forgiveness

He Forgave You– Now Forgive Yourself Too.

“If only I hadn’t… I wish I didn’t… Why can’t I go back… It’s all my fault.”

Regrets. Mistakes. We all have ’em. We’ve all made ’em.

So what are we supposed to do?

This week,  we have been working through reasons why our hearts can be blocked and how we grow apart from Christ. (Click to read the original post here.) Yesterday was all about forgiving others… a hard but necessary topic.

Today we touch on a subject that I feel is sometimes overlooked in our Christian world. Forgiving ourselves.

Our hearts are really complicated. When you add our brains and flesh to our heart mixture, things can get super confusing… And kinda messy. Fortunately, God can clear things up for us.

See, here’s the deal. God forgives us WAY more than we deserve it. Yes, we screw up. Yes, we repent and apologize to Him. Then He forgives us… And thanks to our human nature, that cycle repeats. (And thanks to God’s love, He continues to forgive us. WHEW.)

We can get stuck when we refuse to let it go  and let God do His thang. When we hang onto our past sins, hurts, regrets and don’t allow God to take them… It is like we are saying that The Cross was not enough.

Let me say it again… When we hang onto our junk (blockages), we are essentially saying “Thanks so much for sending your beloved Son to die on The Cross, God… but that’s not quite good enough for me. I need something more.”

Uh. Yikes? I think a mindset like that might be offensive to The Big Man! I sure wouldn’t be happy if I made the biggest sacrifice of my entire existence and somebody said it wasn’t “good enough” for them. Sheesh.

So what do we do? We need to get over ourselves. Seriously. (Yeah, I said it.) Yes, we are God’s loving creation, but we aren’t better than The Cross. And we don’t have the power to mess up more than Jesus’ sacrifice can cover.  We must GENUINELY believe with our heart, soul, mind and strength that The Cross WAS enough. God made a promise to us through His Son. The action of Jesus’ death on the cross FORGAVE us of ALL of our transgressions. Not just the little ones. Not the easy or simple ones.

ALL. OF. THEM. Every last lousy sin, from stealing a pack a gum, to hurting someone else to… well, you get the picture. After all– a sin is a sin is a sin. (But that’s another blog post 🙂 )

So today’s challenge for unblocking your heart is to FORGIVE yourself of any past hurts or hang ups. If you have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior* then YOU. ARE. FORGIVEN.

Period. The End. IT IS FINISHED. (Does that sound familiar?)

Do you struggle with forgiving yourself? Have you forgiven yourself in the past? What did you experience? Please comment here… I would love to pray and/or rejoice with you!

Let God do the work. Give Him your hurts and regrets. He loves you more than you can imagine. Let it go and let God do His thang, covering you with mercy, grace and forgiveness.

He has got it covered. The Cross did that for us. He Forgave you– Now go ahead and forgive yourself too.

Thankful for forgiveness,
SGK

“…If we admit our sins…he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.” 1 John 1:9 (MSG)

Forgive Yourself

(*If you haven’t accepted Christ and aren’t sure what  all that involves,  shoot me an email via sharita{dot} knobloch{at} gmail{dot} com. I would love to talk with you about it.)



Categories: attitude, Christ, cross, faith, forgiveness, freedom, God, health, heart, Love, peace, promises, release | Tags: , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Faith to Forgive

“YOUNG LADY! You march over here RIGHT NOW and tell your sister you are sorry.” 

Shuffle…shuffle…stomp. SIGH. 

“Mmsrry.” 

“Oh no, that’s not good enough. SAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!”

Sigh. (Again.) FINE. 

“I’m sorry.” 

How is that two little words can be so difficult to say?

If you are a living, breathing human (which I am gonna go out on a limb here and assume that is a pretty legit possibility unless you have a super talented and technology loving pet) chances are you have been on both the giving and receiving end of an apology.

Sometimes, accepting those two little words of “I’m sorry” as the hurt party might be harder than the one who is doing the apologizing.

Yesterday, we talked about heart blockages that separate us from God. (Read the complete post here.) Carrying around the burden of unforgiveness can be heavy. Like, really heavy.

forgiven by soot+chalk
forgiven, a photo by soot+chalk on Flickr.

He forgave… So can you.

Forgiving others takes  A LOT of humility and faith. I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a pretty stubborn little heifer sometimes. Letting go and letting God take care of my hurts really requires me to fully surrender to Him.

But… while forgiving others can be more difficult than driving past a frozen yogurt shop without stopping to get a snack, it is a command. God forgives us waaaayyy more than we deserve. (Remember The Cross?) Thus we are to do the same to others.

There are numerous stories in the Bible that talk about forgiveness. Remember the parable about the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:23-35?  Check out The Message Version of the story…

 “The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.

 “The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.

 “The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’

 “The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.

 “The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”

Oh snap. Jesus told this story to Peter to illustrate the importance of forgiveness. Right before this parable, our dear friend (and slight blabbermouth) Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone for an offense. Then, before Jesus can respond, Peter answers his own question. “Is seven times enough, Jesus?” (Peter might be trying to show off his stellar knowledge here.)

But Jesus really schools him. “Seven TIME Seventy.” Now, 490 is not the magic number of forgiveness. (Let’s be honest. We probably have people in our lives that we have to forgive MORE than that.) But it is an illustration. We should infinitely forgive others, knowing that God is the judge– not us.

Today I challenge you to take a look at  your heart. Is there anyone that you haven’t forgiven? It doesn’t matter how big or small the offense. It doesn’t matter if they have apologized or not. (That can be the hardest part!)  Give it to God. Turn it over to Him. Forgive the one(s) that hurt you. Pray about it. And God will give you the faith to forgive.

Thankful to be forgiven by faith,
SGK

“…You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others.” –Matthew 6:14 (MSG) 

How has forgiving someone blessed your life? What did you experience after you forgave someone? I would love to hear all about it– please comment here.

Categories: attitude, challenge, faith, forgiveness, fresh start, God, mercy, promises | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

We have… a Heart Condition

Do you know what really grinds my gears?

The inaccuracy of the hand grip heart rate monitor things on the handles of treadmills. Are they EVER accurate?

Ok, maybe I should slow down a little bit. I am really not THAT upset about it, but it just makes me think sometimes. Perhaps you can help. Maybe I am not gripping them right? Whenever I work out on a treadmill (or elliptical, bike, anything with the fancy-schmancy heart rate grippy things) it never, ever seems to be even close to accurate.

It usually takes the majority of my workout to get a close to legit reading. I spend all that time trying to adjust my hands so it will show that I actually HAVE a pulse, and when it does, it gives some astronomical number on the verge of heart explosion. (I work hard, but not THAT hard. Seriously.)  Oh, and don’t get me started on how I feel when it occasionally blinks judgmental messages of “Do not run while gripping handles.” (Well if you would read my heart rate while I am walking/recovery, I wouldn’t have to, you stinkin temperamental machine…)

Here’s the great news about that story. God is OUR heart monitor. And a very accurate one at that. He knows our heart. It’s important to understand that regardless of what physical shape we are in, we ALL have a heart condition.

That is symptom #4 of being a human. We have a heart condition. As much as we would like to deny it or argue, we have sin in our heart. While I would love to blame Adam and Eve for messing it up, let’s be honest… If it wasn’t them, it would have taken 13.43 seconds before someone else came along who would have thought the snake’s ideas were great and screwed it all up. Oh, the “joys” of being a human.

Our sins give us a heart condition. But God is constantly “monitoring” our heart, much more effectively and accurately than the treadmill example. He knows everything in there and we don’t need surgery to clear the “blockages” (aka sin.) Why? Because we have Jesus!! (More on THAT tomorrow)

If you haven’t done so already and feel called, stop right now and ask Jesus into your heart. If you have already experienced that, then go ahead and ask Christ to continue clearing out the “junk.” He will condition your heart. He will strengthen it. He will be your accurate, never-ending tool to monitor your “heart condition.”

Next time you are on the treadmill and you begin to argue with the heart rate grippy things, remember… Jesus has got your pulse. And He IS the cure for our heart condition!

Lub-dubbing along,

SGK

“As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” Proverbs 27:19

Categories: exercise, forgiveness, heart, sin | Leave a comment

A Taste Test: Bitter to sweet

It was the summer before my 5th grade year. We had just moved to southeast Kansas a couple months ago. It was blazing hot July in our little trailer house that we had just “planted” in the middle of a bean field. (Literally.) I was bored. Which made me hungry. Which made me curious.

I decided that Mom had to have something interesting to snack on in our pantry or cabinet. I was a short kid (still am at 5′ 2″) so I enlisted the help of a kitchen chair. I scooted it across the floor and parked it in front of the pantry. I climbed up and peered onto the top shelf… JACKPOT.

I had discovered something I was not expecting to find… a Country Crock Butter container. I picked it up and shook. It was heavy. I climbed down, excited to see what was hidden in this precious yet odd storage device. I popped open the lid and…

“Well poo,” I thought to myself. I peered into the container to find a grainy white crystal-like substance. “Now why would Mom store sugar hidden on the top shelf in a butter container?” I wondered. My 10 year old mind deduced that it had to be SPECIAL sugar. Being the curious (and hungry) kid I was, I shoved my face in the bowl, stuck out my tongue with anticipation, ready for sweet, sugary goodness to flood my taste buds.

“Phhhhhsssssssssssssfffffffffffffffttttttttttttt!” I spat out my “treasure” so fast that I swirled backwards and nearly tripped over the kitchen chair. “GAH! WHAT IS THAT STUFF?!?!”

I found out later that it was not, in fact, some special magical sugar that my Mom was hiding… it was picking salt.

Talk about a curiosity fail, huh? Apparently there was a REASON why it was hidden… so people wouldn’t mistake it for sugar. It was not only a surprise, but it was nasty– very bitter. (Don’t believe me? Try it. I dare you.)

Sixteen years later, I have learned my lesson not to stick my tongue into an unlabeled Country Crock butter container (not to mention that I have improved my etiquette skills… gross!) However, I have also noticed that I still sometimes approach life situations the same way I did with that pickling salt.

There are a lot of things in life that can really frustrate a person. I personally try to chill out and lean on Christ when I can… but hey, I am still a sinner. Sometimes I really struggle with bitterness. Let me explain.

When something (or someone) upsets me, occasionally instead of being slow to anger and quick to forgive, I treat the situation like the pickling salt. I go after it, convinced that my zeal or focus on the other person (or thing) will make me feel sweet inside and satisfy a “need” through revenge or vengeance. “I will show them,” I think.

But here’s the thing. I am always surprised when my hope of something sugary turns out to be a nasty, bitter experience that I wasn’t expecting. Instead of solving the issue and addressing it right away, I tend to take things into my own hands and allow the negative thoughts to churn in my heart (Thanks a lot, Satan. What a jerk. SIGH.)

After awhile, I realize there is ZERO, zippo, nada sweetness in my frustration. It tastes bitter. And bitterness does nothing to the other thing/person… I read a quote once that I have since internalized to help me release the bitterness and frustration I might be inclined to harbor: “Being bitter is like drinking a bottle of poison and waiting for the other person (or thing) to die.”

Christ is at work on my heart.  He is making me see things in a different light and telling me to HOLD UP before sticking my tongue into the figurative “butter container” that is that tough situation in my life.  He helps me to step back and think about the consequences of my actions and what it is going to do to ME internally. I don’t like the taste of pickling salt on my tongue… and I REALLY don’t like the hurting, self-induced feeling of bitterness in my heart.

Are you harboring any deep bitterness against anyone (or anything) in your life? Do you continue to stick your tongue into the pickling salt with negative results every time? Let go of the anger, resentment and bitterness. It isn’t hurting anyone but yourself. Allow the love of Christ to teach you how to turn FIRST to HIM in those situations of trial  and frustration for a bit of a “taste test…” and He will turn that taste from bitter to sweet!

A new kind of bitter-sweet,

SGK

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” 

–Ephesians 4:31-32

Categories: anger, forgiveness, help, Love | Leave a comment

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