Archive for June, 2015

Freedom flows at Baja Fresh

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Jesus said in Luke 17:1 that offenses will absolutely come. This is just a given. I touched upon this when I wrote my Messy blog.

As I wrote the blog I was reminded of just how important the issue of not taking offense and extending forgiveness is. I was challenged by many statements in scripture. The value of forgiving others is not to be underestimated. Mark 11:26 states it clearly; “”But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” Everything we do as Christian’s pales in comparison to being like our Father in Heaven and choosing to live a lifestyle of forgiving.

In the blog I wrote that there were a few people that I was going to contact that I realized I was harboring offense. Jesus taught that, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother.” (MT 18:15) This was impressed on my heart as I wrote the blog. No sooner had I seen that was necessary than I got a text from one of those people. He said he wanted to get together to talk about some things.

I love it when those kinds of “coincidences” happen. It has been said that Coincidence is not a kosher word. I do admit that the more I seek GOD the more “coincidences” do happen. I do believe that God places high value on love and forgiveness. As I write that I almost laugh to myself on how obvious this statement is. Even with how apparent this is not all people live like it is. Offenses abound everywhere. I am beginning to see just how much they affect my life.

I am seeing that to be a warrior that does not give up I need to have the right attitude toward offense and I need to be obedient.

I hope that by talking about this and sharing these stories others will step out and choose to recognize offense and to release it and choose forgiveness.

So Jesus says to go to the person to tell them just between the two of you. It does not say vent it to other people including the confidentiality of a spouse. This does not follow the way of truth. Another way that I don’t follow the teaching of Jesus is to use my mind to explain away why someone has done something. In this example with my friend I was offended because I was meeting with him regularly both in having fun watching football and deep moments seeking God in prayer. In fact, one of my most intense times receiving from God was with him. For some reason we just stopped getting together. My logical mind said that he just got busy and the demands of life took over.

This actually is true but I was still offended. There is a difference between your head and your emotions. I could tell my heart was offended because I could not fully bless his successes and when he came to mind I just felt down. This was the signal that I needed to obey the teaching of Jesus and go to him. I would vent my feelings to my wife and tell her how much I invested myself and how this guy just threw me aside.

As a grieving parent there is only so much time in the day to deal with emotions. And there are only so many things I can deal with. The enemy knows this as well and since he is a punk he doesn’t let up but rather piles on the pain, shame, anger and attack. I know this is the same for all people. We all have so much emotional stuff on our plates. I also am beginning to see that the issue of removing offense is something that is vital to our health. We all have relationships that need attending to. Offenses will surely come. We all have so much on our emotional plates.

This day my plate had lime shrimp and forgiveness. We met at Baja Fresh and over a burrito bowl and a shrimp salad I spilled the beans. I told him that I had been hurt and that I had been harboring offense. He acknowledged my experience and even offered an apology.

Now it was not a very dramatic event. I knew two things: 1. I needed to go to my brother and talk to him just the two of us. And 2. I needed to go with the recognition that No one is responsible for my feelings but me. I let go of all expectation of him changing his behavior or even of him recognizing what I was saying.

I went out of obedience to what Jesus said to do. Everything else was up to him. Getting to this point is something that God has taught me over the years. I have seen the way this candid sharing empowers forgiveness and frees my heart. He will teach you too because it is vital to your health, the health of his family, and it is close to his heart.

I recognize that this offense is miniscule compared to the types of offenses people experience. I also recognize this does not let me off the hook about dealing with it. After obeying the teaching that was impressed upon me I have a new freedom. My heart feels lighter. I feel like I have a friend back. It feels like someone likes me and literally He did nothing big to achieve that. In reality there is nothing he could have done because all perceptions hinged on my offended heart. Once I let go of that everything else fell into place.

Not only am I experiencing a freedom but the spiritual experiences we shared coming back to me in a more powerful way.

My experience has validated my contention that following the teaching of Jesus has set my emotions free so I can pursue life with more of my heart. I am very pleased.

What friend do you have offense with? What is holding you back from following the teachings of the Lord? Step out, live your beliefs, Go to your friend. Make plans now. DO IT!!!