I'm working on a non-fiction project called Bohemian Forgiveness: Five Unconventional Paths to Forgiving What You'll Never Forget. There's not much to see on the Facebook page for now but it will come, and I'll be sure to keep you posted.
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“If you are struggling with the sin of someone who hurt you . . . it only means you are not ready to forgive. Some rush to forgive too quickly. You can’t forgive unless you have first told all the truth about your hurt.”
—M. Craig Barnes, Hustling God
I’m the mother of one teenage and two adult sons. This means unless there’s blood, fire, or vomit, I'm relatively unimpressed with routine bumps and bruises. I also have a seventeen-year-old niece, who I’m proud to say is very active. However, when she was younger, she was—how shall I say this?—whiny. Little bumps preceded big drama. My mother and sister would swoop to her side with the bunny-faced ice pack (aka Boo-Boo Bunny) and marvel at her capacity for human suffering.
In the absence of her medical entourage, our little darling did not attempt such dramatics with me unless she could answer yes to one of two questions: Are you bleeding? Does it hurt to walk? Should you find me insensitive, I'll elaborate. If she had answered yes to either question, I would have provided full medical attention, a colorful Band-Aid of her choice, and ice cream as she watched a Disney movie while lying in a cloud of pillows on my bed.
We all love her. We'd throw ourselves in front of a moving bus to protect her. Why the contrast in how we viewed her discomfort?
Here's my take on it: If earthly parents (some more than others) can discern between a legitimate wound and an excuse to whine, you better believe our heavenly Father can. But before we can answer the question “Am I wounded or merely whining over an offense?” Let's review the difference between the two. There is a difference.
- Wound—An injury, especially one in which the skin or another external surface is torn, pierced, cut, or otherwise broken. Or an injury to the feelings.
- Offense—The act of causing anger, resentment, displeasure, or affront. Or the state of being offended.
Offenses are associated with our attitudes and thoughts toward another’s behavior. Wounds occur when something from the outside painfully penetrates our bodies and/or emotions. It's the difference between being cut-off in traffic and run over by a car. If your heart has been “torn, pierced, cut, or otherwise broken,” take a deep breath. Your inability to forgive is most likely not rooted in spiritual immaturity or disobedience. Perhaps you simply haven’t healed enough to forgive.
Most resources on the topic of forgiveness are tailor-made for the offended—the whiners. Truthfully, you’re probably a whiner if you’re ready to spit nails over your lack of control over people who’ve only hurt your pride. If you can relate, I love you, now suck it up sister, and ask God to humble you under His mighty hand. My own stubborn pride is remedied when I commit to handwrite every Scripture that contains the words pride or humility. It’s amazing how fast my perspective changes. I’ve yet to complete this assignment.
But if you’re bleeding and you can’t walk . . . Oh, daughter of a more loving Father than we girls can imagine, He wants to scoop you up in His arms. He wants to heal you, proclaim liberty over the condemning thoughts which hold you captive, and release you from the prison of “I can’t forgive.” But you’ll have to pony up that glass slipper, that last shred of a time when you felt beautiful—before your true identity was stolen—and commune with the One who holds the other slipper. You can live your whole life with a faint memory of the ball, or receive royal status and live in the kingdom. The choice is yours.
So, how about it, Cinderella? If you're ready to receive full medical attention, then it’s time to stop asking the Great Physician to take the pain away while neglecting to tell Him where it hurts, why it hurts, and whether or not you self-medicate. If you had a broken leg you wouldn’t hobble to a doctor and expect Him to prescribe something for pain relief without first allowing him to set the broken bone so it can heal.
If you haven't read Forgiveness: The Heart of the Matter, now would be a good time. And then grab your journal.
Here's a list of the questions for reflection:
- Am I wounded or offended?
- If it turns out I'm merely offended and being a ginormous baby about my circumstances, am I willing to take a crack at Wendy's crazy writing assignment?
- Wounded? Am I willing to write God a letter about what happened, how I really feel about it, and how I take the edge off from one day to the next. (Anything from new shoes to Chardonnay.)
Key Principle: Own your feelings or your feelings will own you.
Coming Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014: What Happened to You Matters
- Hear what God has to say about minimizing a wound.
- Consider the four facets of a priceless jewel: Salvation. Healing. Confession. Forgiveness.
You are not alone,
 www.answer.com/topic/wound www.answer.com/topic/offense
Published on Friday, January 17, 2014 @ 9:07 AM CDT