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Today’s Truth

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:13

Friend to Friend

I promised myself that I would never buy a house that was a “fixer-upper.” I don’t like fixing things. I want everything to be fixed before I move in. But there I was – buying a town house that needed so much work even the realtor couldn’t believe my husband and I wanted to buy it. Why didn’t someone stop me? No one did, so the sale was made and we went to work. Actually, my son and husband went to work while I went crazy.

I had no idea how horrible the process of remodeling could be. Layer after layer of dirt, grime, stains and ugliness was stripped away. Rotten kitchen cabinets were torn from the walls and rusty appliances were replaced. We basically gutted the whole place and rebuilt it – while living in it. I was not happy!

I will never forget the day I woke up to see a toilet sitting at the foot of our bed. That was the moment I resolved to never set foot in another house that required so much work. I am so thankful God does not feel that way about me.

Honestly, I often wonder why God doesn’t just demolish the old me and build a new one. Then He did just that – through a two-year battle with clinical depression. While sitting at the bottom of that dark and slimy pit, the Father lovingly stripped away old fears and insecurities. From the walls of my heart, He tore the rotten attitudes, undisciplined thoughts and unholy desires that had walked me to the edge of my pit – then pushed me in. He replaced rusty old dreams with new ones and basically gutted my life to build a new one, a better one, and a stronger one. Part of that new life was forgiveness. God taught me how to forgive myself so I could then forgive others.

Because forgiveness is so important, it only stands to reason there are roadblocks that can hinder our willingness to forgive. We must make the commitment to identify and remove each one.

Selfishness

Selfishness shouts, “I have been hurt. It is so unfair. I have rights!” What I am really saying is that how I feel about the hurt is more important than forgiving the hurt.

Pride

Pride cries, “Look at what they have done to me. Don’t they realize who I am?” To receive or give forgiveness requires humility.

Low self-esteem

Some of us have built an entire identity around a hurt. The attention we gain from the wrong we have suffered defines who we are. We cherish the pain and refuse to relinquish it for the sake of forgiveness.

Blindness

We may be blind to the fact that we have not forgiven a hurt. We have convinced ourselves that we really have forgiven the one who hurt us by going through the motions and saying the right words without really dealing with the pain. All we have done is dig a hole and bury the pain. As long as hurt is buried alive, it will keep resurrecting itself in our life, but when the hurt is dealt with and forgiveness is given, the pain is buried dead – and it stays dead.

Pain

Forgiveness is spiritual surgery. It exposes old hurts that have never completely healed. We can move, change jobs, change churches, change friends or even change families, but until we yank up the root of bitterness and kill it with forgiveness, we will live with unresolved pain.

Ignorance

Maybe we don’t know how to forgive someone because are under the impression that forgiveness is an emotion or feeling. True forgiveness is a choice – a deliberate choice to release the person who has hurt us from the pain they have caused. We can stop forgiving others when God stops forgiving us.

We need to identify and eliminate the roadblocks to forgiveness so God can set us free, heal our pain, and make us more like Him. Now that is a remodeling job I would welcome.

Let’s Pray

Father, I praise You for the changes You have made in my life through the power of Your forgiveness. Please help me forgive the people who have hurt me just as You have forgiven me.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now it’s Your Turn

Emotional pain can cripple our lives unless we deal with it and forgive the hurt. A family member has wounded you and shows no sign of remorse. Maybe a friend has betrayed you and refuses to apologize. Or you may be struggling to forgive yourself because you don’t think you deserve to be forgiven. None of us deserves forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift from God. Today is the day to make the choice to forgive. Beside each statement below, write the name of someone in your life who needs your forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not limited to those who deserve it. ______________________________

Forgiveness is not limited to those who apologize. ______________________________

Forgiveness is not limited to those who change. ________________________________

Read and memorize 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

More from the Girlfriends

Do you believe it is possible to truly forgive? Mary learned the power of forgiveness as she dealt with painful issues while battling clinical depression. Mary learned that when we refuse to forgive someone, we are handing them the keys to our life and making them our jailer. Mary’s CD, The Power of Forgiveness, is the message of God’s power to forgive and God’s plan for unleashing that power in our lives. Get it today.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

6 Responses to “The Spiritual Fixer-Upper”

  1. Denise says:

    I praise the Lord for today’s message from you. I am struggling with forgiving my sister and friend (the 3 of us live together). When the friend (Sue) moved in with us the beginning of last year, I saw how much she needed to be in control of everything (and she admitted it and lost relationships with some of her family members because of it). My sister (Dottie) has been controlled by people in her life, and always ended up being hurt. I don’t want to see that happen again, but she doesn’t see how much Sue is controlling her. They have given (subtle) hints that I should move. So many people in our 55+ community see what’s happening to them, and me because of it.
    All this to say, I see how selfish I’ve been by feeling hurt with all of this, and how much I need to forgive them, because God has forgiven me.
    Thank you for this message. It gives me peace, hope and praise.

  2. Kathleen says:

    Here’s my conundrum–after the forgiveness, how do you continue to be friends with someone when they continually do the same things over and over. I deal with the problem head on–I confront and we discuss–we apologize & forgive. Then the sun rises and sets and we are back at square one. And so the process goes, on and on and on. At what point do you become fed up that you are forgiving but they are not repenting? This is where I always hit a snag. And I am talking these are friends I’ve had for 20 plus years and I just get tired of the same spinning wheel. Is that wrong?

    • This is a tough question … but a good one! Scripture tells us what to do in Hebrews 12:14 when it says, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” I believe this means that we are to do everything in our power to live in peace with the people in our lives. Then step out of the way and let God deal with them. Pray for them. Ask God to allow you to see them like He sees them. I wrote a book, “Sandpaper People,” that has 12 practical steps we can take to deal with those people who “rub us the wrong way.” I pray God directs your paths as you honor Him by the way you choose to love your sister and her friend.

      Blessings!

  3. Michaela says:

    I have lived in my own world at times because I could not face reality. My family life was hard and it’s better now but still a little hard at times. But as I’ve grown into the woman I am today I still struggle with forgiving ones completely I believe. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve and been an open book for all to know. I had no secrets. Been judged harshly by ones who really didn’t matter to me they did but I should not have let them matter to me. I couldn’t figure out why some people didn’t like me. Maybe because of some of my honesty and openness. Willing to share. But now I’ve claimed up and I’ve got only a handful of friends. So I learned not to be such an open book. I was hurt by a few. I think I’ve forgiven but God says different I believe. I’m going through a no job situation and it’s kind of hard.

  4. Carolann says:

    My son was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago. I left my home in the south to travel up north to help thru surgery and chemo. I had no choice but to rely on family and friends for a place to stay for nearly 6 months. All were gracious and caring except for one. A close friend of more than 25 years was not so gracious. When I needed a place to stay over one particular weekend, she let me know I was not welcomed in her home because she would not be there that weekend and “didn’t like anyone in her house when she wasn’t there”
    I didn’t think I was just anyone..we were best friends. Please help me Lord to forgive her..I cannot do this on my own. .

    • Carolann, you are right! You cannot do this on your own … but I am not the one who can help you. The Father can and will empower you to make the choice to forgive your friend. Don’t throw away 25 years of friendship over her preference about who stays in her house. Surely the love of God can cover that! I’m praying for you friend. Just take a step of faith. God will meet you there. Blessings

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