I have had a lot of trouble dealing with guilt, many people do. It seems when we become Christians, rather than accepting the fact that our sins have been forgiven we want to remember them, and feel not worthy of God’s gift of salvation. Other times we end up feeling guilty for small things. I often feel guilty for missing Church, or not reading the bible enough or even not posting on here for a while.
We have to remember guilt is an open door to Satan. He wants your past defeats to drag you down. Even a victory can drag you down if you let the enemy inside your head.
You have to remember, you will fall, be humble as you get up. We can’t comprehend God’s love, he said he will cast your sins as far as the east is from the west.Take him at his word. You…
Last week was Mother’s Day and I had some extra thoughts that just didn’t fit the blog.
I talked about honoring Jesus and the Mothers out there but what about those who feel like they can’t or shouldn’t honor their mothers?
A great way to honor Jesus is by honoring your Mother like it is commanded, love her and look at her like a blessing from God.
I know this can be tough for those who have been hurt by parents but even if your relationship is strained show love to your Mother. Even if you feel harmed by your Mother or feel they don’t love you like they should, even if you consider your mother an enemy show them love anyway.
Remember God says to love your enemies so of course we have to love our mother no matter what.
That doesn’t mean we have to allow them to hurt us or that gives a mother a free pass for their behavior.
But you can still love your mother by trying to reconcile with them.
Some may have lost their mother or reconciling with their Mother may be impossible right now so instead give a gift to God today and honor Him by forgiving your Mother.
As Christians we are called to love people even if that person is emerged in their sins, even if that person is your enemy or an enemy of God and even if they hate you.
That being said love isn’t condoning bad behavior.
Love also isn’t shouting and pointing out how horrible someone is.
Look at it this way, if someone is an addict, shouting at them and telling them how horrible they’re and the wreckage they have left behind doesn’t seem like a sound strategy. Could it work? Possibly. But more than likely it will lead to them pushing you away and immersing themselves more in their addiction.
On the reverse of that if someone tells the addict, “Hey I love you the way that you are and everyone has their vices.” That is condoning their destructive behavior. In some ways that can be worse than the previous method.
Truth is both of those methods are no good and dangerous.
Instead we must correct in love, don’t condone but don’t condemn. We have to teach and show the way through our love. But how do we do that? Let’s go to scripture with two examples.
First let’s see how we show a person Biblical love by looking at what the Bible say love is…
1 Corinthians 13: “13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Next let’s look at the example of how Jesus responds in love to the woman caught in Adultery…
John 8:1-11 (ESV) 8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
Jesus in a simple sentence explained how to handle a situation such as this. He addresses her sin directly in order to correct her, He chose not to condemn her and told her to “sin no more”. He did not condone her actions and tell her, “Well you’re all sinners”. He also did not call her bad names, shout at her and tell her she was an awful person.
Remember to try and have patience as God has patience with us.
Of course there is a time when you will have to walk away from that type of person, you should always pray for them but eventually there has to be some consequences.
Often people skip right to walking away or bringing severe consequences and in some cases that is the correct method but in many circumstances that is done because it is easier than having to deal with the issue directly.
But even more so the easiest thing to do would be to ignore the issue entirely so you don’t have to deal with it at all.
Think of someone you love, if they were in need of something or struggling in sin would you allow them to suffer or would you help them? Of course you would help them.
But Jesus calls us do something more radical, to love those who hate us.
So help those who hate you and be the light to battle the dark.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how it is easy to forget God.
But the truth is if you know God and love God it is even easier to remember Him.
You can remember God in the big moments. When there was a wonderful moment to celebrate or be joyous. But also you can remember Him in a time of grief and sorrow.
God is there in both those types of moments. He will celebrate with you in your joy and He will comfort you in your sorrow.
You can remember God in the small moments. When you chuckled with someone you love. Or just shared a moment with them. How often can you think of a time when you were down in the dumps and out of the blue someone or something provided you with a moment to cheer you up?
God is with you during the big and small moments.
He also provides what you need whether big or small.
If you truly know God and love God you will see Him in your blessings and struggles.
Another way to remember God is through His creation.
Just step outside and gaze upon the world. Look at a beautiful sunset in the evening or see a sunrise in the morning. Look out at the wonderful creations walking the Earth, look at nature. God is an artist.
Well with us being close to a week into the New Year and today being the Epiphany the holiday season is officially over.
This week I’ve decided to write about something I struggle with and that is my struggle with grace and being too hard on myself.
It’s very important not to hold yourself to higher standards than God.
He has given you grace as a gift. It doesn’t come with a gift receipt. Don’t try to return it. Accept it.
If you make a mistake, call out to the Lord, ask for forgiveness and focus on the solution not the problem.
God is the solution.
He can and will get you through whatever you’re going through.
When you mess up remember, He forgives you, so forgive yourself.
God is greater than all, He knows what is best. I’ll say it again don’t hold yourself to a higher standard than God does.
Before I had a strong relationship with the Lord I found myself feeling immensely guilty when I would sin. I would feel so terrible and put so much pressure on myself that I would feel sick from being so hard on myself. I would then abandon having a relationship with the Lord. I would stop reading the Bible and lose focus on the Lord.
This of course just led to more sin and unhappiness.
It was only when I truly gave myself to the Lord that I was able to see His grace and allow Him to do His work through me.
My entire life has changed since then and I truly have been able to change.
All thanks and praise to God.
If God is choosing not to punish you, don’t punish yourself.
There may be consequences on Earth for your sin, if they’re trust in God’s will and accept it. But remember ultimately you are forgiven by His grace.
The ultimate punishment you can bestow upon yourself is keeping yourself from God.
Go to Him humbly and let Him change you.
Philippians 4:13New King James Version (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through [a]Christ who strengthens me.
How often do we let ourselves become overwhelmed with guilt for our past sins? Or feel grief because we fall short and sin even after becoming a Christian?
Guilt is good because it shows that you love God and want to strive for better but if we constantly remind ourselves of our sins we are allowing the sin to win.
You need to repentant and move forward. Repentance in the Bible actually means to change your mind, you can’t change your mind if your mind is still focused on your sin.
Remember satan will get into your head and tempt you. If you fail to be on guard you can fall into sin again but if that happens satan will be there to remind you of what you just did, he will tempt you then ridicule you for listening to him.
Don’t give in to him twice.
If you do what ends up happening is we drown ourselves in guilt. We drown our spirit with negativity and we lose focus on God.
Change your ways focus on what you can do now, you can’t change the past but you can change your future, keep fighting.
Remember Jesus died for our sins and we have the grace of God. It is a precious gift we must hold onto.
The first people to sin were Adam and Eve and they tried to run away from God, He found them.
Don’t run away from Him in your sin, run to Him!
Remember the Prodigal Son, God like the Father in the story will be waiting for you with open arms because He loves you.
If you do run from God and continue to feel guilty, you are more likely to fall back into the sin for comfort.
Let God comfort you, not the sin.
God is greater than yourself, if He forgives you than you can forgive yourself.
The Bible instructs us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we can’t do that if we loathe ourselves. We will loathe our neighbors as we loathe ourselves.
It has been proven that people tend to get angry with others who possess the same flaws that they hate about themselves.
Don’t resent yourself, you will resent others just the same.
One of the saddest things to hear is when an atheist describes abandoning their belief in God as a relief.
Truly if that is your belief than you really missed the God of the Bible.
If someone has caused you to feel this way whether a member of church or your family, you must remember that is not God’s intention.
Trust the Word of God, not words from man.
Read and study the Bible and you will see that despite everything people did, God was always there to save them. He took extreme measures to save us out of love.
God is not wearing you down, that is your own mind that has been conditioned into believing you have to be perfect or face Hell.
God’s commandments are not anything abnormal, the majority of countries laws follow the same standard.
One big difference, is grace. Try committing a crime, then apologizing and see how you the police and court handle you. Will they absolve you?
But with God if you accept Jesus’ sacrifice you are forgiven of sins, that doesn’t mean you won’t face Earthly consequences but you will obtain the Kingdom of Heaven.
How amazing is that?
Is that a God who is overbearing and cruel?
Grace is love, Grace is relief.
Accept God’s grace and you won’t want to sin. Of course you will stumble but when you do, go right back to God.
When you see how much God loves you and you love God you aren’t afraid of going to Hell, rather afraid that you will hurt the One who loves you more than all.
To my Christian brothers and sisters, we must remember to not abuse that grace, don’t sin knowing He will just figure you anyway. That is what people do in abusive relationships. They know the one they claim to love will continue to love them no matter what, so they continue to do wrong as a free pass. Don’t do that to the Lord.
This next sentence may come off as a bit harsh but I feel like it needs to be said. I want to emphasize don’t use the Word of God as a weapon to bully others or make yourself feel powerful. God is the powerful One. He sees your own sins and tells us to worry about them before we begin to try and remove other peoples.
Jesus came to save, He spoke of Hell as a warning not a tool to force belief.
Forgiveness in the Christian Doctrine is like a circle, it all connects and if any part of the circle is broken it loses its shape and meaning.
The first step to forgiveness is to ask God to forgive you of your sins, He will always forgive you. That is the most important and crucial part of the circle. In order to enter it you must first ask to be forgiven, God is there waiting for you to join Him inside.
Salvation comes from forgiveness from God, without asking you cannot receive it.
It is also important to continue to repent after you’re saved. God knows what is in your heart but showing obedience by praying to Him after a mistake shows Him that you love Him.
Remember your salvation is not a license to sin, don’t abuse your relationship with the Lord. Show Him the same love He shows you.
The second part of the circle is to forgive yourself. That is a very difficult task, forgiving yourself for all you have done. Just last night I laid awake thinking about things I did in High School.
But remember God is more important than yourself, if He can forgive you. Then you can forgive yourself.
It is very similar to loving your neighbor as you love yourself, if you don’t love yourself how can you love your neighbor the same? Well if you can’t forgive yourself how can you forgive your neighbor?
Which brings us to the third and final part of the circle, forgiving others.
God calls us to forgive others it’s included in the Lord’s Prayer and in many verses throughout the Bible.
In Matthew 6:14-15 we read, “14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Also in Luke 17: 3-4 it says, “3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 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.”
I will include a link to 20 verses on forgiveness in the Bible.
Once again I must emphasize we are not greater than God so if He chooses forgive others than you should too.
The circle of forgiveness goes like this…
God forgives, your forgive yourself and then you forgive others. God will always forgive you so the circle can only be broken by yourself. It is also up to you to keep the circle flowing so you can get back to God.
We are coming up on the anniversary of my Dad’s passing. He died last year, September 18th 2015. He was battling cancer, it was terminal but his prognosis was that he had a few years left. He came and visited me from St. Louis a week before he started his chemo-therapy. He looked so well and we had a great time, he was the same with me as he had been before he got sick. We both said our goodbyes and that we look forward to seeing each other again.
It was the last time I ever saw him.
It wasn’t the cancer that ended his life on Earth but a heart attack. It was shocking and extremely painful for all of us, his new wife who he had married just a few years prior. My Uncle and Aunt were very close to their brother. It didn’t make any sense, God is the ultimate healer, we prayed for a miracle and he abruptly dies before we were all ready?
I was angry with God, I lashed out on him. I didn’t understand how this could happen, so sudden.
But we must remember God is in control of the big picture, he did however give us free will to live our lives. Tragedy will occur but God will be with you in your highest highs and your lowest lows. Call on him to help you deal with your pain. Time on earth is a blink of an eye compared to eternity.
After my anger subsided I asked for forgiveness and prayed for wisdom to understand.
Then I remembered we didn’t just pray for a miracle but for my Dad to no longer suffer. God granted that wish. You see my Dad was struggling very much with the chemo, he was in horrible pain and the doctors were at a loss on how to help him. Then one day he was in the dining room, eating dinner with his dog next to his side, when it happened. He had a heart attack and a couple days later went with the Lord. No more pain, no more suffering.
God gave me that last visit with my Dad, he was exactly how he had always been when it was just us. I realized that it was all part of God’s perfect plan.
I stand by what I said, I still look forward to seeing my Dad again and I will see him, along with the Father and his Son.