Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

Getting Out of the Blame Game

Friday, January 19th, 2018

When we are in pain in the present, we often blame our bad feelings on the hurts done in the past. One of the ways we do this is to assume that people meant to hurt us. Another way is to link the cruelty in the past with our current feelings. Both of these hypotheses make it harder for us to heal. This is not to say that understanding some of the causes of our feelings and behavior is not helpful. Remember that feeling hurt does not automatically mean someone meant to hurt you. The crux of the matter is that even when we think we understand where our feelings originated, we still have to develop skills in the present in order to change for the better.

We can learn to make hypotheses that will motivate us to improve our lives and thereby heal our hurts. This is the opposite of blaming. When we blame someone for our troubles, we remain stuck in the past and extend the pain. Unfortunately, we are unaware of how much we limit our chances of healing when we blame someone else.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 24.

The Eternally Consenting Bridegroom

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

Because God, by nature, is the eternally consenting Bridegroom, there are two things he cannot and will not do:

He will not ever make you marry his Son, because an irresistible grace would violate your consent. Your part will always and forever be by consent.

His consent will never end, because a violent ultimatum would violate your consent. Divine love will always and forever be by consent. Emphasis on forever. “His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136). “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jer. 31:3).

I don’t believe the divine courtship involves wearing you down with his love until you give up. It’s simply that he’ll always love you, with a love that even outlasts and overcomes death (Song of Solomon 8). The Bible at least hints (Rev. 21-22) that the prodigal Father will wait for you, invite you and keep the doors open for you until you’re ready to come home. He’ll wait for you forever.”

— Bradley Jersak, A More Christlike God, p. 126-127.

True Salvation

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

The notion that the salvation of Jesus is a salvation from the consequences of our sins is a false notion. The salvation of Christ is salvation from the smallest tendency or leaning to sin. It is a deliverance into the pure air of God’s ways of thinking and feeling. It is a salvation that makes the heart pure, with the will and choice of the heart to be pure.

To such a heart, sin is disgusting. It sees a thing as it is — that is, as God sees it, for God sees everything as it is. Jesus did not die to save us from punishment. He was called Jesus because he should save his people from their sins.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, “Justice,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, compiled and edited by Michael R. Phillips, p. 262.

Forming a Grievance

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

There are very few instances where the long-term use of anger will be of help to you. I want to make clear, once a situation has passed, both the long-term naming of angry feelings and the expression of anger rarely lead to good results. Anger can be a wonderful short-term solution to your life’s difficulties, yet it is rarely a good long-term solution to painful events. Anger is simply our way of reminding ourselves that we have a problem that needs attention. Yet too often we get angry instead of taking constructive action, or we get angry because we do not know what else to do.

It is my contention that the long-term experience of anger, or what we call a grievance, is almost never helpful.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 14.

Never the Right Solution

Friday, November 10th, 2017

I knew Bapuji would say that revenge is never the right solution. A desire for revenge eats away at you, destroying your peace of mind and leaving you constantly on edge. Instead of hurting you once, the evildoer takes over your life and destroys you again and again. I couldn’t let that happen — or I would be letting Bapuji down.

— Arun Gandhi, The Gift of Anger, p. 246-247

Outshine the Resentment

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Forgiveness and mercy mean that, bit by bit, you begin to outshine the resentment. You open the drawer that was shut and you take out the precious treasures that you hid there so long ago and, with them, the person who marvels at tadpoles, who pulls for people to come clean and then have a second chance, who aches and intervenes for those being bullied, forgives the evil brothers and unforgivable you.

— Anne Lamott, Hallelujah Anyway, p. 170-171

The Forgiveness Channel

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

It saddens me to see countless people who fail to pay attention or be grateful to those they love because they are either thinking of people who have hurt them or feeling sorry for their loss. Let me make one thing clear. I am not saying to ignore problems in your life or deny that people have hurt you. What I am saying is that focusing too much attention on a hurt makes it stronger and forms a habit that can be difficult to break. I am saying that you do not have to dwell endlessly on the painful things in your life. Dwelling on wounds gives them power over you. What you remember, or focus your attention on, can be shifted in the same way that you can change the channel on your TV. If we get used to watching the grievance channel we are likely to see that the world has many grievances, but if we get used to watching the forgiveness channel the world can begin to look very different.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 9-10

Amnesia

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Happiness, healing, and forgiveness are all about remembering who we truly are and what we have come here to do. As we join with other people, we begin to see no separation, judgment, or fear between us; we remember ourselves and our oneness. Amnesia means that we have forgotten who we are as children of God, which is the very thing that would fulfill us and make us happy; we are all amnesiacs. We are the spiritual prince and princess of a kingdom we left long ago. We have forgotten that we have a rich Father.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 263.

Inescapable Love

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

The notion of suffering as an offset for sin comes first of all, I think, from the satisfaction we feel when wrong comes to grief. We hate wrong, but, not being righteous ourselves, to a degree we cannot keep from hating the wronger as well. In this way the inborn justice of our nature passes over to evil. It is no pleasure to God, as it so often is to us, to see the wicked suffer. To regard any suffering with satisfaction, unless it be sympathetically with its curative quality, comes of evil and is a thing God is incapable of. His nature is always to forgive, and just because he forgives, he punishes. Because God is so altogether alien to wrong, because it is to him a heart-pain and trouble that one of his little ones should do the evil thing, there is, I believe, no extreme of suffering to which, for the sake of destroying the evil thing in them, he would not subject them. A man might flatter, or bribe, or coax a tyrant. But there is no refuge from the love of God. That love will, for very love, insist upon the uttermost farthing.

“That hardly sounds like love,” you say. “It’s certainly not the sort of love I care about.”

No, how should you? How should any of us care for it until we begin to know it? But the eternal love will not be moved to yield us to the selfishess that is killing us. You may sneer at such a love, but the Son of God, who took the weight of that love and bore it through the world, is content with it, and so is everyone who truly knows it.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, “Justice,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, edited by Michael Phillips, p. 261-262

Dwelling on Good

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Just because bad things happen does not mean you have to dwell on them. I regularly ask people why they do not dwell on their good fortune with the same energy that they invest in their bad fortune. This question always catches people by surprise. They rarely consider appreciating their good fortune as an equal option to obsessing over their bad fortune. Are you one of those people who seem to find their problems more compelling than their blessings? Do you, or someone you know, rent out more space to what is wrong than what is right?

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 9