Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

Grievance Stories Turned Positive

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

In any grievance story, someone does not get what he or she wants. Unacknowledged is that behind each painful situation is a positive intention. Once found and reclaimed, the positive intention alters the grievance story. The story is no longer just about the person and or situation that caused pain but about the goal that was not quite reached. Suddenly, instead of just recycling pain, the grievance story becomes a vehicle for learning how to change to attain that goal. The grievance story becomes a part of the positive intention story.

The person or event that hurt us is important insofar as we can learn from the situation. In no way, though do we allow our grievance to distract us from our goal. If we continue to pursue our goal, we exact the greatest revenge on someone who has hurt us. We move on. We find peace.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 143

Photo: Torrey Pines State Reserve, California, July 10, 2015

No Satisfaction Needed

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

All four gospels depict how in his teaching and practice Jesus revealed a different, non-feudal picture of the way God deals with sin. Think of the parables of the shepherd going after his lost sheep and the woman searching for her lost coin, both rejoicing with their neighbors when they find the one who has strayed, no satisfaction needed. Remember the parable of the forgiving father who runs out to embrace the returning prodigal son, throwing a party to welcome him back, no payback required. Recall the paralytic who, after Jesus assured him that his sins were forgiven, took up his pallet and walked away, no atonement given. Call up the story of the Pharisee and the publican in the temple; when the publican prays, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner,” he goes home justified, nothing more required. Keep in mind Luke’s depiction of Jesus himself, forgiving his executioners as his life ebbed away, no satisfaction needed.

— Elizabeth A. Johnson, Creation and the Cross, p. 6

Photo: Iona, Scotland, July 13, 2003

Positive Intention

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Positive intention is a central concept in my forgiveness process, and I will teach you to find your positive intention. Positive intention is an unparalleled way to reconnect with your big dreams. Positive intention also helps us to resist depression when a small dream is stifled. It reminds us of our deepest hopes and allows us to mourn our losses.

I have a hypothesis that one of the things we find most difficult about hurts is how we lose sight of our positive intention. When someone is hurt they focus their attention on their pain. They create grievance stories and tell them to others. By doing this, we lose sight of the big picture and of the goals we have for our life. I see time and again that when hurt people reconnect with their noblest goals they gain an immediate burst of power. Finding your positive intention reconnects you with your goals. The sad truth is, your grievances separated you from your most positive goals through your excessive focus on what went wrong.

Connecting to your positive intention is the quickest and most direct way to change your grievance story.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Goodp. 141-142

Photo: Centreville, Virginia, April 12, 2013

Saved from Sin

Saturday, March 9th, 2019

Matthew 1:21 is a prophecy spoken by an angel to Joseph about the son that would be born to Mary. The angel tells Joseph that Mary’s son will be called “Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” The name Jesus means “the Lord saves,” but what does it mean that Jesus will save His people from their sins? Very often when people read and teach this verse, they believe that the angel is telling Joseph that Jesus will be able to purchase the forgiveness of sins for people from God so that they can gain eternal life and go to heaven when they die. But this is not what the angel is saying at all.

First of all, God has always forgiven all people of all their sins, no matter what. Jesus did not have to purchase forgiveness from God. God forgives simply because God is a loving forgiver. Second, the word save does not mean “gain eternal life so you can go to heaven when you die.” It means “deliver.” Though many Christians today think that the words “save” and “salvation” refer to going to heaven when you die, there is no instance of the word being used this way in the New Testament. Salvation is not about going to heaven when you die but often has in view some sort of temporal deliverance from the difficulties of this life.

— J. D. Myers, Nothing But the Blood of Jesus, p. 57

Photo: Heidelberg, Germany, December 1996

Optimism – Future and Past

Monday, March 4th, 2019

Joy requires optimism — optimism not only about the future but about the past. The worse our past has been, the more need we have to be optimistic about it. Forgiveness means letting go of the hope of a better past. Optimism, like forgiveness, reaches into yesterday and actually changes what we thought could never be changed. The terrible blunder we made last week suddenly becomes a blessing, a doorway into some new opportunity. Just as regret over yesterday has the power to spoil today, so joy today has the power to obliterate a lifetime of pain. Is such joy an illusion? No, it’s the truth, but it takes optimism to see this. Where there’s been much pain, the Lord will give much joy to more than make up for “the years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25).

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 135-136

Photo: Sembach, Germany, January 29, 2004

Changing Your Story

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

A victim is one who often feels helpless to respond to painful circumstances or to control thoughts and feelings. A hero has worked hard to overcome adversity and refuses to be beaten by difficult life events. Forgiveness is the journey of moving from telling the story as a victim to telling the story as a hero. Forgiveness means that your story changes so that you and not the grievance are in control.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 138

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, February 20, 2019

God Is Not Angry at Us for Our Sin.

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

First, God is not angry at us for our sin. While sin is a serious thing, God is not concerned about sin simply because it is sin. That is, God doesn’t tell us to stay away from sin because sin offends, hurts, or angers Him. Purely from God’s perspective, sin just isn’t that big of a deal. The reason God is concerned about sin and wants all humans to stop sinning, is not because God Himself is offended or angered by sin, but because we humans are hurt and damaged by it. Sin is an issue with God, not because it hurts Him, but because it hurts us. God loves us so much, He tells us not to sin because He doesn’t want to see us get hurt by it. When God says “Don’t” what He is really saying is “Don’t hurt yourself.”

This leads to the second truth about sin to keep in mind: God does not punish us for our sin. Yes, we may get punished for sin, but this punishment is not from God. Sin carries its own punishment. In fact, the punishment that comes from sin is the pain of sin that God wants to rescue and deliver us from. God doesn’t punish us for sin; He works to rescue us from the punishment of sin. God loves us, and doesn’t want us to experience the devastating and destructive consequences of sin, and so He warns us against sin.

— J. D. Myers, Nothing But the Blood of Jesus, p. 54-55

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, February 6, 2019

Unenforceable Rules

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

The good news is that challenging unenforceable rules is a simple process. Unenforceable rules make their presence known. You do not have to look far to find them. They do not hide under the rug. Every time you are more than mildly upset with the actions of someone else it is because you are trying to enforce an unenforceable rule. EVERY time you are more than mildly upset with your life it is because you are trying to enforce an unenforceable rule.

You will not stay angry or hurt unless an unenforceable rule of yours has been broken. You can be sure an unenforceable rule is operating when you feel angry, bitter, depressed, alienated, or hopeless. I am not saying there will be no sadness or frustration without unenforceable rules. I am not suggesting having feelings is wrong. What I am saying is that underneath your most painful feelings are rules you are helplessly trying to enforce. If you worked on challenging your rules when you start feeling upset, then your bad feelings won’t last and won’t be as severe.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 128

Photo: Heidelberg, Germany, December 1996

Forgiving Love

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Christian universalism, unlike the traditional view of hell, refuses to dilute Jesus’s radical message that God’s holiness and perfection is defined by a refusal to embrace retaliatory justice and limited forgiveness (Matt 5:38-42; 18:21-22). God’s holy perfection is not a retributive drive to punish sinners. God’s holy perfection is a restorative impulse to forgive sinners and, through a non-retaliatory love that absorbs sin, make reconciliation possible. Forgiving love is at the heart of who God is. Forgiveness isn’t just something that God does. Forgiveness, the willingness to take on the pain caused by others and to not strike back, is at the core of God’s being. The cross of Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God’s self-sacrificial and nonviolent love. In Christ, we see a God who refuses to fight evil with evil, but instead overcomes evil with good and calls us to walk the path that he pioneered for us (Rom 12:14-21).

The Christian universalist, then, will see living with forgiveness as essential to holy living. Because God is deeply forgiving and non-retaliatory, our journey of seeking to imitate God must then make forgiveness front and center for our way of life. There is no doubting the fact that the way of forgiveness is absolutely central to the Christian way of life (e.g., Matt 6:7-15; Col 3:13)….

On the traditional view, God essentially asks of humanity what God is not willing to do. God asks us to not seek merely retributive punishment and to forgive indefinitely, yet God is not willing to do this himself. On the traditional view, it is easier to write people off and condemn them because it is believed deep down that this is what God in fact does with the majority of people. On the universalist view, restorative justice and reconciliation are the ultimate reality. Because the universalist believes that the world is heading towards the reconciliation of all things, we are motivated and inspired here and now to begin to make that a reality.

— Heath Bradley, Flames of Love, p. 147-148

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 13, 2019

The Gratitude Channel

Friday, January 11th, 2019

The world is full of things to appreciate and find beautiful. The challenge is to teach ourselves how to look. The forgiveness and gratitude channels remind us that even though we have been hurt, we do not have to focus our attention on that hurt. The love and beauty channels remind us that in each and every moment we have the choice to determine what we see, hear, and experience.

The one thing no one can take from us is where we place our attention. In other words, we alone control our remotes. If we have made a habit of tuning in to the grievance channel, remember that any habit can be broken.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Goodp. 113

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 9, 2019