Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day Three of the 12 Days of Christmas

Ok, I had good intentions. Really I did. But Linda and I were having so much fun that the day got away from us, and by the time I got home from her house, which is only a few minutes away, It was almost 1 AM and I just fell into bed. You see, Linda's husband bought her a new toy for Christmas. One of those fancy sergers (sewing machine) with some amazing stitches and we were busy all day making pajamas for the kids and baby blankets for the crisis pregnancy center. And we didn't do too badly, either. 12 blankets finished, 15 pajama bottoms cut out, 1 finished completely and 5 sewn partially. Plus we cooked dinner for both families and put dinner in the crock pot to be cooked today. It is amazing what can be accomplished when you work together! I guess that is why God expects us to work together as his body. But that subject is for another blog!!

Anyway, when I had my time with God in the garden, he took me again to Colossians. I love that letter. It was so appropriate for the subject of the day: The three french hens represent Faith, Hope and Love. And that is exactly what the verses I read today focused on.

Colossians 1:3-6 says:
We (Paul was speaking) always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith and love that springs from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.

Wow! If that doesn't fit in with the day, I don't know what does! We have been given the gift of faith in Jesus Christ. He revealed himself to us, and that gives us hope. Hope for now, and a hope for the future. This isn't all there is, folks. I tell my kids that all the time. I want them to be focused on the things to come, not on the here and now. And the hope within us bears forth love- love for our families, friends and kindred spirits. But also love for those 'irregular people'. Those that are not easy to love, but that God loves just the same.

Who is that in your life? I know who it is in mine. Actually, there are several. One of them, I have to spend time with this weekend. And it is someone who is a believer, and has hurt me deeply, in ways unfathomable. But how can I overcome my feelings and love him anyway?

First, remember that God loves them too. And then that we are "forgiven as we forgive those who trespass against us". I don't understand how they could have done what they did, but I have said careless words and heartless comments. And I sure want to be forgiven. So I better forgive!

Second, let it go. Even though you don't feel like it, choose to forgive. When you pray, tell Jesus, "I am so hurt by ----- and I don't want to forgive them. But I choose to forgive. Would you give me a willing heart to forgive and help my feelings to follow?" I also remember that unforgiveness is one of the leading causes of colon cancer. It will literally eat you alive. It causes bitterness and damage that affects you physically and all other relationships. So give it to God and he will help you let go of the past.

Third, pray for the person. Realize that they are lost. If not lost, they are still mortal and living in a fallen world, so therefore capable of sin. They probably didn't even realize how much you were hurt, and if they did, they need to seek forgiveness. But even if they never do, you need to, for your sake and for the sake of Christ, forgive them. If they know what they did, and are unrepentant, you might need to go to them and tell them you forgive them anyway. Ask God, and he will tell you what to do. Don't flaunt it in their face, like I am better than you because you did not ask and still I forgive. But humbly tell them you forgive them and you are not going to let a root of bitterness take root in your heart. If they are blissfully unaware, perhaps you should just leave it that way. If God wants you to bring it up, he will tell you. But if it is someone you have to face daily, and they are a fellow believer, you may need to tell them. You know the situation best, and if you truly desire restoration, God will lead you.

One word of caution: Don't be a doormat. If there is a broken relationship, and it is a continual thing, seek help. Seek wise council and God's word for the answer. But know that continually being abused is not healthy. For you or for the other person. Loving someone doesn't mean they get to abuse you. You want restoration and reconcilliation, but that cannot happen in a hostile environment. Hostility is no way to treat another human being.

We are so thankful that God has shown us himself in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We have faith in him, and hope springs up from our faith, which then allows us to love beyond what is humanly possible. Aren't you so thankful?

Our journey is 1/4 of the way over. But you can still join in. Go to www.12daysbook.com and order your copy of The 12 Days of Christmas in an ebook so you can download now. You'll be glad you did!!

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