Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Journey Struggles

Over the past few weeks, I have been reading a forum which deals with issues in the church with which we were formerly affiliated. I won't go into detail. What I will say though, is that there are a lot of hurting people out there who need your prayers.

What does this have to do with me personally? A lot of those people are my friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ.

There is this "thing" inside me that can't stand it when those I care about are mistreated, lied to, or in some other way wronged. It's that part of me that wants vengeance. Wow. Did I use that word? But it's true. I want the erring party to repent, yes. But I also want to see them do some groveling and major "making of things right". And that thing inside me is like a mother bear protecting her young: you hurt someone I love, and I will attack!

Shocking, isn't it? Most people who know me think I'm this gentle, meek person. I've been accused of being a "goody two shoes". If they could see my heart, they would know differently. Because the attack I was speaking of doesn't usually come out where others can see it. It's an anger I bottle up inside. When my little fingers want to spew it out on the forum, the Holy Spirit just won't let me. But it's still in there. And it is like cancer to my soul.

I am angry and hurt that so many people I love have been hurt. And I want to see those who did these things hurt, too.

But a post on that forum reminded me of these words:

"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors...For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:12, 14)

Ouch. And there isn't even a clause in there that says, "If they want to be forgiven." Or, "If they ask your forgiveness."

The Amish families in Pennsylvania have shown this truth in such a remarkable way. The man who brutally murdered and injured their daughters is dead. His family is living with the results of his actions. But are the Amish looking for some way to extract retribution? Are they trying to get their "just due" from the man's family? Quite the opposite. They are offering love, forgiveness, and prayer for that man's family. Incredible.

Lord, please teach me to share the forgiveness You have so freely given. Help me to let You be the judge. Teach me to show Your love through letting go of the wrongs.

I close with my confession:

Most merciful God,
I confess that I have sinned against thee,
in thought, word, and deed,
by what I have done,
and by what I have left undone.
I have not loved thee with my whole heart;
I have not loved my neighbors as myself.
I am truly sorry and I humbly repent.
For the sake of thy Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on me and forgive me;
that I may delight in thy will,
and walk in thy ways,
to the glory of thy name.

O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth,
Have mercy upon me.

O God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy upon me.

O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful,
Have mercy upon me.

Amen.
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