Monday, June 18, 2012

Forgiveness (soap journal #3)

S) When people sin, you should forgive and comfort them, so they won't give up in despair...yes, for your sake and with Christ as my witness, I have forgiven whatever needed to be forgiven.  I have done this to keep Satan from getting the better of us. (2 Corn. 2: 7,11)
O) Everyone is hurt when we hold on to bitterness.  We cannot function as Christians until we forgive each other.
A) At this point, I am not struggling with this. But I have a friend who is. How can I help her?
P) Lord, help this person forgive. Help her find peace and rest in your love. Please show her it's ok to let go--in fact, it's necessary. Use me if you can. Please give me the courage to speak truth in love.

Well, I may not have needed that then, but I sure need it now.  Relationships are complicated.  I believe in a big way.  I've experienced how powerful and transforming it is to 'let go'--to give the grace you know you need yourself.  But, Christians often take a scripture like this and just plop it right down as something to be obeyed like brushing your teeth at night, and "ta-da", no more relationship problem!  I don't think I need to point out it doesn't work that way. 

I am praying--probably everyday--for things to be better between me and the people I feel so hurt by.  Though, it's not about forgiving sin exactly, but about struggling with having completely different ways of seeing things. (as I explained on my last post) I know Paul had the same kind of struggles in his day with the religious people around him--the ones demanding that believers get circumcised and such. And he didn't seem to make any apologies about not wanting to have anything to do with maybe I'm ok with making some boundaries for the time being.

I was going to write some thoughts on "keeping Satan from getting the better of us", but I think I'll save it.  But I really wonder if when Christians say this (as my fundamentalist friend did when she announced she forgave me for that very reason--though I can't say I believe she actually does) they really believe "Satan the fallen angel and ruler of the underworld" is the one behind planting these bitter seeds.  I understand they have to believe in a literal Satan in order to make it to heaven...but how can he be tempting everyone on the planet simultaneously as well as torturing the souls in hell all at the same time?  I wonder if they ever really think about it?  Next time maybe I'll discuss the four scriptures that are supposed to 'prove' the whole story about Satan being the best of the angels until he blew it.  You are going to be shocked.