Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Guard Your Heart – What it does Not Mean!

If you have attended church for any considerable amount of time, you have probably come across the statement ‘guard your heart’.  

If you tell me that it means we are to guard our hearts away from people who may hurt us, then I beg to differ. Jesus certainly did not adhere to that interpretation in that He chose to have fellowship with a traitor called Judas and in that all twelve disciples betrayed Him by scattering after His arrest. If Jesus was trying to guard Himself from hurt, He would not have chosen any disciples to follow Him. If He was so worried about being hurt and looked for perfection, He would not have found it and He would have had to go it alone. If He had gone it alone, then there would have been no one to give the Great Commission! Hence, no disciples = no believers today.

Light-bulb moment: When we guard our hearts away from hurt and so block people away, we open our heart to being alone, being depressed, and missing out on God’s best.

See, Jesus was not looking for the perfect heart (a heart that would not hurt Him) but was looking for hearts open to chasing after perfection. He understood that since only God’s heart is perfect, some level of hurt is inevitable when dealing with man!

Like Jesus, we need to make our peace with that right now. If we are dealing with man, we are likely to be hurt to some degree whether the person meant to do it or not. But most people I know do not desire to hurt people. Most people I know hurt people out of weakness rather than out of wickedness! We must know the difference just as Jesus did for Jesus separated Himself from those who had a wicked heart (Pharisees) but did not separate Himself from those who had a weak heart (His disciples, Tax collectors).

Light-bulb moment: Wickedness welcomes evil (falsehood) but weakness simply loses to evil.  

How was Jesus able to stand being hurt by those who had a weak heart? He was able to because He understood that the individual simply lost his/her battle against the forces of darkness they were fighting. He understood that His gripe and anger was not against the individual who did whatever they did to hurt Him, but against the powers and principalities ruling them (Ephesians 6:12).

Now we see why Jesus remained so calm with Judas. Jesus knew that Satan had entered Judas (Luke 22:3) and so Judas’s actions were now being controlled by Satan. While Jesus was no doubt angry at Satan for deceiving and using Judas, He felt sorry for Judas because he was now a puppet under the influence of Satan!

While Satan thought he was using Judas to hurt Jesus, all he did was use Judas to bring to pass the purpose to which Jesus was called! Simply put, Satan cannot thwart your purpose! Only you can by the way you react to His antics! 

We now see why Jesus was able to say ‘forgive them Father for they do not know what they do’ to those who were crucifying Him. He actually felt compassion for them because they were like silly putty in the hand of Satan – they were actually in bondage. All their actions did was further reinforce why He had to set them free through His death.

Forgiveness is easier when you realize the truth that the person who hurt you was being manipulated by a force that used them as an instrument to hurt you. Consider that the way Satan tries to hurt you most is not by the actions of that person but by the way you react to their actions. Satan wants you to respond in prideful unforgiveness. Why? It is because it gives him room to operate in your life. Do not give him that pleasure but forgive just as God has forgiven you.

Now that Jesus has set us free from the power of Satan, Apostle Paul explains that a struggle still goes on between the Spirit and the flesh (Galatians 5:17). See, the moment we allow the flesh to take over our heart is the moment we have missed the mark (sinned). Moreover, the moment we sin is the moment we hurt God! How glad I am that God does not guard His heart away from us when we sin.

Food for Thought: I cannot truly love if I walk around afraid of being hurt

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Wilderness Experience – Are you missing God’s oasis by remaining a victim?

Are you missing God's oasis

It is impossible to go through life without hurting someone or being hurt by another person….even if it is unintended. Regardless of whether we are the “hurter” and the “hurtee”, as believers, it is likely we go through a rough patch – experience some wilderness – until we are restored.

This wilderness experience is not simply reserved for the victim but also for the perpetrator of the hurt. While the victim may land in the wilderness as a result of anger, resentment, bitterness and so forth, the perpetrator may experience their own wilderness because of perpetual self- condemnation and an inability to grant self-forgiveness. Here is the thing, whether we are the hurter or the hurtee, our ability to escape the jaws of the wilderness depends on how determined we are to fully surrender our hurt to Christ.

  Lightbulb Moment  Light-bulb moment: Irrespective of what befalls us, we choose whether we are victor’s in Christ or victims of life. We prolong our wilderness experience by choosing to remain victims.

Just as it is important to know what to do when in the wilderness to survive, we must know what to do to move past our hurts.

When I got hurt, I chose to remain a victim. Instead of surrendering my hurts to Christ, I took matters into my own hands and purposed in my heart and mind that I was never going to put myself in a position to be hurt again – so I guarded my heart and built a fortress around my mind. I ensured that nothing moved me deeply and so segregated emotions, feelings, and sensitivity from all things. Nothing was going to penetrate my shield…….not even God! In effect, I told God, “You can control everything else, but I control my heart, so shoo…go away”. I was at the wheel and I almost drove my life right off a cliff by making decisions based on my hurts. As a result of choosing to be a perpetual victim of my past hurts rather than surrender it to Him, I ended up victimizing the people I came into contact with.

Lightbulb Moment     Light-bulb moment: I should not be driven by my life experiences or emotions, but only by Christ!

Whilst the natural tendency after being hurt is to take control and guard our own hearts out of fear, the bible shows us a better way for our hearts to be guarded.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6 – 7

Thus it is the peace of God which comes through prayer  and supplication that guards our hearts and keeps us alive until we escape the wilderness and are restored to our oasis.

Upon learning how to survive, we must become action minded and start to look for a way out. We pick up the trail back to our oasis when we stop our self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-focus but instead focus our attention on our guide, Jesus. When we pay attention to what He tells us though His word, we get jolted with the  reality that all have hurt and all have been hurt. That no one has been hurt more than God (through our sin and disobedience) and no man more than Jesus when he lived. But then we also get jolted with the truth that He has paid the price for all we could ever do, say or feel. That through Him, we are restored and are the head and not the tail. When we focus on Jesus, we start to trust Him and allow Him to lead us out of our wilderness.

This is exactly what Jesus did as a man when experiencing His own wilderness. What if Jesus had not trusted God but allowed His experience and emotions to lead Him? What if He had focused on all the wrongs that were done to Him – the insult, the ridicule, the scourging, and the betrayal – none of which He deserved? What if He had not surrendered fully to God? He would not have been glorified and would not be sitting at the right-hand side of God now, and we may still be living under the law.

But He did fully surrender to God and won victory for all the hurt that could ever come our way!

The trust we build in Jesus is what allows us to lay all our hurts and burdens on Him in humility and prayer while taking all the necessary steps to find closure as He leads us – perhaps through counseling. In time, we find that our ashes are turned into beauty and have been made into new beings – with the muck of the past and its impact on our lives washed away. Truly, the old passes away and everything becomes new.

“If only my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

So, why surrender our hurts to God? He alone can heal us and will refine us. No one else can.

Food for Thought: I find my oasis when I choose to focus on God rather than on my hurts

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