Change Your Past (Revisited)

Originally posted Sept 1, 2018

Change Your Past

I’ve heard so many times that we can’t change the past. While I agree that we cannot change the events that actually happened, we can change our perspectives, our attitudes, and our emotions in relation to events.

I have my own memories, good and bad. I’ve re-written many of them. Consider the following scenarios, as they may reflect anyone’s memories (plug in your own):

*     *     *     *     *

That so-called friend who didn’t stick up for me: I didn’t know she was afraid to say something, that she thought of five great things to say later, but thought it was too late, so she never said anything, and she really missed my friendship after that, even though she felt she deserved me ditching her.

That time I said those hurtful things to my neighbor: they really were hurtful, and I meant to hurt her. But I can look back at that now, see that, even though I thought (and still think) that she deserved it, I was hurtful. I can apologize and ask for her forgiveness. If I can’t do that with her, at least I can confess to God.

That one who abused me, over and over and over: It was wrong, he was twisted. I hated him. I can forgive him, even though I will never trust him or tell him; and I can grieve what was lost for him and for me.

All those times I failed my child: I can tell him how proud I am of him; I can ask forgiveness for issues I remember or that he brings up. I can tell him and show him I love him.

That parent who was never really a parent: I didn’t know what he (or she) went through as a child, what was learned, the situations impossible to handle; maybe I never got it that he (or she) was simply incredibly selfish, that it was never about me, always about him (or her).

*     *     *     *     *

While we are stuck with the memories, God’s gift is that we can soften the edges; we can change how we remember; we can receive or ask or bestow forgiveness; God can work in the hearts of others, and in us.

Those personal memories I mentioned: some of them still hurt. I’m still embarrassed by some of them. Anger still sparks. I’m working on them. How do I work? I bring them to God. As I wrestle with the thoughts, the condemnation in my head, I bring the fight to God.

I got hurt. I hurt others.

God can redeem!

And, while God may change my heart, how I see things, how I handle memories; I may not see a change in the heart or attitude of the person I’m dealing with. That’s okay. Yes, really. I can ask forgiveness, and it may or may not be given. I may forgive someone, with or without telling that person, and the relationship may evidence no change. That’s okay.

Because God is in control. My responsibility is to stand before God with a clear conscience. I do all that I can to fulfill that, and leave the rest to Him.

So yes, I believe we can change our past, through obedience to God, letting Him work in our minds and hearts and attitudes.

Because God can redeem.

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Forgiveness (Revisited)

Originally posted July 28, 2018

forgiveness pic

So, you still have told me nothing about ‘the incident,’ as you put it.

You pretty much know what happened.

Well, that’s only what I’ve heard from other people. It’s not the same as your perspective, and I think it would help our relationship if we could talk about it.

I don’t talk about it.

Can we talk about it without discussing what actually happened?

Sure, we can skirt around it all you want. But I will say one thing up front. Being a guy, you’re never going to understand the perspective of a victim like I do.

You’re right. One, I have never been a victim like you have. And, mine is the perspective of the male, the one who is usually the authority, the stronger, the dominant one. I think you know me well enough by now that you know I view my gender as a gift from God, to handle wisely and lovingly; that He created us both, male and female, as different but equal.

Yeah, I get that. And you must know that I trust you, given that we’re even having this conversation.

Thank you for that. Please know I will never knowingly break that trust. If I come close, you will let me know?

Yep, and ditto for me?

Yes.

~silence~

From our previous discussions, I know that you’re struggling with your relationship with God because of the incident. You’re upset that He would as willingly forgive those men who hurt you as He forgives you.

He doesn’t seem like a fair God.

Do you have difficulty seeing Him as a God Who loves you?

I get that He loves the world, you know, the whole, “For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

Do you think He loves you, personally?

I’ve seen His grace in my life a lot. I mean, like a lot. I credit Him with my rescue in the first place. That could never have happened if God hadn’t intervened. And I do thank Him for that, I really do. I think that shows His love for me. And other things. Yes, I think God loves me.

So, God loves you, but you’re mad that He loves those guys as much as He loves you?

No, He can love them as much as He wants. But, for what they did, they should never be forgiven. They should never get to spend eternity with Him because they should go to hell. That’s justice and righteous. God is a God of justice and righteousness, too.

I agree that those men deserve hell for what they did…. Do you think you deserve hell for your sins?

You do NOT get to put me in the same category with them! I would never do to anyone what they did, over and over and OVER!

I’m sorry that happened.

Listen, I have to get going. I think we’re finished talking for today.

I get that. Before we part, I’ll leave you with these verses: James 2.10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Also Jeremiah 17.9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” And you know Romans 6.23 tells us that the wages of sin is death.

That’s the part I’m so mad about. Goodbye.

~~~~~~

It’s been a while. Have you been able to process?

Yeah, I admit I sin. Everybody does, I know I’m not a saint or even close to it.

But?

But I’m NOT like them. I could never be like them. They do NOT deserve forgiveness.

Do you deserve forgiveness?

Of course not. No one does. But God gives grace, and He gave me grace.

But you’re mad that He could pour out His grace on those men.

You would be, too! You have never been in my shoes, but I’m pretty sure you would feel the same way if you were.

I’ll never know, Lord willing.

No. So don’t speak to me like you ever will.

I can’t. All I can do is give you what God says.

I KNOW what He says! And that’s what makes me mad at Him!

So you think there should be a rule, some sort of plumb line that, if a person crosses it, then they are automatically scratched from the Heaven list.

Absolutely!

Well, there is such a plumb line. Any sin keeps us from Heaven. But you think that some sins can be forgiven and be on the Heaven side, and some sins can’t be forgiven, and be on the hell side.

Something like that.

So you think your rules are better than God’s?

I think it’s only right.

And that God’s wrong?

Listen, I know that God’s never wrong. I know what the Bible says, and He’s perfect and all that. I just don’t agree that He should ever forgive people like that.

Maybe He didn’t.

That’s not the point. The point is that He could. God can forgive anyone, and He does! He just chooses, and He grabs them, and He changes their hearts and then they get to go to Heaven.

And that’s not okay?

Not after what they’ve done.

And you can’t forgive them?

NO..

So, again, I ask: Do you think your rules are better than God’s?

I’ll leave it at this: I know God’s right. He gets to make the rules. I just don’t like all of them, and I don’t agree with Him. He’s a big God. I think He can take a little disagreement. … … I have to go now.

Then today I leave you with these: 1Samuel 15.23 “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” And Matthew 6.15 “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

~~~~~

I agreed to meet with you today. Don’t you think I’m doing really well?

Yes, I do. Why do you think you want to meet with me?

~sigh~ Because, against my better judgement, I like you very much, and I respect what you have to say.

If your judgement votes against me, who or what is the driving force behind you being here?

Oh brother. Okay, it’s God.

I’m going to agree with you on that one. I’m grateful He’s working in you. I’ll tell you, He’s been working in me, too. I’m struggling with this; not like you, but I’m ‘way not enough to cover this. I’ve had some pretty deep times with God. I know you pay attention to Him. Have you had good conversation with Him lately?

I did a study on the verses you left with me. Number one, I looked up idolatry. Basically I came to the conclusion that you’re hinting, ever so subtly, that I’m being stubborn in not agreeing with God, so I’m committing iniquity, or in iniquity, or however you put it. And that, because I think I’m right and He’s wrong, that I’m setting myself up as my idol, putting myself on the throne and deciding that I know best. That about cover it?

Did you hear my voice telling you that, or God’s?

Same thing, isn’t it?

Really no. Really really no.

Umph. Fine. That’s what God was telling me while I was reading His Word and studying it.

You didn’t like it, I take it?

Duh.

I never do, either. Hebrews 12.11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” That means all of us are grieved when God chastens us. But, He gives us the peaceable fruit of righteousness if we learn from it.

So I have to learn from it in order to get the peace fruit.

Matthew 7.16 “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Do you want peace?

You know I do.

You already have the Holy Spirit within you, and He empowers you with the Fruit of the Spirit. Part of that is peace. Learn from Him. What about the second verse?

The forgiveness part?

Matthew 6.15 “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

I’m hitting a brick wall there, one that I prefer to walk away from.

I know you already know this, but I’m throwing it out anyway. Forgiveness isn’t for letting anyone off the hook. It’s for the forgiver. It’s one of God’s gifts for blessing you.

So I’ve heard.

My dear, you don’t have to generate forgiveness. It’s not in you. I see that, and I think you do, too. It’s not in anybody to forgive such a thing.

So, just let God do it in me or though me or whatever?

Pray about it. Just a tip: when I’m really struggling with something, wrestling with God, so to speak, it helps me to physically put myself in a position of obedience and worship.

What do you do? Kneel?

Well, actually, I … prostrate myself.

Like, on your belly?

Full out, face down, nose rubbing on whatever is under me. I humble myself and pour myself out to God, begging for His mercy on me.

~gulp~ Umm

Here’s a tissue.

I can’t even think about that without crying. I really don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know that I even want to. What about 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” Can I confess my sin of unforgiveness and be forgiven?

I think God will handle that. Just give it to Him.

Expectations

Do you go to the movies? Sometimes we go to a movie after we’ve heard all about it: seen the ads, watched the trailers online, heard our friends talk about it. We go with expectations. If everyone loved the movie and raves about it, our expectations are high. I hate going to a movie with high expectations; I’m almost always disappointed.

Expectations

I believe the truth will set us free from expectations.

Truth and expectations are related. However, make sure where the plumb line of your truth lies. Some think we live by our own truth, that we should do whatever our conscience and personal happiness monitor tells us.

“Expectations” is a relative term. It often depends on how we feel.

Our expectations are related to what we hold as truth.

Take a look at your own expectations. You expect your spouse to be kind and understanding? Think your kids should be grateful? You get angry when things don’t go as you think they ought? You expected good health for yourself / your loved one / your friend / children? You expected a smooth drive to your destination today?

Hard truths:

  • You don’t deserve to live; you deserve to die. (Romans 6.23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.)
  • You don’t deserve to be happy; you deserve to suffer the consequences of your sin. (Psalm 34.16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.)
  • Truth is what God says (read His Word), not what the world says. (John 17.17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.)
  • Truth is what God says (read His Word), not what your conscience tells you. (Romans 8.13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.)
  • You don’t have any goodness in you; neither does anyone else. (Psalm 14.2, 3 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.)
  • There is no way you can go to Heaven without Jesus. (John 14.6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.)
  • You don’t have any good works in you; nobody has any good works in them. (John 15.5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.)
  • God created evil. (Isaiah 45.7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Proverbs 16.4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Colossians 1.16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.)

Those truths are what we are in and of ourselves: nothing, evil, dead, wrong, lost.

EVERYBODY IS! We cannot expect other people to be any better than what we are. We can expect that we hurt other people, and other people hurt us – really, really badly.

Disappointment, disgust, disapproval, disillusionment, disrespect, bitterness, jealousy, hurt feelings – all these come from expectations.

But look!

The truth is, we must set our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12.2); the Perfecter of who we are and who we can become.

Also true:

  • God created us in love (Jeremiah 31.1 I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving devotion.)
  • God redeems. (Isaiah 44.24 the LORD, thy redeemer… he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself)
  • God will guide you into truth (John 16.13 … when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…)
  • He cherishes you. He is powerful and can save you. (Zephaniah 3.17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.)
  • God gives us hope. (Isaiah 44.22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.)

God says we are loveable, cherished, special, and made in His image. Through Christ, we are redeemed, worthy, righteous, and alive.

When I go to movies, I try to set my expectations to zero. If I have low expectations, then I can be pleasantly surprised (maybe) with how it turns out.

We can similarly set our expectations when dealing with people. Are we to set them at zero, expect the worst from everyone? There is no set pattern. God doesn’t work that way. Set your heart and mind on God. See what He says. But do remember that we are all fallen – ALL of us. Forgive. Give grace. God’s grace.

Change Your Past

Change Your Past

I’ve heard so many times that we can’t change the past. While I agree that we cannot change the events that actually happened, we can change our perspectives, our attitudes, and our emotions in relation to events.

I have my own memories, good and bad. I’ve re-written many of them. Consider the following scenarios, as they may reflect anyone’s memories (plug in your own):

*     *     *     *     *

That so-called friend who didn’t stick up for me: I didn’t know she was afraid to say something, that she thought of five great things to say later, but thought it was too late, so she never said anything, and she really missed my friendship after that, even though she felt she deserved me ditching her.

That time I said those hurtful things to my neighbor: they really were hurtful, and I meant to hurt her. But I can look back at that now, see that, even though I thought (and still think) that she deserved it, I was hurtful. I can apologize and ask for her forgiveness. If I can’t do that with her, at least I can confess to God.

That one who abused me, over and over and over: I didn’t know at the time that he was abused, himself, that he learned those things from someone he loved and trusted. It was wrong, he was twisted. I hated him. I can forgive him, even though I will never trust him or tell him; and I can grieve what was lost for him and for me.

All those times I failed my child: I can tell him how proud I am of him; I can ask forgiveness for issues I remember or that he brings up. I can tell him and show him I love him.

That parent who was never really a parent: I didn’t understand what he (or she) went through as a child, what was learned, the situations impossible to handle; maybe I never got it that he (or she) was simply incredibly selfish, that it was never about me, always about him (or her).

*     *     *     *     *

While we are stuck with the memories, God’s gift is that we can soften the edges; we can change how we remember; we can receive or ask or bestow forgiveness; God can work in the hearts of others, and in us.

Those personal memories I mentioned: some of them still hurt. I’m still embarrassed by some of them. Anger still sparks. I’m working on them. How do I work? I bring them to God. As I wrestle with the thoughts, the condemnation in my head, I bring the fight to God.

I got hurt. I hurt others.

God can redeem!

And, while God may change my heart, how I see things, how I handle memories; I may not see a change in the heart or attitude of the person I’m dealing with. That’s okay. Yes, really. I can ask forgiveness, and it may or may not be given. I may forgive someone, with or without telling that person, and the relationship may evidence no change. That’s okay.

Because God is in control. My responsibility is to stand before God with a clear conscience. I do all that I can to fulfill that, and leave the rest to Him.

So yes, I believe we can change our past, through obedience to God, letting Him work in our minds and hearts and attitudes.

Because God can redeem.

3 2 1 Quote Forgiveness

forgiveness pic

Stuart, thank you for giving me this opportunity, for nominating me. Also, thank you for the flexibility, because I broke the rules. I created a series of quotes, as a conversation. I sat and typed as the words fell out. I did use your topic, though: forgiveness.

Go ahead and grab your coffee; this is longer than usual.

*****

So, you still have told me nothing about ‘the incident,’ as you put it.

You pretty much know what happened.

Well, that’s only what I’ve heard from other people. It’s not the same as your perspective, and I think it would help our relationship if we could talk about it.

I don’t talk about it.

Can we talk about it without discussing what actually happened?

Sure, we can skirt around it all you want. But I will say one thing up front. Being a guy, you’re never going to understand the perspective of a victim like I do.

You’re right. One, I have never been a victim like you have. And, mine is the perspective of the male, the one who is usually the authority, the stronger, the dominant one. I think you know me well enough by now that you know I view my gender as a gift from God, to handle wisely and lovingly; that He created us both, male and female, as different but equal.

Yeah, I get that. And you must know that I trust you, given that we’re even having this conversation.

Thank you for that. Please know I will never knowingly break that trust. If I come close, you will let me know?

Yep, and ditto for me?

Yes.

~silence~

From our previous discussions, I know that you’re struggling with your relationship with God because of the incident. You’re upset that He would as willingly forgive those men who hurt you as He forgives you.

He doesn’t seem like a fair God.

Do you have difficulty seeing Him as a God Who loves you?

I get that He loves the world, you know, the whole, “For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

Do you think He loves you, personally?

I’ve seen His grace in my life a lot. I mean, like a lot. I credit Him with my rescue in the first place. That could never have happened if God hadn’t intervened. And I do thank Him for that, I really do. I think that shows His love for me. And other things. Yes, I think God loves me.

So, God loves you, but you’re mad that He loves those guys as much as He loves you?

No, He can love them as much as He wants. But, for what they did, they should never be forgiven. They should never get to spend eternity with Him because they should go to hell. That’s justice and righteous. God is a God of justice and righteousness, too.

I agree that those men deserve hell for what they did…. Do you think you deserve hell for your sins?

You do NOT get to put me in the same category with them! I would never do to anyone what they did, over and over and OVER!

I’m sorry that happened.

Listen, I have to get going. I think we’re finished talking for today.

I get that. Before we part, I’ll leave you with these verses: James 2.10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Also Jeremiah 17.9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” And you know Romans 6.23 tells us that the wages of sin is death.

That’s the part I’m so mad about. Goodbye.

~~~~~~

It’s been a while. Have you been able to process?

Yeah, I admit I sin. Everybody does, I know I’m not a saint or even close to it.

But?

But I’m NOT like them. I could never be like them. They do NOT deserve forgiveness.

Do you deserve forgiveness?

Of course not. No one does. But God gives grace, and He gave me grace.

But you’re mad that He could pour out His grace on those men.

You would be, too! You have never been in my shoes, but I’m pretty sure you would feel the same way if you were.

I’ll never know, Lord willing.

No. So don’t speak to me like you ever will.

I can’t. All I can do is give you what God says.

I KNOW what He says! And that’s what makes me mad at Him!

So you think there should be a rule, some sort of plumb line that, if a person crosses it, then they are automatically scratched from the Heaven list.

Absolutely!

Well, there is such a plumb line. Any sin keeps us from Heaven. But you think that some sins can be forgiven and be on the Heaven side, and some sins can’t be forgiven, and be on the hell side.

Something like that.

So you think your rules are better than God’s?

I think it’s only right.

And that God’s wrong?

Listen, I know that God’s never wrong. I know what the Bible says, and He’s perfect and all that. I just don’t agree that He should ever forgive people like that.

Maybe He didn’t.

That’s not the point. The point is that He could. God can forgive anyone, and He does! He just chooses, and He grabs them, and He changes their hearts and then they get to go to Heaven.

And that’s not okay?

Not after what they’ve done.

And you can’t forgive them?

NO..

So, again, I ask: Do you think your rules are better than God’s?

I’ll leave it at this: I know God’s right. He gets to make the rules. I just don’t like all of them, and I don’t agree with Him. He’s a big God. I think He can take a little disagreement. … … I have to go now.

Then today I leave you with these: 1Samuel 15.23 “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” And Matthew 6.15 “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

~~~~~

I agreed to meet with you today. Don’t you think I’m doing really well?

Yes, I do. Why do you think you want to meet with me?

~sigh~ Because, against my better judgement, I like you very much, and I respect what you have to say.

If your judgement votes against me, who or what is the driving force behind you being here?

Oh brother. Okay, it’s God.

I’m going to agree with you on that one. I’m grateful He’s working in you. I’ll tell you, He’s been working in me, too. I’m struggling with this; not like you, but I’m ‘way not enough to cover this. I’ve had some pretty deep times with God. I know you pay attention to Him. Have you had good conversation with Him lately?

I did a study on the verses you left with me. Number one, I looked up idolatry. Basically I came to the conclusion that you’re hinting, ever so subtly, that I’m being stubborn in not agreeing with God, so I’m committing iniquity, or in iniquity, or however you put it. And that, because I think I’m right and He’s wrong, that I’m setting myself up as my idol, putting myself on the throne and deciding that I know best. That about cover it?

Did you hear my voice telling you that, or God’s?

Same thing, isn’t it?

Really no. Really really no.

Umph. Fine. That’s what God was telling me while I was reading His Word and studying it.

You didn’t like it, I take it?

Duh.

I never do, either. Hebrews 12.11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” That means all of us are grieved when God chastens us. But, He gives us the peaceable fruit of righteousness if we learn from it.

So I have to learn from it in order to get the peace fruit.

Matthew 7.16 “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Do you want peace?

You know I do.

You already have the Holy Spirit within you, and He empowers you with the Fruit of the Spirit. Part of that is peace. Learn from Him. What about the second verse?

The forgiveness part?

Matthew 6.15 “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

I’m hitting a brick wall there, one that I prefer to walk away from.

I know you already know this, but I’m throwing it out anyway. Forgiveness isn’t for letting anyone off the hook. It’s for the forgiver. It’s one of God’s gifts for blessing you.

So I’ve heard.

My dear, you don’t have to generate forgiveness. It’s not in you. I see that, and I think you do, too. It’s not in anybody to forgive such a thing.

So, just let God do it in me or though me or whatever?

Pray about it. Just a tip: when I’m really struggling with something, wrestling with God, so to speak, it helps me to physically put myself in a position of obedience and worship.

What do you do? Kneel?

Well, actually, I … prostrate myself.

Like, on your belly?

Full out, face down, nose rubbing on whatever is under me. I humble myself and pour myself out to God, begging for His mercy on me.

~gulp~ Umm

Here’s a tissue.

I can’t even think about that without crying. I really don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know that I even want to. What about 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” Can I confess my sin of unforgiveness and be forgiven?

I think God will handle that. Just give it to Him.

*****

This quote challenge was generated by the person behind https://aguycalledbloke.blog/

You choose 3 bloggers to write 2 quotes, each, on 1 word given to them by you. If you want a better example of how it’s supposed to be done, click over to Stuart’s post: https://stubaby777.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/3-2-1-quote-me-love

My nominations are:

Amy https://anewlife256599767.wordpress.com/

William https://walkwithgod.blog/

Vickie https://vicklea.com/

These are completely optional, no obligation. I just love reading your stuff. 😊

The word for the quote is: Peace