Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's Tough Being a Woman in a Mean World -- Follow Up

"Refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison and

expecting the other person to die."

Sandra--Last week we studied about the meanness in the world, and, according to Beth Moore, the "toughest part can be not getting mean with it." So how do you keep from getting mean? That's a good question because, as humans, we have an inane desire to "handle things" ourselves sometimes, and, not only does it usually not work, it's not the way God instructs us to handle the pain and the meanness of the world.

Another excerpt from last week's lesson is that, "No matter how we sparkle at church or Bible study, on earth we still have pain. Instead of going ahead and feeling the pain, processing it before God, and letting Him heal us, sometimes we opt for a trade-in. We swap pain for anger because it's easier for a while, and, boy, can it be energizing! Soon mad turns to mean. Friends turn enemies. And Agags turn to Hamans."

There is some really good news because in John 16:33 we are reminded that, "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I (God) have overcome the world." Sounds good; makes sense to me. But we live on earth with all these other humans, and we need to figure out how to deal with the folks who intentionally hurt us. It all boils down to one thing--forgiveness. I didn't say it would be easy, but we have to learn to forgive. Forgiving is not difficult when someone apologizes and begs our forgiveness. However, it's quite a different story when someone hurts us and has no remorse whatsoever; forgiving that person is a little more challenging.

How logical is the following situation? "Refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." Think about that for a minute. There is no logic in that approach to a problem; it's just not the best way to handle a situation, is it? In fact, it's just downright self-defeating, and, dare I use the word--"stupid." Obviously then, we as humans don't always handle forgiveness the right way, do we?

Let's look at how God tells us to handle it. According to Romans 12:19(NLT), "Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. LEAVE THAT TO GOD. For it is written, 'I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,' says the Lord." Hmmm--sounds good but not so easy to do, is it?

The first step to forgiving someone is to relinquish your right to get even. That's what Romans 12:19 is all about, and don't you think God can handle a situation better than you? Of course, that's what we believe. It's just that, well---as humans, we want to see the person who hurt us get zapped---hard---immediately! That's why we have to give the situation to God; trust Him to do a better job of dealing with the person than we can.

The second step is that you have to realize that forgiveness does NOT depend on a feeling. Forgiveness has nothing to do with how you feel; it is a matter of will! It's a CHOICE you make.

And if you think all the above is way too much for you, then just remember this: You forgive because your Father told you so; it's a matter of obedience. I don't know about you, but as I was growing up, when my dad told me to do something, it NEVER crossed my mind to question him. He said it; I did it--simple as that.

"Forgiveness is a journey, sometimes a long one. We may need some time before we get to the station of complete healing, but the nice thing is that we are being healed enroute. When we genuinely forgive, we set a prisoner free and then discover the prisoner we set free was us."

Remember--No Bible study next week! See you Feb. 23 and 24!