How I Learned to Forgive

This morning I was prompted with the question, “How did you learn to forgive?” Without even thinking about it, my response was, “I had to learn how to love first.” (This is where I should let you know that in NO way am I saying that I am perfect at loving people. LOL! I am most definitely not! I am learning, and sometimes failing, every day.) However, I did choose to learn love, the Biblical way, and it’s one of the greatest things the Lord has done in my life. The world will teach you that Biblical love is stupid: you’ll look stupid, you’ll feel stupid, you’ll feel silly. To a certain degree, the world is right. You will feel silly and maybe even stupid, but over time, and from personal experience from being on both sides of needing and giving love, I’ve learned that it’s an honor to freely show people the love of God.

First, I had to learn that love is a choice, not an emotion. Same as forgiveness. You CHOOSE to love and forgive, regardless of how you feel. There were many mornings where I would have to say, “No! I’ve already forgiven them. My flesh doesn’t feel like it, but I love them. Father, help me to see them the way that you see them.”

Second, I made love practical. I used the dictionary and this amazing study to write out what stuck with me. So, copied straight from my Bibles, the dictionary, and my favorite study:

Love is patient: Able to accept delays, problems, or sufferings without becoming annoyed or anxious; long suffering. It doesn’t lose its temper saying, “I’ll give you one more chance.” As we are humbled by our own sin, we learn to be more patient with others.

and kind: Having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature; To withhold what harms and to give what heals; Love is not giving everyone what they desire or want. Love is kind but tough.

Love does not envy: feelings of discontentment or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck; True love desires the success of others. The cure for envy is to pray for the success of those you are envious of. To pray for them demonstrates love, and envy and love cannot exist in the same heart.

Or boast: Not big-headed, but big-hearted. When we brag, we display insecurity and spiritual immaturity. The more spiritual gifts we possess, the more loving we’ll be, the less we’ll brag. We have to humble ourselves before Christ and people.

It is not arrogant: Having an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities; Grasping for power; Always considers themselves exempt from the requirements of mere mortals; Arrogance disrespects others. We are to serve others and to be gracious to them.

Or rude: Offensively impolite or ill-mannered; Love does not “tell it like it is.”It does not verbalize all its thoughts, particularly if they don’t build up. There is a graciousness that is involved. Love never forgets courtesy, tact, and being polite are lovely things.

It does not insist on its own way: Love is the very antithesis of self-seeking. It is not dominating or stubborn. It listens well and does not talk too much. It is always willing to defer to others.

It is not irritable or resentful: Love does not come with a “Handle with Caution” sign. It is not touchy. It is not given to emotional outbursts, petty annoyances, and doesn’t get under my skin. We don’t HAVE to get irritated if we’re exercising love.

It does not rejoice at wrongdoing: Love is righteous. It takes no joy in evil of any kind. It is not drawn to evil. Psalm 37 tells us that “the Lord will bring our righteousness to light as the noonday… For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.” Being honest, I used to think that this scripture meant that the Lord would strike down whoever crossed a boundary concerning me! Lol! You cross me, you cross God! Lol however, it’s important to remember that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against demonic forces. (Ephesians 6: 12) In every situation, we are all children of God, and He never wants to embarrass or “strike down” anyone. What He will do, is bring to light the times the enemy was at work in the situation. Love doesn’t hope that the person is exposed, but that in both your life and in theirs, the Lord lifts the veil to see truth in the situation.

Keeps no record of wrong: Love is not bookkeeping of offenses, waiting to be settled.

Love rejoices with truth: Love must conform to the truth of the Word of God. Truth and love go together.

Love bears all things: Carries, supports; “Bears all things” in the Greek means to “cover something”. It is compared to a roof; a covering of protection to keep out things that are hostile. “Love covers a multitude of sins,” (1 Peter 4:8); Love protects reputations. It doesn’t nitpick. It doesn’t criticize in public.

Believes all things: Accepts something as true; Always trusts; People will always become what you believe about them. Choose that they are innocent until proven guilty. Believe the best, not the worst.

Hopes all things: Never gives up on people, despite the circumstance; Never loses faith, despite their shortcomings; Has faith and expects the best.

Endures all things: Suffers something painful or difficult patiently; Hold positions, even to death. Holds fast to people; Perseveres, even in the face of rejection.

Love never ends: Love is an eternal gift. That is POWERFUL in itself!

Fear No Longer Lives Here

“For God has not (not even once) given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and of a sound mind,” -2 Timothy 1:7

Let’s see…

Can I be completely honest? Fear has always been a problem for me. Fear of the future, fear of the present, fear of the unknown, fear of the known, fear, fear, fear! Weirdly enough, though, the thing I’ve always feared the most is success, and actually believing that I am 100% who God says that I am. I’ve always loved seeing success stories of people who just did it! Fear, and all, these people just went after their dreams and succeeded! However, when it came to my own life, I’d always been too afraid to even sit and write out the vision! It was too big, too expensive, no one else around me has ever done that, etc! Every excuse there was, I’d mastered it!

A few mornings ago, I was looking for a song to listen to, and I found a Youtube video of Steffany Gretzinger’s, “Letting Go”. The video was of her telling the story behind how that song came out of a process of the Lord working fear out of her. She didn’t mind singing spontaneously in a live worship set, because it was spontaneous. However, when it came to writing songs, and having other people listen to them, she felt so uncomfortable. Like, what if the songs were really bad? What if she bared it all, and looked stupid? Outside of the fact that [in my mind] Steffany is my BFF, I really understood what she meant. For me, it has always been easy to know that God has given me gifts and talents, and those gifts are fine in corporate settings with other people, but when it came to something that He was instructing ONLY me to do, I didn’t know how to not be paralyzed by fear.

  • Fear of going all-in. What if I miss God? What if I don’t hear Him correctly?
  • I know the Lord keeps telling me to put words to paper, starting with a blog, but how am I supposed to do it? Everybody has a blog! Why is mine any different? Plus, I haven’t been very consistent. Am I sure?

This past weekend I was in a conference with one of my leaders praying over me. I felt her grip start to loosen on my hands towards the end of the prayer, and as we were nearing the “Amen” she said, “I keep hearing this, the Lord wants to break the spirit of fear off of you.” I knew in that moment that it all had to change. It wasn’t that I would never deal with fear again, but that I’d have an approach of victory when it came to fear. My stance would be different because this time I’d had the revelation of WHO I’d lean into when my flesh gave way, and WHO I was. I realized that paralyzing fear had attached itself to things that God had for me!

Priscilla Shirer says it best, “We know that God doesn’t give a spirit of fear. So, if we have a spirit of fear in any area of our life, we know it must have come from the enemy. If I’m afraid of something, (since I know that God doesn’t give a spirit of fear) it must mean that there is something embedded in that thing that the enemy does not want me to have. If he can distract us with the size and the depth of the thing, we won’t traverse it. He doesn’t want you getting past that Red Sea, friend! Because on the other side of that Red Sea is milk and honey. It’s the blessing of God, and the favor of God and the promises of God experienced in your life! On your current side of the Red Sea, you only get to hear about what God is doing. Satan doesn’t mind when you read a verse a day to keep the devil away, that’s not what he minds. What he minds are [believers] who actually go back home with a holy confidence, face the battle, not be afraid of it, and traverse it so that they move forward with God. He is going out of his way to stamp fear to anything that he knows on the other side of it is God’s best for you.”

Isn’t that SOOO good?!? When we realize that there is purpose and breakthrough on the other side of the thing that fear has attached itself to, it changes everything!

  • So, I won’t fear going all-in. With my heart is really set on God, even when I take a step that I’m not so sure about, He’s right there to make sure that I’m on the path. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21).
  • I won’t fear writing, or whether or not my voice is significant! Steffany said it great, “I have a voice. I am a mouthpiece, and God has given me something to say.” We have no reason to fear. God has anointed us with gifts and talents to do the very things He’s calling us to. “May the favor of the Lord rest upon us; make our efforts successful. Yes! Make our efforts successful.” (Psalm 90: 17) Plus, it’s really not about us, and we never have to do it alone. In whatever capacity He’s called you, He’s using you to reach someone! That’s all that matter. In humility, let us put ourselves aside. In boldness, let us press forward into what God has called us. “That is why I remind you to fan into flame the gracious gift of God, [that inner fire—the special endowment] which is in you through the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination]. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].” (2 Timothy 1: 6-7)

So, my personal testimony is that I stopped running.

I leaned into the Holy Spirit.

I picked up my holy confidence from where I left it.

I turned around to face my fears.

He’s already promised us that we are more than conquerors, so I will traverse in whatever is thrown at me,

and I’ll continue to move forward with God.

Fear no longer lives here.