Yeah But Forgiveness

I used to have a “Yeah But” problem. Sometimes I still do, especially when explaining to My Father why it is not possible for me to forgive someone. Do you have a “I’ll forgive you but” problem, like me? 

“Yeah but” they hurt me bad. “Yeah but” you don’t understand. “Yeah but” it is not fair! “Yeah buts”, I learned was just my excuse for my sin of being unforgiving. Without total forgiveness we tend to bring our past hurts with us into our future. We may think we are fine but beneath our “I’m fine smile.”
being unforgiving can silently fester deep within our hearts.

The house was filled with the smell of fresh baked cookies. I was not married long when I decided to surprise “X” with some warm chocolate chip cookies. When he walked through the door, I gave him one to try. “WHY did you put so many chips in these!! And you put way too many nuts in them too!!” He was yelling at me for making cookies with too many chips and nuts. Baffled, I swallowed my hurting heart that crept up in my throat. The “X” said, “I am going bowling; catch You later.” I thought good he left! I will re-home these cookies to someone who would appreciate them. My neighbor was  happy to receive the cookies. Still baffled about the whole incident I shoved that experience down in my heart.

Not too many days later, the “X” started yelling at me for sitting on my behind all day while he worked. His proof that I did nothing was dust on the top of the refrigerator. Guilty. There was dust up there but he missed acknowledging the rest of the house was clean and dinner was ready.

Oh yeah, dinner. Stuffed Cornish hens and rice, salad, vegetables and dessert. He wasn’t impressed. “Come on, we are going out!” he proclaimed. “But dinner is all ready. I cooked all day,” I said. He gave me his hurry up look and said, “Shove it in the refrigerator.” Another baffling incident that confused me. So I shoved that hurt down in my heart where hurts were starting to pile up.

Then came the day he hit me. It was the first time, on the way to church. All because we didn’t agree on a place to eat after church. No longer did I want to go to church with him. What a joke of a marriage!  The “X” could always put on a smile and be oh so helpful and nice to everyone…but me. He walked in with his smile. I walked in with a tear stained face and another hurt shoved down in my heart. The bruises were a pretty purple in a few days. He sent me a dozen carnations–the first of many dozens as it was his way of thinking it made the abuse okay. The so-called marriage continued down a slippery hill of destruction. Soon my heart was full of hurt.

Every morning, the “X” would tell me he “loved me.” If I did not say it back he would stand over me and wait until I told him I loved him. I pleaded with the LORD to help me. He did and was —if only I had listened. In order to make an honest woman out of me, I was impressed to add three words to the forced “I love you” in the morning. As soon as I heard the door slam, I added -”in the LORD.”

The heap of hurt in my heart kept growing. More baffling examples of his behavior are:

  • Putting a frozen turkey next to me in bed and told me to warm up to that.
  • Training his dog to bite at me.
  • Punching me in the head like a boxer when I did not want to go out with him, as I didn’t feel well.
  • Telling me to leave,  then blocking the door when I tried too, shoving me against the wall.
  • Chasing me with a crowbar, holding a hammer over my head and pointing a shotgun at me…and more!

So finally I heard the still small voice of the LORD when I pleaded for protection and help. Simply put I heard, “I gave you a brain, use it.”  Although I left and went back to a “promise keeper, changed man” twice. The change? He treated me worse each time I came back after about a week. The third time I left, I didn’t go back.

The most important thing the LORD impressed upon my heart was that I needed to forgive him before I left. This is where I began to have the “Yeah Buts.” My heart full of hurts had to be cleaned out like the cookies on my computer. But I didn’t know how as my “Yeah Buts” hindered true forgiveness and the freedom it brings. 

The cure for the “Yeah Buts” is two powerful words that popped up in my heart. “NO BUTS!” 

I knew I had to make a decision. Was it easy? NO BUT….God’s grace, mercy and love working in my heart and mind gave me the courage and wisdom to make the impossible possible. I totally forgave the “X” before leaving the last time. I asked the LORD to cleanse my heart out of all the pent up hurts. After many tears from allowing the hurts I buried so deep, to come to the surface to deal with them, I lay them down forevermore. Freedom! God’s ways are sure and true. Yes, I remember the pain of former days but they do not hurt me. The “X” has moved on and I have no ill feeling towards him. I love him in the LORD and wish him the best. I know I have the BEST life ever, free from the past hurts in mind and soul.

How many times have we been in a situation and told a person, I forgive you but thought…. “you don’t deserve my forgiveness; or do you know how much you hurt me!” Or I will forgive you “IF you don’t go out doing that any more!” A too common mistake is bringing the subject or discussion up again. Like picking on an old scab we make ourselves bleed again. If we bring up old hurts or discussions to each other; did we really forgive each other? Thankfully, the LORD doesn’t have the “Yeah But” condition as His Word says He forgives us. When God forgives He forgets. How far is the East from the West? 

Psalms 103:12 (NASV) As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

“Yeah Buts” sometimes come back like a bad case of hiccups. When the “Yeah Buts” show up we need to remind ourselves “NO BUTS” is the Way to Freedom. Our Father has forgiven us of all of our sins. Jesus suffered pain we can not even imagine providing The Way to forgiveness for us. I am glad God didn’t say, “Brenda I will forgive you BUT first you must lose 50 lbs,  cut up your credit card, never get angry again, never miss church and give up Snickers bars!” So glad God is not like that. God does what He says and states His conditions (IF) in His Word.

1 John 1:9 (NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Jesus said, (Matthew) 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Don’t forget to forgive yourself. Forgiving myself for my many foolish choices was far more difficult than forgiving others,  but it is just as necessary.

 

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The Bait

riverbankWhen I was growing up we didn’t do a lot of fishing.  Once in a while my dad would take us down to the river bank. I love the thought of catching fish but I hated the thoughts of killing a worm or even touching them. My dad would bait my hook.. I wasn’t a natural fisher-kid. I think I was only about eight or nine, and everywhere I threw my line  I got snagged. I lost the sinkers, hook and the bait. One time I almost lost the whole pole

My dad was getting frustrated with me. He told me if I lost another sinker or if I got’ my line caught in weeds again, it was over. Seems my fishing days were on the line, literally. This made me sad. I was just beginning. Even at a young age I was not a quitter.

It was getting dark and my dad said I had to reel  my line in. I was petrified. I thought for sure my line was snagged.. My fishing line was going back and forth in the current. Strange I thought. I did not mention this to my dad as I felt like a failure already.  Now, the time of facing the music had come because we were going home.

caught oneMy dad came over to watch me reel in my line. To my great surprise there was a fish on the end of my line! To me that was a miracle! What I thought was a snag on a branch was actually this fish swimming around trying to figure out how to get unhooked. My dad came to my rescue as I never caught a fish before; I also never even took one off the hook. I felt bad for this fish. He was blinking his big eyes at me while hanging by the huge embedded hook tn his jaw. My dad said the fish was not big enough to keep so he got the hook out and released the Sucker (fish) back in the river. I hope it lived a long and happy life. Somehow the type of fish, a Sucker, is how we are to get sucked in by Satan’s hand-crafted and sharp hooks.

Sometimes I do the same stupid “mistakes” over and over again They are not really mistakes. A mistake sounds so much nicer than — sin. Regardless of what the sin is, it seems to pull me down the river and I can’t stop because of the hook in my jaw.

We all have weaknesses and I know full well what mine are. As foolish as it is sometimes I go fishing for them. Satan uses many things to bait us back into sin . He knows our weaknesses and how to lure us with his baited hook Once we take the bait we have “pleasure for a short time.” The really bad news is the bait he uses covers the hidden sharp hook. That hook will embed deeply into our jaw. We could easily die with the hook of Satan embedded in our jaw.

This is wisdom from the Old Testament even though it is not addressing hooks in the jaw….it could be applied to any sin in our past that tempts us.

Genesis 19:17 (NASB)

17 When they had brought them outside,  one said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.”

Thankfully, our fish story doesn’t end there. Our Father will come to rescue us, when we repent and ask for help; He will gently get the hook of Satan out of our mouth. We have a loving Father in Heaven and Jesus our Savior died to save us from the sins that easily beset us. GOD LOVES US ALWAYS!

Galatians 1:3-5…3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil page, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.

These days I don’t fish. I still don’t like worms. However, I still get tempted by things in the world. Regretfully at times I take the bait. Then I am hooked again, needing to be rescued. God is graceful and compassionate. I get so tired of falling for the same old line yet the pull of the current seems too strong to resist. I know it is not too strong though as the LORD will make us a way of escape It is a choice to take the bait of Satan.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has over taken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

May we never forget God loves us and gave His ALL for us The question that is in my heart of hearts is will I give Him my all, always. May we ignore the bait meant to take us down and hold on to JESUS who wants only the best for us. Our Prevailing Hope to overcome temptation is asking the LORD for strength. We can prevail over and walk away from whatever the most enticing bait. With God all things are possible. It is our choice to prevail over the besetting sin or take the bait and pay the consequences.

choice-

Brenda McKee