I wish that I could just forgive and have it be over with. Instead, my resentments towards others creep up on me unexpectedly–even when I think I’m over it. And I can feel all kinds of awful rekindled in my heart.

Of course, I can put on the happy face and be civil towards others. I can even take extra steps to show unexpected kindnesses–but these actions are unable to quench this yuck that’s tangled up inside of me. Sometimes, they’re just enough to make me think I have forgiven. Later, I’m taken off guard when hurt feelings flare up. This not only continues to injure my relationships with others, but it hinders my relationship with the Lord and the work I do for him.

Prayer

Father, humbly I approach you with this problem. Please change my heart. Do these wounds stem from an unconscious hierarchy I’ve imagined? Help me to stop putting myself above others. Feed me truth to root out the lies I tell myself about my place in this world … and the motives of others.

Courtney (66books35)

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Filed under M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament