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God Bless Them
August 14, 2020
"Bless those who persecute you.
Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them."  
Romans  12:14 NLT
Let me get right to it...

Did Jesus let friends abuse him with no consequence? NO!  Did Jesus dismiss hateful people because that's just who they are? NO!  Did Jesus let phonies and frauds move around him without disturbance? NO!  Jesus loved everyone. He forgave everyone. He also called people on their "stuff" when necessary. 

Forgive and Forget?
The Bible does not say "forgive and forget." In fact, Colossians 3:13 says to forgive and remember. We are to forgive because we remember that the Lord forgave us. The only person who forgets sins is God. Hebrews 8:12 reminds us that God will "remember our sins no more."  To forgive you, I need only to remember God's love and mercy in my own life. To forget? Well, that's going to require brain surgery, a lobotomy. 

I still remember the very terrible things people have done to me. I recall many of the hurtful things people have said about me. When memories like these threaten a relationship, we have to remind ourselves, "I forgave that and God did too."  

Bless Their Hearts
In Romans 12, Paul reminds us to bless those that persecute us.
Spoiler alert... It's not so we can feel good about being the bigger person. It's not so we can fulfill the greatest commandment and get points with God.  

We Bless People So They Can Heal. 
People who lie to us are fearful.
People who hide things from us are insecure.
People who cheat us are lacking. 
People who tell our secrets are envious.
People who hope that we fail need purpose.
People who delight in our pain are in pain themselves. 

 "Hurt people hurt people."   You've heard the saying. 

It occurred to me that Jesus wants us to love our enemies because doing so helps them heal. When they heal, they will no longer do and say things to hurt others.  When you're blessed, you go out of your way to bless others. When you're blessed, you don't want to harm anyone. We need God to bless our enemies so their hearts change.  We need them to get the name of JESUS!!! When they get happy, they can be happy with us and for us.  LAWDHAMMERCY YES!!!

Our forgiveness blesses our enemies so...

How To Forgive 
Forgiveness is the graceful space between two people. That means forgiveness requires acknowledgement.  NOTICE....I said acknowledgement, not agreement or acceptance. You must acknowledge your pain. The other person must acknowledge the action That's all. It's nice if they apologize, but forgiveness doesn't dictate that. It's even better if they mean it, but that's not a requirement either.

Let's take a look...

I stepped on your toe. We both agree on that. 

You believe I did it on purpose. You tell me that I stepped on your toe because I'm jealous of your new shoes...and that hurts your feelings and your toes. 

I say it was an accident. I believe it's ridiculous that you think otherwise. AND...I think you need therapy. My feelings are hurt because you question my friendship. 

Forgiveness is...Your ability to forgive me for stepping on your foot even if you still think that I did it on purpose. If I did it on purpose,  forgiveness loves me enough to see that my envy of your new shoes is a really need for prayer...and maybe new shoes.  Forgiveness is praying for me. Forgiveness is laughing it off and sending me a DSW gift card with a "Girl I love you!" note.

Forgiveness is ALSO... My ability to forgive you for thinking I would intentionally hurt you. Forgiveness loves you enough to understand that you've had some shady friends. Forgiveness knows you are still guarded because of all the pain and disappointment you've had in your life.  Forgiveness means praying for your emotional wellness and healing. Forgiveness is getting the DSW card and cracking up because you really think I'm jealous of your shoes. I love you. So, I take the gift card and buy us both a pair of BOGO flip flops.  

Who's right? Doesn't matter. God used the conflict to bless both with forgiving hearts and new flip flops. Both are closer to God and closer to each other. 

The Three C's
Forgiveness requires conversation, confrontation, and compassion. That's what Jesus had all through the Bible. When Judas kissed Jesus on the cheek, He didn't go off on Judas. He also didn't let Judas slink away.  At the last supper, Jesus exposed Judas as the traitor. When Judas led the crowd for Jesus' arrest, Jesus said, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48)  Jesus died for Judas, but he also let him know that he was wrong. 

The Bible is clear. Pray for God to bless those who persecute you. Whether or not you stay tight with them, that's between you and God.  Some of my persecutors are still close to me. Others, I've had to put some distance between us. All have been forgiven. I love every one of them. I answer when they reach out. I reach out when I hear they're in need.  However, we don't go on vacations together and share pizza slices anymore. You'll have to find what God wants you to do.  There is no hard rule. So, it requires prayer.

Speaking of prayer...
Think about the person you least want to pray for, the person you are pretty sure is going to hell because of what they did to you.  Think about the meanest, nastiest, most unscrupulous liar you've ever seen. The person that popped in your head, that's the person you should ask God to bless. 

Be sincere, be specific. 

Do it right now. 
7 Steps to Start Healing

There is a difference between being “cracked” and broken to pieces. A cracked vase can still hold a candle and shine light. A vase that is broken to pieces needs to either be fixed or thrown away. The more broken pieces the less useful the vase becomes.  We are empty vases that are filled with the spirit of God. The more broken we are the less of God’s spirit we can carry inside of us. So how do we fix that?  Read More...

Your Past Has Expired

I attend a church that has a heavy focus on the financial literacy of its members and getting them out of debt. It’s biblical. Getting out of debt helps better position people to be in service to God. Without the burden of debt, you can do more for God with the provision he has given you. Read More...
Judge Not?

“The Bible says not to judge” is a favorite response from people who do things they know are wrong.  Anyone who has actually read the Bible (Matthew 7:1) knows that this is not a correct quote. After all, there are plenty of places in the gospels where Jesus told people about themselves. “Hypocrites!” “Brood of Vipers!” “Pigs!” “Dogs!” In fact, the man from Galilee called it like He saw it.  Read more...
Relax and enhance your emotional wellness with an essential oil diffuser. I use it. I love it. It works. 
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