All of us have stories that we can share about heartache and loss. It’s how we deal with them that truly matters. Some choose to harden their hearts and push everyone away. Others may develop a heart of deep compassion because they know what it feels like to be lied to, abused, rejected, and unloved. They will always be the ones looking for those who are alone in a crowd at a party or some type of gathering desiring to bring hope to a shattered life.

Some go on with life as if they have years to make things right with those they have distanced themselves from, but tomorrow is promised to no one. Life is so fragile, and so fleeting, as well. My precious mom will be eighty-nine next month and my eyes fill with tears just thinking about the fact that there’s not much time left before she will be gone from this earth, and that causes me to treasure every moment that I have with her when we get together because even though I have shared the good news of the Biblical gospel with her many times, I don’t yet have the assurance that she has placed her trust in Jesus Christ alone for her salvation, as I have.

I hope that you will take the time to treasure every moment that you have with your loved ones, as well. And if you are a follower of Jesus Christ I pray that you will share the love of Jesus and the good news of the Biblical gospel with your loved ones who do not yet know Him and all that He accomplished for them/us through His sinless life, His sacrifice on the cross in our place for our sins, and His glorious bodily resurrection from the dead for our justification.

This Holiday Season I hope that you will set aside how you personally feel and reach out to someone who you know is hurting maybe as much as you are, and try to bring some hope and encouragement into their lives. Or, if you are someone who has unforgiveness towards anyone, now is the time to make things right because tomorrow just might be too late, and living with regret is even harder.

All of us have so much to be thankful for compared to so many people in this world. Yes, you may be deeply hurting right now because of the way that you have been treated by others, or because of how you are continuing to be treated by others, but unforgiveness only hurts the one who holds on to it. Express your sorrow and the anger that you feel to God who created you and who loves you more than anyone could ever love you! Take time to thank Him for the many blessings that He has given to you this year. Forgive those who have hurt you with an act of your will, and allow God to heal you emotionally, and to make things right and to change the circumstances in His time. Or He may just choose to change you through your circumstances. But please don’t wrongly believe that He approves  of abusive behavior or causes things like that to happen; do not blame God for the wrongdoings and sinful acts that others choose to do.


UPDATE: When I originally wrote this post it was rather late; it was close to  midnight when I finally finished it. Because it was so late I didn’t have enough time to carefully consider how some people might perceive some of the things that I had said concerning forgiveness, so I want to update this post now with additional information, some personal thoughts, and more Scriptures in order to give a more Biblically balanced view of forgiveness according to God’s Word:

As I started writing this post the night before Thanksgiving, the main people I had in mind were those who have chosen to distance themselves from family due to a minor disagreement or an unwillingness to forgive someone who has sincerely apologized for their wrongdoing or their failure to do what’s right. However, I failed to think of the many of you out there who must distance yourselves from family members because, sadly, you have been physically and/or sexually abused by those who were supposed to have loved and protected you. If that is you, I am deeply sorry if I hurt or offended  you by causing you to think that you are wrong for choosing to stay away from abusive family members. It took my dear Sister-In-Christ, May I Not Clang, who left a comment in which she shared some heart wrenching things that her family has gone through in life, to make me realize what I failed to include in my post which I will now add:

Yes, as hard as it may be, we must come before God, and with an act of our will we must choose to forgive those who have hurt us out of obedience and love for Him, even when our hearts are still filled with crushing pain and a righteous form of anger. We must choose to forgive even if the person never chooses to express any amount of sorrow for the wrong they did to us. We must release them to God and allow Him to deal with them as only He can.

Forgiveness is a very difficult thing to talk about, and it’s even more difficult to do! I speak from experience, so please don’t think that I am giving you advise so easily as if I don’t understand what it feels like to be deeply hurt, betrayed, lied to, and rejected. I have had to deal with things in life such as verbal abuse, and things that I never could have gone through if it wasn’t for the grace of God and His strength being made perfect in my weakness:

My husband left me and my two children when they were young, and he told me it was because I had changed so much since I became a Christian. However, the painful truth that was made known to everyone many years ago, is that he left me for another woman, and only God knows just how many years he was involved with her before he actually left us. God kept trying to show me what was going on in many visible ways, which included having my eyes fall upon verses dealing with adultery when I would open my Bible to read it during the day. When I refused to believe that he was cheating on me, God brought me to face the painful reality; the phone calls began:

A woman called one day and asked for my husband by name, and when I asked who it was that was calling, she replied by saying, “Oh, just a friend,” and she hung up. There were other times when I would answer the phone and say, “Hello,” and the person would then simply hang up. We did not have caller id at the time, but the time soon came (after receiving a disturbing phone call in the middle of the night) when I saw the need to have it, and it verified what I believed to be true based on certain evidence that I had found. Sometimes being a detective-at-heart, as I am, makes the shocking truth even more shocking — and heartbreaking — when you see more of the facts. 😥

There were many other heartbreaking things that happened over the years after he left us, the worst being the fact that when we were still legally married my husband chose to bring the woman he was living with to our daughter’s wedding. Instead of ignoring her as many people told me to do, I prayed for God to show me the right time to go over to her and to confront her. I did it in such a way that it dealt with the truth, and yet it honored God in how I did it and by what I said, and by what I didn’t say or do, as well! Confronting her was my way of fighting for my ‘husband’ and our marriage (what was left of it). I was hoping that my ‘husband’ would see it that way, and that he would come to realize just how much I loved him, and that he would end his relationship with her and take steps towards making things right between us. But that never happened. I became angry at God because I thought that He was going to restore our marriage. My anger towards God only lasted for a short time. It ended on the day that my anger quickly turned to repentance before God when my eyes fell upon this verse:

“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b)

In a moment’s time God used His Word to show me that I was turning away from Him, and I realized that I must love Him for who He is and for all that He had already done for me [by sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, who bore all of my/our sins and took upon Himself the full wrath of God intended for me/you for my/our sins and die in my/your place upon the cross, and that He arose from the dead for our justification] and that my love for Him must never be based upon what He does or doesn’t do for me! My life changed that day, and I made a decision to love God and to live for Him with all of my heart whether my husband chose to come back or not.

The passage of Scripture that I stood on from that moment on was:

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17,18)

He never came back. I realized that as much as  God hates divorce, He will not violate man’s free will, and my ‘husband’ freely chose to continue on with his adulterous relationship, and he completely ended our marriage in divorce and married the woman less than a year after the divorce was final.

In Matthew 6:14,15 and Mark 11:25 God shows us the importance of forgiveness if we find ourselves holding anything against anyone:

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins your Father will not forgive your sins.”

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

 

As hard as it was I chose to forgive them both before God, even though no words of sorrow were ever expressed to me by either of them. On the day the divorce was final I read a letter that I had written to my ‘husband’ in front of the judge which brought me peace and a sense of closure, but I did it to mainly express what was in my heart to my ‘husband’ and to bring glory to God through the words that I said that day in order to make the most of that opportunity knowing also that the judge was Jewish.

CONCERNING ABUSE

God’s Word gives Christians a very strong  and clear warning concerning getting involved with anyone who claims to be a Christian and yet continues in a sinful, unrepentant lifestyle. This verse alone shows those of you who have been verbally and sexually abused by a professing Christian that you are not to associate with anyone who has abused you in the past and has not come to you broken and remorseful for the wrong they have done and the hurt they have inflicted upon you:

“I wrote you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. I was not including the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a verbal abuser, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-11)

The life of a true follower of Jesus Christ will not be perfect, but there will be a strong desire to live according to the Holy Spirit and not according to the flesh, and their lives should show forth the fruits of the Spirit. This passage of Scripture also comes with a strong warning:

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:16-25)

Please forgive me! When I originally wrote this post I did not have sexual or physical abuse in mind when I said how we should all set aside our differences and forgive those who have hurt or offended us and join with family! I never want any of you to think that I am condoning putting one’s self in a situation where there may be the possibility of them being sexually, physically, or even verbally abused again by a family member or friend of the family! In the minds of some people, who have been abused and have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and have been transformed by His Spirit and His Word, they may think that attending a family gathering where their abuser will be present is showing the love of Jesus Christ. However, if the person has not come to the point of asking your forgiveness for the wrong they have done to you, you may actually be allowing them to continue on in their sinful behavior towards you! God would not want you to put yourself in a situation where you may be harmed again!

Rape and physical abuse is never the fault of the person whom these acts of violence have been done against! Don’t believe the lies they tell you! You do not deserve to be treated that way! There is no good excuse for their destructive behavior towards you!

If you are presently being sexually or physically abused by someone in any way, please tell someone that you completely trust! The truth needs to be made known! You will be protecting others who may possibly become a victim by this abuser if you don’t let the truth be know! Think of your little sisters and brothers! Think of your little nieces, nephews, and cousins! Yes, it will be very difficult. Yes, some may not believe you, but this is something that you must do!

If you are not a Christian, come to God through Jesus Christ; He is the only way to the Father. He will give you the wisdom to know what you need to do next and He will heal you from all that you have been through. He will make all things new, give you hope to face tomorrow, His grace that is sufficient, and His strength that will be made perfect in your weakness.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9,10) END OF UPDATE


IN CLOSING

God offers the free gift of salvation to whosoever will come. Only through Jesus Christ  can we receive forgiveness for the vilest of sins and freedom from the burden of guilt by placing our trust in His once for all sacrifice when He died on the cross in your place and in mine. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, took upon Himself the full wrath of  God that we deserve for our sins, so that we could be covered with His righteousness in God’s sight, and our sins would be paid in full, never to be remembered again. If you choose to place your trust in what He did for you the barrier of sin that separates you from Himself will be removed and you will then become His child. This is the only provision that He made for us to receive His forgiveness, true peace, and a relationship with Him.

There is no other way:

Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

There is no other name:

“It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10b-12)

“There is no other Mediator:

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time.”      (1 Timothy 2:5,6)

 

Give thanks to the Lord this Holiday Season — and every day — for He truly is good! Others may have wronged you, but God desires to forgive you, to heal all the pain in your life, bring you true joy, and His peace that surpasses all human understanding. I truly speak from experience!

I want to express my thanks to all of  you who stop by here from time to time to read my blog posts. I appreciate every one of you!

To those of you who are in the United States, a blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family!

God Bless You

~Mary/Living4HisGlory

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