Categories
forgiveness

Forgiving our abusers to heal

Life isn’t about what happens to us, but how we react to it. If we choose hatred and unforgiveness, we become a reflection of both.

I watch countless true crime docuseries and the look on most victims of abuse, or relatives of these victims, is unmistakable. They spend most of their lives enslaved by resentment, hopelessness and an unforgiving heart.

They bury themselves alive and blame their abusers for it. Yet nobody has the power to bury us alive except ourselves.

We become a reflection of the people we choose to hate by keeping ourselves connected to them through a bond of hatred.

The desire to move forward is not enough. These chains can only be broken with love and forgiveness.

Forgiveness is an undeserved grace we receive. When we know that, we are humbled and filled with the desire to extend it to others. Because we all fall short of being good.

Loving ourselves is not genuine unless we can also love our abusers. As I explained in ‘Loving people we dislike’, we can love people we dislike and still not keep them in our lives if they don’t show repentance.

We need to allow ourselves to be divinely filled with forgiveness and love for our abusers.

Only then can we truly love ourselves, and heal.

Categories
recovery

Loving people we dislike

Many of us don’t know the difference between loving and liking one another. Keeping people close that we don’t genuinely like doesn’t work and can wreak havoc in our lives.

We can love everyone spiritually. But liking anyone depends on compatibility and is for select people who, through their actions, have earned our appreciation and company.

When someone treats people (including ourselves) in hurtful ways, we are perfectly able to love them – if we genuinely have a relationship with God. But we will not be able to like them. They don’t deserve us, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

After all, not all company edifies us. We seek good company that we like: peaceful, joyful, loving, forgiving, thoughtful. And, yes, interesting and fun.

Company that makes us feel uncomfortable, judged, hurt, offended, manipulated, insulted or even just bored and disinterested is therefore not likeable. It is a blessing to love these people, but we don’t have to seek their company or force ourselves to like them.

We need to learn to gracefully handle people whose presence doesn’t edify us. They don’t need to be active participants in our lives.

Our calling is to love them. Pray for them. Help them. And wish for their hearts to be transformed so they can enjoy a love that will enable them to treat us as we expect to be treated.

We can bring them back into our lives as friends, family or partners if they demonstrate a change of attitude with actions (not words) for a significant amount of time, so we see consistency.

Remember: We are called to love one another, not to like everyone.

Anything beyond that is self-righteous and will destroy us.

Categories
recovery

The Love imprint that heals

When our minds and hearts are set in forgiveness, mercy and love, we have found the way. It leads to a life that death has no power over.

Yet if we still spend time judging others and withholding our forgiveness, because we don’t believe certain people deserve it, we haven’t really found the way. These are all signs of brokenness.

Only a forgiving, merciful heart that is always ready to love everyone, particularly those that haven’t earned it, reflects a genuine spiritual calling and transformation.

Our surrender and humble willingness to depend on the One who made us is all it takes. Usually this happens when we hit rock bottom and, in our brokenness, realize we can’t do it anymore.

That’s what it takes for us to understand that only he can heal our wounds and replace them with his powerful joy.

When we let his peace arbitrate in our hearts we experience peace that exceeds all understanding, regardless of circumstances.

Only he can take what this world meant for evil and turn it for good. By making all things work for our good as we rely on him, he gives us a new life to enjoy, full of divine love, joy and peace.

Categories
love

We are united by Love

Many of us have turned to attack one another as we react to fear. A fear we would not have if Love were the master of our lives.

We have to be very careful at all times, but these times are particularly treacherous. There are many trials we are facing, but the main one is our ability to love one another.

When so many people start preaching violence, neglect and exclusion as means to do what is good or build a peaceful community, the darkness of this world is in full effect.

We don’t pick sides, but we must take a stand. Love is our stand.

We are not called to be silent and live in a spiritual cave, but to use every opportunity to be agents of peace.

We are not loving one another by keeping silent to avoid conflict, when our hearts feel strongly against what is being said or done. We can, and should, show our love by speaking peacefully and firmly as we assert our values founded on Love.

We are not called to oppress, but to speak up for Love, forgiveness, compassion, peace – and this not at the expense of others.

We don’t have to speak against anything or anyone. Let’s raise our voices to speak only about the Love that can unite us and not join any other conversation that is focused on dividing us.

Categories
forgiveness

Enjoying the freedom of being forgiven

There is a freedom we can only enjoy when we know we are forgiven. It gives us peace to live life as we can, based on the conscience we have, and not as others think that we should.

Being forgiven humbles our hearts.

But we still need to be watchful of different people who will come around trying to question this freedom.

Remember, “church” is not a group or a place. It is a spiritual dimension filled with love, not judgement.

Let the One who called you guide your heart with his peace. And enjoy the forgiven life of freedom he gave you.

Categories
love

We are Love’s poem

We are a work of art, forged by eternal Love. Our design is meant to express our maker’s wisdom. Since our maker’s essence is Love, we too are expressions of his loving ways.

When we choose to connect with Love, our essence and maker, we are free to enjoy a peaceful life in this world, regardless of circumstances. He makes his home in us and we share his power to love and forgive everyone.

When we choose to connect with the systems of this world, we allow our peace, joy and love to become dependant on our circumstances.

It’s a choice we make, and we are free to make it. But each of us has a particular timing that only he knows.

We are free from everything and everyone that tries to become an obstacle between us and his eternal Love.

And we need to be careful not to allow people to tell us how we are supposed to live.

We can’t live a genuinely free spiritual life when we judge, single out others and live in a bubble of self-righteousness.

When we connect with Love, we live under grace, knowing we can do no good without it operating in our hearts.

Let this divine grace lead your heart, not people.

It is when we allow our maker to bring us into a full expression of his love poem that we become salt of the earth, powerfully able to love one another for his good works.

Categories
forgiveness

The joy of forgiveness

How we talk about people who hurt us says a lot about whether or not we have a relationship with the One who made us.

I met a Christian man recently who has been divorced for four years and talks in a resentful and bitter way about his ex-wife. According with him, she had no right before God to divorce him.

It was hard to listen to him. His voice, no matter what I talked about, was full of judgment and condemnation.

What he is missing in his life is not his ex-wife, but the joy of forgiveness. This is a gift that we receive from God when we allow him to make his home in us.

He attends church every Sunday and tried to discredit my faith when I said I wasn’t religious.

Yet no regular attendance to a place or membership to a group will give any of us the divine ability to forgive everyone. It comes from God when we are humble and willing to receive it.

It is only when we forgive everyone, and genuinely love and wish them well, that we experience divine joy.

Once we have tasted it, we always come back for more.

When this joy overflows in our spirit, our voices become an encouragement for others who can’t forgive and, as a result, can’t find peace in their lives.

If you are struggling with bitterness and resentment, pray for the willingness to be filled with love and forgiveness.

And you will joyfully taste peace that exceeds all understanding.

Categories
love

A fresh start with Love

On January 5th I celebrated 7 years since my conversion. It feels like I’ve lived hundreds of years, yet I feel so rejuvenated because everyday is a fresh start when Love is our master.

I’m taking the opportunity to share a bit of my story again today. I know it encourages believers and non-believers alike.

When I was an atheist, two psychologists helped me navigate and cope with a series of life events that crushed me. But they never healed me. 

To say that I was hanging by a thread would be an understatement. And although I have a lot of appreciation for deeply humane and loving psychologists like the ones who helped me, there’s only so much they can do. 

I couldn’t imagine myself going one week without therapy. At that point I felt emotionally crippled. My life was a full-time burden.

That’s when I did the unimaginable. One night I surrendered and asked God for help. Being an atheist, I had no idea what I was doing. But I had a crushed, humble heart as I called him. And God listened.

God healed overnight what two different psychologists couldn’t heal in years.

For the first time in my life I knew that there was one who loved me just the way I always wanted to be loved. And his divine love set me free.

God’s love worked in me to forgive others who had been the root cause of a lot of emotional turmoil in my life. And he also taught me to forgive myself.

Without God’s love, I could never have healed. 

It is his divine and eternal love in me that makes it possible to forgive everyone and the world everyday, regardless of merit. And heal.

Categories
forgiveness

Mercy always triumphs over judgment

When we see others acting in ways that don’t align with our conscience in Christ, we are called to be merciful.

We were forgiven by a merciful God who carried our sins on the cross and set us free to live a spiritual life filled with his love.

The world might judge and condemn, but we live under the power of grace. We speak up for mercy, forgiveness and love for everyone being crushed by the destructive systems of this world.

We must not keep silent when others are being crushed. Indignation has its place as long as we don’t lose our minds and become hostile, giving way to expressions of evil.

When it is necessary to confront others to assert our values, we must do so with calm and loving words.

We should pray with a hopeful spirit and ask that the One who made us converts the perpetrators of hatred and the ones being affected by it into expressions of his love.

His mercy always triumphs over judgment.

And when we allow him to make his home in us, and seek him first, his mercy triumphs over our judgment.

Without him, we would be agents of destruction. With him, we are agents of his peace and cooperators for his loving word.

Categories
love

Giving the Good News with the right Spirit

The Good News bring us hope and peace. Which is why we should never use them to crush others and frame them as sinners.

We are all sinners and capable of the same things.

As we start navigating the Word, we will realize all these horrible things about ourselves and others. But we do so with the confidence and peace of mind that God forgave us through Jesus.

There are also a million other sins we won’t be aware of. Possibly things this world looks up to. And with God lifting the burden of guilt from us with his forgiveness, we will be able to, under his grace, make better choices as we move forward.

It is only when we put love (=God) first that our lives reflect His love, peace, forgiveness and hope.

And the greatest of all these is love.

We are called to love one another, not judge one another.