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When agendas attack...

Started by Pete, September 20, 2010, 09:38:33 pm

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Pete

I'd like to share something with you that has been on my heart lately.

It probably is no secret to anyone that has spent any time talking to me that a revelation of God's Love has been at the forefront of my mind for quite some time now.  When I first began to receive this revelation, a man at our church prophesied over me and said that because of this revelation, people that were previously for me would turn against me, and people who were previously against me would turn for me.  I had no idea the profound Truth that I was hearing uttered in those words, but today, nearly 6 years later, I see what God was saying to me.

In Galatians 4, Paul writing to the church at Galatia says "Have I now become your enemy by telling you the Truth?"  I think I know how he feels.  It has been an interesting dynamic to watch people who previously were in agreement with things I had said, turn completely against me, in some cases rather vehemently.

Now before I begin, I'd like to tell you a story.  This is a story I've shared here before, but not everyone has heard it, and I believe it's essential to understanding what I'm trying to convey with this thread.  So bear with me...

On November 2, 2003, just 3 days after the birth of our first and only son, my family was, in large part, the catalyst for the largest church split in our church's history.  Now to understand the impact of this, you need to know that I have attended this church since I was 2 years old, and our pastor, who has been with us now for over 20 years, lives just a few houses up from us and I would consider him a great friend.  So this directly affected our church and our pastor, and therefore, directly affected Sarah and I.

Just 3 days after what should have been the happiest time of my life, my family was standing in my living room, accusing our pastor and his wife, accusing our church, and indirectly accusing us of being complicit.  The details are insignificant.  All you need to know is that it was bad.  Real bad.  So bad that I would find my pastor and his wife crying in my living room later that evening, and find myself at an emergency leadership meeting at the church that lasted until 2:30 AM.

What would follow was weeks of turmoil.  Our church attendance dwindled to nearly nothing.  People left in droves.  Only a handful of people remained, and a rift was created in my family that to this day, almost 7 years later, has not been restored completely.

I was mad.  The birth of my son, whom we had named "Nathaniel", because he was our gift from God, had been completely overshadowed and tarnished by this mess.  Because of the animosity that was created, my own parents rarely even stopped by, even though they only live 3 blocks away.  Sure, we acted like everything was OK when we got together, but there was no mistaking that there was something very wrong.

In the midst of this church mess, a new couple began coming to our church, and began preaching weekly on what they had termed the "Love-deficit".  At first, this message really irritated me.  I had been wronged, and I wanted people to know it.  I wanted justice.  I wanted vengeance.  I wanted to inflict the same anger and hurt that they had inflicted upon me.  The last thing I wanted to do was hear about how I needed to Love these people.

Then one day, all of a sudden it seemed like the message finally broke through, and I really listened to this scripture, which has completely altered my life;

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
1 Corinthians 13:5 (AMP)
It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"It pays no attention to a suffered wrong."  I realized that I had been wrong, and that I needed to forgive my family.  So I did.  I made a conscious decision to let it go.  But there was still some weirdness and discomfort, because I would later come to understand that there can be no true reconciliation without both repentance AND forgiveness.  Even though I had forgiven them, they were unrepentant.  And so reconciliation to the way things were was impossible.  I would also come to learn many years later that simply hearing a scripture doesn't change things....

Then, almost a year after the initial incident, my mother apologized to me.  She sat me down and apologized for "casting a shadow" over the birth of my son.  She apologized for the way that she handled herself, and asked for my forgiveness.  I told her that I had already forgiven her, but I thanked her for apologizing.  Things with my parents, it seemed, were reconciled.

That is, until my parents invited me to the Christmas Eve service at their church.  You see, this was, in my mind, the church that welcomed them with open arms as they left, demolishing our church in the process.  And so I declined.  Even though the whole family was there, Sarah and I and Nate would not go.  You see, we had our principles, and we needed to make sure that we were the constant reminder that what they had done was wrong.

For years after this, my mother would call, nearly in tears, asking Sarah and I to come to the Christmas Eve service.  And every year, we refused to go.  No one really made that big of a deal about it, but I knew it hurt my mother that her whole family was there... except for me.  And to be honest, that made me feel good.  I wanted her to remember vividly that day she came into my house and ruined the birth of my son, even though I'd told myself (and her) that I'd forgiven her.

All the while, I was running around telling people how "Love pays no attention to a suffered wrong", yet I saw nothing wrong with the way I was responding to my own parents and family.  I rationalized and justified away why it was OK for me to hold on to this "suffered wrong", and I saw absolutely nothing wrong with it.  To this day, I could not give you a logical, rational explanation for how I justified that in my own mind.

I had a huge plank in my eye, all the while I was trying to remove everyone else's splinter.  I was one giant hypocrite, and I didn't even realize it.

Then, last December, my mother called me, as she had every year, and asked me if Sarah and I would come to the Christmas Eve service.  I can't explain it, but as I was sitting there on the phone in that moment, something turned inside of me.  It was as if God reached down and extracted that plank from my eye, and I said, "Sure, we'll be there."

Suddenly, it dawned on me.  In that instant, God showed me my own hypocrisy.  He showed me how my agenda was clouding my vision, and He illustrated to me, vividly, what a hypocrite I had been.

I repented.

Then, God brought to my remembrance something He had spoken to me through something we had done at church earlier that year.  We wrote down our feelings toward God, and then listened for a response.  Some of you may remember when I posted that here, where you can read the whole thread if you like.

But on that day in April 2009, just 8 months before He would reveal my own hypocrisy to me, He spoke this to me;

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
My son, you have only begun to see and understand My Love for you. I have chosen you, yes you, in spite of all the areas you feel inadequate, to be an example of My Love to others. I have heard your heart's cry to see others as I see them. I have heard your prayers to become unoffendable, and even though you fall short at times, I have begun a work in you that I will see to completion. You know the areas you need to work on, and I will give you the strength you need to help you in those areas.

I chose you before you were born. Your name is who I have called you to be. Peter Michael; a rock, a solid foundation, built upon My Love.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The significance of that word from God hit me like a ton of bricks.  I had forgotten that He had called me to be an example of His Love toward people, and my harboring bitterness toward my family had placed a plank firmly in the center of my eye.  I was so busy worrying about all the little splinters I saw in everyone else, that my own hypocrisy escaped me somehow.

I realized then how blinding an agenda can be.  Even when your hypocrisy is blatantly obvious, an agenda can cause that hypocrisy to go completely unnoticed.

Then, God led me to these scriptures;

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV)
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The part I've emphasized is the part that God showed me.  My friends, I am far from perfect, but I have had a plank removed from my eye, and now that I have, I believe I can see clearly in this area and I have a word for you that might just help remove a speck in your own eye.  That's why I've shared what was quite possibly one of the most painful incidents in my own life with you, with hopes that God can use what was meant for harm against me to bring more glory to His people and His Kingdom.

In my next post, I want to talk to you more about something I've experienced numerous times firsthand; agendas, and how they "attack"...

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Pete

I can't tell you how many times I've posted things online that people have posted a big ol' hearty "Amen!" to, only later to find them strongly opposed to the very thing they were "Amen-ing" before.

Am I saying that everyone should agree with me unconditionally on everything I say all the time?  Of course not.  What I'm talking about is how I would post something about forgiveness (for example) that a person would heartily agree with... until it interfered with one of their agendas that would require them to forgive, when they don't want to.  In my personal example in the post above, I was heartily agreeing with God's Love not paying attention to a suffered wrong... until I was the one that suffered the wrong that I didn't want to let go of.

Now it's one thing to disagree with someone, but the reason I've entitled this thread "When agendas attack" is because it rarely stops at a mere disagreement.

If we go back to the example of Paul with the church at Galatia, we can see that the agenda of following what Paul called "weak and miserable principles" (i.e. observing the law) had caused Paul to feel as if the church at Galatia now saw him as their enemy.  Paul clearly felt that while they readily accepted him while he was with them, now that someone had "bewitched" them, even though he was saying the exact same things, he felt like their "enemy".

This has happened to me repeatedly over the years.  I've had people post commendations and accolades for sharing TRUTH with them, only to turn around, sometimes only weeks later, and accuse me of being "blind", because I say the exact same things in the face of their own personal agenda.  If you've been here in this forum long enough, you may have even seen it once or twice yourself.

As a result of people's agendas, I have been accused of all sorts of nasty things, and indeed, at times I've felt like I've become the enemy of people who once stood side by side with me.  I've even had people accuse me of not being saved.

But what I find completely amazing is how we as human beings can in one breath agree that Jesus taught us that we need to forgive unconditionally, and then in the next breath justify why it's not necessary to forgive in this situation.  The cognitive dissonance that our minds are capable of in this regard is shocking.  As a result, agendas "attack" the Truths that have been revealed to us, and often, those who shared those same Truths with us.

So why am I sharing this with you?  Because I want you to think about the agendas you have, and we all have them.  It could be anything.  A personal agenda, a political agenda... it doesn't really matter what kind of agenda it is.  Once you identify those agendas in your life, ask God to show you if you've allowed those agendas to "attack" the things He has revealed to you.  But be prepared.  If you do this, I believe that God will show you where the hypocrisy in your own life exists.  But more than that, He'll show you how to get rid of it, so that you can see clearly to help others do the same.

Anyway, this is just something I've had on my heart for a few weeks now, and I really felt I needed to share it with you.  I'm not sharing this so that people will feel sorry for me, or in an attempt to condemn anyone, but rather so that you can hopefully take some of the things that God has shown me over the past 7 years and apply them in your own life as He leads you, and to continue to grow in your relationship with Him.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

DianeL

Pete, seems we're walking the same walk.

One thing I noted is that we can have multiple agendas but God is good and will take us 1 at a time through it to see things from His perspective.

I have been called 'weak' because of this but it brought more understanding to the phrase "let the weak say I am strong', yet in the same breath, I have been called a 'rock'.

It's a love walk.
34
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13

Foadle

Very eloquently put and definitely a message we all need to hear not just now but always, being reminded in of who is truly god in our lives: us or God

flaglady

These posts of yours always give food for thought, Pete - a veritable banquet, in fact! But every time I come up against the same thing ..... how do you do that when the other party is isn't an individual, meaning a management or a group, or is no longer around? How do we progress then? How can there be reconciliation, as in this that you posted in your "2 minutes and 56.19 seconds" thread, when there's 'no-one there'

Forgiveness unlocks doors that have been locked for years.  Love destroys barriers and breaks down walls that have been standing in our way for years.  Reconciliation can come in the most unlikely of places when we begin to walk in the fullness of God's Love.

BTW, I was touched by the fact that your mother didn't give up but she kept asking you year after year. That was really awesome. Most people would have asked once, maybe twice and then given up. That's a story in itself.

Pete

Quote from: DianeL on September 21, 2010, 06:48:42 am
Pete, seems we're walking the same walk.

One thing I noted is that we can have multiple agendas but God is good and will take us 1 at a time through it to see things from His perspective.


Yes!  Thank God for His patience with us!

I have been called 'weak' because of this but it brought more understanding to the phrase "let the weak say I am strong', yet in the same breath, I have been called a 'rock'. [/quote]

I've been called, "weak", "wimpy", "wishy-washy", "mealy-mouthed"... and those are some of the nicer terms people have used!  The guy that brought us the message of the Love-deficit in the first place was termed "The Love fairy" by some people who have since left our church.

Unfortunately, I've found that when you bring forth this message of God's Love, you usually get one of 2 extreme reactions; people either embrace it and allow it to change them, or they turn vehemently against you.  There is very little middle ground between those 2 responses.  It's odd, because the people you think that are going to turn against you are the ones that end up accepting it, and the ones you think are with you turn around and attack you.

Quote from: DianeL on September 21, 2010, 06:48:42 am
It's a love walk.


Indeed, and it's not easy.  Jesus suffered much ridicule and persecution from people who had their own agendas, while His was a walk of pure Love.  So I guess it would be silly for us to think it will be any different for us.   ;)

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Pete

Quote from: flaglady on September 21, 2010, 07:35:49 am
These posts of yours always give food for thought, Pete - a veritable banquet, in fact! But every time I come up against the same thing ..... how do you do that when the other party is isn't an individual, meaning a management or a group, or is no longer around? How do we progress then? How can there be reconciliation, as in this that you posted in your "2 minutes and 56.19 seconds" thread, when there's 'no-one there'

Forgiveness unlocks doors that have been locked for years.  Love destroys barriers and breaks down walls that have been standing in our way for years.  Reconciliation can come in the most unlikely of places when we begin to walk in the fullness of God's Love.


In a case where there's no-one there, I'm not sure there can ever be a complete reconciliation.  However, just because I've posted principles that I believe to be generally true doesn't mean that God can't intervene.   ;)

So for example, when I say, "There can be no reconciliation without both repentance and forgiveness", I believe that is a generally true statement.  However, nearly everything that I state so matter-of-factly should come with an assumed footnote that says....  but God.  ;) While I can't explain it, I remain confident that God has the power to bring reconciliation to our specific situations even if forgiveness or repentance is absent.  His Love transcends our doctrines and our understanding.

I'm not trying to prescribe a one-size-fits-all solution, and I believe there are times where it's appropriate to "fight back" for lack of a better term.  But for me, what's important is that I allow those situations to be directed not by my feelings of injustice, but rather by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Quote from: flaglady on September 21, 2010, 07:35:49 amBTW, I was touched by the fact that your mother didn't give up but she kept asking you year after year. That was really awesome. Most people would have asked once, maybe twice and then given up. That's a story in itself.


To be honest, it kind of irritated me that my mother asked me every year.  But I know now that she wasn't trying to irritate me.  I only saw it that way because of the bitterness I had unwittingly held onto.

There are so many things that God has taught me in and through this situation, and it has given new meaning to my belief that what others mean for harm, God turns for good!

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

flaglady

Well, that's honest of you and I can understand that. But think what if she had given up? ;)

sharonl

Love you all - this forum has such a wonderful caring group of people - I learn so very much from all of you.
Diamonds From Heaven - help for the hurting heart
http://gentle.org/sites/diamonds/
Beautiful gifts - the men love them http://chopsknives.com

Andy S. Wright

Not sure why I'm responding to this because I am still angry.  I'm angry at God and his people and have been for the better part of a decade.  I fully intend to remain angry till my dying day because I, like Jonah, believe my anger to be justified.

Guess I should back up a bit.

Many of you know I used to pastor; 20+ years of pastoring, to be exact.  With the exception of the last two years, the whole of my adult life I have served God as one of his servants.  My adolescense was devoted to training for this calling I've felt on my life since I was eleven years old.

I do not come from a long line of preachers.  To my knowledge, I was the first in my family line to hold the position of pastor.  So you can imagine the pride my parents and grandparents felt when I took the position of senior pastor of a small country Baptist church at the tender age of 21.

Pete, I can identifiy completely with your story as I went through a life-changing event in the eighth year of my ministry that has affected me to this day.  I won't bore you with the details.  I'll just say my faith in God was annihilated in the fall of 1998 when a church I had pastored for nearly five years turned on me in a very public, very ugly "meeting" that ended with the police being called to arrest me (they didn't).  My entire world was shattered after that night.  I had been betrayed by some very close "friends" and accused of some extremely heinous crimes against God and His people.  I was hurt more deeply than I could ever express.  Even writing this now is affecting me emotionally.

I guess I'm responding because I understand fully what you are saying.  I know that you are right.  However, I am still so very, very angry.  Despite this anger I continued pastoring for ten more years before the endless brutality of God's people toward one another had taken its toll.  The last church service I attended was the last one I preached in two years ago.  The way I feel right now, I will never walk into another church building for the rest of my life and the worst thing someone can tell me when I meet them for the first time is to tell me they are a "Christian".  I liken my attitude toward that label to that of a WWII veteran's attitude toward the Germans or the Japanese. 

I honestly do not know how to let this go and I find as I age that my apathy toward correcting this very large flaw is growing with every passing day.  All the years of training and learning has been devoured by my anger and hurts.  I have a lot of people I need to forgive as well as God himself but I find myself unwilling to even begin the process.

This is very difficult for me to write, especially in a public forum like this to a group of hated "Christians".  Like I said, I don't know why I'm responding.  Guess I just needed to get some of this out.  Been carrying it a very long time.

So, thanks for sharing your story and your thoughts on the scripture.  Given me some things to ponder.
Whatever doesn't kill you may make you stronger, but whatever does kill you will make you invincible. - 1 Samuel 17:37

The Lord is my banner

Andy, thank you for being brave and honest with us. 
I would think this painful post of yours is a major step in the cleaning of the wound, but certainly only a step - and now perhaps you need to just keep on being this honest with God and any Christians you find yourself able to trust a little.  The grit will be washed out a little more each time, and yes, that hurts, but let God guide you as to how much to deal with and with whom to share.


Perhaps there is nothing else you can do except wait, while acknowledging the need and trusting that healing is coming, even if the trust seems weak or broken, even if the anger rises again and again.


I like that you mention Jonah - I think that shows a wry sense of humour that will help you through! ;)


I sincerely hope you don't get shipwrecked or swallowed by a fish though!  And let's be clear...that isn't the way God works with His children of the new covenant.  For you it is grace.  Grace today, grace tomorrow, grace when you want it, grace when you don't, grace in a bucket, grace  on toast, grace, grace, grace. 


I barely post anywhere nowadays but your post touches me.  Be blessed, and believe God has this, even this, in His gentle hands.




Pete

Andy, I know it must have been difficult for you to share that, so thank you for trusting us enough to share that with us.

Oddly enough, I found your post rather encouraging.  I wasn't sure why I started this thread in the first place, but now I see that maybe we can help one another if we're willing to open ourselves up like this.

I have more to say, but it will have to wait until I get home from work tonight.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Sarah

Thank you for being so open Andy.

I'm so glad that our Father isn't bound by the narrow way religion looks at Him and those who proclaim His word.

TLIMB is so right...one day at a time.
Embraced by the loving arms of the Father....

DianeL

Andy, I'm sorry that happened to you.  People can be extremely cruel, christian or not.

34
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13

jiminpa

October 02, 2010, 01:33:41 pm #14 Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 02:14:15 pm by jiminpa
Andy, I want to be clear that I am not condemning you, that want I am about to say is intended to help, and I know first hand how anger can color what we hear, and with all the responses you are getting it can easily feel as though we are piling on.  We're friends here and we love you.  Your anger isn't hurting the ones who may very well deserve that anger, but it is destroying you.  I've learned that it can be a enough of a start to go to our Father and admit how very angry I am, even at Him, and that I don't even want to forgive, but I want to want to forgive.  You see, God's grace is not just unmerited favor.  It includes His empowerment, (2 Cor 9:8 ), so that when He gives grace He gives us abilities we don't have, like forgiveness.  Andy, please see that your anger is only tearing you apart and ask God to help you let it go.  He gave me the grace to let go of my anger toward the man who killed my parents.  He can give you the grace to let go of your anger. 
I used to worry and stress and strive to "do my part," never believing that I had done enough of "my part."  Now I see my part as casting it off on Him, doing what I believe He is giving me, and letting it just be His problem.  I don't have to fix everything, but I get to work along side of God.

flaglady

Andy, your story brought tears to my eyes. Nothing I can do but send you a cyber hug, my friend.


Pete

Sorry about not responding last night like I said I would, but it seems like everyone's computer broke at the same time, and I've been super busy the last 2 days fixing them all up!  But I digress...

Andy, when I read about the things that your congregation and "friends" did to you and about the anger that you had toward it, I was reminded of God bringing me to this scripture as I dealt with my own anger;

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Ephesians 4:26-27 (AMP)
When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

There were a couple things God showed me in this scripture.  First, God pointed out to me that it says when angry, do not sin.  Some other translations say, "Do not sin in your anger".  This in itself was a revelation to me.  I realized that simply being angry was not a sin.  IOW, it was OK for me to be angry about what had happened.  But I also realized that the sun had gone down (and come up) many times over on my indignation in particular.  I also realized that it is REMARKABLY easy to allow anger to be the catalyst that causes us to sin.

I like what Jim said above;  Grace is the empowerment to do what we can not do on our own.  I wish I could tell you how (and why) all of a sudden I truly forgave, but honestly, I don't know.  All I know is I surrounded myself with people who encouraged me and Loved me despite all my flaws, and one day, through no power or ability of my own, God's grace empowered me to truly forgive.

I hope that all of us here at HGO have demonstrated to you, if only a tiny bit, that while we are not perfect, not all Christians are worthy of the anger that consumes you.  So I would encourage you to take just one step toward God.  Only you can know what that step is, but I believe that God is anxiously watching and waiting, just like the Father in the parable of the prodigal son.  And when He sees you coming, still a long way off, He will run to you and embrace you.  He will accept you because you are His son.

I hesitate to say more because like Jim, I don't want it to seem like we're piling up on you with all of these things that you need to do.  The last thing we want to do is a place an even bigger burden on you.  To the contrary, I think we just want to act like the body of Christ is supposed to; bearing one another's burdens in Love.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Andy S. Wright

Appreciate the love and encouragement, everyone.  You folks are the rare exception to my experiences with God's wonderful people.  Thank you for the thoughts, Pete.  Good stuff, as always.
Whatever doesn't kill you may make you stronger, but whatever does kill you will make you invincible. - 1 Samuel 17:37

Yitzchak

        I like this thread. Over the years , I have been frequently surprised at how God sees things differently than I expected he would. The amazing thing is that I am capable of going in circles for years and not make the connection. Things like weight loss / nutrition and finances are topics that are good ones for having my own agenda.

     There was this one time when I was on a rant to my wife. Not yelling at her. Just venting my frustration at my own bad habits. I was talking about my spending habits and eating junk food , etc. At one point I made the statement " I hate having regrets , when will I learn." As I said it , The Holy Spirit spoke to me so strongly that it stopped me in mid sentence. Not an audible voice , but it might as well have been. God said to me " Is that what you regret ? That is not the regret that you should have.  Let me tell you what you should regret instead." God then spoke to me about having faith about these issues.

       My agenda was based upon reading hundreds of books on the subject of nutrition and budgeting/ finance , etc.  God told me that I was trying to solve these problems on my own. That I might as well be an unbeliever  the way that I was using my own efforts to solve these issues. God told me that what I should regret is not following Matthew 6.

QuoteMat 6:32  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Mat 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.



   I was just doing what came naturally and doing my best to solve these issues. But it never crossed my mind that these would be a faith issue. Health and finances.
To know him and to make him known

DiscipleWhomJesusLoves

This is not directed at anyone, but I'm just speaking in general.

It's easy to tell others of the biblical need to forgive, until you are the one suffering the wrong done, and esp if the hurt was caused by those you loved and trusted.

As we all know then, it takes the power of God and His deep work in us to enable us to forgive. We simply can't do it in our own strength.

When it comes to forgiveness, I'm always reminded of what my pastor taught about the bitter waters of Marah. The waters were only made sweet for the Israelites to drink when Moses threw in a tree as instructed by the Lord.

That tree is a shadow or type of the cross. Out bitter situations can only be made sweet when we bring the work of Christ into the picture. We may still remember the events, but the sting will no longer be there.

So I guess the only way to be empowered or graced to forgive those who have hurt us deeply is to focus on how much and how perfectly Jesus has forgiven us through the cross. The more we realize how much we have been forgiven, the more we are able to forgive. We forgive because He first forgave.

It is also no coincidence that Jesus introduced Himself for the first time as Jehovah Rapha (The Lord Who Heals) after He turned the bitter waters sweet. So I believe there is some connection between forgiveness/letting go and the healing of our physical bodies and souls. 

Blessings,
Andrew