I used to say this often in my former way of thinking when I would travel on a religious high horse: “I forgive ________, but I will not / cannot forget!” And I remember clearly the night…the precise and painful moment…that God “knocked me off” my metaphorical religious high horse. ((Ouch…and ouch.))
Yet God says, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” ~Isaiah 43:25
Who are we to say…how DARE we say…that we will not forget the transgressions (revolt) of another when God does that for those of us who belong to Him??
This is not relenting to a state of perpetual amnesia. God doesn’t have amnesia because He is omniscient. How does He do it? What example do we follow?
To “remember no more” is to make the conscious decision NOT “to mark (so as to be recognized)…to mention…be mindful, recount, record…bring (call, come, keep, put) to (in) remembrance.”
Partial forgiveness is not true forgiveness. True forgiveness must involve the not remembering part…not entertaining or giving quarter to that offense/sin/trespass…not mentioning it…not counting it or keeping record.
How long or how many times must we do this not remembering stuff to truly forgive? As long as it takes and as many times until it sticks.
70 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7…((Matthew 18:21-35))
You see, we are not omnipotent like God…His true and full and eternal forgiveness sticks and stays the first time. We have to practice until it is permanent and forgiveness becomes more powerful in our lives than our flesh.
This has always been one of my biggest battles since being born again ((TWENTY)) years ago…not just WHAT I speak, but HOW and WHEN, as well. When my God-given gifts are operating in the flesh, I tend to be snarky, sharp-tongued, and insensitive with my speech. I have wounded others throughout the years…and I work to reconcile and restore when possible.
I heard a teaching today (Tony Evans) on this Scripture, and it caused me to reflect on some pearls that I’ve learned and practice still…well, mostly. These are a couple things that Jehovah Mekaddishkem (The LORD that Sanctifies) has taught me:
1) I will speak my will from the overflow of my heart, and my heart is the soil for what I meditate on in my mind. If I find myself verbally vomiting, then that tells me that I need to adjust what I am feeding my focus. What you focus your attention and thoughts on WILL travel to the fertile soil of your heart and produce fruit, which WILL travel out your mouth and show through your actions.
2) In those seasons where I am working on adjusting my focus from the horizontal to the vertical, I have a very immediate and effective tool to take unhealthy words captive to the obedience of Christ. When I feel damaging words travel from my heart to knock on my vocal cords, I employ my teeth to clamp down on my tongue. Now, this will often prove to be very uncomfortable as your veins feel like they will explode (I promise you, they won’t) and also proves to be very painful as your tongue feels like it might bleed (I promise you, it might). But, it’s better to let your own bruised ego and wounded tongue heal than to damage the soul or kill the spirit of another.
There is more than enough salt water, death, evil, and condemned words working out there.
Let’s provide our world some spring water, life, good, and justified words in our speech.
You are cordially and humorously invited to view the 3 1/2 minute video below to hear what God “planted in my garden” yesterday. He has a sense of humor, and so do I! 😜 After viewing the video, scroll down to read some more on the topic.
((i ❤️ COFFEE))
((a little bit more…))
Okay, friends. This really did happen. That chip had wedged its way in there good and settled in so that every time I moved or shifted, it would dig into my skin. Kinda like how life’s irritations ((and irritating people)) and offenses ((and offensive people)) seem to drop into our daily routines – unsolicited – and wedge their way into the tender and broken areas of our own soul (mind, will, emotions).
As I was (briskly) power walking my way about 1/4 mile down the hall to the restroom so as to extract and dispose of the potato-fried nuisance, my mind quickly meandered through corridors of these rambling associations: “This chip is not the only thing that’s irritating me today! I’m also irritated with … and also … oh, “and let’s not neglect that gem of a human being…”
Yeah, you get it. You know the internal monologue. We all struggle with these moments. Then God. I was chuckling to myself as He revealed the truth I shared in the video. I imagine people also traveling to the bathroom thought I was strange as I power walked that way myself whilst chuckling.
Here’s a pearl of truth to bring some insight to the ((unrehearsed)) video message:
We all struggle with stuff. We all get irritated with particular people. We all get authentically offended at times. It’s not “if”…but when we do, a most damaging thing we can do is allow our emotions to manage our mindand will in guiding us to take our griefs and (incessant, habitual) rants to social media. I am not saying be fake and wear masks and pretend to be happy…Iamsaying, “Practice wisdom!” If you have none, read the Scriptures. “Change your filter or clean it out!” If you need help with that, ask the Holy Spirit. “Use discernment!” If you have none, ask God.
Instead of taking these issues and people to trial on FacebookTwitterInstagram in an attempt to mask our broken places and build our alliance in SocialMediaSurvivor, howzabout trying one or all of the following:
Allow yourself to cooperate with God in working through that issue/struggle/irritation/offense through the counsel of His Word and ministry of His Holy Spirit, or…
Confront or correct that other individual (in love…) prayerfully and privately and properly, or…
Drop it. aka…Forgive that other person (in love…or at least in grace).
If none of these options works for you, then stay miserable and mad. It’s your choice. Just know that I will employ one of the above options when your miserable and mad collides with my peace and joy…((in love…or at least grace…of course.))
“Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! If your hand or foot [or Facebook] causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye [or Twitter] causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.” Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:7-9
We’ve all done it. We know it the moment it happens. And we cringe inside. Our internals knot up. Sometimes…we feel physically ill. We allow words to pass ((or fly)) through our lips without first consulting our heart and mind…or perhaps we choose to ignore the messages of those two, vital organs altogether…
“Everything is going to be okay.” ((but we don’t believe it will))
“I don’t know why I said/did that.” ((but we really do))
“I’m sorry.” ((but we’re really not.))
“I forgive you.” ((but we really don’t))
“I will pray for you.” ((but we know we won’t))
…And then there are those times we believe something so strongly that our mind is shouting, our heart is pounding, and their shared message is at the door of our lips, but we allow fear or pride to kill our voice. Resounding, painful silence.
There is a situation that begs for truth. ((silence))
There is a relationship that yearns for reconciliation. ((silence))
There is a legitimate offense that needs our apology. ((silence))
There is a need to forgive another…or even again. ((silence))
There is someone who needs our prayers…now. ((silence))
These are the things that resonated in my spirit when I was meditating on what is now my favorite salvation call in all of the Scriptures…Romans 10:8-13 (NKJV):
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
I asked God, as one who had already been born again and adopted into His kingdom, I asked Him, “God, why believe and confess? Why is it not enough For someone to believe in their heart? Why is it not enough for someone to confess with their mouth? Why both?” Now, I wasn’t asking God out of doubt or challenge of His sovereignty. I really wanted to know.
El Yeshuati: Do you remember times when you have spoken things you didn’t believe and how that felt?
El Yeshuati: And do you remember times when you believed something so strongly and wanted to say it, but you didn’t?
And there was His breath of understanding. The fingerprint of His Word. He knows how distracted (on a good day) our hearts and mouths can be, and He knows how deceitful (on a really, really not good day) our hearts and mouths can be. When we enter that moment of surrendering our lives to His Lordship, He wants our heart and mouth to meet and agree on who Jesus is and what Jesus did for us.
When we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, we are acknowledging, agreeing, and making verbal covenant that Jesus is who He is revealed to be in the Gospel. When we believe in our heart that Jesus was crucified for our sins and resurrected from the dead, we are demonstrating faith in God and entrusting our very self – our spiritual and physical life – to His deliverance, protection, healing, preservation.
This is available to anyone. ANYONE. It says so in the above verses. Twice. It’s even available to that co-worker who acts so ugly. It’s available to your momma’s-friend’s-son who stole something very precious from you. Anyone has access to salvation while on this planet…even and especially those who abuse, mistreat…deal harshly or speak lies…murder and thieve…and also those who live good, moral lives without regard for God.
Whoever..WHOEVER…all, any, every, the whole and as many as choose Him…
Will. Be. Saved.
Saved from what? I’m so glad you asked. Saved from spending eternity separated from God…saved from spending an eternity in ultimate, indescribable darkness with gnashing of teeth and torment and punishment and unrectifiable awareness that you denied Christ because you did not believe and confess when you had the opportunities and ability.
I was rescued from that end in October 1995 on a Sunday night in a pile of brokenness on my daughter’s bedroom floor. There was no “repeat-after-me prayer”…no Romans Road…no formulaic prayer. It was just a very transparent me bringing the overflow of my fractured and surrendered heart through the honest confession of my mouth to a holy, forgiving, loving, compassionate, merciful, patient, kind Father who received me with fullness and rejoicing.
You can have this assurance, too. All you need is a heart and a mouth. Even if you can’t articulate audible words, God hears your thoughts and reads your heart. Just confess and believe.
I’ve been there…done that…got the scars and have enough t-shirts to open a re-sale shop. I have allowed burn-out, offenses, preferences, apathy, and valid soul wounds to make me want to step away and “take a break” from the fellowship of Believers…or at least slip in after worship starts, sit on the back row and not be an active participant for awhile. At least that’s what I “tell” God I want to do…usually about once a year. It typically goes something like this:
Me:God, I am so hurt by/frustrated with/tired of blah, blah, blah...
God: (Silenceas I feel His gaze…)
Me:But it’s just not fair, God! Why do so many who profess you get to sit back and float through their saved journey on a life preserver while they watch a much smaller number of Christ-followers towing them along behind by a rope as they simultaneously swim against the current and fight off sharks?!?
God: (Still silence as I feel His gaze more intensely…now with a raised eyebrow.)
Me: (squirming now as I always, almost immediately feel the turning of my heart back to His Kingdom) I know…I knoooowww…I have tasted and seen that…You. Are. Good. You are goooooooood, God, and I would be miserable in that back row [and distracted].
God then usually speaks to me about keeping my focus on Him and not on those around me. And He boldly, tenderly, firmly, lovingly leads me to where I need to be. He sustains and strengthens my spirit, encourages and instructs my mind, counsels and heals my heart, and establishes my position in His perfect will.
Taking a Texas-sip-swig of ((COFFEE)) and opening my Bible to Hebrews 10…join me?
As Believers, we are not excluded from experiencing hurts…even within the church body…and especially if we are engaged in Kingdom ministry and spiritual warfare. While involvement in God’s Kingdom plan is fruitful and fulfilling, there are moments…days…seasons of tribulation. In ministry, we put up/contend/serve with people. Heck…if we are livinglife, we put up/contend/serve with people. We deal with people who are broken, wounded, and at all different levels of maturity in their faith…if they have a living faith at all! This will often provide times of frustration and makes us more “vulnerable” to hurt because when we minister, we are in relationship with others…and sometimes others’ broken places bump into / collide with our own. And even more (not) fun is the truth that as we actively and intentionally engage in spiritual warfare, we will become a favored target of the enemy.
Hebrews 10:23-25…”Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some…”
At times, it may be tempting, inviting to “give up” and raise the flag of spiritual service surrender. Often, too often, Believers get weary, hurt, or angry, and just quit church – church as they understand it – altogether. What they may not realize is that they have not quit going to a destination at an address on a scheduled day at a scheduled time. Rather, according to the translation of this text, they have given up and “abandoned, deserted, utterly forsaken” the population…the “assembly of Christians.”
This is not saying every Believer is bound to attend every assembly every time the church building’s doors are unlocked. This verse is not addressing the LOA (Leave Of Absence) that is sometimes merited or necessary to attend to family needs, physical healing, personal spiritual retreat and restoration, but this verse is about going AWOL (Absence Without Leave) out of disobedience or rebellion.
Hebrews 10:25b, 32…”…but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching…But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:”
Gathering together with a population of Believers to worship God and study His Word – no matter whether the address is a building OR a parking lot OR a home OR in a shelter OR under a bridge – serves a most vital purpose in the health and growth of a Christian. It provides us an opportunity to encourage each other, equip and be equipped, practice accountability, pray [not prey, that’s for another post], fellowship, and meet the needs of others. Verse 25 not only exhorts us to encourage each other, but to a greater degree, more willingly, and more consistently as we recognize these latter days.
Instead of remembering where God has brought us from, what he has brought us through, and where He is taking us to, we too easily get distracted and discouraged by the day’s (or season’s) training ground called testing and tribulation. Hey, I have not everenjoyed or been successful at eating healthy alone, exercising alone, doing life alone. Same precept, my friends. We assemble with other Believers to encourage each other in the Word, in deeds, and in love (v. 24). We. Were. Never. Meant. To. Do. Life. Alone.
Finally, Hebrews 10:35-36…”Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:”
If we do not throw away free and fearless confidence…cheerful courage…boldness…assurance…He promises that our faithfulness will be rewarded. As we respond to and walk out God’s revealed will for our individual and corporate lives…we patiently endure and remain constant – even and especially in moments of hurt and seasons of trial – then we will receive the promise (❤️) of eternal rewards in His presence. 🙌🏻
Should you find yourself today in a position of isolation…not attending the assembly because of past hurts or offenses…set apart from other Christians instead of set apart for the Lord…don’t waste anotherbreath of eternity (😳) and repossess the territory of your heart and mind and will that you have surrendered to the enemy. Evict satan and take it back! Reclaim and resume your intended and most valued purpose for the Kingdom!
Learning and growing with you…
Oh yeah…our current series…click ((here)) to listen to the first three messages!
Good Morning, my friends! I know the “day or two” for concluding my previous post has turned into “a week or three,” but I have not forgotten nor neglected. When Mr. Husband and I returned from our fabulous and exhausting exploration of Texas Hill Country, I had two ((TWO)) days to finish “preparing” our home to welcome two French, teenage sons into our family for three weeks. You know what I am inferring between those two quotation marks and in that word preparing, don’t you? (Wink. Wink.). You know, preparing as in dusting the areas above my 5’1″ eye-line-of-shot, cleaning interior window sills that stay hidden behind blinds (uuummmm, ick…have we ever cleaned those since we built this house??😝), and buying the rug to cover the stains on my youngest son’s bedroom carpet. …Hey, don’t judge…which reminds me…let’s finish this exploration of Matthew 7:1-5. Got your ((COFFEE)) and your Bible? I do…
If you have not read the first part of this post or would like to re-read it, you will find it here.
Matthew 7:2…”For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” ((Insert big ‘ole swig o’ COFFEE here.)) The first six words in this verse offer a great measure of inspective and introspective insight on the often misinterpreted subject of judging/judgments. We all make judgements…like every day…throughout the day. Judgements are the moments we use that three pounds of miraculous, functioning tissue and neurons and dendrites and axons between our ears to distinguish or make a decision about something or somebody…positive OR negative…good OR bad…to esteem OR to condemn…to accept OR to reject.
Here is how it works: “A neuron receives input from other neurons (typically many thousands). Inputs sum (approximately). Once input exceeds a critical level, the neuron discharges a spike – an electrical pulse that travels from the body, down the axon, to the next neuron(s) (or other receptors). This spiking event is also called depolarization, and is followed by a refractory period, during which the neuron is unable to fire.
The axon endings (Output Zone) almost touch the dendrites or cell body of the next neuron. Transmission of an electrical signal from one neuron to the next is effected by neurotransmittors, chemicals which are released from the first neuron and which bind to receptors in the second. This link is called a synapse. The extent to which the signal from one neuron is passed on to the next depends on many factors, e.g. the amount of neurotransmittor available, the number and arrangement of receptors, amount of neurotransmittor reabsorbed, etc.” (www.williamette.edu)
Now, I could expound tongue-in-cheek about how it seems there is a population who is deficient in neuron spiking and synapses…or is enjoying an extended stay in refractory period, but I won’t. I share this scientific, professional explanation of how our brain functions to highlight the fact that we were created with the ability to: (1) Think, (2) Reason, and (3) Decide. In reference to verse 2, it is understood that we WILL judge and mete.
The variable is how we choose to judge and mete. Let’s not muddle or spin or complicate what this verse is saying. It’s clear and uncomplicated the way Jesus presented it. If we judge the lives and actions of others through the lens of apathy, arrogance, unforgiveness, or hatred under the banner of “justice,” then we will be judged under the same banner. However, if we judge the lives and actions of others through the lens of agape, humility, forgiveness, or reconciliation under the banner of mercy, then we will be judged under the same banner. This same premise applies to the measurement of judgement (verse 2b).
For example, if I judge Girlie Gossip through a lens of arrogance under the banner of justice…and take my internal judgement for a walk through my lips to the ears of another…then I will be judged and measured in the same manner…and I am being a hypocrite. ((A hypocrite is one who is an actor or pretender. A hypocrite is also one who judges others for sins they are currently and equally walking in.))
If, however, I were to judge Girlie Gossip through a lens of agape love under the banner of mercy…and privately exhort her from a heart that has had the same struggle, then I will be judged and measured in the same manner…and I am being an ambassador of reconciliation. The lens we use to look at others is the manner in which we judge, and the measurement we use in our judgements is how we manage that judgement. It has taken me yeeeeeaaaarrrs to figure out that I would much rather be judged and measured under mercy than under justice. Hey, just saying. ((And I’m still in training, too.))
Matthew 7:3-5…”And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Ahem. ((Clearing throat and checking my armor as I step into a mine field…)). This is going to be [somewhat] short and [maybe not so] sweet.
Bonus Thoughts:We have become a culture that is entirely too afraid to offend and is too easily offended. First of all, there is genuine, justified offense. I am not speaking to this. Then there is a spirit of offense that cooperates with people who seek to criticize and find fault in others out of their own unforgiveness or insecurities/fears. These are people with a plank in their eye, and they are blinded to it because their good eye is in attack mode as it is focused on the people around them. There is also the person who cries, “Hypocrite!” anytime someone tries to teach or correct them because the plank in their eye has blinded them to their defensiveness that is born of guilt (non-Believers) or conviction (Believers). Again, a hypocrite is someone who is acting or pretending. This person is typically offended because there is a truth spoken that reveals an area of their life that is not aligned with God’s Word or Will.
Here it is: Before we consider calling someone’s sin or weaknesses to their attention, we ought to look in the mirror of Scriptures and attend to the Counselor’s voice to make sure we are as free as we need to be for such a task…not perfection, but being perfected...AND that we are being appointed to address it.
Conversely, if we are the one receiving an exhortation or correction that offends…ya know, the kind that causes our heads to spin on our shoulders and our core body temp to go from California climate to volcanic lava quicker than drag racer Shawn Langdon’s 270 feet per second…then perhaps we might-maybe-possibly want to take that thing to the One on the Throne for inspection before we lash out with labels, ya think?
Alright friends, I’m exhausted and tapping out. Plus, my cup is out of ((COFFEE)). Until next time, I am still…
We have all felt judged. We have all been offended. We have all been called hypocrites, whether directly or veiled behind insinuations and innuendos.
We have all judged. We have all offended. We have all called someone else a hypocrite whether directly or veiled behind insinuations and innuendos.
And unless you have been touring the sands of the Sahara on the back of a camel…or exploring the rain forests of Brazil…or traversing the snow-topped peaks of the world…or fasting from news and social media…you have probably noticed the “state of offense” our nation is in right now.
What has been a manageable annoyance in my lifetime – sort of like a snowball fight where both sides stay behind their shelter and lob spheres of snow at each other – has evolved into a hold-em-down-and-smear-the-snow-in-their-face-and-shove-the-snow-down-their-throat war.
“Where is this dripping sarcasm coming from, Tammy?”
I am so glad you asked. Got your ((COFFEE))? This might take a minute.
((SIDE NOTE: I debated on whether to write this entry with a serious tone or as an anecdote woven together with satire. I’m reasonable and decided to compromise, so I’m writing this in a serious tone sprinkled with sarcasm. If that offends you, take a sip of ((COFFEE)) and keep reading.))
So, as I am not fasting from social media, I was perusing Facebook the other day and read a sweet friend’s post that was gently venting – in my opinion – about her frustration with seeing people post one thing about how good God is, then their very next post is railing and cursing against someone they know…personally…like in relationship with at some professional or social or intimate level.
And then my friend did the unthinkable. She had the audacity to bring Scripture into her post.
Something about “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?” (James 3:11 NKJV) …and…some other craziness about how we shouldn’t talk out both sides of our mouth (reference James 3:9…in fact, just go ahead and read James 3:1-18).
Then she was blasted with an angry comment framed in bitter undertones that said the Bible does not condemn “$¥%#” or “€@*&” as sin and accused my friend of being a hypocrite and judgmental.
Here is where I exit tounge-in-cheek, clear my throat, and enter serious mode. 😳
Before expostulating on the core issue of many people’s general understanding and application of hypocrisy and what it is to be judgmental, I must first address something.
True, the Bible does not specifically delineate American curse words that are sin. It does, however, repeatedly throughout all of Scripture address our speech, our words, the curses or blessings we speak and what they produce. Saying the Bible does not call specific curse words a sin, so it’s okay to curse someone (soul killing), is like saying, “Well, the Bible doesn’t say I shouldn’t kill someone specifically with a .38 Special Smith & Wesson (thank you, Mr. Husband), so it’s not a sin to physically murder someone with that specific weapon”…which is a perfect segway into my exhortation, fellow believers and choose-not-to-believers.
Read Matthew 7:1-6, get some more ((COFFEE)), put on your hiking boots, then let’s explore what these words mean.
Verse 1: “Judge not, that you not be judged.” Ahem. This is probably one of the most quoted, most misunderstood, most abused verses from the Bible. People have taken this somber instruction that was delivered from the heart and lips of Jesus and turned it into a go-to, defensive, counter-attack cliché. Many, when they spit this verse, are typically saying, “I’m offended/angry/hurt/convicted that you don’t agree with/accept/approve my beliefs/choices/lifestyle/behavior.”
In the context of what Jesus was actually teaching, He was saying that when we judge others outside of unconditional love but instead out of a spirit or attitude of condemnation, fault-seeking, motive-questioning, or hypocrisy (addressing this in a bit), we will be judged (called into question, tried) ourselves. We ought to examine ourselves through the reflection of the Scriptures consistently before we prayerfully and lovingly point to a weakness in another’s life as we maintain a commitment to Godly correction and restoration. I mean, seriously, when we as parents see our children about to engage in something that will harm them, we correct them, rebuke them, redirect them, teach them. It’s the same concept when approaching others when they need accountability and correction. Refer to Matthew 18:15-20.
Well, my friends and fellow sojourners, I’m going to give us a day or two to chew on and properly digest the verses and precepts to this point. I will finish with a sequel that teaches on verses 2-6, and it would be a beneficial thing if you were to look at and study those with me until then.