Bold Love

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“Love, as a reflection of the glory of God, is the ground of being, the reason for existing, and the core of the gospel.  It is the most basic staple of  life; yet it is nearly impossible to wrap words around love’s vastness, to describe how to be transformed by it, or to use it for the sake of another — especially in a world that hurts us regularly and often deeply…

…I am compelled to answer the question, “What does it mean to love those who harm me?”…I am faced, as you are, with transgressions of love that cry for forgiveness and the unrelenting demand of God to forgive.

But there is a struggle for most of us in forgiving those who harm us.  The greater the damage, it seems, the more difficult it is to forgive.  If you are a Christian, you have a redeemed, but still sinful, heart that struggles to forgive.  God’s inexorable demand to forgive, to turn the other cheek, to offer one’s coat to an enemy is at times infuriating, at other times illogical, and always costly beyond right or reason.

What does it mean to love my enemy? — the one who sexually abused me; my spouse who is angry and insensitive; my friend who gossiped behind my back and damaged my reputation; my child who snarls at my offer to go for a walk; the surgeon or service station mechanic who fails to act in my best interest.  The list is endless.

For every person, in every instance, either brief or interminable, cruel or civil, warm or hostile, there will be enough sin in all our relationships that forgiveness is required if they are to continue toward an end that is good.  This book will discuss forgiving love — the kind that can deal with tragic and incomprehensible harm like sexual abuse, as well as the ordinary and explainable struggles, like insensitivity or impatience.”

I have a new crush: Dan Allender.  (Old crush: C.S. Lewis)  His books speak straight to my needs.  If you have deep wounds that need healing, deeper than you ever imagined, he might be the guy to read.  He’s helping me re-evaluate and learn to discern in ways I’ve barely understood.

Have you had a hard time forgiving
when the wounds have cut so deep you still feel the pain?

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9 responses »

  1. I am dealing with unresolved anger and unforgiveness towards my husband right now. I am trying so hard to get past it and not allow it to damage our relationship but it is so hard. I know emotions are God-given but sometimes I wish we didn’t have them especially in moments like these where they seem SO overwhelmingly powerful.

    I will pray about reading this book. I have a few others that I believe God is calling me to read and grow from but this may be relevant to the current season.

    Thank you for sharing, Sis. Love you XO

  2. Oh and I can really relate to this part: ” God’s inexorable demand to forgive, to turn the other cheek, to offer one’s coat to an enemy is at times infuriating, at other times illogical, and always costly beyond right or reason.”

    Sigh.

  3. It’s hard. And sometimes a daily decision, especially when old hurts come back to haunt- you have to forgive all over again. But what helps me is always to think that if God forgave so much for me, then I should also forgive, even if they don’t deserve it, I didn’t either.

  4. I’ve only started it, Heidi, but it’s sure making me think! Allender has a way of doing that. 😕 (Oh…so glad to see you here. Love you much!)

    Hey, Gch! Sigh from me too. I know those overwhelming emotions all too well! I keep hearing my counselor’s words: Soothe yourself. If you you need to scream, scream. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to sleep, sleep. But, be sure to take care of yourself. Grieving is hard…and it’s a very long process.

    I’m praying for you both!
    Life is hard, but God is good.
    Telling ourselves anything else is a lie.

    Keep seeking Him.
    ♥ ♥ ♥

  5. Hey, Rain! (Didn’t see you there)

    Amen. That is the part that keeps me going. I have been forgiven so very very much, much more than I deserve. I can also love boldly, forgiving the sins against me.

    And thanks for your many devotionals. Your posts continue to lift my eyes to Him. 🙂

  6. When I see forgivenness and that we HAVE TO, I remember Matthew 18:21-35

    Peter asks, “How many times shall I forgive my brother?” Jesus answers, “Seventy times seven.”

    What!? That’s 490 times. That would be hard to keep up with and what would our relationship look like on the other side of forgiving someone 490 times?

    Then Jesus tells the parable of the unmerciful servant who was forgiven a huge debt – ten thousand talents – which equates to $2,250,000,000 (that’s with a B) by a king. But when this servant left the king’s court, he found a fellow servant who owed him $6400.00. The unmerciful servant had the other servant put in jail and punished.

    I summarize this parable like this:

    For whom much has been forgiven, a little forgiveness is required.

    That’s hard in my humaness to live out; but if I am looking to Jesus as I should, then through His strength I can forgive the little “debts” or tresspasses my fellow man commits against me.

    Thanks for sharing Michelle 🙂

  7. It takes a lot of focus, and a lot of hard work, to be able to develop the degree of forgiveness that faith calls for. We will need help, usually from someone whose words we can connect with, as Dan Allender’s writings have for you.

    Forgiveness gives us the great reward of freeing oursleves from the pain of the past. It changes our focus to the future, and Faith’s promise of a better one.

    For me personally, working at gaining an understanding of the circumstance that lead to someone becoming my enemy, or causing me pain, has worked better than actual forgiveness, in keeping me moving forward, and not get trapped in the past.

    In the end even if we fail to fully understand, or develop love, for those who have caused us pain, we can still perservere through it. Faith is a bold enough love to heal our hearts, so we can focus on moving forward to our better future.

  8. Even when I know it’s a “have to” situation, I still don’t always “want to,” you know what I mean, Phat?

    I do hear you though. That’s the first parable that comes to mind when I’m struggling with forgiveness. How can I not when I’ve been forgiven so very much?

    And thank you…for your forgiveness. 😉

    Hey, Ed. Yes and amen, forgiveness does give us freedom from our past. And I think doing as you’ve said, trying to understand the person’s circumstance that led them to hurt others…well, none of us are without fault, right?

    I hope to learn more through Allender’s words. He’s written quite a few books I need to read…

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