Saturday, August 11, 2018

Healing for the Hurt

(a letter that I wrote to my cousin in response to some struggles he expressed)

Don't feel bad opening up about this.  We're human and we're going to have times where we struggle with our thoughts and feelings and don't really know exactly how to deal with them.  If you can't talk to a loved one you trust, who CAN you talk to.  We all need someone we can relate to who can empathize with our struggles (without judgment).  And you're right; we have to have the mind of Christ and be filled with His love so we can forgive - otherwise the bitterness and resentment can eat us up (that's why I had that stint back in the late 2000's where I started getting so much grey hair; I was carrying a lot of resentment and bitterness inside and it was literally eating me alive).

As much as we want to be Christ-like, I really believe that the majority of us believers are not even close to being "good Christians" unfortunately.  I know that we have the ability to measure up to the high standard that Jesus came and demonstrated for the world, but it takes a level of sacrifice that most of us aren't willing to sacrifice :(... I've been a Christian for 27 years, and there was only ONE time in that span of time where I fully surrendered and started to see what it really means to be a Christian... And it started to fade as soon as I went back to work.  It's really challenging to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)  Again, it's not impossible, but unless you're a full-time pastor or evangelist, it's often times a battle to press toward that mark while you're immersed in the world (which is where most of us Christians are when we're spending a large portion of our time in the workplace).

I think one of the most important things we can do is to realize that we can't do it in our own power.  We need God, and we can't give up.  We have to keep doing what we know is right, and what the Spirit leads us to do (digging in to the Word, spending time alone with God, renewing our minds and hearts, etc).

So many people have wronged and hurt us, and they don't deserve our love or forgiveness.  And the world didn't deserve God's love or forgiveness, but He freely gave it anyway.  So we have to love the unlovable, and we have to forgive the unforgivable.  And often times, not for THEM, but for US.  Us choosing to do what Christ did changes OUR hearts.  And God willing, the people in our lives who don't deserve it will hopefully see something in us that is different from what's seen in the rest of the world (Christ in us, the hope of glory - Colossians 1:27).

Sorry man, I always seem to transition from an encouraging chat to a sermon, lol.  You know what though?  It's often times the Holy Spirit talking directly to me while also talking to the person I'm sharing with. I need this sermon just as much as you might need it!  I even have times where I'll re-read an email that I sent to someone because God used it to encourage and build MY faith.

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