Posts Tagged ‘unforgiveness’

How Can You Diffuse Resentment?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Judges 8:1: “Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, ‘Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?’ And they criticized him sharply.”

Do you sometimes think you can’t win even when you do the right thing? Gideon obeyed God and fought Midian with the 300 soldiers God allowed him. He knew God won the battle for them.

The Ephraimites were jealous of the victory of their fellow Israelites. Their jealousy and pride prevented them from acknowledging the success of Gideon and the 300 soldiers without their help.

Gideon had a choice to make. His first option was to say they were jealous because they didn’t take part in the battle and couldn’t claim the victory.

His second option was to praise the Ephraimites for all they had done. He chose that option. With a humble heart, Gideon said in verses 2-3, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?”

With divine wisdom and humility Gideon didn’t let the situation escalate. The end of verse 3 says, “At this, their resentment against him subsided.”

How will you respond to criticism?

Dear God, please help me answer with your wisdom and humility when people criticize me. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to diffuse resentment as Gideon did?

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Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Copyright by Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVC
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.
She is the author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Does Culture Matter More than Vision?

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

The eve of a big project has me thinking a lot about today’s word-of-the-wee…

CULTURE

I’ve envisioned for months how I want our team to operate. But all the vision in the world won’t matter if we don’t establish the proper culture.

Culture is everything. Culture matters more than vision.

Culture is vision with boots on the ground. It’s how things operate, what people see.

Every church has a great vision, but too frequently people get immersed in petty squabbles, bureaucratic blockades, or political battles. Minor theological differences and turf wars cause major divisions, and the actual culture looks nothing like Jesus’ vision.

I want our team culture to be about sacrificial love and servant leadership, but saying it won’t make it happen. It’s up to Becky and me to model it and put processes in place that foster it—then trust our teammates and God for the result.

I’ve said before that I don’t believe you can manage people effectively. You inspire and lead people—you manage processes. So that’s what we’ll try to do.

We all contribute to the culture in our family, our church, our workplace, our neighborhood. It’s not about our words, it’s about what we do.

This week let’s do something that builds a culture of love and service.

Have a great week.

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

We’re supposed to love everyone. “Yes, but…”

Friday, April 25th, 2014

“We’re supposed to love everyone, aren’t we?”

“Yes, but…”

“I don’t think we can add a ‘but…’.”

As I understand it, the conversation pretty much died at that point.

When it comes to stuff like love, grace, and forgiveness, there’s no such thing as a “but…” And if you’re like me, that’s tough to get your heart around.

I don’t want the cold-hearted serial child molester to receive salvation and have his sins wiped away when he accepts Jesus. I really don’t want to love the person unconditionally who does things or holds views with which I strongly disagree.

Every bit of logic screams that some cases demand a “but…”

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:32-36)

Jesus proposed a different sort of logic, one in which there’s no such thing as “love, but….”

What would happen if we all found places where we put strings on love and worked to remove them?

No more “love, but..” Just love.

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Why We Need To Remember Less

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Grace doesn’t forget. Grace chooses not to remember.

question-marks1Can God really “not remember” my sins?

He’s God, right? He knows everything. And if He knows it all, how can He not remember?

I’ll bet it’s been debated in countless all-nighters at every seminary over coffee and, depending on the seminary, other adult beverages. Because if God’s all-powerful, then He can “not remember” if that’s what He wants to do. But wouldn’t He remember that He didn’t remember?

More coffee, please.

I raise the issue because it’s the sort of question that sidetracks the guys in my ongoing workshop. So we chase it around for a few minutes, but we have a go-to phrase to get us back on track.

I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT WORKS.

It’s good to seek understanding where we can. But faith involves accepting a certain measure of mystery. On this side of eternity, it won’t all make sense.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

So there’s wisdom in acknowledging what I don’t know and leaving that to God. If He says He chooses not to remember, that’s good enough for me.

The real question isn’t—or shouldn’t be—God’s capability. We really ought to ask about our response.

If “grace chooses not to remember,” perhaps our public discourse (and our Facebook timelines) might reflect a less acute memory and accounting of wrongs.

I know He said I’m supposed to love my enemies. You don’t suppose He meant I’m to avoid publically criticizing people I don’t like, do you? Or, even worse, actually looking for something kind to say?

Nah. That’s just crazy talk.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Are You Serving or Shaming?

Monday, March 10th, 2014

I feel compelled to comment on today’s word-of-the-week…

SERVE

MondayJesus told a story we know as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s about a man who’s attacked, beaten, robbed, and left half-dead by the side of the road.

A priest and a Levite (the religious good guys) passed by without stopping to help. Then a Samaritan, who was despised by the Jews, bandaged his wounds, took him to an inn, and paid for his care.

The Samaritan served a man who most likely hated him. At the end of the story Jesus says, “Go and do likewise.”

Another time, Jesus spent time at a well with a Samaritan woman. According to religious rules and traditions, He shouldn’t have even been there. The woman herself expresses shock when he asks her for a drink.

Jesus came to serve the world, not to shame it. He washed the feet of those whose sins He carried to the cross a few hours later. He said crazy things like, “Love your enemies” and “When you did it to the least of these you did it to me.”

He said, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles,” extending an oppressive Roman law which allowed a soldier to demand that a stranger carry his heavy pack up to one mile. Jesus told his followers to serve beyond the minimum requirements and walk two miles.

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:42)

And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? (Matthew 5:47)

Over and over Jesus welcomed, associated with, and served those rejected by organized religion. And He reserved His strongest condemnation for religious leaders.

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

“Them” versus “Us”

Friday, January 10th, 2014

You know who I mean. Them… the folks who aren’t us.

Seems like we’re talking about them a lot lately.

You and I likely know them in our workplace, our neighborhood, perhaps even our church. We probably accept them, perhaps even love them, but…and there’s the key. There’s a “but” attached to them. There’s that thing, that special sin, that makes them, well, them. And when you think of them, that thing is what comes to mind.

But what about us? Aren’t we broken as well?

Of course, but it’s different. You wouldn’t point at people like us and say, “She’s kind of a glutton, but I love her anyway. He’s pretty greedy, but I love him anyway. He’s prideful, she’s envious, he drinks too much, she gossips…but I love them anyway,”

Those folks are just like me. We don’t identify people like us by their sins. If I judged people that way, they’d do the same to me. We’re pretty good at using the log/speck in the eye thing to act humble and pass around a lot of grace to folks like us.

But them? We’ll love them, I guess, because we’re supposed to love everybody. But we’ve got to make sure everyone knows we hate their particular sin. Acceptance and love are conditional—there’s always that scarlet letter that goes with being one of them.

We’re fond of pointing out that Jesus hung out with sinners, but He didn’t ever make a big deal out of it. They were His friends, not broken toys to be repaired. We like to forget…He came to become one of them.

The religious folks were the ones who highlighted and objected to Jesus’ choice of companions. He’d have been happy to have dinner at their house, but they never invited Him.

After all, He was one of “them.”

Now, a question for you. As I describe “them,” which issue, which sin, comes to mind? I’ll bet one pops up, which proves my point. Same thing happens for me.

So… my best intent, going forward, is NO MORE THEM. Them is us.

I’ll fail. I know before I begin about blind spots and deeply-held prejudices that won’t magically disappear.

But for a start, I’ll no longer be okay with “Hate the sin, love the sinner” about any particular issue. It just doesn’t work for me any longer.

I think I’ll just work at, and be grateful for, the “love” part.

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

How Many Times Have You Needed Forgiveness?

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Colossians 3:13: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Can you imagine fourteen adults going to lunch at a packed restaurant on Sunday in December after church?

We waited for our lunch longer than usual and were hungry. I found the waitress and asked for bread and butter or crackers. She brought homemade bread and oil.

When the food came, my friend and I didn’t get ours. The young waitress was close to tears. She wanted everything perfect.

My friend and I could have been angry and ruined the luncheon for everyone else. We chose to forgive as the Lord forgave us.

Our meal came when our other friends were almost finished eating. However, we received complimentary soup, dessert, and a free lunch.

The waitress thanked me for showing her forgiveness. It was easy to do when I thought of my mistakes and sins. Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins.

We will all make mistakes and sin until we die. There’s one God, and we aren’t the one.

Let’s make this Christmas our best one by letting go of anger, bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness.

Dear God, help me forgive those who have hurt me. Amen.

Application: To thank the Lord for the times he’s forgiven you, whom will you forgive this week?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Copyright 2010-2013, Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVC
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.
She is the author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

What To Do When You Mess Up

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Apparently it’s the season for public scandal.

Politicians, athletes, and media figures seem to be lining up to provide the latest highly visible lapse in personal or professional judgment. Personal indiscretions, performance enhancing drugs, political cover-ups—if not for the tragic consequences, the stream of indignities would be laughable.

It’s like a reality TV competition—How Low Can You Go?

Several days ago a relatively unknown Philadelphia Eagles football player named Riley Cooper joined the parade. A video hit the Internet showing Cooper, a young white man, using the “N” word at a rock concert.

There’s no defense or excuse for Cooper’s behavior. His words were reprehensible. But I’m drawn to the incident by the way Cooper, his coach, and his teammates handled a hurtful, difficult, potentially divisive situation.

I think we can learn from the way this young man dealt with a humiliating mistake.

He owned his behavior. No lies, no excuses, no hiding, and no blaming. He stood up, admitted what he did, and took responsibility for his actions.

He acknowledged the harm he caused. No attempt to minimize or deflect, he accepted responsibility for the impact of his words on teammates, parents, and fans.

“I realize how many people I’ve hurt, how many families I’ve hurt, how many kids I’ve hurt,” Cooper said. “That’s what we talked about, the severity of it, and I completely realize that and I take full responsibility for it.”

He apologized, corporately and individually. Facing his teammates—many of whom are black—man to man must have been difficult. I’m sure some of those conversations were uncomfortable and even angry. But he didn’t hide behind a group apology.

He didn’t demand forgiveness. “I told them, ‘I don’t want you to forgive me because that puts the burden on you,’” Cooper said. “I want it all on me. I told them that and I told them I apologize.”

He realizes there’s no quick fix. “It’s going to be tough. No doubt it’s going to be tough,” Cooper said. “I’m going to live with this every day for the rest of my life.”

He can say all the right things now, but ultimately this incident will be resolved based on how Riley Cooper conducts himself over months and years.

I’m in no position to judge. Personally, I’m glad nobody followed me around with a camera phone while I was in my early 20’s.

We all mess up. Mostly life’s not about the mistakes, but about how we deal with them and what we learn from them. Riley Cooper took some good first steps, but he’s got a long way to go.

Personally, I’m rooting for him.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! Dixon
Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Don’t Look Back

Friday, June 28th, 2013

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:10-12 KJV

Several years ago, I read in the newspaper a statement that someone had made in honor of a friend who had just gone home to be with Jesus. The person said in honor of her friend “She never said an unkind word about anyone.” When I read that statement, I felt ashamed and embarrassed because before I was saved I was guilty of saying unkind things all the time about people and to them.

One day our precious Heavenly Father spoke to my heart and said “Don’t look back.” We read in the Bible: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3: 13, 14)

This is just another sneaky attack from satan because he wants us to live in shame and guilt. However, if we have confessed our sins and asked Jesus to forgive us, He has forgiven us and removed our transgressions from us and He will never hold them against us again. Oh that we would be like Jesus and forgive people from our hearts and never hold what they say to us against them again.

Thank God that He does not give us the punishment that we deserve for our sins. Our precious Saviour as He hung there on the cruel cross of horror in agony took our sins upon Him and paid the price for us. He paid the price for us because we couldn’t pay it ourselves. God can’t look on sin so it took our sinless Saviour to die in our place. Thank You, Jesus, for Your heart of compassionate love and for paying the price for us.

None of us are perfect. You will sin and you will fail Jesus but when you do sin and fail Him don’t allow satan to keep you in bondage. If Jesus has forgiven you, then you are forgiven. Don’t dwell on what you did in the past. Jesus doesn’t hold your past against you so you shouldn’t let satan make you feel ashamed.

If you have sinned and hurt somebody, humble yourself and ask Jesus to forgive you and ask Him to help you when you are tempted to say something unkind to someone. Above all, don’t look back and don’t listen to satan because he is a liar. You have been forgiven through the precious blood of Jesus so don’t look back on your past. Look forward and serve our wonderful Saviour for the rest of your life.

Copyright, Joanne Lowe. All rights reserved
Used by permission

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What Kind of Lists Do You Make?

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Everybody knows we tend to lose our memory as we age. Old guys like me get a pass for forgetting simple stuff like phone numbers and anniversaries.

But we seem to have no problem remembering when someone hurts us. We appear to have an almost supernatural ability to remember others’ mistakes. I may not recall the name of the guy I just met, but I can recite intricate details of how someone let me down years ago.

Am I the only one whose hard drive is programmed to forget his wife’s birthday but store wrongs and hurts forever?

Maybe we need to pay attention to the lists we keep.

Blessings, gifts, and acts of kindness—it’s probably a good idea to keep careful account of those so you can dig them out occasionally when memories fade a bit.

But perhaps I’d do better to keep a shorter, less permanent list of others’ mistakes, their hurtful acts, the times they let me down. Maybe I ought to invest less energy in recording and preserving those memories.

After all, I am getting older. Do I really want to squander my declining supply of brain cells on that years-old feud or that decades-old pain? Why waste my remaining memories by clinging to ancient hurts?

When it comes to wrongs, maybe I need to keep shorter lists.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! Dixon
Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com