Category Archives: forgiveness

Where Art Thou, Romeo?

I’ve never been a Shakespeare fan.  He is listed as one of the greatest writers of all time, and I just don’t understand anything he says – or what the characters are saying.  We were supposed to read his works in High School, and I say “supposed” because I didn’t.  I just came to class the next day, sat through a lecture spoken in modern English, and I had all I needed.  I get it – Juliet’s lines sound more poetic as written:

How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
And the place death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.

But people like me just wish she said, “Romeo, I don’t know how you got in here, but if my Dad finds out, you’re dead!”  See how easy that was?  In all sincerity, people get caught up with Romeo and Juliet because of the tension between their families, their forbidden love and what could have been.  The joy they shared in loving one another was so fleeting, and we read it with regret – wishing they had more time.

Joy is one of those Fruits of the Spirit we can’t seem to hold onto.  We have it and then we lose it.  We get married and have great joy, and then we lose it at our first fight.  We wish we had more of it, but it seems the tighter we try to hold onto it the less likely we can contain it.  Something is always stealing it away from us.  Or is it?

We all have experienced natural joy, but it comes and goes because things in this life just don’t last no matter how much we want them to.  Vacations are great, but you eventually have to come back home and face real life.  If we want lasting joy, we have to experience a joy which does not originate in what this world can give us.  Hmmmmmm – where can we find such a joy?

One place is your salvation!  Matthew 13:44 tells us we’ve found a great treasure in Christ.  You can find temporary joy in your own personal pursuits and choosing your own way, but you’ll find lasting joy following His ways and pursuing the passions of God.  Salvation reminds us how much our LORD loves us.  He gave His life for ours, so we can find forgiveness when we repent of our sins.  If you want joy, find it in knowing and experiencing what God has done for you!  Knowing you don’t have to pay for your sins with eternal separation from your Creator should spark a joy in you which cannot be snuffed out because it isn’t dependent on anything except for what has already been accomplished and cannot be changed.

Another place you’ll find lasting joy is in God, Himself!  We lack joy because we found it in other people who failed us, left us or maybe are no longer with us.  No wonder you’re so depressed, and we know you’re depressed because you post about how lonely, sad, confused and bewildered you are on Facebook every 15 minutes!  Just realize, you’re choosing to live that way, but you don’t have to.  Get to know the God you serve, how He loves you and how He is more than enough for you in all seasons of life.

Psalm 43:5

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Misplaced hope is a joy killer, so find joy in the One who never lets anyone down – God!

It’s time you experienced real joy in the work of Christ in your life and the God you serve!  Stop crying about Romeo and Juliet – it’s just a book!

 

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I Love You like a Headache!

Headaches are the worst – all the throbbing pulsating agony within your head.  There are times nothing you do can make it better.  You take a few Tylenol, rub your temples, or drink some water, but nothing helps.  You can’t concentrate enough to think straight and everything in your life comes grinding to a halt as your head just aches.

It’s amazing how easily we can be taken out of the action.  We may be able to push through other types of pain and stay somewhat productive and functional, but there is always something which pushes the “off” button in our lives.  When that happens, we can’t do what needs to be done.

Here’s a case in point: your ability to love others.  There are some people you love no matter what, but there are other people you won’t love until some condition is met.  Who are these people you have selectively chosen not to love?  They are the ones who have hurt you, let you down, and couldn’t be counted on when you thought you could.  It’s the people who have stabbed you in the back when you thought they were covering it.  The very people who said they would love you, be devoted to you, and be by your side and they weren’t.  There’s something about some people which gets in the way of loving them, and you are turned “off” by them.  You don’t love them, and can’t; or maybe you just won’t!

Do you struggle with this?  If so, your problem is thinking the fruit of the Spirit type love is a natural love, and it isn’t.  Natural love is selective, and available when someone meets your conditions.  The type of love spoken of in Galatians 5:22 is the same love which puts others before yourself, loves your neighbor, and especially……your enemy.  That type of love is not natural. If you want to love as the Bible commands, you will have to strive for a love above and beyond what you are capable of.  The love of Galatians 5:22 is not attainable through your own personal power to love.

When Stephen is stoned in Acts 7:59-60, he prays for God to forgive those who are hurling rocks at him with the intent to kill him.  What kind of extraordinary man prays for those who are putting him to death instead of praying for himself or for the judgment of God on his attackers?  Jesus did the same thing, and since He is our model, it would be wise to follow the model.

I know, I know.  You want to tell me how I don’t understand what people have done to you, and how you just can’t love them.  Here’s your problem, Christian – your model endured far worse than you will ever know and loved enough to die for the sins of those who unjustly accused Him, called for His death, and even those who loved Him but left Him at His darkest hour……….think about it!

The type of love the fruit of the Spirit speaks about can love anyone, no matter what.  If you have people in your life you need to forgive, then do it.  When you can forgive someone, you are freed to love them instead of harboring bitterness, regret, and the pain of the past.  If you want freedom, then ask your LORD to help you forgive them and love them like He does.  You may be amazed at what THAT type of love can do in others and in your own life.