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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why I forgive

A lot of us are hypocrites. We don’t say what we really mean and we hardly mean what we say. It would be unfair to heap the blame on ourselves and forget the fact that most of us were brought up in houses where silence was the name of the game. Where the family name and honor was protected above integrity and honesty. Where pain wasn't discussed and fears were treated like bouts of cowardice. Where we saw our parents laugh with visitors and spit at their retreating backs. No…it would be unfair to blame ourselves for our inability to tell the truth to others and to ourselves. But it would be stupid to blame everything on our upbringing too. Whether we came from that kind of background or not, the fact remains that our choices are ours alone and ultimately, we decide if we will carry on the tradition of hypocrisy or not. I've never been one to hide my feelings even though for a long time I was nearly beaten into doing just that. At eight I was a feisty little child with my own mind. At eight I told my father he was a devil for beating up my mother. At nine I told him he was the wrong man for her. At ten I told him he didn't deserve to be a father to the wonderful children he had. Was I right? No….far from it. In my ignorance, I spoke up and in my innocence I expected change when I did. The change didn’t come for a long time, at least not for the situation I spoke vehemently against but It came for me…I changed. I realized that speaking the truth wasn’t the same thing as condemning a person or a situation. The truth sets you free.
It convicts you. It doesn't make you feel like the weight of the world just landed without courtesy on your shoulders nor does it make you feel like you will never get things right. I don’t know how I made my father feel with my outspoken condemnation of his actions but I know that I never want to have my own child tell me what I told him…and so I forgive. I forgive because when I hold on to the resentment and anger, I find myself repeating the same things he did. I forgive because it is his image I hold in my mind when I want to make decisions about trust or love…I remember him and I pull back and a part of me dies each time this happens. I forgive because it makes me a hypocrite to expect God to forgive my every sin when I have not forgiven my own father or myself for my mistakes. Let me share how I was released from the bondage of not forgiving. For a couple of years I had been a Christian and I was doing fine until I realized that every time someone tried to talk to me about my father, I literally bristled. I would feel the hair on my neck stand up and my chest tighten; and then I would be unable to breathe. I would become agitated. People around me had learned to back off from what they knew was a no go area and that was fine by me. But as time went on, the Holy Spirit kept convicting me of the need to forgive my father; at a point, I wanted to but I didn't know how to do it so the circle continued until one night when I had a conversation with my soul mate. He had been trying for years to break through the walls that came up every time my father was mentioned and he always went bouncing back. Out of frustration on this night, he became angry. ‘You let your father control you’, he said. ‘You’re a different person when your father is mentioned because you refuse to forgive him.’ And I snapped. I switched off the phone on him and cried my eyes out because I knew it was true. My father was moving on with his life but I was stuck in one place, holding on to what I thought to be the reasons why I couldn't get on with my own life. I blamed him for some things. Then blamed him some more for everything. I cried out to God to set me free from this weight of unforgiveness I had been carrying around when a scripture I had known almost all my life was revealed to me in that moment. ‘At the mention of the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under earth and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. (Philippians 2:10 & 11) It was the word mentioned that jumped out at me. ‘At the mention of my name’, Jesus whispered to me; ‘Not the mention of your father’s name’….MY NAME! And it became clear to me. Everything in my life had been bowing to the mention of my father’s name, my father’s memory, my father’s actions… I had made my father lord over my life and not Jesus and in doing so my entire experiences were tied to him. I had made my father god over my life without even knowing it. This is what unforgiveness does to you. It bounds you with a thick rope, roots you in the place of that bad experience that caused you to take offence and lets you relive it over and over again. You are like a CD, skipping over and over again at 3.99 seconds exactly with no one to turn you off. Unforgiveness makes a prisoner out of you and not the person you take offence with. There are many of you who are broken records because you have refused to forgive that one person or the other for what you thought was the unforgiveable offence. If God could forgive you of all the offences you committed against him, why don’t you forgive? Trust me, it’s not for the other person’s sake, it’s for yours You are hypocrite if you don’t forgive and that is a fact. So I forgive, because, God forgave me first and because Jesus is my Lord…no one else deserves that position so don’t make the mistake of giving the power for your life to the wrong person. Give it to God by forgiving. (photos courtsey www.lacedwithgrace.com & www.sethsoasis.wordpress.com)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dear God

You will always have to examine what you believe if you are to keep on believing what you believe. This is one truth that I have come to realize and the realization of this truth has only made me more careful about what I choose to believe.
I want to share something personal with you today.
On the 7th of August, I wrote a letter to God.
I was depressed, lonely and disappointed with the way things were turning out in my life and talking to a fellow Christian at that point didn't work the wonders I was expecting. I could almost predict word for word what would be said and if I could do that what was the use of talking in the first place?
Praying wasn't helping much either; it seemed that God had taken a holiday and had his ear muffs on and a 'do not disturb’ sign on the portal that opened this world to his presence. So it was just me, myself, I and a bunch of gleeful demons having a field day in my mind.
My dear God letter was brutal but at the time I was writing it, I didn't think so.
I was reading it again today and I'm amazed at how far I have grown and how God has kept me in spite of my ignorance. I just wanted to share this with you and let you know that even though you might feel like I felt sometimes, giving up on God isn't an option...like someone said, your worst day in Christ is better than your best day without him...





Dear God…
I feel as though you have let me down in such a huge way that I can never come back to you again. It took me a while to trust you and even a longer time to believe that you weren’t trying to fuck me up.
I did all the things they said you wanted me to do. I didn’t sleep around for cash or for fun either; I told married men that they were walking sacred monuments and told them to go home and love their wives instead of bugging me; I went home after work and spent my time reading the bible or some other book that I felt would help me be a better Christian. I was bluntly honest to the men who came around, that I had a serious relationship and didn’t want to mess that up; I went to church on Wednesdays and on Sundays and even sang in the choir in spite of the fact that I was terrified of crowds.
I wrote down eight fifteen on the work register instead of eight when I came late because I thought honesty extended to the little things as well as the big things; I gave my tithes and offerings even when I knew I wouldn’t have much to live on by the time I took them out of my salary.
Yet in doing all these things, this year, I have felt so alone…like what I am doing is a waste of time, like no matter what I do I will never make it. I feel as though I am destined to go to hell; as though no matter how hard I try to walk the straight and narrow, I, like Judas Iscariot am destined to be the daughter of perdition so that some prophecy can come to pass in someone else’s life.
Why do you throw wrenches in the otherwise smooth progression of my life? It’s almost as though you derive some sick pleasure watching me suffer and watching my expectations die and brutal death. You say your plans for me are good but didn’t you also say your thoughts are above mine? Didn’t you say that you don’t think the way I do? So “good” for you can be really “bad” for me and that isn’t fair because I didn’t ask to be born did I? I didn’t ask you to put me on this godforsaken planet and put me through the bullshit I seem to be going through.
I’m beginning to think after Christ you took a break or made another earth somewhere else…a more perfect earth and left us here to rot!
Why do I feel like I have to yell for you to hear me? Like I have to draw blood before you come down and save me? There is a tornado of darkness raging in me and it is growing stronger no matter how hard I try to snuff it out with your word. Are you real? Do you exist?
I’m trying my best here…how about a little help God? Some indication that I’m not serving something that may have died a long time ago?
I’m not a good Christian so I’m going to stop trying to be one. I won’t go out with the married men or sleep around either….I won’t stop my tithes and offerings because I know it helps the church…I won’t cheat or lie on the office register either…But I’ll go clubbing and dance my worries away. I’ll kiss the next man I really like and not worry about hurting you because you don’t seem to think twice about giving me what will cause me so much pain. I’ll hang out with the guys after work and live a little. I’ll do what I want to do without waiting for you because if you really don’t exist then I would have wasted my entire life.
I won’t be so hard on the men who come around anymore because somehow, I don’t think love graces the top of your list of attributes needed for a good marriage.
I’ll dance to usher and Ciara and all the hip pop songs I used to love dancing to before I met you and had to stop…since I met you God, I don’t know if I have died or I have lived, but I don’t want to go on feeling that way so I’ve decided to live my own way and if you think I’m worth showing up for, I’ll be waiting…I hope you think I’m worth it though, because I really don’t want to do all these things. Please show up if you’re real God…Please…
Sincerely
Your single Christian daughter….