Make Forgiveness Your New Habit

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Here’s a little tidbit about me.  I’m not one of those people who typically makes new year’s resolutions.  I’m like Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch, but for December 31st instead of Christmas.  I’ve always been of the mind that resolutions make for temporary fixes to mask much deeper and more complicated problems.

But despite my feelings of antipathy towards committing to a lack of commitment for the new year, I realized that there truly was something to the old adage ‘new year, new me.’  And somehow that new me will include forgiveness.

So, yes I want to tone up and get at least a 2 pack this year.  But it has also been brought to my attention that in order for any other resolutions to fall into place, I have to make forgiveness a priority.  Bah humbug.

Now before you get all religious on me and stop reading because you feel you have no one to forgive, you’re probably wrong.  We all have that one person (or five) that you would rather walk over hot coals than honor any portion of their being.  We all harbor a little unforgiveness in us somewhere.  And here’s why: most humans will not engage in activities that don’t benefit our lives in some way.

Volunteering make us feel warm and tingly, worship make us feel connected, bungee jumping gives us a rush of adrenaline.  Forgiveness does not do that.  At least not at first.  But it is still necessary.

So in the spirit of the New Year Scrooge-ness, I’m going to list 5 reasons why forgiveness is annoying, but I am still resolving to make this a new habit in 2017:

1) Forgiveness is not what you think it is.  You’re going about your life, thinking that you’re spouting forgiveness out of your ears.  But most of us have a somewhat tainted perception of what forgiveness really is.  So imagine my shock when I learned that forgiveness is not repression.  Or indifference.  Or avoidance.  Or putting on a fake smile while inwardly plotting your revenge.  And I was so proud of myself because I had absolutely perfected the apathy-forgiveness move.  But real forgiveness doesn’t involve pride or feeling ‘better than’ someone else.  And it also does not end with shutting someone out of your life.  

2) You can’t pick and chose. All of us have a list of unforgiveables.  Things we would absolutely not forgive.  Like stealing, cheating, gossiping, or being a Dallas Cowboys fan.  But Jesus did not die on a cross to forgive just 86% of our sins. Yet many of us are holding onto that 14% of unforgiveness for others because we feel justified in doing so.  And I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad Jesus will forgive me having to pull out a calculator to determine that 100 minus 86 equals 14.

3) You can’t do it by yourself.  And this one is really hard because I absolutely adore doing things by myself.  I’m a diehard introvert who enjoys books, naps, and Netflix.  But forgiveness is not something you can tackle without a whole heap of help.  I’m talking Holy Spirit help.  In fact, you may want to go ahead and call in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for this one.  Some of you have people in your life that will require the entire Triune to make forgiveness even a smidge of a possibility.

4) It can rob you of your blessings.  Whoops.  Struck a nerve there.  This one hit me the hardest.  Especially when I think about praying for my future husband.  What if I carried those same feelings of insecurity, brokenness, inability to trust, or false forgiveness (see #1 for reference) into my marriage?  All because I had not truly forgiven the men who came before?  Sure, I could possibly meet my spouse before truly forgiving those who have done me wrong.  But would you rather walk into a marriage because he has allowed you to experience grace, or because you are protected by his blessings?

5) It is everything you don’t want it to be. It is saying that person’s name without feeling like your skin might fall off.  It is someone telling you that person has fallen on hard times and you hit your knees in prayer rather than celebrate and cha-cha slide.  It is being as genuinely happy for them as you would be for a true friend if God decides to bless them.

Can you say that about everyone who has done you wrong?  And would God be most glorified if you sought revenge or if you chose to love, forgive, and honor that person? Then maybe you should add forgiveness to your list of resolutions for 2017.  And stick to it for life.

Although the process may not be entirely awesome, you must embrace the suck.  Because hanging onto that 14% just isn’t worth missing out on the 100% Christ gave for you.  No calculator needed.

“If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, GROW UP.  You’re kingdom subjects. Now life like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:46-48

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roz Roz

Hey there!  My name is Roz.  I’m a full time working, single, homeschooling mother to the world’s funniest 5 year old on the planet.  I’m an introvert who is obsessed with bacon.  I like to play music extremely loudly in my car and will keep singing at full voice even when you turn to stare.  I also blog occasionally over at beautyfullyflawed.com where I write words about Jesus, homeschooling, and the beauty of imperfections.  I look forward to sharing my imperfections with you, as well.

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Amnesia

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Dismissal never feels good.

A few years ago during a chat with a friend of mine, I had expressed a deep concern about a heart matter, to which she responded with a dismissive chuckle.

“You’ll be all right,” she said. “It’s nothing.”

I had shrugged off the slight, knowing that the hurt was unintentional. But it hurt all the same.

Over the past few years, she and I had shared countless conversations about dating, love, and solid relationships. We encouraged, laughed, lamented, and prayed together.

But then, she fell in love, got married, and seemingly memory became a memory.

Amnesia can be a heady drink.

It is intoxicating to soak in present pleasure when you were used to being in pain. It’s exhilarating to bask in current peace when you were formerly worried. And it’s downright thrilling to bathe in joy when you had so many dark days.

And then life before the turning point becomes alien. Struggle is no longer something we can or want to relate to. And we can become estranged from those who are not yet where we are.

But that shouldn’t be.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT)

As believers in Christ, we are to support each other through the layers of this life. When we remember our struggles from yesterday, we connect to each other and allow God to use our prior pain for His glory and for the good of another.

There is purpose in recalling the past.

Have you had trouble relating to your married friends, or vice versa?

Photo credit to Death to the Stock Photo.

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Jennifer Jennifer Richardson

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 31 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms:-)In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin. I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well. I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!

With Confidence

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I wrote in my last post that my strong opinion is that dating many people is far better than staying home, at least when it comes to likely success in getting married.  It’s simply a matter of numbers.

But dating comes with difficulties.  I know from experience that the more that you date and don’t meet the right one, the easier it is to become discouraged and to doubt God’s love for you and good plans for your life.  Each failed relationship is also another opportunity to doubt yourself.

Dating many people also brings greater opportunity to fall into sin.  With each relationship that you think will last, there is the temptation to demonstrate your affection and commitment to that person. And each time the relationship ends, regret.  For those of us who are single into our thirties (and forties and fifties) who have dated, it is almost impossible to make it to marriage without having some regrets about past actions in past relationships.  If I had known it wasn’t going to work out from the beginning, we think, I would not have gone so far.

As time goes on, we can feel ashamed, dirty, and sinful.  We already feel bad about ourselves for not having found the right one, and now we feel doubly bad for our past.  Not only can these negative feelings be a further barrier to a new relationship, they can cause a separation in our relationship with God.  I have gone too far this time, God cannot forgive me.

But God understands who we are and what we have done.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Hebrews 4:15-15 ESV)

No matter where you are, or what you have done in those relationships, you can still draw near to the throne of grace with confidence.  God loves you and is always ready to receive you back.

Finding Freedom From a Past Relationship

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Check out my new Boundless article!

“Infatuation is a normal part of romantic attraction, and when the stars align, it can be the start of a great relationship. But when the stars do not align and the relationship does not develop, what do you do when you can’t seem to kick the fixation? Or what do you do when the relationship is over and you just can’t let go?”

Read more here!