A Sliver of Pain

A Sliver of Pain

This is an ugly story and this is your warning.

If you are artistic or creative and see stories come to life, this will be icky and you have my permission to walk away before I get going.

When people tell stories, the pictures form in my mind. In color even. The only way I can stop it is to plug my ears and hum a song. It makes it quite uncomfortable during dinner when someone starts telling a blow-by-blow account of their latest surgery. God knows this about me so I was quite surprised one day when God told me this ugly story. He has only given me beautiful or fun pictures. Since this one was so awful, I knew it must be important and I should pay attention. It is an image of death.

The ugly story begins…

I saw a woman whose body was puffy. She had a yellow-green tint to her skin. I recognized she was sick and close to dying. Then it became gross as I realized she looked like that because her body was filled with pus. And suddenly, I knew I was seeing myself. I was shocked and wanted to move away from this image, but God encouraged me to keep looking.

I asked Him what it meant and watched as Jesus stepped up close to her. He reached toward her with His palm up and His hand open. I saw something very small come out of her heart and fall into his hand. He turned and showed it to me. It was a tiny sliver.

All at once I understood that a single act of unforgiveness had infected me with death. The wound I buried deep inside and would not let go of was literally killing me. No matter that what was done to me was wrong. That it was not my fault. That I didn’t deserve it. Or even that the person who hurt me did it intentionally and it was unjust. It was my unforgiveness that kept the disease growing. That kept my body trying to expel it in the way it was designed to do. But I resisted, keeping the death growing inside me.

When I allowed Jesus to come close and trusted his hand in my life, he took the sliver and there was healing. I watched as life came back into my body. As the puffiness left and my flesh became pink and healthy.

God made me see that no matter how small I think it is or how deeply I’ve buried it, some things will kill me. Unforgiveness is one of those things.


There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.  Proverbs 14:12 NASB

Be gentle with one another and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember the Lord forgave you. So you must forgive others.  Colossians 3:13 TLB


A PRAYER

Heavenly Father, forgive us for not giving you our whole hearts. Forgive us for not asking you to come close enough to heal us, Jesus. Today, we repent and invite Jesus into the deep places of our hearts. Come in with your love and compassion. Your patience and gentleness. Come in and show us where we need to forgive and give us the grace to forgive those who hurt us. Those who rejected us. Those who brought pain crashing into our worlds. We give you the pain, the anger, and the offense that we’ve buried so deep and tried to forget. Make us clean and new this day. Help us to forgive ourselves for not being able to let go and forgive others. Help us to forgive you, God, because you did not stop them from hurting us.  We seek you for the grace we need to be people who forgive. Help us to realize how much you have forgiven us so we can more easily forgive others.

For those who have cursed us and who consistently come against us in word or deed, we forgive them and take the further step to bless them. We ask that you would bless them with your love and purposes for their lives. We bless them with your salvation to the uttermost. With your abundant life. With the blessings of their Heavenly Father who calls them and empowers them to become sons and daughters of God. No longer orphans but knowing the God who calls Himself their Abba Father.

Thank you for the power of your love for us that would not be denied, even when it meant the cross for Jesus, so we might become your children and know your name. That we might see we are your wildest dream. Give us hearts to seek you. Give us whole hearts to love you and follow you into your wondrous kingdom. We ask all these things in Jesus Name, Amen.

Forgiveness & Blessing

Forgiveness & Blessing

You know that kindness leads us to repentance? (Rom 2:4) I believe in a world where we inspire each other with love and lovely things. I believe that the kingdom of God in us is where the power of beauty lives and is practiced and cannot be stopped.

And then the rubber meets the road. The Lord faithfully reminds me there are people I need to forgive. People who make me work hard, seeking Jesus’ fingerprint so that I find something to bless, to admire, to hope for expansion, growth and change in their lives. Sometimes I never find it, but still I must forgive.

I am required to forgive, no matter what else I do, in order to set myself free. I am required to bless them in order to set them free. I must bless them so they can be what they are called to be and do. I am called to move beyond forgiveness into blessing others, those who have hurt or betrayed me, so that my heart can be free to know the heart of God.
Such a process. About the time I feel I have accomplished this activity, someone from my past rises into my present and I have to acknowledge that, although I forgot about them, I never intentionally forgave them. Sigh. It is truly a living process. A way of walking in the world.

My job as a believer in Jesus is not a mission to expose sin, to share the twisted, to give attention to or provide a platform for the ugliness of satan’s mean, smelly or fearful things. My mission, as a believer, is to express life and love and share hope. To exude the essence of the goodness, kindness and beauty of God.

Love as a seed will grow. In fact, it cannot be stopped—it will find a way. Let the love of God fall into the cracks of brokenness in your life. Share a seed of love with others. ‘Shed it abroad,’ and know, that as it drops into the broken cracks of others’ pain, it will grow. We were created to love and be loved and forgiveness and blessing inhabit love. So be brave, be strong and go with Jesus into this garden He is tending to become the life, the beauty, the love that you are.

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