Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Soli Deo Gloria: REAL love!

I've mentioned before (HERE...and HERE...and HERE)...the gap I see among Christians between forgiveness and reconciliation.    Often, we only say we forgive someone...and nothing in our attitude proves that it was a fact.  If our only form of proof is that we don't yell at them in the church hallways or say nasty things about them to others...well, that's pretty lame.

Seriously, the church is a BODY...it has to work together.  I was recently very much convicted by this fact.  A family I'm not particularly close to...and have been hurt by in the past...extended love to me very unexpectedly.  As I accepted their love to me and my children, I realized that I had been holding back from them.  I hadn't been rude...not even close...but neither had I treated them like someone I called my brother and sister in Christ.  I'd kept distant and silent...aloof from my family.

I read a blurb from my Real Simple magazine...that I thought would be a good idea for those of us struggling.  In the life lessons section a Dr. recommends focusing on something good about your criticizer.  Her research showed that if you are anticipating hurtful comments you relay fear or dread with your eyes and/or body language---which generally led to more negative things happening.  Finding something positive about that person...even as simple as their pretty fingernails or nice laughter...changes you.  It changes the warmth and demeanor you give off.  If that criticizer feels respected...odds are they will reciprocate.  And honestly, what have you got to lose?

Well, WAIT...I know the answer to that question...after my experience I'll tell you what there is to lose...UNITY!  I realize that I've been missing out on closeness and fellowship.  I've missed out by not knowing them well enough to give ultimate, detailed prayer support!  I hope to learn from this mistake...I want to work out my faith...Talk the talk and walk the walk alongside of my friends.

I'd stop here but the truth is...my heart feels most broken about this in connection to dealing with those outside of church.  John 13:35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."  They are to know us by our LOVE...our love should be a reflection of GOD'S love...and His is PERFECT LOVE!  No grudges, no holding back...praying for blessings on our enemies.  If I'm not showing that...what kind of testimony do I really have??  I need to be pointing to GOD...all the time...in every way...

‘But what is the ultimate good in the good news? It all ends in one thing: God himself. All the words of the gospel lead to him, or they are not gospel. 

For example, salvation is not good news if it only saves from hell and not for God. 

Forgiveness is not good news if it only gives relief from guilt and doesn’t open the way to God. 

Justification is not good news if it only makes us legally acceptable to God but doesn’t bring fellowship with God. 

Redemption is not good news if it only liberates us from bondage but doesn’t bring us to God.

Adoption is not good news if it only puts us in the Father’s family but not in his arms.’

I tried to site this quote...but had a hard time.  I think it might be John Piper's from his book "50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die"...but I'm not sure.


Jen said...

As one who struggles with a self-protected heart, I am going to ask the Lord more about what you have written here -- to truly walk in forgiveness is a struggle for me.

~ linda said...

Thank you for visiting me, Bobbi, @ Being Woven" for I may not have come here and read this post that I needed. Always need! Jen's comment fits me as well!

Your "Real Simple" magazine example reminded me of my days of teaching young children, especially 2nd graders who tattled too much for me. So when a child tattled on another, I would make her (usually) stand with the other child (as that one would have come up and tried to defend herself)and stay before each other until the tattler could say something nice to the one they spoke meanly to or about. After a while, the children began to learn that tattling, complaining, saying negative, nasty things was just not going to happen in my classroom. Pretty soon, the kids got along much better as a whole. There is your "Unity". Now, it is my lesson to remember to look for the good first!
Thanks, Bobbi.
Caring through Christ, ~ linda

Natalie at Mommy on Fire said...

Holy cow, friend. Preach it, sister.

This is absolutely beautiful and very convicting. I hear you completely.

You know what I heard the other day that I loved? Failure to forgive is like pouring a cup of poison for your enemy then drinking it yourself.

Ah, so true. And so are your wise words. Thank you for this - I so needed it.

Pastor D said...

Excellent thoughts! Absolutely true! Desperately needed by every Christian.

A lady in my Sunday School talked about the lack of forgiveness as "taking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

You had the source of your quote right. “Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die,” by John Piper