Forgiveness and why we suck at it

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    Ok, real talk; we all suck at forgiving people. Of course, we manage to put a smile on our faces while we often stand in the presence of the person we are super offended at, but yes the internal struggle is real.  Now don't get all self-righteous on me, instead, put yourself under a microscope and examine if there is any unforgiveness in your heart so we can address it.     Let me be real honest; I still struggle in this area as well. Sometimes I forgive people because the bible tells me to, but deep down I want to throat punch a whole bunch of individuals. Shoot, I'd like to throat punch large groups of people sometimes. Ok, I'm glad I got that out of the way. No seriously, I understand the struggle. I think the problem with forgiveness is we usually have to forgive people that are close to us or at least individuals who know better. Growing up in the church I always thought I was going to be forgiving people who were persecuting me for my faith or thieves, something crazy like that.  Nope, this is much harder.     Some might be reading this, and already names of people are starting to surface. Can those people be forgiven for real? My short answer is yes, but I understand just this reply alone won't help, so let's dig deeper. The pain you feel is real. The betrayal you feel is real. The confusion you are experiencing is real. But the lie you are believing is not.     You are believing the lie that it's your fault. You believe the lie that you are not good enough. If you are honest you believe the lie that you have to stay angry, bitter and on guard or it will happen again. This causes us to live in fear. Fear of the unknown and the fear of ever trusting again. We construct imaginary walls around our heart, and we don't let anyone else in, while over time we force everyone else out. This separation is a long downhill slope, and over a long period of time, we find ourselves isolated and lonely.     What does it mean to forgive someone? Does it mean we allow them to say sorry in our presence and everything goes back to being the same? Well, we all know that just depends on the infraction, but that very seldom happens. There is only one person we could look to as an example of true forgiveness, Jesus. Now before you start the eye-rolls while thinking to yourself, "I'm not Jesus." Begin to look at Jesus differently.  He was more than just a baby that we see on Christmas cards. The Bible does say that He was fully God, but it also says that he was fully man. So allow yourself to relate to Him there.     Jesus says that we should forgive someone 70x7 times. Wow, he must have known that I was going to get hurt a lot. So let's answer my previous question, "What does it mean to forgive?" the dictionary has this to say about forgiveness. To stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake. Ephesians 4:31-31 says "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."     Regardless of where you look for the definition just know this, it's always going to address the way we feel. And this is why I think we "Suck" at forgiving people. We aren't getting rid of these feelings. We are allowing Satan to control our mind. I honestly believe that the reason we are angry and bitter and in constant internal rage is cause we want to be. We've gotten good at accepting apologies, but we are doing horribly at letting things go. The only way we are going to be able to let these things go is if we let Jesus in. When is the last time you turned your hurt over to Jesus? At best we complain to Jesus about the way we feel, but we are leaving it up to that individual to fix the damage. NEWS FLASH! THEY CANT. It's something that you are going to have to lay at the foot of the cross. The very same place where Jesus forgave you.     While Jesus was brutally murdered He uttered out the words "Father forgive them for they know now what they do." Jesus was remarkable in that He was able to set aside His feelings and forgive people. He was lied on, betrayed, mocked, Spat on, stabbed, whipped and ultimately murdered and He still found time to forgive. That very moment. He didn't let time pass, He didn't wait for an apology, and He didn't wait for someone to be remorseful. He just did it. Forgiving someone says a lot more about you than it does about them.     Someone that can forgive quickly says "I'm choosing not to be the victim." Some of you have had legitimate offenses happen to you and trust me; I sympathize with you. But we have to understand that we forgive because we were forgiven first. It was our sin that put Jesus on the cross. The bible says "That while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." I think we "suck" at forgiveness because we don't understand the depths in which Christ forgave us. Again I'm not trying to make light of the real pain you might feel. I couldn't imagine being raped, or having a drunk driver kill my child. I pray for people that have to endure that level of pain.     But your pain has to end; it will take you down a road that you never intended to be on. I've preached to and prayed for many people that would forgive only to wish they didn't wait so long. I've also counseled men and women that wouldn't forgive, and they stayed on the slippery slope of isolation and loneliness. I've seen these same people lose people in their life they cared for. IT'S NOT WORTH IT. When we forgive we are making a declaration that we are believers and that we've accepted Jesus. That He lives on the inside of us and it's because of Him that we choose to forgive.     It's time we stop believing the lies that the enemy keeps throwing at us. He wants you to remain a prisoner. He wants you to be miserable. He wants you to push away friends and loved ones. He wants you to deny the power of the cross. He wants you to believe that you will always feel like this. He wants you, but He knows he can't have you, so as long as you stay like this, you are ineffective as a believer.     Jesus wants your whole heart. Stop giving it away to someone that may or may not say sorry. Stop giving it to someone that may or may not ever truly make it right. Stop giving it away to people that can't fix the hurt they have caused. Give it to the One who can, Jesus. He is willing and ready to walk with you through this. He knows what to say and when to say it. Turn your heart and ears towards Him and allow Him to speak life into you.     All this means is that you choose to move forward feeling free. You don't have to return to an abusive relationship, and you don't have to be besties with those you can't trust. Sometimes walking away from painful relationships is the best way to start that healing process. Choose not to "Suck" anymore at forgiving. This is about your walk with Christ. And yes often your forgiveness of others bring them to the realization that they've been in the wrong. It's when we see what Jesus did for us we come to repentance. Romans 2:4 "Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" So what do you say?     Let's do forgiveness better because Jesus did it best.     Love yall,  Blake Reynolds

Ok, real talk; we all suck at forgiving people. Of course, we manage to put a smile on our faces while we often stand in the presence of the person we are super offended at, but yes the internal struggle is real.

Now don't get all self-righteous on me, instead, put yourself under a microscope and examine if there is any unforgiveness in your heart so we can address it.

 

Let me be real honest; I still struggle in this area as well. Sometimes I forgive people because the bible tells me to, but deep down I want to throat punch a whole bunch of individuals. Shoot, I'd like to throat punch large groups of people sometimes. Ok, I'm glad I got that out of the way. No seriously, I understand the struggle. I think the problem with forgiveness is we usually have to forgive people that are close to us or at least individuals who know better. Growing up in the church I always thought I was going to be forgiving people who were persecuting me for my faith or thieves, something crazy like that.  Nope, this is much harder.

 

Some might be reading this, and already names of people are starting to surface. Can those people be forgiven for real? My short answer is yes, but I understand just this reply alone won't help, so let's dig deeper. The pain you feel is real. The betrayal you feel is real. The confusion you are experiencing is real. But the lie you are believing is not.

 

You are believing the lie that it's your fault. You believe the lie that you are not good enough. If you are honest you believe the lie that you have to stay angry, bitter and on guard or it will happen again. This causes us to live in fear. Fear of the unknown and the fear of ever trusting again. We construct imaginary walls around our heart, and we don't let anyone else in, while over time we force everyone else out. This separation is a long downhill slope, and over a long period of time, we find ourselves isolated and lonely.

 

What does it mean to forgive someone? Does it mean we allow them to say sorry in our presence and everything goes back to being the same? Well, we all know that just depends on the infraction, but that very seldom happens. There is only one person we could look to as an example of true forgiveness, Jesus. Now before you start the eye-rolls while thinking to yourself, "I'm not Jesus." Begin to look at Jesus differently.  He was more than just a baby that we see on Christmas cards. The Bible does say that He was fully God, but it also says that he was fully man. So allow yourself to relate to Him there.

 

Jesus says that we should forgive someone 70x7 times. Wow, he must have known that I was going to get hurt a lot. So let's answer my previous question, "What does it mean to forgive?" the dictionary has this to say about forgiveness. To stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake. Ephesians 4:31-31 says "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

 

Regardless of where you look for the definition just know this, it's always going to address the way we feel. And this is why I think we "Suck" at forgiving people. We aren't getting rid of these feelings. We are allowing Satan to control our mind. I honestly believe that the reason we are angry and bitter and in constant internal rage is cause we want to be. We've gotten good at accepting apologies, but we are doing horribly at letting things go. The only way we are going to be able to let these things go is if we let Jesus in. When is the last time you turned your hurt over to Jesus? At best we complain to Jesus about the way we feel, but we are leaving it up to that individual to fix the damage. NEWS FLASH! THEY CANT. It's something that you are going to have to lay at the foot of the cross. The very same place where Jesus forgave you.

 

While Jesus was brutally murdered He uttered out the words "Father forgive them for they know now what they do." Jesus was remarkable in that He was able to set aside His feelings and forgive people. He was lied on, betrayed, mocked, Spat on, stabbed, whipped and ultimately murdered and He still found time to forgive. That very moment. He didn't let time pass, He didn't wait for an apology, and He didn't wait for someone to be remorseful. He just did it. Forgiving someone says a lot more about you than it does about them.

 

Someone that can forgive quickly says "I'm choosing not to be the victim." Some of you have had legitimate offenses happen to you and trust me; I sympathize with you. But we have to understand that we forgive because we were forgiven first. It was our sin that put Jesus on the cross. The bible says "That while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." I think we "suck" at forgiveness because we don't understand the depths in which Christ forgave us. Again I'm not trying to make light of the real pain you might feel. I couldn't imagine being raped, or having a drunk driver kill my child. I pray for people that have to endure that level of pain.

 

But your pain has to end; it will take you down a road that you never intended to be on. I've preached to and prayed for many people that would forgive only to wish they didn't wait so long. I've also counseled men and women that wouldn't forgive, and they stayed on the slippery slope of isolation and loneliness. I've seen these same people lose people in their life they cared for. IT'S NOT WORTH IT. When we forgive we are making a declaration that we are believers and that we've accepted Jesus. That He lives on the inside of us and it's because of Him that we choose to forgive.

 

It's time we stop believing the lies that the enemy keeps throwing at us. He wants you to remain a prisoner. He wants you to be miserable. He wants you to push away friends and loved ones. He wants you to deny the power of the cross. He wants you to believe that you will always feel like this. He wants you, but He knows he can't have you, so as long as you stay like this, you are ineffective as a believer.

 

Jesus wants your whole heart. Stop giving it away to someone that may or may not say sorry. Stop giving it to someone that may or may not ever truly make it right. Stop giving it away to people that can't fix the hurt they have caused. Give it to the One who can, Jesus. He is willing and ready to walk with you through this. He knows what to say and when to say it. Turn your heart and ears towards Him and allow Him to speak life into you.

 

All this means is that you choose to move forward feeling free. You don't have to return to an abusive relationship, and you don't have to be besties with those you can't trust. Sometimes walking away from painful relationships is the best way to start that healing process. Choose not to "Suck" anymore at forgiving. This is about your walk with Christ. And yes often your forgiveness of others bring them to the realization that they've been in the wrong. It's when we see what Jesus did for us we come to repentance. Romans 2:4 "Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" So what do you say?

 

Let's do forgiveness better because Jesus did it best.

 

Love yall,  Blake Reynolds

Your insecurities may be your biggest problem...

Too often we see relationships ending because of our insecurities. Our marriages, our friendships, and even our families. Do you ever wonder why? Why in the world does a good relationship have to end? Sometimes we blame the most random things but what if we looked at the truth. Could it be your insecurities at work? Let's go ahead and face it, that's what it is. 

I remember as a kid growing up we didn't have much money. My Brothers and I had to share the same clothes. I vividly remember walking in one day, and the big oversized kid points at me and yells, "Didn't you wear that yesterday." while everyone joined him in the laughter my face turned red, and I wanted to disappear right then and right there. I'm a little bitter still. I still know that guy, he didn't turn out so hot. But the mark he left on me, I'll never understand.

Fast forward to my wife, and I was moving things into our new house, and we had realized that we hung up 200 hundred shirts of mine. That doesn't include the shirts I fold up into a dresser. Look at me with all these shirts. I'll never get made fun of again. The sad part is not long ago some insecure jerk had to laugh at something I was wearing, and I kid you not from that very moment I wrote him off. There's absolutely no way this dude will ever make it to my friend's list.  I mean why should he? Doesn't this guy know that I'm insecure about my clothes?

Listen I know this sounds petty, but the reality is we all struggle in this area. Why can't we just shake these things that have a death grip on our life? Why do I still care what people think about my clothes?  I know what I paid for them, and forget the money, it's the style I prefer. Why should anyone else's opinion of me matter? 

I think about the woman that Jesus met at the well in John chapter four in the Bible. Here this woman is coming to the well in the heat of the day to fetch water, and almost every sermon I've ever heard of her pointed to the fact that she was avoiding a crowd. I mean wouldn't you? Even though it was probably her fault that she was living the way she was, it probably still hurt to be talked about and looked down upon. 

I believe Jesus does something amazing right off the bat. He thoroughly addresses her insecurities. How brave of Jesus to look right at this woman and say, "Go get your husband." Wow, Jesus, did you just go there? She had to face the current reality and tell Him the truth. Now she is exposed for who she is. The why behind the what is in plain view. She's here in the middle of the day because of her insecurities.  Thank you, Jesus, that you restored this woman.

Now it's your turn. Who are you avoiding? Where won't you show your face? What group of people intimidate you? Beyond that, why are you easily angered? Why do you get so defensive? Why are you quitting all the time? Why are you so needy? What are you fearful of? Who are you trying to impress? Trust me the questions can go on.

Maybe you need to have your " At the well" experience with Jesus. Jesus tells this woman if you drink from this well you will never thirst again. That was her problem she was just thirsty. Maybe that's your problem too; you're just thirsty. Jesus invites you to leave your insecurities at heavens door. He says I'm here now. I will be all that you ever need and all that you ever missed out on. It's time to free yourselves up. How much life could happen if you weren't afraid of it? How many people has God brought to your life that your insecurities pushed out? How much good constructive criticism have you missed out on because you had mistaken it for rejection. 

It's time we move forward. It's time we grow. It's time we quit holding ourselves back. Let it go. Run to Jesus. Look your past in the face and let it know that you found your security. Tell it to back off. Walk out of your house today with a smile on your face. Why? Because you are different now. You are no longer thirsty!

Blake Reynolds

The Process

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I don't know exactly where you are at in your life, but I can almost imagine that just like me you are going through a process. I’m not a huge fan of cliche phrases however, "you're going through a process" seems to be about the most true statement in my life right now.  What about you? Are you going through something right now? Wish you never started the journey you are on? This could be your marriage, your job, raising kids, or even a new relationship. To be honest, every area of my life has been or is currently in a process. Life seems to get more demanding the older you get. So what now? Do we quit? Give up? Throw in the towel?

I’m sure there is someone right now saying I'm ready to quit, or already has. I want to say hold on; there is a reason.  We hate the process, but we have to learn to respect it. When I was younger I couldn't wait until I was older. But that process called puberty was rough. If it wasn't the acne, it was the squeaky voice and we won't even mention the peach fuzz on my chin. I think you get where I'm going. The process was never designed to kill us. It really exists to make us stronger. The moment we realize this we will stop fighting against it and will be better for it.

Sometimes we often refer to this as "middle moments". A spiritual "middle moment" is when you realize you've yet to reach your destiny, but you aren't where you started either. When Jesus met the disciples out in the middle of the sea He intended on walking right by them even though He saw them struggling. That tells me that God isn't afraid of our struggles. It wasn't until they called out to Him that He came. They were in a middle moment in a fishing boat in the middle of the sea. The bible says the storm was raging. You know, big waves, strong wind, etc. Surely they had been in storms before, right? Why was this one any different?  I believe that they realized they were no longer in control. They weren't able to control the storm and they can't seem to control the boat either. What is your storm? What is your boat? Jesus had a plan; He climbs in the boat and calms the storm. Then Jesus does something huge, He calls out their lack of faith. 

I think more than the size of their faith, He was referring to the duration of their faith. I think Christians struggle with lasting faith. We tend to have short, quick bursts of faith that get us started. But then we give up when the process starts. It wasn't long before the disciples were in a process that they were watching Jesus feed 15,000 people. My faith would have been huge at this point and I would do whatever Jesus asked. What did Jesus ask after that? He asked them to get in a boat and go to the other side. Now they are right in the middle of a process. Thanks to who? That’s right, Jesus. And just like them, He has you in a process. As soon as you realize that Jesus is taking you from where you are to where He wants you, you will no longer see the process as punishment. You will see it as a promotion.

Jesus calmed the storm and the bible says, "Immediately they were on the other side". I’m not sure how long the process will last for you, but what I can tell you is that there is another side and that’s exactly where He's taking you. Don't jump ship and swim back to the beach called familiarity. God will constantly call you out of your comfort zone and enter you into a process that is challenging and uneasy. There is a purpose for this pain. Psalms 30 says there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning. Your pain is ending; your joy is coming. The process will serve its purpose. One day you will look back at that middle moment and thank God that He brought you to where He did and you will also understand there was only one route to get there, through a PROCESS.