Archive | May 2011

Forgiving Your Parents

Forgiving our parents is a core task of adulthood, and one of the most crucial kinds of forgiveness. We see our parents in our mates, in our friends, in our bosses, even in our children. When we’ve felt rejected by a parent and have remained in that state, we will inevitably feel rejected by these important others as well.
But letting our parents off the hook, psychologist Robert Karen says, is the first step toward happiness, self-acceptance and maturity. Here are some thoughts to help the healing begin:

Resolve resentment.
Nursing resentments toward a parent does more than keep that parent in the doghouse. We get stuck there, too, forever the child, the victim, the have-not in the realm of love. Strange as it may seem, a grudge is a kind of clinging, a way of not separating, and when we hold a grudge against a parent, we are clinging not just to the parent, but more specifically to the bad part of the parent. It’s as if we don’t want to live our lives until we have this resolved and feel the security of their unconditional love. We do so for good reasons psychologically. But the result is just the opposite: We stay locked into the badness and we don’t grow up.

Develop realistic expectations.
The sins of parents are among the most difficult to forgive. We expect the world of them, and we do not wish to lower our expectations. Decade after decade, we hold out the hope, often unconsciously, that they will finally do right by us. We want them to own up to all their misdeeds, to apologize, to make heartfelt pleas for our forgiveness. We want our parents to embrace us, to tell us they know we were good children, to undo the favoritism they’ve shown to a brother or sister, to take back their hurtful criticisms, to give us their praise.

Hold on to the good.
Most parents love their children, with surprisingly few exceptions. But no parent is perfect—which means that everyone has childhood wounds. If we’re lucky, our parents were good enough for us to be able to hold on to the knowledge of their love for us and our love for them, even in the face of the things they did that hurt us.

Foster true separation.
To forgive is not to condone the bad things our parents have done. It’s not to deny their selfishness, their rejections, their meanness, their brutality, or any of the other misdeeds, character flaws, or limitations that may attach to them. It is important to separate from our parents—which is to stop seeing ourselves as children who depend on them for our emotional well-being, to stop being their victims, to recognize that we are adults with some capacity to shape our own lives and the responsibility to do so.

Let your parents back into your heart.
When we do that, we can begin to understand the circumstances and limitations they labored under, recognize the goodness in them that our pain has pushed aside, feel some compassion perhaps, not only for the hard journey they had but also for the pain we have caused them.

Commit to the journey.
Getting to a forgiving place, finding the forgiving self inside us, is a long and complicated journey. We have to be ready to forgive. We have to want to forgive. The deeper the wound, the more difficult the process—which makes forgiving parents especially hard. Along the way, we may have to express our protest, we may have to be angry and resentful, we may even have to punish our parents by holding a grudge. But when we get there, the forgiveness we achieve will be a forgiveness worth having.

From the May 2003 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

Evil Exposed

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“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” John 3:20-21
Evil lurks in places like the dark crevices of a compassion-less living compound. It schemes to suck life from those who give life. Evil can endure for a season in seclusion, but eventually it will be exposed along with its hellish intentions. A corrupt character thinks it can get away with the obstruction of justice, however, payday does come someday.

Evil not only is an incubator for sinful deeds, but it attacks others with its vile consequences. It is consumed with conquering righteousness with unrighteous actions. However, evil cannot stand in the presence of Almighty God. Satan, the evil one, has been defeated—the roaring lion has been defanged by the word of God living in us.

“Because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 John 2:14b).

Beware, as evil tries to estrange you from the eternal truths of God’s word. Do not become cavalier with the truth and arrogantly think that it only applies to the less spiritual—those yet to arrive at your level of spiritual high mindedness. It is the sword of Scripture that keeps the enemy at bay and away from luring you into harboring sin.

Former good Christians have drifted out of the warm love of the Lord’s light into the cold character assault of the devil’s deceptions. He snatches the application of truth from proud hearts and leaves behind false promises immersed in self-denial. It’s a lie to think we can live part of our life in the light and part of our life in the darkness and not ultimately be exposed. What’s hidden comes to light—Christ uncovers cover-ups. 

“He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart” (1 Corinthians 4:5b).

Do you escape from fear and worry by drinking too much alcohol? Has someone at work captured your affection in deference to your spouse? Are you driven to make money, as a remedy for past financial irresponsibility? Has the Internet become a playground for evil activity? If so, seek out the light of the Lord to lead you. Darkness cannot coexist in light.

Fortunately, you do not have to live in the fear of being exposed for hiding evil intentions and sinful attitudes and actions. Come clean with Christ and with those who love and admire you. Confession is good for the soul—it also brings authenticity back to your trust in Jesus Christ and transparency to your relationships. Humility walks with Christ on His lighted path. Walk in the light, as He is the light and have fellowship with one another.

“Let us walk in the light of the LORD”
(Isaiah 2:5b).

What areas of my life need exposure to the love of the Lord and His illuminating word?

Related Readings: Job 29:3; Psalm 89:15; Matthew 13:19; 1 John 1:7

Everyone Can’t Be In Your Front Row

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

Life is a theater- invite your audience carefully. Not everyone is healthy enough to have a front row seat in our lives.

There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you let go, or at least minimize your time with draining, negative
, incompatible, those not -going anywhere relationships/friendships and fellowships.

Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention to; which ones lean, which ones lift, which ones encourage and which ones discourage, which ones are on the path of growth and which ones are going downhill. When you leave certain people, do you feel better or worse? Which ones always have drama or don’t really understand, know or appreciate the gifts that lie within you.

Listen; The more you seek God and the things of God, the more you seek quality, the more you seek not just the hand of God but the face of God, the more you seek things honorable, the more you see growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the “FRONT ROW” and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.

You cannot change the people around you… but you can change the people you are around
.  Ask God for wisdom and discernment and choose wisely the people who sit in the front row of your life.

Scripture Meditation

1 Corinthians 13:4-13 (New Living Translation)

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.

 11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.