November 05, 2015

The Year of Reconciliation

Has anyone ever hurt you or someone you love and care for? The answer has to be yes, right? We all have been hurt. We have all hurt others. This world is full of imperfect people doing imperfect things, many striving to make good choices, but making a mess of things because they aren't perfect...I have made plenty of messes myself.  Maybe the choices made by others were the right ones but we don't agree.  When those we love are hurt, like our children or our friends, our mama bear or papa bear of protectiveness roars inside and maybe outside of us. We want to protect those we love.

If you don't have the Holy Spirit living in you, it might be an easy choice to just move on. Deposit those relationships in the trash and not try to lean into God for his grace for forgiveness, amends, unity. If you do have the Holy Spirit living in you...well, things just don't work that way without your own spirit being affected and grieving the Spirit of God.

More than a year ago one of my friends was really hurt. We hurt with him and his family. It affected my kids. It affected lots of my friends. The mama bear in me was roaring inside and wouldn't have been right for me to not hurt for my friend, for my kids. I spoke up to the people who had made the choice, I prayed for peace for all involved. Satan was ready to take that hurt and insert bitterness, unforgiveness, discontent and anger. I had to pray for this not to happen every. single. day. for these demonic spirits to not take hold of my spirit. I didn't want them to be my guide. I wanted the fruit of the Spirit of God to be my guide.

I would like to say that they didn't but the truth of the matter is that they did. Maybe not a full out oppression, but it was harder for me to lift my hands in praise on Sunday mornings, I was quick to judge, I had less patience, my words flowed too freely and not in lifting others up, my spirit became more critical.

I knew within a month or so that God was calling me into reconciliation within my heart to love all the people involved. He made it clear to me that He would work it all out. He would bring good. I needed to let it go. I needed to love every person involved with the love of God that directly flows from the Holy Spirit through me. But my angry spirit was grieving the Holy Spirit. I was hurting myself by not forgiving. I was removing myself from God's Kingdom work on earth to the extent that I wanted to be used.

All the gifts God had given me meant nothing without love. That clanging symbol that scripture talks about. Every good thing I did in His name was noise to Him because I wasn't living a life poured out to love and reconciliation.

So what did I do about it. I prayed. I humbled my spirit. I prayed. I prayed. I put myself in situations again where I was with the people who were involved in this situation. Learning to love is not avoidance of the person. It is allowing God to do his supernatural work to mend a broken heart, to spring forth love when the well is dry.  I allowed God to work in me. It was hard work. It required a lot of silence when I wanted to mouth off. It required a breath, maybe lots of breaths to let my thoughts be filtered by the Holy Spirit before something hurtful came out of my mouth. I am just over a year into this journey and I do love all the people involved, God has done a work in me. I am thrilled to see that through the work of the Spirit and my collaboration to see that I am farther down the journey than I was a year ago.

helping hand — Forget Limits Magazine
I have several preachers who I listen to who have made an impact on me. Two of them had been sexually abused as children by those that were supposed to be caring for them. Without the healing of Jesus these ladies would be living with torment and in destructive lives. They chose Jesus when they figured out He could make them whole again. But with that wholeness they had to allow God to do a work in them of forgiveness. They were so desperate for that healing, they sought after God as though their lives depended on it. They continue to seek Him and teach others what a life after God's own heart looks like. A life that is full of the Spirit and all the fruit that it brings. They could have decided that the horrible acts that were done earned them the right to hate. But they wanted to walk with Jesus in fullness. They didn't let the acts of another keep them out of the life God promises for them.

Most of the time when we are frustrated with a situation, it is nothing like the forgiveness that is needed above. Most of the time it is hurt feelings, not hurt bodies. I had to decide I wanted Jesus more than I wanted to hold onto a grudge. Accepting others in their humanity is attached to accepting ourselves. We are not perfect, we hurt people, Holy Father help me forgive others as You have forgiven me.

Holy Spirit fill me with all your good gifts. Show me the places that I am holding back. Show me the places that I am afraid. Show me the places that I need to surrender. All of You Lord is what I desire.