Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Go and make things right, then come back to God. #dailysoulfood

This scripture was the scripture that God used when He told me to go and forgive my abusers. This was the same scripture He used when He told me to forgive the father of my child, who left me the day I was pregnant. This is the same scripture He uses time and time again when I run into occasional relational problems with family, friends, co-workers.....

"This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God." Matthew 5:23-25 msg

Im not one to sweep things under the rug or back away from healthy confrontation, especially when it's about trying to fix relationships. I will try to go the extra mile to "talk about and talk through the issues at hand" in order to choose friendships and relationships over petty circumstances and emotional drama.

Throughout the years I've maintained years of friendship and relationship with friends and family, and yes even with the people who abused me, even if it was a hard decision to make. It's not always easy to do this because sometimes its not reciprocated. But I try anyway. And for the most part, almost all relationships have been redeemed. Except for my son's father, coz he chose to not want to be part of his son's life and a couple of others, just because they are choosing not to restore the relationship for the moment (I'm still hoping that one day they will though).

So when i share about the testimony of forgiveness, especially forgiving my abusers... people ask me "why would i do such a thing?" Well i definitely know it's not because I want to.... At least not initially.... coz knowing me and my pre-christian ways and the evil that lurks in my heart.... I would do ALL I can to press people's buttons to make them even more mad or sad. I would stop talking to them, I would get angry, I would fight, I would cuss, I would turn any story you have and use it against you to make you look really bad. and i could choose to still do all that now.. real housewives ratchet style....

Or I could choose to follow God. And I could choose to live in grace. And forgiveness. And mercy. And be kind. And give to others what God has so lavishly given to me.

Some Christians think fixing relationships and having to confront others is not needed in God's Kingdom. Especially if they have valid reasons of being hurt. They always use Paul's example of not seeing eye to eye with Mark about something and going separate ways, sweeping things under the rug and never talking to each other again. That way, forgiveness is never talked about. The issue is never dealt with. Reconciliation never happens. Heart transformation and the power of the gospel is never seen.

I've seen Christians leave churches, ministries, friendship, families and they never talk to people they were once in relationship with ever again and use this example repetitively.

Can I just say that THAT is a WRONG example to justify sin? (Yes... i called it out... unforgiveness is a sin). First of all, Paul and Mark did reconcile (2 Timothy 4:11) so to use this scripture as an example of "going separate ways and not talking" is very unbiblical. Second, even Jesus, who was hurt and denied by his closest friend Peter, had to have a healthy confrontation and talked to Peter about the issue in his heart and his love for Jesus after Peter had denied Jesus and left Him hanging (literally and figuratively) when He was dying. And their relationship was restored. And not only was His relationship with Peter restored, but the other 10 who also left and hurt him were also reconciled to Him as well. Jesus had healthy confrontations and resolved to fix relationships, yes... even with Judas, His betrayer. He still washed Judas' feet....He still tried to love to the end.

So if this is the example our Lord made for us, then that example should be our standard. And we should do no less.

So when people (especially Christians... most especially mature christian leaders) choose to not fix relationships and would rather ignore others, especially their christians brothers or sisters... choosing to ignore and stop talking to them and not fixing the issues at hand... being too "proud" to say sorry when they've hurt others... Or choosing to gossip and fight and slander and say mean thing about each other... aaaaaaand even acting worst than teenagers and blocking people off your social media site or not returning texts and calls rather than choosing to fix the problem... When adults choose to do that... it's such a damn shame.

Coz we are quick to teach little children who fight with their siblings or their friends to make amends and forgive. we tell them to "go say sorry and make it right...no matter who was right and who was wrong". And children, who have absolutely pure hearts, listen to us. they really do forgive and become friends and play once again with the other child who was their enemy seconds ago. They are quick to fix things and forgive and love.

I don't fight for reconciliation because I HAVE to. Obeying God is a choice. It's not always easy... And yes, sometimes it's painful because it won't always be reciprocated.. But I still choose to do that... And I teach my son and tell my husband to do same. Keep on forgiving. Keep on trying to reach out. Keep on trying to mend. Keep on praying. Keep on believing and hoping for the best. Keep on trying to make things right. Because ultimately we live to please our God and God commanded us to "go and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God" so we should follow.

It's a principle i live by. because to me... relationships are more important than feelings. and it's more important than opinions. I choose to fight for relationships because it's out of the overflow of the gratitude in my heart that I choose to give to others what I have freely received. And I've been given

Grace.
Mercy.
Forgiveness.
A second and third and fourth chance.
Redemption.
Reconciliation.

Freely i have been given... So i must freely give. (matthew 10:8)

Give freely. Forgive freely. Fight for relationships. It will allow you to see a facet of God's heart and life becomes even more beautiful when we live our lives free from the poison of bitterness and unforgiveness. Choose to live and love.