Saturday, August 14, 2010

as far as the eye can see. as deep as the heart can be

So I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. Let's just say I'm kind of struggling with it right now. Struggling to forgive someone who hurt me. Someone by who I by no means hate, in fact I still love them. But someone who I am deeply angry with and have found myself thinking "I'm never going to be able to forgive you."

I know that as Christian we need to forgive others, just as God forgives us. I mean, think about it: God sent his only Son, Jesus to be sacrificed on a cross for us. That was his way of not only saving, but also forgiving us. Even after all of the things the people on this earth have done and are continuing to do, Jesus dies on a cross to forgive us. Everything we genuinely ask forgiveness of him, he gives it without a second thought. Shouldn't we be able to do the same? Maybe its because we're human.

Anyways, I just don't know how to go about this. I know I should forgive. I also know that forgiveness is a process, it takes time. Until you really let go, its a daily decision to forgive someone who wronged you. I know its the right thing to do, I know its what God wants us to do. Don't get me wrong, I want to forgive. But I don't feel like it. I don't feel like I'm being honest if I say I've forgiven this person, because in my heart, I'm still really angry with them. But it really scares me when I think to myself that I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive them.

I know that this is part of the reason I've been feeling low. Having anger and resentment towards someone (especially someone you really care about) is a heavy burden. I know that forgiveness is the way to go. It allows us to let go. Its also a way of showing love. Really, one of the ultimate ways of showing love. But how can I let this go? I can't just make it go away just like that. I also want to forgive wholeheartedly. I don't want to just say words, I want to believe in what I'm doing. It has to be real. But what if the person you're angry with hasn't even asked to be forgiven? What if they don't even think they've done anything wrong, even though its been pointed out to them? Forgiving someone who wants to be forgiven is one thing. But forgiving someone who hasn't asked for it? How do you do that?

So for anyone who actually reads my blog: what does forgiveness mean to you? How do you truly forgive someone? What do you think?

Good stuff to look at:

1 John 3:9-12

Anyone who says he is walking in the light of Christ but dislikes his fellow man, is still in darkness. But whoever loves his fellow man is 'walking in light' and can see his way without stumbling around in darkness and sin. For he who dislikes his brother is wandering in spiritual darkness and doesn't know where he is going, for the darkness has made him blind so that he cannot see the way. I am writing these things to all of you, my little children, because your sins have been forgiven in the name of Jesus our Savior.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

i can see it in your eyes...

So here's my interesting story for the day. At Panera Bread, I am required to wear a name tag. Last summer, I made a Harry Potter one. I made it to wear the day the new movie came out in theaters (I'm a dork I know). I drew it by hand myself. I drew Harry in the bottom right hand corner and wrote my name in the same font that is used for the title of the books. It's pretty sweet if I do say so myself. So I kept it, and continue to wear it at work. I get comments on it quite a bit form kids and adults alike. They compliment me on my drawing skillz or they ask me if I like Harry Potter (well duh I do!); I've had some fun conversations with the costumers because of it. Well a couple days ago, I had a group (a woman, and two men) ask me about it. It went something like this:

Woman: "Is that supposed to be you?"
(me and the guys laugh)
Younger guy: "No, its Harry Potter!"
Me: "Yeah."
Younger guy: "I love Harry Potter."
Me: "Yeah, me too!"
Younger guy: "But I got frustrated with it. Fantasy always gets me annoyed. Its so good. But its not real."
Me: "Yeah, I hate that too."
Younger guy: "But God is real. And I'm glad of that."
Me: "That's right, Amen!"
(younger guys holds out his hand so that I can shake it)
Younger guy: "And when I get to heaven and see Jesus, well it'll be a whole lot better than that fantasy stuff."
Me: "Yep, that's absolutely right!"
(we finish the conversation, and I think to myself: well that was cool. About five minutes later, the older guy comes back)
Older guy: "When he started talking about God, you responded very quickly. Are you a believer?"
Me: "Yes, I am."
Older guy: "That's great...I thought you were, I could see it in your eyes."

Whoa. You could see it in my eyes? I've heard of actions speaking louder than words, but being able to see what a person believes just by looking at them? I guess this is what people mean by wearing their hearts on their sleeve. This guy could tell I was a follower of God just by the way I behaved and by something in my eyes. Incredible. It reminded me of the bible verse: "You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?...Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions." (Matthew 7:16 and 20 NLT) To me this says we really need to be mindful of the way we act. Even though you should take time and get to know someone before you make judgements, you are always judged and judge right away when you meet someone.

This also reminded me of another quote. But not from the Bible. From the film Batman Begins. There's a part of the movie where Bruce Wayne is kind of putting on an act so that people won't suspect him of being Batman. So he relishes in his millionaire lifestyle- buying lots of fancy cars, dating multiple women, going to swanky places and making small talk with other wealthy people, and of course spending lots of money. His attitude is very couldn't-care-less, rude, and rather conceited. When he runs into his childhood friend, Rachel she chides him for acting like this when there are important issues to be worrying about. Bruce tries to tell her that this act isn't who he really is: "Rachel, all of...all this...It's... it's not me. It's...inside, I am...I am more." Rachel responds: "Bruce...deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be. But it's not who you are's what you do that defines you."

Powerful stuff. The thing is, we can say we believe in God. We can even be on fire for him in our hearts. But if we're not doing anything to show that, then its all a waste. This also reminded me of a song:

Even though we are saved through grace and not through our "good deeds", you can't have faith without action. But you can't have action without faith either. They go together. I know that when I know someone who says they love God and they want to live for them but then do something that doesn't back that up, I question if they really believe what they say they believe.

The thing that really got me about what happened at work was the fact that this guy could tell I was a believer by the way I acted. But I must confess, that many times I don't act like a christian at all. My behavior is not always very Christ-like. I know I need to be living for Jesus, but I often don't. Some days I'm just living to get by. I don't even know how this guy saw that I was a God follower- I mean, I was at work, probably looking miserable and bored out of my mind. But just the little things- agreeing about what his friend had to say about God, being enthusiastic about it, and something "in my eyes" told him all he needed to know. That's the thing, we don't need to have a big show and be up on stage and say "Hey! I believe in God!" Someone once said that when all the world is screaming, the way to get noticed is to whisper.

So remember. Be conscious of how you act and present yourself. Whats in your heart is extremely important, but if your not living it (and I use living as a verb- because a verb is something you do) than its pointless. People can't always see whats inside- you will be judged according to how you act. Wear your heart on your sleeve."It's not who you are underneath, its what you do that defines you." Remember that. Because someone could be watching.