Forgiving What You Can’t Forget by Lysa Terkeurst–Book Review

Lysa Terkeurst is no stranger to pain.  She was a victim of childhood abuse by a neighbor, and her husband of many years betrayed her by having an affair.  She uses her own life story to illustrate both the need to forgive and the difficulty in forgiving those who have wronged us.

Her approach is both practical, empathetic and biblical.  The Bible tells us to forgive others because God forgave us.  It does not tell us that we will be able to forget or that we will always be able to reconcile with the person who has hurt us.  Sometimes we must establish boundaries for our own peace of mind and to avoid enabling the other person to avoid the consequences of their actions.  Sometimes the other person involved will never ask for forgiveness or desire reconciliation.

Often a lack of forgiveness leads to bitterness and the desire for revenge that only hurts us. Painful events from long ago, can continue to fuel anger that makes us easily offendable.  As Lysa says,

“Holding on to thoughts of resentment is like pulling a belt so tight across the middle of our thoughts that it prevents us from ever completely relaxing and resting and certainly makes future growth near to impossible.”

She emphasizes that forgiveness is a decision, but also a process. Even after we have forgiven a particular person and let go of resentment, it may surface again when we encounter a trigger that reminds us of the event or situation.  We need to learn to forgive over and over again, and to forgive daily.  She encourages using The Lord’s Prayer each morning to prepare ourselves for the times we will need to forgive that day.

“The best time to forgive is before we are ever offended.  The next best time to forgive is right now.”

At the end of the book there are other resources including:

  • What the Bible actually says about forgiveness (this lists and explains many verses on forgiveness)
  • Lysa’s most asked questions about forgiveness
  • How to get the help you need
  • Important notes to consider on abuse
  • Online resources at http://Proverbs31.org/forgiveness

VERDICT:  4 Stars.  A bit repetitive at times, but certainly helpful for those who are struggling with the issue of forgiveness

For more on the topic of forgiveness, see these posts:

The Opportunity of Forgiveness

A World Without Forgiveness

Forgiveness: It Does a Body Good

 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I implore you– Part 2

Part 2 (first and final measure)

What does the Bible say?

Revelation 21:

1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

A long-awaited day. A day awe and joy so full you cry with relief. A day that reinforces all the promises, validates all the heartache, and ends the unnecessary. In this season of Lent as we look toward the day our King died for His people, His loves . . . this vision comforts. His love is so great; that like a hen covering her chicks, He took the disgusted spit in the face that we deserved. He took the slap that was for our shame, the angry clenched fist bruised and broke His skin instead of ours. The lashes meant for the criminal he willingly accepted. So much so that His countenance no longer resembled the Lord and Teacher His disciples came to know.

This Christ, the same Christ we put to death and who defeated it Is the Christ I follow. This Christ who says to me truly, truly; is the Christ Lord Jesus that is not just a swear word to me. He is my teacher, my confidant and loving Abba, Father. This is what the title Christian means and represents. I bring shame if I carry it carelessly. Therefore, I expect any church I attend to take this title and responsibility with the same seriousness. I expect any church that claims the title of Christ to believe in EVERY, SINGLE, TRUTH, written down and handed down to us in the Holy Bible. The true word of God. Anyone that selects as they wish, or adds a meaning without context, or intentionally disregards anything; should take a good long look at Revelation 22: 18 & 19.

Churches, Pastors, remember please. Remember your duty. Your sacred job to tell the truth. Your job is not to pander, it is not to spare feelings. (Re-read the new testament if you think Jesus did.) Your job is to unburden the burdened. To free the trapped. Your job is to warn those who blindly go. To warn the ignorant and hope they return to God and away from worldly temptations. And your job is the most important job on the planet.

John 14:

 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 ` Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

 

 

For this reason, God’s word must be the Christians first and final measure.  The rule by which we test all things. The standard for all templates of worship must follow the instruction, the guidebook and sacred history that is the Bible. It proves itself true time and time again. It shows us truths of heaven that are but shadows on this earth. Just as Jesus said.

 

John 14:

“They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

 

 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian* Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

*Christian: the ancient text reads “catholic,” meaning the whole Church as it confesses the wholeness of Christian doctrine.

Are You Missing Something?

In a recent post, I talked about the sermon my family heard the Sunday after Thanksgiving in South Carolina.  It was a good one.  However, there was something missing in the service itself.

It was contemporary — not my favorite, I love the liturgy.  However, I can enjoy a contemporary service now and then. But this one was missing some key pieces.  First of all, no confession!  To me, this is crucial.  We can’t appreciate the light if we don’t understand our own darkness, which is sin. Without sin, all the darkness around us is reduced to bad luck, or something we can blame on another person.  Worse yet,  if we don’t acknowledge our sin, there is no need for the good news of the gospel.  We can save ourselves by becoming better people.

Also, no recitation of the Lord’s Prayer of the Apostle’s Creed.  Because we are sinners, we constantly need to remind ourselves of just who God is and what He has done for us.  Advent is a time, like Lent, when we should be pondering these things.  When we rush too quickly into Christmas, we forget the message of Advent– the anticipation, the meditation, the true joy of knowing that Christ came in human form to die for each of us.

So, don’t leave out the important stuff.  Don’t leave it out of the church service or out of your life.  Take time to appreciate the real meaning of Advent– confess, give thanks, remember Who you believe in and why. Christmas will mean so much more when you realize why we needed it so much.

For another post on a similar topic:

“Hello – It Is Not Christmas Yet”

Beginning the Day with Prayer

Writing about the Lord’s Prayer yesterday reminded me of this beautiful rendition by Charlotte Church.  I’m posting it as a reminder to begin your day with prayer.

Beginning to Pray

In the 6th chapter of Matthew, Jesus gives some instructions about how to pray.  He cautions against praying in a way that is boastful, or calls attention to the prayer;  he advises against using flowery phrases and unnecessary words. We should begin with a proper attitude. Then he tells the disciples to “Pray … like this:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.”  Matthew 6:9-13

This, of course, is known as the Lord’s Prayer, and most Christians repeat it every week during the worship service.

Today I’d like to focus on the beginning words of this prayer, because they are so important.  The first word is not “my” but “our.”  This reminds us that just as there is a vertical relationship in prayer(me and God), there is also a horizontal relationship (me and other believers).  Prayer and faith are communal.  We have brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are meant to be in fellowship with one another.  There are no lone ranger Christians.

The second word is “father.”  This is the most frequent image Jesus uses to describe God, and that was unusual at the time.  God is not a judge to be feared, but the head of our family, someone who loves us.  His discipline is not intended to simply punish, but to correct and edify us.  He cares for us as a loving parent and his actions are always for our good.

Whenever we pray, begin as Jesus taught.  Pray to a Heavenly Father who loves not only you, but the whole family of God.

Over and Over

As for myself, let me say that I am a doctor and a preacher.  I am as learned and experienced as any of those who are so presumptuous and confident.  Yet I do as a child that is learning the Catechism.  I read and repeat in the morning and whenever I have time, the Ten Commandments, Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, etc.  I daily read and study the Catechism, and still I am not able to master it as thoroughly as I wish.  I must remain a child and a pupil of the Catechism, and this I do very willingly.

Martin Luther

If Martin Luther was willing to study  the basics of the faith over and over, shouldn’t each of us be willing to do likewise?