‘Day One’ Blog

Happy Thanksgiving ~

Dear Readers,
I’m so grateful for you for your support and encouragement! May God make His goodness known to you so that your soul overflows with thanksgiving to our Savior!
Gratefully,
Anne

Share This:
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

In the Meantime | Waiting For Forgiveness

What is your mood as you wait – either to be able to forgive or to receive forgiveness? I’m asking because I’m reminded that God is always at work on behalf of His children. That means when you and I perceive that NOTHING is transpiring toward the righting of a conflict, God is in fact active and at work. If this is really true (it is) you and I might need to shift our perspective a little (or a lot). We need our perceptions to align with reality.

What I’m getting at is this – I don’t often wait particularly well, whether forgiveness needs to come from me or come to me. I wait suspiciously rather than confidently. I wait anxiously, not actively. I wait protected rather than open and exposed. Confident, active, open waiting is a waiting I participate in with the Lord. I’m actively in dialogue with the Lord, open to shifting thinking, or behavior, or both. I wait expectantly, not for a particular outcome, but because I’m confident God is at work. If He’s at work (He is), something good is happening… something important is happening. I want that to become important to me. So does God.

In the meantime, if I’m the one who cannot extend forgiveness, I have to be open to letting the Lord expose why I can’t, and even more terrifying, remain open to letting Him tend that area. That’s going to require my full cooperation. Yikes. And I have to come to terms with the fact that while I have been offended, however grossly, there is also something unhealthy in me that is keeping me from forgiving. I will have to shift my focus off of the offender while the Lord does some house cleaning in my soul. I’m going to have to understand that at the end of this “cleaning” I will be committing to extending forgiveness through the power of God the Spirit in me. Is this sobering sequence the reason I’m closed off? It may very well be. If it is, I know where I have to begin with the Lord. “Lord Jesus, Make me willing to open myself to You and this process.”

This sets a powerful precedent for how I posture my heart toward the person who has yet to forgive me. It humanizes them again. Empathy can replace bitterness because I have been where they are. I have experienced deep-healing-soul-work that has unlocked the door to forgiveness. Further, I can understand that the next right step for them might not be the step I want them to take. They might have many steps to take before the step of forgiveness is in front of them.

And here is where I really have to be a grown-up. Waiting well will mean that I will begin to pray for them – for their healing, for their best, for their wholeness. If my heart is ugly as I pray, then I will stop and ask the Lord to forgive me. I’ll ask Him to make my heart tender. And then I will get to praying again. I will entrust being forgiven to the Lord and spend energy championing that person to healing through prayer. If I cannot do that, I know where to begin. “Lord Jesus, remind me what You have done in me. Make me willing to love this person with the love of God, even as I wait.”

Wouldn’t you like to have back all the time and energy you’ve burned that was never going to produce anything but heartache and anxiety? I would. But then there’s grace- sweet grace that meets you and I right in this moment. Let’s choose to trust our all knowing, all loving, VERY active God with the conflicts yet to be resolved. And let’s keep our eyes peeled for the next lit step to plant our foot on.

See you on the road! – Anne

Remind them… to speak evil of no one,
to avoid quarreling, to be gentle,
and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
For we ourselves were once foolish,
disobedient, led astray,
slaves to various passions and pleasures,
passing our days in malice and envy,
hated by others and hating one another.
But when the goodness and loving kindness
of God our Savior appeared, He saved us
Titus 3: 1-4

Share This:
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

How Much Does It Matter

photo by: Charl Folscher (Unsplash)

I tried apologizing, but we ended up arguing and we are worse off than before!

She said she was sorry but it wasn’t sincere so I called her on it. We ended up raging at each other and parting ways without any resolve.”

Why don’t these kind of skirmishes resolve easily? What’s happening between two people who love God, that keeps them from being able to work through conflict? I’m talking about what I would call entry-level conflicts: “He said something mean.” “She treated me disrespectfully.” “He made a mistake and he doesn’t want to apologize.” These people aren’t arch enemies. They are brothers and sisters in Christ and in community with each other. They’ve run into the inevitable surfacing of flaws buried in all of us. Ugh.

This conversation has many fronts to explore if we are going to try to understand what’s happening to us. Here are three things to ponder with the Holy Spirit, that might move us toward getting unstuck in conflicts with our spiritual siblings.

Firstly, the western Church exists having created a culture of consumerism that makes it extremely easy to cut your losses with a church family and go find another. That’s akin to two people entering marriage with a handful of nullification-clauses in their pocket. It means that when things get hard, one of the core thoughts is, “Do I want to stay in this relationship in the first place?” If you don’t think that impacts conflict resolution, think again.

Secondly, technology affords me the option of “doing church” online and in my jammies. This is a genuine gift for people who are truly shut-ins, but it’s an all too tempting reason to isolate for the rest of us. It’s also a fabulous way not to deal with difficult spiritual siblings or have to face a problem you might be responsible for creating. This stay-at-home-option has lured many Christ followers into viewing gathering with a church family as a convenient non-essential. Armed with a consumer mind-set it becomes a motivation killer with regards to conflict resolution.

Lastly, I’m pretty certain we don’t know what the Lord requires of His children when conflicts arise. Our pervasive Biblical illiteracy leaves us in the dark at a time with when we most need concrete direction to know how to problem solve with another person. And honestly, too often we prefer to remain ignorant, afraid of what it would cost us to reach for healing.

What to do! You and I must face the hard reality that we are responsible to do everything within our power to be at peace with those around us. The Lord is not hiding information from us, nor is He leaving us without clear direction. Why not open up 1 Corinthians 13 and ask the Lord to teach about the command to love and what that love looks like? How about a look at the early Church in the book of Acts and asking for fresh insight into how integrated the lives of the early believers were. Or how about opening the book of 1 John and asking the Spirit to bring illumination about the perils of harboring hatred in our hearts? Having the living God within us, we are abundantly resourced to learn and grow!

How much does it matter that we get on a healthy side of conflict resolution? Well, if unsaved people know we are true followers of Jesus by our love for one another, then reaching for and maintaining health within the family of God is an imperative. It’s non-negotiable. The VERY good news? Healing and wholeness are ours for the asking (at least on our side of the conflict). So let’s start asking. The Helper eagerly awaits.

We’ve Got This In Him!

Anne

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling
to which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another in love,
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:1-2

Share This:
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

What To Do With An Offense

photo by Michal Malton (Unsplash)

Good sense makes one slow to anger,
 and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 19:11

What would it mean to overlook an offense? When you are wronged in some way, to whatever degree, what thinking do you apply to that incident that tells you whether or not you ought to overlook it? Maybe your emotions make the decision for you. Maybe your “history” with that person makes the decision for you. And maybe you are thoughtful and prayerful as you consider what ought to be done.

The thing is, overlooking an offense does not mean turning a blind eye as if nothing happened. Quite the opposite. To overlook, in the way King Solomon speaks about, is to make an informed decision. You know just what happened. You understand the weight of the offense. And you consciously select the “overlook” option. Apparently, that act becomes your glory – like an ornament of stunning beauty.

You’re set up to some degree, to make this kind of counter intuitive choice because of your good sense. That good sense makes you non-reactive. Rather you are poised and responsive, not under the sway of your temper. Wouldn’t that be a lovely way to move through life!

Maybe the path to overlooking an offense appears as we come by good sense and practice good sense. The King James Bible uses the word discretion in the place of good sense. So think along the lines of being prudent, insightful, and understanding. You’ll have the idea then.

We can huff and dig our heels in. We can wait for people to stop doing mean things. Or we can reach for something beyond ourselves so that we meet the inevitable arrows with a response that’s wondrously supernatural. This is entirely possible for Jesus followers. But it won’t happen at all unless we are under the sway of God the Spirit and in possession of the good sense we receive as He shapes our thinking.

Next steps? Get in the Word of God. We have to open our ears to the voice of the Holy Spirit as we look in His Word. We must wait on Him. We must confess (to the Lord and to one another) our weaknesses and reticence to overlook offenses. We must ask Him to change our thinking so that we want to honor Him more than we want someone to suffer for their offense.

Meet you at the throne of grace,

Anne

Share This:
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

If Not Today, When?

If you are holding something against another person, or if you know they are holding something against you, what keeps you from going to them for resolution? Maybe you think, it’s too small to bother with today. At some point you will hear yourself say that it’s too big to bother with, and you will most likely move on, stepping over that pile of festering, unresolved muck. Of course you know the pile doesn’t go away. It keeps growing, both in you and the other person.

You might be curious to have missed the point where the issue was just the right size to address and make right. That’s because selfish hearts, desperate to be right and to be seen for being right, can’t possibly entertain that there is a right time to do a thing that someone else really “should do.”

We come to conflicts in this difficult time of life without emotional reserves. That can be our excuse for not making a thing right, or it can be our motivation to get it done today. Why make it right? Why be the one to take the initiative? Because that’s what followers of Jesus do. They reach for God the Holy Spirit, who resides in them, and they follow Him to the other person. They draw upon love that originates not in themselves, but in Him. And then they offer it to the person with whom they have an offense. Doesn’t matter even the slightest, who is in the right or not. It. Does. Not. Matter.

God does in a person’s heart whatever their heart is willing to have done. So it begs the question; If not today, when?

When a man’s ways please the Lord,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Proverbs 16:7

Share This:
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail