Nice Is Not Fruit of the Spirit

Nice is not a fruit of the Spirit. I had a lady in my class several years ago that was renowned for her “niceness.” After working through the issues of her heart for several weeks (in intensive inner healing), she finally slammed her fist on the table and said, “I’m sick and tired of being ‘nice.'” I applauded her. As a matter of fact, the entire class gave her an ovation. We had all discerned that we were not able to see her for her true self. Continue reading “Nice Is Not Fruit of the Spirit”

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Wash, Rinse, Repeat. I discovered last week that forgiveness is a lot like shampooing. Well, let me restate that. Forgiveness is not as easy, but it is a lot like shampooing. It’s a process. Anybody that says it’s easy is lying. Without Jesus in our heart, we (as human beings) do not forgive easily. I had a lady in my office just last week because she was still hanging onto unforgiveness regarding an old relationship. I told her she couldn’t move on until she forgives that person.

“I HAVE FORGIVEN HER,” she said through gritted teeth. “BUT SHE SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE THAT TO ME.”

Hmm. Doesn’t sound like forgiveness to me.

First of all, forgiveness doesn’t end in “but.” Secondly, if you grit your teeth at the sheer mention of the forgiven’s” name, chances are you haven’t really forgiven. I felt for the lady. I know how hard forgiveness is. That’s when I realized it’s like shampoo. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. And for me, repeat, repeat, repeat.

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s seldom a one-time deal. I have to do it over and over again. (Forgive, that is, not shampoo.) I usually start the process out of sheer obedience. I do it because I know it pleases God. It doesn’t please me. It doesn’t make me feel good. I don’t like it. It is absolutely contrary to my flesh. Often, my justification is that they don’t deserve it until they apologize. (That reeks of God, doesn’t it? No. It doesn’t. That, my friend, is what my flesh looks like.)

Back to the process of forgiveness. And it’s not to be legalistic. I am a very simple person, and I need things simple. This works for me:

(1) I envision leaving that person at the cross. That’s one of the purposes of the cross — a place to leave our stuff.

(2) I leave the circumstance at the cross. That means I don’t have the right to rehearse it in my mind anymore.

(3) I lay my “rights” at the cross. That includes my right to be right. The Word is pretty clear that if we defend ourselves, God will not defend us. And you can trust God to bring justice and defense. Trust me, I have seen the Holy Spirit in bringing justice before, and it’s much more effective than anything I could ever do.

(4) After all of that, I forgive myself. Hence, wash, rinse, repeat.

And then, I wait for “the fruit” of my obedience. If I growl at the mention of the offender’s name, chances are I am still carrying the offense. If I feel a knot (I often refer to it as a “high octane ping”) in my gut the next time I see them, that’s a good indication I have more work to do.

I was just recently inquiring of God about how to deal with a circumstance I was going through in regard to forgiveness. I have done a lot of work, but I was concerned how I would interact with this person, knowing that even though I have worked through much of the forgiveness, I need boundaries with them.

I expressed to God that I do not want to be fake. I hate it when people act fake. I told Him I refuse to be fake, so how do I act when I’m around someone that I’m in process of forgiving, but my heart is still hurt and I am still upset.

He laughed. And then He said, “Don’t stay upset with anyone!”

Duh. There I go again: Wash, Rinse, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.


You Don’t Want God, You Want a Fairy!

“You don’t want God, You want a fairy,” I suggested, while having lunch with a friend the other day.

She was complaining that she was “done with God.” She explained that she had been working on her issues for over six years now, and she wanted to know when it’s supposed to get easier.

I laughed. I know her well enough to know that if I laugh out loud, she won’t hit me. She noticed me laughing and was not impressed.

What?” she said.

I went on to explain to her the visual the Lord had given me in regard to my walk with Him. Continue reading “You Don’t Want God, You Want a Fairy!”

I Wrestled with God …

Last week, I wrestled in my heart with God. There was something in my heart that I wasn’t proud of. I explained to Him that it’s ugly, it has a mind of its own, and brings Him no glory. I’ve walked with Him long enough to know that what starts in my heart will soon spill over into my deeds, words, and actions. (And that certainly isn’t pretty.) Most importantly, it was blocking me from being who He wants me to be. So, I asked Him to remove it. (Simple enough — I thought.) He refused. I argued (as usual). When I stopped arguing, I asked why He wouldn’t just pluck it from my heart. Then we could move on, and I could be closer to being who He wanted me to be. He laughed. (He does that a lot with me — it gets my attention). He continued speaking. Continue reading “I Wrestled with God …”