Carefree like Clouds
My husband and I met a man yesterday at a chance seating in a restaurant who joined our conversation. Somehow we got on the subject of living with fear. This man was a pastor who had recently met with a man who experienced waves of emotion washing over him leaving him filled with fear. He offered a scripture verse for those moments: “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Comforting? yes. This scripture is a weapon against fear. Wield it as a sword by saying it out loud. Spoken out loud, the words go past the mind and speak strong truth to our own spirits. Our spirit recognizes the truth and agrees.
Little anxieties, little stresses, big worries, big concerns can lead to raw fear. There are valid reasons for fear to be on our doorstep. The under-girding truth is that God is bigger than fear. He is not surprised by our circumstances. He has a plan through it. He has a plan to work out all details in our lives, including times when we mess up. Giving God praise for all things, even bad things, helps set the course. As we walk through it, God sends the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 94:18019 reads, “If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up.In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” As part of our Christian journey, we can give God more and more of our fears and learn to live in peace and confidence in knowing how big our God is, how much He loves us, and how infinite are his plans for good for us.
Yes, it’s possible to forgive someone, even after they die. Why should I forgive someone if they’re dead? This question came up in a sozo session recently. The answer is because it’s affecting us who are living. When someone dies, their memory lingers on in our minds. The words a loved one may have said still echo in our hearts continuing to give us comfort, or possibly dread, long after they’re gone. Even after someone dies, their actions to others linger on as well.
We can still be hurt and hindered by a conversation that happened 30 years ago even if we have no idea where the person is. We are forgiving the person for saying the hurtful words at the time that the words caused us pain. We forgive the person who said whatever caused pain since it was not in agreement with how the Lord sees us, based on what God says in scripture. We may need to repent for giving the person who said it more power than God’s positive view of us in our mind.
Forgiveness breaks the power of these words or actions to hurt us any longer. By forgiving we are releasing over to God our rights to stay angry and “hold it against them in our hearts.” It’s like opening our hands to release the incident, or person. God picks this up. He will deal with the person and incident. Even if they’re dead, God can give blessing, peace and restitution to us when we offer him our forgiveness.
The process of forgiveness never makes what happened okay. Rather it frees us to receive God’s healing power of restoration and healing.
Preemptive forgiveness was a new concept for me recently. This tool works with people we live with or work with closely who habitually do things that bug us. Is someone neat or are they compulsive about order around them? Is someone forgetful about leaving the light switch on using energy and raising the electricity bill or are they careless or lazy? It depends on perspective.
If I know I can get upset by someone’s idiosyncrasies, I can choose to be forgiving of this trait in advance. I can choose to look at something in a different light. I can choose to see the behavior in a different light. By example, I can plan around someone’s need to have everything explained slowly in detail by allowing extra time or delegating. I can choose to see this as thoroughness, and verbally acknowledge that I appreciate their thoroughness.
The point of preemptive forgiveness is to not to let frustration give way to anger or resentment. Then I have an issue to deal with. Preemptive forgiveness preempts resentment getting a toe-hold in the relationship. Preemptive forgiveness allows me to walk in grace which enables me to see beyond an upsetting way and invite God in to work with the situation.