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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.

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forgiveness

We heal when we forgive everyone

Forgiveness sets us free, but selective forgiveness has the opposite effect. We only heal when we forgive everyone.

No exceptions.

Serial killers, dictators, rapists? People who have cheated, abused and committed crimes against us? Yes, we are called to forgive them too. Our calling is to forgive the whole world.

If we forgive only the people who we think deserve to be forgiven, we are doing nothing more than judging them based on merit and singling them out.

When we take this path, we inevitably feed resentment. That’s how we end up chained to the people we can’t forgive. 

We have to forgive everyone. Instantly.

Forgiveness is an attitude towards life. Even people who have no relationship with God know that. What they don’t know is that it is only by God’s grace that we can forgive with a loving heart.

When we seek him first, we experience the power of forgiveness as a blessing. And it releases us from our chains straight into his loving arms, where we enjoy his peace and joy.

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forgiveness

We know we are forgiven when we repent

Genuine repentance, sincere and fruitful, produces change of mind, attitude and posture. But we are only capable of repentance when God forgives us. 

God’s forgiveness is what produces repentance. 

The blessing of repentance comes from God. He crushes us, provoking our heart. He knows us, he wants us, and he forgave us through Jesus across time and space. 

Yet we are creatures of spacetime and, every time we sin, we need his eternal forgiveness to provoke our repentance. 

Without divine forgiveness, there is no repentance.

Repentance is always preceded by divine forgiveness. We have to be crushed by God’s sovereign forgiveness that turns us inside out to surrender. As we surrender, we are transformed. 

Our spirit recognizes a sovereignty that comes before any human conclusion. So even those who don’t genuinely believe in God experience repentance. Repentance is God’s power at play.

When we repent, we know that God has forgiven us.

Categories
love spirituality

Rebuilding our love bonds with a spirit of repentance

Every relationship that we have will experience cracks in its structure at some point. But we can mend those cracks, or even rebuild a broken bond, with a spirit of repentance.

Love teaches us to repent and live life with a renewed spirit that makes possible what wasn’t possible before. We are given a chance to do what is right and move on with a hopeful spirit.

While the world puts a lot of weight on “telling the truth”, repentance is about actions, not words.

We are called to rebuild our love bonds with repentance through a change in our attitude. It is our actions that express love.

This means that if a hurtful truth from which we wholeheartedly repent is bound to break our love bond, Jesus isn’t calling us to tell it and crush someone with its unbearable weight.

We’re not called to tell a truth that crushes. Destructive truths can only destroy. Instead, we are called to live the truth of our repentance and rebuild our love bonds with love.

Categories
faith spirituality

When being wronged is good

We will be wronged a lot in the course of our lives.

Each of us has the freedom to either be wronged and not take action against our oppressor or pursue the justice of this world.

Yet it is when we have the willingness to be wronged and to suffer loss that we are given the opportunity to keep Christ’s virtue at a cost that this world is not willing to pay.

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?

Paul

I know wonderful people who have suffered severe wrongdoings.

Thanks to their surrender and faith in the wise ways of God, they make a decision everyday not to pursue worldly justice. Their peace and joy overflow and inspire.

This way of life, which mirrors Jesus’ spirituality, resonates with few of us. Yet this is the life that rewards us with peace that exceeds all understanding. This is the divine life worth living.

Categories
forgiveness love

This world can judge us, but Love changes who we are

While we insist on judging ourselves, or listening when others judge us, we miss the fact that repentance is the power of God’s forgiveness already operating in us.

As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point.

Paul

We repent and rely exclusively on the One who makes us better. Relying on ourselves or the public opinion will crush us.

When God himself came here as the fully man, fully God Jesus, it was to draw us to him as a means to become like him.

We’re forgiven. We build our house upon this Rock.

By following his way and truth, we enjoy a peaceful life that doesn’t have an expiration date. The life he gives us in the spirit.

The judgment of this world has no power over our spirit. It is God who justifies and turns for good what was once used for evil.

Categories
love recovery

Always be the good company that others are grateful for

Being good company is about loving our company – something that the coaches, books or articles of this world cannot teach.

Like me, you’ve probably experienced your share of company that is unhelpful in the course of your life. What we can do is forgive those who hurt us and be more selective about the people who we allow to come closer to us moving forward.

When we let go of what doesn’t do us good, we make space for what brings good to our lives.

We should never, ever be too busy when others that we know need us. And when we make ourselves available, there is yet another stepping stone: being good company.

This world might have forgotten what being good company is like, but we should not.

We laugh with those who laugh, and cry with those who cry.

We don’t ridicule others.

We don’t look down on or judge others we don’t like, but pray for them.

We encourage each other with hopeful, peaceful and loving words.

We don’t oppress one another with the expectations of this world, but listen to what we need and what is good for our spirit.

We remind each other that everything is possible for the One who made us when something seems impossible.

We rejoice in the fact that all things contribute to our good, and that the struggles of this world can’t crush us.

We happily offer practical help and not simply wait until there is an urgency or emergency to step up.

We make sure our “yes” is a “yes” and our “no” is a “no”, because we won’t be good company to someone when we say the opposite of what’s in our hearts.

Setting boundaries is important, so we know what and how much we can give. This way, we won’t raise false expectations in others that we know we can’t meet.

Good company makes us grateful because they are available, helpful and a joy to be around thanks to their noticeable appreciation for us.

Our love for one another should be felt in our words, but most importantly in our actions. These actions could be as simple as a heartfelt hug, or taking a real interest in how someone is doing instead of just asking and letting it be.

I’d like to encourage all of us to put in more love in our interactions with others. Let’s take the time to let them know what we appreciate about them whenever there is an opportunity and not just leave it on that note.

Let’s remain a constant presence in their lives in loving ways and show we are grateful for each other’s lives.

Categories
love recovery

If it glows, then it is Love

We all have tasted loneliness at some point in our lives. 

It isn’t simply about not having company, but about having quality company that does us good. And that is not easy to find.

But the good news is, we are far from being alone. And this loneliness that clouds our judgment and keeps us from seeing with the eyes of faith can be defeated.

So how do we defeat it? Well, the answer is: we don’t. It is the One who made us with unconditional love who defeats it. But he can only defeat our loneliness when we humbly accept his love. 

Our lives are transformed when we become conscious of this love and gain the confidence, through faith, that we are not alone.

When we follow his ways, there’s no reason to feel lonely, because he gives us every opportunity to be with others who reflect his love. 

Yet if we still feel lonely at times, we just have to call his name and he will be there through the people he brings into our lives.

Categories
forgiveness love

How to be aware without judging

Thanks to sharing God’s divinity, we are able to love everyone. This love is His power operating in us. At the same time, He gives us discernment, so that we can make better decisions in life in accordance with his teachings through Jesus.

It is important to be aware that someone’s behavior doesn’t reflect the teachings of Jesus, who is God incarnated and thus teaches us how to become the best human beings we can be.

But if I turn to attack this person, using Jesus as a weapon, and feeding my attack from a place of condemnation and sense of superiority, I have lost the battle against the evil in me.

Acting this way is no better than any other person in this world who doesn’t know Jesus. In fact, when I claim to know Jesus, my attack is far worse than if it would have come out of ignorance.

When we are of the same mind as Jesus, we are aware of what is not good without judging others. Even He, being God, didn’t come here to judge us, so why should we judge one another?

He teaches us to pray for others who we believe to be misguided.

We might not like their behavior, and God is not asking us to keep or seek company that doesn’t do us good. But we can love them and pray for them to be transformed.

Categories
love recovery

Be yourself with love

A lot of people who meet me have an overrated impression of who I am. Some have even said I’m like an angel, I kid you not!

I don’t know how that feels for others, but for me, knowing that I follow Jesus because I genuinely need him, that feels heavy.

That’s yet another trick of the evil systems of this world. When people decide to put you up on a pedestal, it becomes really hard to just be ourselves around such high expectations.

A few weeks ago, I jumped off that pedestal. I decided to take a bit more liberty and actively show people my imperfections.

To give you tangible examples, I shared more about my disagreements and complained about things, situations and people that I would have normally kept to myself.

The interesting part of it was that nobody seemed to think anything of those imperfections. It was me who had a hard time saying or doing twice what I knew wasn’t me at my best.

It became clear to me that certain situations and relationships were only sustained by my passiveness and silence. The moment I decided to speak up, their falsehood was revealed.

I realized that, for some people, my being like an angel allowed them to be their worst selves without showing repentance. But the problem was, I was being eaten alive by their attitude.

So I appreciated my experience, because it allowed myself to fall deeper into the arms of love, God’s love. I learned to be more assertive about my values before people put me on a pedestal from where I passively watch them like a marble statue.

Our omission is not any better than mistreating others. We are called to love one another, but we need to be assertive.

God’s grace gives us discernment. We should take it and, armed with the loving conscience of Jesus, assert who we are to others.