It Is Finished Audio

Monday, January 15, 2018

What Forgiveness is NOT…(Healing from Narcissistic Abuse)

What Forgiveness is NOT…
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)

            One of the steps in healing from Narcissistic Abuse includes the act of forgiveness. Holding on to the pain of the past can stunt your growth in moving past it and this is why forgiveness is necessary. For those of us who are Christians, we know that God requires for us to forgive one another so that we may be forgiven. But you may ask yourself, “What does the act of forgiving entail?” I’m glad you asked! One thing that we do not want to do is to confuse forgiveness with allowing someone to reinjure you or in other words, to keep harming you. That is not forgiveness but self-sabotage by prematurely reconciling with someone who has not or will not change. This needs to be clearly understood by those especially in the Christian community who either are or have been abused and feel the need to allow the abuser to reenter their immediate space based on a false understanding of forgiveness. So, let’s address what forgiveness really is and what it does NOT include.
Meridian-Webster defines forgiveness as the following:

Definition of forgive
forgave play \fər-ˈgāv, fȯr-\; forgiven play \fər-ˈgi-vən, fȯr-\; forgiving

transitive verb
1     : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon forgive one's enemies

2 a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for *forgive an insult

   b : to grant relief from payment of forgive a debt

            If we were to go off of the Meridian-Webster definition alone, it would involve no longer being angry, bitter, or seeking to avenge a wrong that was done by the offending party. Forgiveness also does not keep records of wrong, but we will revisit this particular issue in just a moment because there is more to this than meets the eye. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (NIV) When we forgive someone, we are showing them an act of love. We are letting go of the right to be resentful and the right to take vengeance on what they have done. We are giving them an olive branch by letting them know that even though they have wronged us, we will treat them with respect and dignity as if the event had never taken place. However, forgiveness does not mean that you must allow that person to hurt you again.

            Forgiveness does not mean that you have to agree with the harm that a person has done to you. For example, it is not okay that your spouse beat you the other night and sent you to the emergency room where you had to get stitches. Just because you forgive someone does not mean that you are making it acceptable for them to offend you again. Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…” (NIV) Condoning bad behavior it not a part of forgiveness and the victim must make it clear that that action that was done to them will not be tolerated in the future. You are not a person’s welcome mat where they can treat you any kind of way. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

            Forgiveness does not include sweeping the offense under the rug. Some people, especially Christians feel that if I forgive someone, I must cover up and pretend that the abuse never took place. They feel that if they talk about something that happened to them – something that has never been addressed, that they are being unloving and unforgiving. This is not the case! A person who has been abused has the absolute right to acknowledge that an offense has taken place and have the absolute right to address the party who has done the offense. Sweeping it under the rug does no good for the person who has been abused as well as for the person who obviously needs help who was the aggressor. We see this with the story of David when he had an innocent man killed to cover up his sin. 2 Samuel 12:13-15 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.” (NIV) God forgave David after he admitted to his offense, but God first addressed the issue and did not allow David to think that he was getting away with anything.

             A part of forgiveness includes the offending party admitting to doing you wrong. This is a tricky one here because many people have such a callous heart that they will never admit to any wrongdoing. Acts 26:20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. (NIV) Not only should the offending party admit to what they have done, but they should STOP doing it. If a person says I’m sorry and yet, shows no sense of change in their actions, then their lips were only moving, but their heart remained unchanged. You must then forgive them independent of their actions, BUT reconciliation with this person does not have to take place. Matthew 18:17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (NIV) Jesus was giving the order of how forgiveness and disputes were to be handled. If you have asked a person to stop hurting you, if you have tried to get help from others, if the abuser refuses to listen to anyone and stop the abuse then you are to discontinue your relationship with that person regardless of who they are.

          God does NOT condone abuse. Forgiveness does NOT include allowing someone to keep abusing you time and time again. Even God has His limitations as you can see throughout the Bible when God will give man a chance to repent, but if he fails to do so, then the judgment will come. Why is there a hell? It is there for those who remain unrepentant and continue living in their wickedness. Yes, God is a forgiving God but even He will not tolerate abuses done by His creation towards Him. Someday, it will all end and for you, it must end as well. Forgiveness is for you and not so much the other person. You must forgive so that you can be a better person and grow stronger in your healing process, but it is important to remember that forgiveness NOT include reinjury even for Christians.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Being Real with Yourself and GOD

Being Real with Yourself and GOD
Jeremiah 17:10 "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve."(NIV)

             It is not always easy to open up to people about your problems. A cashier at a grocery store may ask, “How are you doing today?” Your response may normally be, “I am doing fine.” Even if you weren’t, you would not be so fast to download all your problems onto the cashier because after all, even though she/he may have been courteous enough to ask as part of their job, they really do not want to know that your kid threw up all over the car seat, your husband just filed for divorce, your doctor told you that you have kidney stones, and your bank just threatened to repossess your car. No, we live through life putting on the mask of all being well when in many cases, many of us may be moments from a total meltdown. So, what are you to do?

            Jesus gave us an answer to this problem written within the pages of His word. Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV) We are to go to Jesus and lay all of our worries on Him. See, the good that about talking to Jesus is that He never gets tired of listening. If you go to people all the time about your problems, they may soon start avoiding you and run in the opposite direction. This, however, is quite opposite of what Jesus does. He never runs away but He runs towards you and you learn to rely solely on Him. 

            There are times when we try to bury our problems and think that if we live in denial, the problems will go away and yet, they never do. This is why so many people turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, and even become shopaholics because they are trying to use temporary solutions to major problems. Nevertheless, we never have to bury them with Jesus. 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV) Jesus has His hands out to take control of all of our problems. His hands never get full. He can handle yours, mine, a person’s problems in Africa all the way to Alaska. He is a multi-tasker who is able to help us to deal with all that ails us mentally, physically and beyond. Why not try Jesus today? Worrying will never get you anywhere but allowing Jesus to take the wheel will bring you peace, joy, and rest for your soul.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

What is FAITH?

What is FAITH?
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (KJV)

            Most Christians know the above passage concerning faith. The reality, however, can become quite a challenge for many of us. We know that God can do the impossible because we have and read the stories in the Bible of Him parting the Red Sea, healing the sick, raising the dead, putting coins in fish and so much more but there can still be moments in our lives where we doubt if God will come through. You may have had a diagnosis where the doctor shook his head and said that there was nothing more that he could do. You may have gone through years of marital problems where the main topic of divorce is forever present. You may have tried to earn a good grade in class, but the hard work is not proving to be successful. You may be faced with a number of challenges and you wonder will God help you to make it through THIS time.

            Many of us have seen God perform miracles in our lives over the years, but the seed of doubt is ever so present as to if God will do it once more. Well, He can, and He will IF it is in His divine plan. Yes, we see that there are many name-it and claim-it ministries out there that tell people that all you have to do is have “positive” thinking, but this is only true to a certain extent. Anything that is not in the will of God will not be positive in the end regardless of how much positive thinking that you have. Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (KJV) And yet, the Bible lets us know that when we come to God, we must expect that what we have asked for will be granted. James 1:6-8 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (NIV) So, you may ask, “Isn’t this two conflicting opinions?” No!

            When we ask God for something, we must ensure that it lines up with His will for our lives. For example, if we were to pray for something that goes against His commandments, we cannot expect Him to grant it because it would go against who God is. On the other hand, if we pray for something that does not go against God’s word, we must also pray that His will be done. Luke 22:42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (NIV) Jesus knew that He had been sent to die for the sins of all mankind and yet, He asked the Father’s will as to if the cup of death could pass from Him. As we know, the Father’s will had to be fulfilled and Jesus carried it out in perfect obedience. We too must have the same mindset of faith and obedience that Jesus had.

            Faith is about knowing that even if God does not grant us the desires of our heart that He knows what is best for us. Because He is an all-knowing God, He can see what we cannot, and He alone knows if what we ask for will be in our best interest. Sometimes, God is testing our faith to see if we will remain loyal to Him despite His answer being a yes, no, or wait. Faith in God helps us to grow in our relationship with Him and as we learn to lean on Him, we become unshaken regardless of what the answer is. Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,    they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)