Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Know Someone Struggling in their Life or Marriage? 30-day Shred-First Things First...

I have talked with so many friends lately who have asked me to pray for them because their marriage is in trouble. Some of these friends didn't surprise me at all when they told me... others have completely shocked me. I have noticed two things in common in each of them. First, they feel like their marriage is the only one that has struggles. Second is the core problem of their marriage... UNFORGIVENESS. {Single people, stay with me.. this applies to EVERYONE!}

I can notice unforgiveness a mile away because it is one of the biggest struggles I have in my own life. For a brief time in my life, I was able to be discipled by an amazing woman I barely knew, Mindy. Several of my friends had met with her so I got enough nerve up to call her one day to see if she would meet with me. That was the most difficult and most amazing time in my life. I was newly married and working for a boss I did not care for (to say the least). We had been meeting together for about two or three weeks... and Mindy revealed to me in a loving and very direct way... "Nicole, you have a problem with unforgiveness, and this is something we will have to deal with right away."

You see, my parents divorced when I was five and I was raised by my dad. I felt abandoned by my mom and never truly forgave her. Not only did I not forgive her, Mindy revealed to me that this is something that I don't do on a regular basis in my marriage or in my life.

Why am I talking about this now? Because FORGIVENESS is something that we have to practise on a regular basis. We have to do this almost minute to minute. My mom was here recently and I treated her terribly. I think that since I have had Kate my relationship with my mom had gotten worse (on my part.. NOTHING she has done). In my head, I think... how could she leave her daughter? (bringing back my unforgiveness)

I may be wrong, but I really think this is something that all people struggle with.. if we notice it or not.

Why forgive? First of all, for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, it is commanded and he has forgiven us of so much. With his forgiveness, how can I not forgive others? Second of all, unforgiveness breeds a very BITTER and very unhappy person (know any of those).

The obvious question is... how do I truly forgive someone?

Mindy gave me a copy of a chapter from CTO Ministries in their discipleship material. The chapter is titled: "The Christian: Called to Obedience." It is about 8 pages long and this post is already too long, so I am not going to post it all. {If you would like a full copy, please comment with your e-mail address and I will e-mail you a copy.} VERY PRACTICAL HELP!

Here is an excerpt that I love:

It is necessary to forgive in the following situations:

A. When someone seeks your forgiveness, make the commitment to forgive and grant forgiveness immediately. (Luke 17:3-4)

B. When forgiveness has not been sought by the offender, in prayer say, "I forgive (name of offender) for (specific offense)." (Mark 11:25)

C. If there have been multiple offenses over an extended period of time, it is highly recommended that you pray, making the commitment to forgive in the presence of a witness. (Gal. 6:2)
  1. Make an individual list for each person who sinned against you (mother, father, spouse, child and other people)
  2. List specific ways that person sinned against you or hurt you. (BE SPECIFIC)
  3. Pray to forgive each specific offense individually, e.g. "I forgive my father for his drunkenness," I forgive my father for not encouraging me or praising my efforts." "I forgive my husband for...)"
  4. Tear up your list so you do not keep a "record of wrongs". (1 Cor 13:5)
  5. Implement this process whenever you are having a difficult time forgiving an offender, after having made a commitment in private.

Another question that is often asked after one chooses to forgive is... How do I forget?

This is something that is not possible. This is where you have to daily make a commitment to forgive. We have to set our mind on other things (other than our self.. the real reason for unforgiveness). A couple verses to help you are: Rom. 12:2 and Phil. 4:8.


A book that goes hand in hand our 30-Day Shred is: How People Change

This book is wonderful and CHALLENGING! If you want a boost and challenge in all areas of your life.. I highly recommend participating.

We will start the Book Club next Tuesday. I will post questions and my favorite experts from the book.

Here is a preview:

2 Peter 1:3-9

"Why are many Christians "ineffective and unproductive?" Peter provides the diagnosis in verse 9: they are nearsighted and blind, having forgotten that they have been cleansed from their past sins. They are blind to the power and hope of the gospel for today. What does this mean?

The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a "then-now-then" gospel. First, there is the "then" of the past. When I embrace Christ by faith, my sins are completely forgiven, and I stand before God as righteous. There is also the "then" of the future, the promise of eternity with the Lord, free of sin and struggle. The church as done fairly well explaining these two "thens" of the gospel, but it has tended to underestimate or misunderstand the "now" benefits of the work of Christ. What difference does the gospel make in the here and now? How does it help me as a father {mother}, a husband, a worker, and a member of the body of Christ? How does it help me respond to difficulty and make decisions? How does it give me meaning, purpose and identity? How does it motivate my ministry to others?

It is in the here and now that many of us experience a gospel blindness. Our sight is dimmed by the tyranny of the urgent, by the siren call of success, by the seductive beauty of physical things, by our inability to admit our own problems, and by the casual relationships we have within the body of Christ that we mistakenly call fellowship.

He address three kinds of blindness and I love what he says:

My work with teenagers has convinced me that one of the main reasons teenagers are not excited about the gospel is that they do not think they need it. Many parents have successfully raised self-righteous little Pharisees. When they look at themselves, they do not see a sinner in desperate need, so they are not grateful for a Savior. Sadly, the same is true of many of their parents.

Sorry for such a long post... I have been sick, struggling and learning so much!

1 comment:

peggy said...

Wow, Nicole, this is powerful, and took courage on your part to talk about your Mother and your feelings towards her. My daughter struggles with unforgiveness towards me about my past drug addiction 6 1/2 years ago. I pray for her every day. Although we have a good relationship now, I know deep down she still harbors resentment. I struggle with unforgiveness as well; towards myself and others, mainly because I can't forget. I forgive because it is commanded of me, but I tend to take it back, and have to 'redo' it DAILY. Thank you for this post! It wasn't too long, it was too needed! God bless you!