Recently I lied to a sister in Christ. When I approached her, I apologized and asked her forgiveness. She simply responded, “I forgive you.” There was more of a conversation, but the important part here is what she didn’t say. She did not say “It’s okay, I forgive you.”
So many times I say those exact words, opening the door for people to continue treating me the same way or doing the same things they’re asking forgiveness for. When the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) was brought before Jesus, his words were Go and sin no more.
When we tell people it’s okay instead of I forgive you and leave it at that, we open the door for their future treatment of us to remain the same. It is not okay for people to hurt, lie, steal or injure us in any way. However, we are told to forgive them. God never asks us to allow the same behavior or brush it off as an emotional outburst. No. We are to forgive, but never say it’s okay. Never allow people to keep treating you poorly.
When my sister in Christ said I forgive you, I accepted that just as the woman before Jesus when he said Go and sin no more. My sister forgave me, but because of her true spoken words, I will not be lying to her in the future. See, it was her simple statement that will keep me accountable. Forgiveness is not so easily given time and time again, because we are human. So because I received it this first time, I will not abuse it. I will not think it is okay to lie to her in the future because she will, of course forgive me again. That is not healthy and not acceptable. So the next time someone forgives you, listen closely and if they say it’s okay, remind yourself it is not. Keep yourself accountable and live in love.
As a prayer warrior I always have my ears open to the needs of those around me. I will never be able to say I’m out of things to pray for or praise God for. So where does gossip come into all of this?
One day at work I was surrounded by women discussing someone else’s life issues. I was saddened for the situation I was hearing them speak of, but also on full alert so I would not get caught up and add my two cents. I began to pray, Lord make them stop, I don’t want to hear this gossip. I was not judging, but I was aware I needed to keep myself from getting in trouble. As I prayed, God’s hand touched my heart and I heard, Did you consider maybe I put them here to talk about this situation so YOU would pray for it? BAM! A gentle, but sure wake up call from God that I need to have my ears open. Not so I can pass the gossip along, but so I can pray. So those in need that no one else would lift up, get their troubles set before the Throne of God. Because of God’s work in my life, I rarely see the negative, allowing God to guide me to the positive side in all things. At any given time I am exactly where I need to be, seeing what I need to see, hearing what I need to hear and doing what I need to be doing. So now when “gossip” enters my ears, it leaves my lips in prayer. I say I wasn’t judging those women, but I came pretty close because my mind focused on the gossip, rather than the need being presented before me. Pay attention. That’s how I learned, anything, gossip included can be turned into a good thing.
Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
This is one of the most difficult lessons I have learned in my 18 years as a believer. God is loving, just, merciful, mighty and all knowing. It took me this long to realize that what pleases God is seeing His children grow in the fruit of the Spirit. Obeying and trusting Him even when we believe we are experiencing the most unfair and tempestuous times of our lives. In truth, (for me at least) those times have been me disobeying God. Not accepting His perfect will because I want to be on a different path. I like to think I know better than God at times and I am always wrong.
The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Which is why King David says in Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. How many times have we heard the saying, the heart wants what the heart wants. Which is why these very verses prove to be so true. God puts desires in our hearts so He can fulfill them, but that is why we must pray for a clean heart and a renewed spirit. It is so easy to allow sin into our hearts and be confused by Godly desires and our own selfish desires.
Sometimes I get so angry with God because He doesn’t answer my prayer the way I want or allow something I’ve asked for to take place. In the past I have whined, screamed, been cold and silent or just miserable when MY will has not been done. These days I look at Psalm 115:3 (it is on my praise for answered prayer wall) and smile. Because through one of the most humbling and devastating lessons of my life I have learned to praise God when I realize, HE HATH DONE WHATSOEVER HE HATH PLEASED. I also smile because I understand what pleases Him is to see me growing in His love, strength and power. It pleases Him to see my obedience, my trust and my humility all gifts from Him that I have finally employed in my life. It pleases God to see me living a life of joy, thankfulness and love. I am only able to live that life because of trusting Him and finally understanding His ways are the best for me. That His gifts are far better than the passing earthly desires I have (and only fulfill my sinful longings). I am the most fulfilled when I can be used of God in the lives of others. That is what pleases God. That is what took me 18 years to not just grasp, but fully understand and apply to my life.
He hath done whatsoever he hat pleased…Because in doing so He is giving you the greatest gifts you could ever hope for. God is ALWAYS good.
That song Dear Younger Me has taught me one simple thing. Worth it. All of it. If I could go back and talk to my younger self I would say these exact words. You are worth it. Every single experience will be worth it. God says you are worth dying for. God says, you are worth it. Belinda, I came back all this way to tell you, it is WORTH IT. There is no easy way, only the way of trust and obedience. It is worth it.
Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
We must wait on God and expect Him to open doors we cannot see. Make paths where there are none. God is the only one that knows what is best for us.
If we do not seek Him, if we refuse to wait upon His leading, if we do not place our expectations in Him, we go down paths not intended for us. We destroy ourselves, miss out on God’s blessings and end up in sin, simply by disobedience. Continue reading Expectations