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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Not the Best, Not the Worst

WE EACH come to life with a full set of emotions through which we sense and intuit our world. It would not be life if we didn’t feel. And of course we feel many times before we think. Our thinking is influenced a great deal by how we feel. But if we continue to allow our feeling its full scope of influence we will be driven from shore to sea and back and fro without steady case for sense. Just the same, if we think too much about things and don’t try and gain a sense for how we should feel, we make decisions that may be short on wisdom.
There is always a balance to be achieved in life. Besides getting the thinking/feeling balance right we have the opportunity to get another balance right.
Sometimes we are praised too much and we feel overly confident in our capacities.
Sometimes we get criticised and we feel overly fallible regarding our abilities.
The truth is we are not as good as we are told we are and we are not as bad as we are told we are. There is a midline truth regarding where we are at any given moment.
We are not the best—whilst we strive to be the epitome of Jesus we will never be perfect. We won’t even be a trifle as good as our Lord in any area; yet, having been given the assurance that we will arrive in heaven spotless and pure, we don’t give up on what God’s doing in and through us in this life.
We are not as good as we sometimes believe we are.
But we are nowhere near as bad as we think we are either.
People will sometimes find fault with us and we may even be quick to do that very thing to ourselves, but we are never condemned and we are never shut down without hope. If we are criticised we may stew on the feedback for days; it detracts from our joy and we begin to get angry, resentful or anxious. No matter what we have done or not done, we are not as bad as we sometimes think we are.
***
We are neither as good as we think we are nor are we as bad as some people might tell us. God would remind us that our moments of perfection are fleeting at best. Just the same, our moments of uselessness are just as fleeting. There is broad middle-ground whereby we stand safely as an adequate and acceptable human being; one that God dearly loves.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.
Dedicated to Pastor Dale Stephenson.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Navigating the Spiritual Wilderness

“There are 3 C’s in life: CHOICES, CHANCES and CHANGES. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.”
— Steve Gladen
I went to a café church service recently and was blessed to hear this musical arrangement called the Autumn Thorns. But it wasn’t their distinctive music that most captivated me; it was the haunting realism of a guitarist—barely twenty by the look of him—who spoke of the meaning behind the words of a song called, something like, Show Me the Way Out, Lord. Both of the young men who were playing spoke about the song, but it was the second who spoke about the song reflecting the spiritual wilderness we can find ourselves in. He identified with the idea, and even admitted he was still in his own spiritual wilderness. It was a moment of raw truth as he exposed himself with the emotional maturity of someone at least ten years older.
I was immediately touched by his candour. For a young person to be so publicly gallant was not only a healing thing for him, but in an audience of 60 people there must have been a least another couple of people who would have been struck in a positive way by such a message.
What he was really saying is, there is no shame in being in a spiritual wilderness place.
Views on Spiritual Wilderness
Being in a spiritual wilderness place can be viewed in at least a couple of different ways. It can be seen as a testing ground toward the maturing of us through a difficult season, or it can be seen from another person’s viewpoint as an encouragement for something they are experiencing. The admission of one person’s problem encourages another on their problem.
Being in the spiritual wilderness place is not a bad thing. If it’s us and we are patient we will gain much learning in negotiating the tremulous pathway. We become bigger for it. If it’s somebody else who is to benefit—or if we are that somebody else—then there is glory to God in the highest for having created a sense for community in breaking down the barriers of isolation. The truth is exposed and that’s always a good thing.
Spiritual wilderness places are necessarily isolating. But when we tell on the spiritual wilderness by being honest about it we begin the journey through it.
The less isolated we feel the more we are inspired to make the choice and take a chance to change.
***
Admission of our problems before trusted others is our best weapon on the journey to change. See what God does with this bold expression of faith. The only way out is through, and through has its power in being honest from start to finish.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Touching the Awkward Tangibility of Loss


“The pain of watching the contraction of a life once influential and strategic, falling into a vague netherworld of confusion, pain and isolation was tangible for me.”
— Jill Birt
So it was; an observation of the starkest reality—a wife observing her at-one-time serene, venerated and creative husband fold into an ever-embracing abyss—the subtle yet horrendous slide into the strangling hands of the nemesis, cancer; how can “tangible” and the experience of ambiguous loss coexist conceptually, I wondered?
But to see it as it unfolded before her eyes—an inescapable reality of the cruellest kind—could be none other than tangible.
The passage of deterioration as reconciled by a loved one as they watch on—like paint drying or grass growing—as their dear one passes from one steady state of comparative normalcy to a fraction of the same thing, is sure. It is a definite thing that, despite an emotional denial, has a sure outcome; just like we’re all destined to die once.
Yet, without warning those disdaining milestones arrive. The footprints of degeneration leave their imprint on our eyes, within our minds, polarising our hearts—in another detestable reminder of what is coming.
Touching the awkward tangibility of loss is a brave move, yet so inevitable we count ourselves no hero—indeed, we’d do anything to shun those cheering our bravery; especially if this slide we witness were to arrest itself and miraculously reverse.
But alas, it won’t. Most medical miracles—in the longest run of things—do not arrive and we’re left to wrangle with an enigma and that is life.
These sorts of experiences of ambiguous loss—a loss made worse by the fact that it’s not strictly a loss... yet—in some terms, a partial or incomplete loss—do require us to get into the sandbox of reality and consider the senses as its sand runs through our fingers. We have no choice. This is so tangible it’s not funny—it’s never more serious.
And yet this ‘curse’ of not being able to escape such a dastardly reality translates into a blessing! All God wants from any of us is to wrangle with our realities in as perfect an honesty as we can muster; and practice makes us better. God’s got the best ahead of us, somehow.
***
Loss is so tangible that we are forced to face reality. From such a horrible place, however, as we bravely tackle our reality, God gifts us the character to endure it. And endurance is not all we gain; accepting reality is like getting the keys to the city of life. We may find life takes on a new dimension after loss—after the passage of sufficient time. But we will always miss the one who (or the reality that) has gone.
***
Dedicated to the enduring memory of Peter Birt.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.
Reference: Jill Birt, “Ambiguous Grief: A Carer’s Journey” in The Advocate (Perth, Western Australia, Baptist Churches of Western Australia, May 2013 edition, available here), pages 8-9.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Anger – The Boomerang That Stang


“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Mark Twain (1835–1910)
Such a liberating truth is this one that we may stand amazed at the power we can redeem for ourselves and our social situations for simply getting out of the way of the delusion of control.
Hazard to say, we do not control our world. The moment we think we do the emotions go awry. It is good to know this. It is good that it is front of mind in the tremulous moment, for we will all find the experience for anger. We will all be pushed too far.
There comes a time for all of us where logic gets tossed out the window. Then what?
Acknowledging the Delusion and the Trick
In some ways we have covered the delusion; that we can control our world—and with it, our emotional space. We cannot; neither one, nor the other. But now we come to the trick.
Whether we think that the devil has invented this anger as a trick or not is perhaps irrelevant. What is poignant, though, is the matter of the consequence of unbridled anger, whether it is seething or spewing.
Seething anger eats away at us quietly, but in vitriolic ways. We burn from within, and what is burnt is somewhat destroyed. That is not to say that the tissue within the vessel cannot be healed. But healing will require amending the cause of the distress.
Spewing anger harms our relationships because we cannot retrieve the words once they are born into the world. But we are wrong if we think the other person is still hurt more than we are. Sure, they will be hurt and they may never forgive us, but we, at the same time, and for a longer time, will not forgive ourselves. Whether we acknowledge that or not is beside the point. Evidence of self-condemnation is a lack of peace and the eventual investment in the lies of denial. Deeper below our conscious thinking state resides the unconscious thinking states where an invisible judge sits and passes judgment. We may call it the conscience. Uncontrolled anger is the villain that stands trial and it’s prosecuted every time justice is invoked.
***
Anger that is born in attempting to control our world is both a delusion and a trick. Most anger is a boomerang that has a surprising sting about it. Having flung that boomerang of vitriolic hurt we become stung by the boomerang as it comes back with as much force as we deployed it with in having flung it in the first place.
Anger’s a boomerang we fling,
But it often returns a sting.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Healing Presence – Depths of Empathy

“One truth about healing presence is that the depth to which you can go within yourself corresponds directly to the depth at which you can connect intimately with another. This holds true for all you experience—the pain and the joy.”
James Miller & Susan Cutshall
Many have attempted to differentiate empathy from sympathy, which is just a felt manifestation of compassion. Sympathy is unremarkable in that we all have the ability to be sympathetic—to simply feel. But empathic persons are those who are well groomed in the finery of their own suffering. They have experienced the depths of themselves and have, therefore, the inner resources to go deep with another. Anxieties at various points have been met and conquered.
Depths of empathy are the minimum attribute of the person practicing healing presence.
The empathic person has the beauty of other-centeredness about them. They are able to journey with another person, step for step, knowing that with each step is healing presence.
But so what. What difference should this make?
If we are to strive to understand people, help people, or contribute to healing them in Jesus’ name, we need to imagine ourselves capable of going at least to the other person’s depth. If we cannot, we cannot help them. If we can endure something similar to their pain, we are fit to appropriately venture through the jungle of their winter of discontent with them. And still, we must be humbled by what they bear! Theirs is no small suffering. We may be able to endure it, as they are able to, but it would be a struggle, as it’s a struggle for them who actually experience such a groaning abyss.
Heights and Depths
It’s true that if we wish to bear the shattering depths of our experiences we are equally able to access the raucous heights, also.
Wherever there is the capacity to endure great pain there is the capacity to experience great joy. At both poles of the pain-joy continuum there are sweeping ironies, but only the one who depends on Christ can endure this. There is great personal strength required to patiently bear pain, and such forbearance delivers its own blessing by faith.
Where there are depths, there are equivalently heights.
***
The carer’s challenge is one not of sympathy, but of empathy; the ability to walk side by side with another, without words, to experience their depths with them. As it’s a privilege to care, it’s a privilege to suffer with someone, as it’s a privilege to share in their joy. As Paul says, “Weep with those who weep; rejoice with those who rejoice.”
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Accessing Garden-Variety Courage

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
— Mary Anne Radmacher
The uniqueness of our experience leads us to face similar challenges to each other, yet always with an incomparable perception of those particular experiences. Life requires this above sense of garden-variety courage, if we’d choose to live it well—or as well as can be expected.
Your garden-variety courage is the ever so common expression, lived in a trillion different ways by persons of a billion or more dissimilarities. Garden-variety courage is common to all who try.
In other words, garden-variety courage is known to basically every human being, by the matter of their waking up and trying again, each and every day. We know this personally. We know how, by life, we feel destroyed by night, yet we’re not defeated by recognition of the day following when we arose and took on our worlds once more.
Acknowledging Our Courage
It’s a simple, though relatively rare thing; to take stock of this personally manifested courage, seeing it within us, and even patting ourselves on the back for it. This courage we exemplify in merely living and breathing and walking and talking is eternally creditable.
Only we can try our best. No one else can do that for us. So, we’re credited.
And as we make our daily decisions, as they’re committed to word and action in the moment, we can notice our courage to not buckle by running, and we can enjoy the knowledge that our courage makes all the difference.
One Foot In Front Of The Other
When courage of the garden-variety is analysed, found pound for pound in what its substance is, we notice this thing about it—it’s nothing more complicated than putting one metaphorical foot in front of the other.
By doing this, we’ve agreed to sustain belief in ourselves, even as God believes in us.
When we believe in ourselves enough to continue on a hard path, one at times filled with pungency and drudgery, putting one foot in front of the other and so on, we exist by faith big enough to make required differences, yet small enough to never be too difficult.
***
The dust of life is resiliency in a form that’s so common everyone’s done it. To know that true courage occurs when we get up on the difficult-to-get-out-of-bed morning, when hopelessness invades, or in the prayerful evening where we feel contemptible, as fatigue breaks us, is truth to inspire. You’re courageous just in living. Exercise your garden-variety courage, afresh, today.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Why Do You Speak So Confusingly?

Some people are vocally expressive, yet they mean not everything they say. Others know what they want to say, but when the words flow they don’t come out right. Others again don’t like using words at all.
Generally partners to a marriage speak different languages, especially in conflict. And when communication is the nexus of marriage, couples will inevitably struggle to speak a language both can communicate in. There is hope in slowing down so our emotions can keep up.
***
Every now and then the same issue comes up from a counselling perspective: couples speaking different languages to each other. It seems obvious to me, because of the intensity of the conflict, and the rawness in the emotions, that couples love each other passionately, but they just don’t know how to communicate in a way that meets the other’s need. Added into the mix, just to complicate matters, there is usually a strong theme of emotional baggage that one or both partners carry. We all bear baggage.
With the burden of baggage, and the confounding characteristic of hearing a foreign language spoken to you from a loved one—for instance, your marriage partner—there is no question that you would be frustrated enough to respond in divisive ways.
Our partners, not knowing we cannot decipher their language, continue to speak up, so the volume of their delivery makes it even harder to comprehend. The more confusion, the more emotions are heightened, and the more both partners are being stressed to the extreme.
Slowing Down and Acknowledging the Communication Problem
Acknowledgement is half the issue, perhaps even more. It’s a good broad general rule. Wherever we acknowledge something as a problem we have arrived at the first step in dealing with it.
The best thing we can do when our emotions are awry, and we scream from within, and we hear echoes of rage from without, is to simply stop. We slow down. We break everything down to slow motion parts. When we are intensely angry, we use the power in our minds to tell ourselves to relax, for no one can tell us to do something when we are feeling this way.
When couples find they are communicating in different languages—where both are being misunderstood—and the other seems to be communicating mixed or even hypocritical messages—we must slow the process, the flow, and the delivery, and lessen the detail within the information.
Then we have a chance at understanding, eventually.
To slow down is to love the relationship as much as we love and fight for ourselves.
***
Relationship conflict is confounded most of all by partners speaking different languages to each other. At times of high confusion it is best to slow down; to stop and reflect; to imagine the calamity from safe distance. We acknowledge we are speaking in different languages to each other. And then, slowly, we begin to tackle the conflict again, always being ready to slow down so our emotions can keep up, so anger is held at bay.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Circular Phenomenon of Biblical Marriage

“No woman wants to be in submission to a man who isn’t in submission to God.”
— T.D. Jakes
Let me attempt to get this idea right on paper without any further delay: there is a circular phenomenon of marriage based on the mode of service and submission.
The wife submits to her husband, but not before her husband submits himself fervently and consistently to God, and such a submission on the husband’s behalf is manifest by the way he serves his wife. The husband serves the wife by doing things for her, and she reciprocates by submitting to his authority under God. The truth is any wife would love a husband who is appropriately submitted to God, because she is respected, trusted, honoured, and dealt with as supremely worthy. She is cherished.
The circular phenomenon involves three parties: the wife, the husband, and God.
Every godly marriage has these three parts to it.
The wife submits to her husband, because her husband serves her, sacrifices himself for her, and puts her before himself. (Sounds like a kind of submission in itself, doesn’t it?) The husband does this because he is submitted to God; importantly, the husband sees intrinsic value in such a service. He cannot not serve his wife. Then God is involved in affirming the marriage in a public way. And marriage where the wife submits because the husband serves is a marriage on display for all to learn from and marvel about. People will marvel at this type of marriage because most wives cannot submit because their husbands do not serve.
It is of great credit to the man in a marriage—the husband of God—that he puts his wife before himself; at all times. The marriage is a great credit to him. And his wife wants everyone to know how loved she feels. She can trust his motives. She knows his intent. And though he is far from perfect, that intent comes shimmering through characterising him—he is characterised as one with potential. He always tries.
So the completion of the circular phenomenon of Biblical marriage is God blessing the wife, as she enjoys the Fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, etc. She enjoys these fruits because the Fruits of the Spirit are manifest in living ways through her husband.
***
The best marriages occur when a wife submits to her husband, because her husband is submitted to God to the point of sacrificing for her; the husband serves his wife in every way he can.
When a wife feels served she feels loved, and God blesses her and the marriage overall with a creditable name. She is proud of her marriage because it pleases God. He is happy because she is happy, but he knows that pleasing God comes before all else—which is why he serves her.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Slowing Down the Pace of Conflict

“You said what!” Peter barked, as his wife of 23 years, Geraldine, suggested resigned, but blithely, “Please mow the darn lawns, now, please!—I’ve waited long enough.”
The mood in the house had reached flash point; both were about to explode.
It may not surprise any of us to find out that this flashpoint moment was reached within a minute or two, with both Peter and Geraldine tired, which exacerbated their intolerance. There was also this worn groove of marital discontent, where Geraldine had would nag and Peter would respond ambivalently to begin with before his anger crashed out of control—and that transition happened at light speed. Sooner or later Geraldine was fearful for the rage she felt she had incited in Peter. He was confused and frustrated—so was she!
Such complex dynamics in relationships can seem impossible to grapple with. Both partners easily find themselves in a place of learned helplessness, without hope for how they might coexist together happily. Never-ending conflicts bring a strained tiredness to a relationship, and if it’s not resolved one or both partners may eventually give up.
But there is one thing we can do in the midst of fiery conflict: when one or both slow the pace of communication down there is much more opportunity for inner reflection. Inner reflection is the encouragement of each person to look at their own role, responsibility, and actions in the conflict.
Whenever someone takes a good look at themselves, and they take the focus off the other person, there is that momentary opportunity—having slowed the pace down sufficiently—to see one’s own contribution to the conflict, and then to own it. Our responsibility is not conditional on them taking their responsibility; our responsibility is to take ownership for what we need to take ownership for.
It’s far too easy to get into the blame game within relational conflict.
It’s much better to understand that within relationships all parties have a role. Rarely if ever does it occur that one person is completely at fault. And even if that were the case, slowing down the process of conflict simply encourages the process of reflection where truth might enter into the psychological domain between the two people.
***
Slowing down the pace of conflict when moods reach flashpoint is the chance the relationship needs in negotiating a perilous path of communication. When we slow down we have time to think, to reflect, to take ownership of our part in the conflict. We can only resolve things when we begin to see our individual role in the conflict.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

When What’s Always Worked Works No More

We are to be forgiven for thinking we know all about life, and the way to run our lives. It works fine—or seems to—until it works no more. Then we arrive headlong through the laundry chute of rejection. When life works no more we venture for another solution or we give up. There is no sense in giving up. But, again, we are forgiven for doing so.
When we get to that place where life works no more, as it is, we do go searching. Sometimes we go searching without even recognising it. Sometimes we find what we are looking for serendipitously. And sometimes we just don’t ever find what we are looking for.
There are so many situations of life this applies to.
We have faith in our way until our way works no more. When God reveals the folly of that way, or that way is just ineffective because times have changed, we must improvise, adapt, and overcome.
When what’s always worked works no more we stand on a precipice. It is an important juncture of life. Not many people will just sit there. Most people prefer to stand, contemplate, and then act. We are blessed to be active moderators of our own lives.
Old Endings and New Beginnings
Just about every end is no new end. Many people have gone before us and have made similar mistakes. Not that we thought of what we were doing as a mistake; not until now. Now we are prepared to turn back to a more studious way.
We can have no new beginning unless there is an ending. There is no fresh start unless we bid farewell to the old way.
When what’s always worked works no more, we begin to see what seemed to work, but never did really. We just had a less mature outlook; we settled for second or third best.
The beauty of life is that there is no shortage of second chances to start afresh. Indeed, every day, hour, and every minute carries with it possibility pregnant for change.
We can feel we are wasting our lives and still God affords us the opportunity, today, and this very moment, to move on. It is always our choice.
***
The grace of God is good in this: we never stop learning and we never stop growing, because life continually challenges us. Grace is sufficient for us. It is strength for our weakness in helping us from one not-so-stable platform in life to another one more secure.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Compassion of Burden Awareness

It’s too easy to imagine that our lives are the only ones under stress. Yet the more stress we encounter the more likely it is that we will isolate ourselves to the island of our distress. Isolation, at least in this way, is like a warning siren that we are losing our emotional grip upon reality.
When we are isolated our burden is magnified. We think more and more on it. Indeed, even our subconscious thought space is filled by a focus on either how badly we are managing our burden or how unfair life is—that we must face such unrelenting stress.
In such a psychological place we barely think of other people.
But other people are just as prone as we are; perhaps even more so in many cases.
***
The idea of loving one another, as Christ commanded us in John 13:34, can be imagined, in the present context, as applicable to not adding to another’s burden. We have no idea what others are dealing with. We cannot think the way they do. We cannot imagine life through their eyes. We don’t even have their situation and all their background with which to advise us. As far as other people are concerned we are blind.
We should not add to another person’s burden; more so, we should be reducing it, by adding to their joy. This can be difficult in the midst of our burden—as we claw away from the islands of our isolating distress. It can seem practically impossible to empathise with someone when we are grappling with the impossible ourselves.
Thankfully we don’t need to overcome this shattering sense of confounding distress.
When we comprehend, afresh, that God’s power is instituted when we come to the end of our own power, we are granted entry into a fabulous thought: our burdens are good, for when we are burdened and too weak to manage them we are ideally placed to trust God in our weakness.
When we admit our weakness and we, therefore, trust God in the midst of it, God’s Spirit gives us this telling knowledge of others and their distress. We become intuitive.
It is a glorious thing when we are empowered of God to consider another’s burden even ahead of our own, because, in that, our burden is reduced as it is considered in the light of reality.
***
One of the greatest practical ways of loving others is to consider their burden and do anything we can to reduce it. When we focus on the other person’s burden, somehow God lessens our burden. Burdens should not isolate us; instead, we should share each other’s burden.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, April 12, 2013

1,000 Reasons to Love, Today

One of the biggest temptations we have in this busy life is to get our tasks before our relationships. Sure, our drivenness to get our tasks under control is generally purposed because of the need we have within for connection: with ourselves, very certainly, but also with others, too.
But like many things in this life, what seems to make sense to us can actually be the wrong way around. When we imagine our relationships taking centre stage somehow we reach for the panic button if we are task-oriented people. If we relationship-oriented, we go in the reverse; our tasks cause us to become frustrated.
Somehow we need to manage both our tasks and our relationships to a satisfactory level. When we achieve this, in those moments of relative time-managed comfort, we feel we have room to move into love.
In reality, there are a thousand reasons to love, today. Additionally, there are a thousand opportunities to love, today. Without getting stuck on the semantics regarding the numerical order in which I’ve said this, it is true; when we see love is our purpose, we integrate it into our tasks and our relationships.
Our tasks and our relationships become seasoned appropriately by a love that considers others, and so much so that we are required to risk our faith to achieve it. We reach out.
In reaching out, by going toward another person in the openness and intimacy of love, we find God blesses us in ways that inspires more love—if we keep going, ignoring nuances of rejection. The more we engage with love the more we see reason for it and opportunities abound in our going out and coming home.
What puts love into proper context is the issue of life and death.
When we remind ourselves that we are finite beings, stationed within a world that appears so crass, but a world, all the same, where love really does reign—because God reigns—we begin to believe again that love never fails. We are not here long. Let us make the most of it.
There is no limit to love and when we submit to love alone—as if submitting to God—all pretence for life, otherwise, is shattered.
Love restores us.
***
Daily life is ripe with opportunities to love and when we sow into love, suchlike, we see the plethora of reasons for love itself. The more we make love our sole goal, the more God will shatter every other thing against the mode of love. If love is for us, nothing could be against us.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What Forgiveness Requires

The act of forgiveness is a mystery to many people. Indeed, in all reality it is a mystery to all of us, though some of us know by faith the rewards that come from forgiving people, and, knowing the faithfulness of God to this end, we are won to forgiveness all in all.
So, for the person who hasn’t known the powerful blessings received from forgiving somebody or a situation, how are they to believe in this power? Should they be expected to believe someone like us who may have some ulterior motive to convince them of this power?
The only way we can truly believe in the power of forgiveness is to risk enough to see its power.
Forgiveness Requires Commitment to Action
God will not show us this power of his grace until we are prepared to commit to the act of doing something to forgive. We cannot forgive by simply saying the words. Forgiveness requires action. And there is nothing that will ever change this.
Forgiveness is not hard when we consider that sacrificial action will achieve overnight what words alone can’t in a hundred years.
When we recognise what it will take to experience forgiveness, we see forgiveness requires of us that we be humbled before the Lord. Only the person willing to give up their pride can forgive—and they only need do it for as long as it takes to experience the power of this forgiveness, because then, when the power shows itself, we are convinced and we gain something superior to pride.
Forgiving someone requires that we do something we wouldn’t ordinarily do.
Forgiving is about doing something extraordinary; it’s a leap of faith, which is enough to trust God that the action might, of itself, be enough to create an environment of reconciliation.
Why Would We Forgive Otherwise?
We wouldn’t forgive otherwise.
If it wasn’t for self-motivation, for the blessing of the peace of mind we get from forgiving, we would remain unconvinced, no matter what God said about it. But praise the Lord that we have, in forgiveness, a way of reconciling, of restoring, of renewing.
We ought to be very appreciative that the wisdom of God has foreseen the need to bless people who have loved through forgiveness. I am convinced of this: if we act upon the recognition to forgive, we will be blessed by the true feelings that are a product of forgiveness.
***
Forgiveness requires action. When we have committed to forgive someone to the point that we act, God shows us his power by the way he blesses us. When we understand forgiveness requires sacrificial action, and we do it, we know a key life skill and life improves in its abundance.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.