BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS
Remember to be gentle with yourself and others.
We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields blossom
while others lay brown beneath the August sun.
Care for those around you.
Look past your differences.
Their dreams are no less than yours,
their choices no more easily made.
And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you possess.
To give is to love.
To withhold is to wither.
Care less for your harvest than how it is shared
and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace.
By Kent Nerburn.
BEATING OURSELVES UP . By Mart De Haan
Why do we punish ourselves for old regrets long after we believe God has forgiven us? The question stuck in my mind after a conversation with someone I’ll call TC. TC described himself as being in recovery for multiple addictions. A couple of times he said, “My problem was forgiving myself. I found it a lot easier to believe God had forgiven me than to forgive myself for what I’d done.”
In some ways I knew what TC was talking about. Long after believing God had forgiven me, I have silently beat myself up for doing things that embarrassed me and hurt others. What unnerved me is that TC seemed more willing than I was to admit that forgiving ourselves is something we need to do.
Is it up to us to forgive ourselves?
Although I was willing to beat myself up for past wrongs, offering mercy to myself seemed like playing God. If God wants us to pardon ourselves, I wondered why the Bible doesn’t quote Him as saying something like, “Even as I have released you from guilt, so you must now release yourselves.”
What surprised me is that TC helped me see that, without realizing it, I was doing the very thing I thought I was trying to avoid. He said, “I have a friend who got on my case for acting like I was greater than God. This friend kept saying, ‘Who do you think you are, God Almighty? God forgives you. But you don’t. What is this you’re telling me? Are you greater than God?’ ”
The good-natured prodding TC took from his friend helped me. Later, I remembered words of the apostle John who wrote in his first New Testament letter: “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything” (1 John 3:19-20 NIV).
Why is it important to remember that God is greater than our hearts?
John reminded us that when the sin we have already confessed continues to torment us, God sees more clearly than we do. He sees everything. He sees the wrong and the regret we have acknowledged. He sees the price He has paid to release us from that sin. He sees the trust we have put in His Son. He sees the good work He has started in our hearts. And He knows that what He has begun He will finish (Philippians 1:6).
God also sees something else. He sees the people around us who are negatively affected as long as we continue to condemn ourselves. He knows we will never be good at loving others as long as we refuse to let the love and forgiveness of God flush the guilt and shame out of our lives.
Just before raising the problem of self-condemnation, John, in his gospel, wrote,
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 John 3:16-17).
John’s question prompts another. How can the love of God flow through us to those around us if we are saying, in effect, “I know You have forgiven me, Lord, but I have higher standards and expectations for myself than You do. I can’t walk with You. I can’t join You in Your mission of love, because I haven’t lived up to my own expectations.” We may think that’s humility.
It’s probably wounded pride.
What does lingering guilt tell us about ourselves?
We may be expecting too much of ourselves. Whether we are struggling with our own wounded pride or grieving what we have lost, God’s thoughts are more reassuring than our own.
Psalm 103 says, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:10-14).
We may be limiting our ability to be what God wants us to be. Refusing to forgive ourselves as God has forgiven us does nothing but prolong and multiply our sin. Self-condemnation is the opposite of the gratitude that opens our hearts to God.
Open hearts to God and others is what the apostle John had in mind when he went on to write: “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him. And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us” (1 John 3:21-24).
Every day of self-absorbed self-condemnation is a day spent robbing ourselves of the joy of a grateful heart. Every hour of beating ourselves up is an hour spent robbing others of the good that God wants to do for them through us. By contrast, every day lived in the freedom of forgiveness is a day spent praising God. Every hour lived in gratitude for forgiveness is a day spent loving others on God’s behalf.
Father in heaven, in our thoughtful moments we know You are greater than our hearts. You see infinitely more than we do. You see the work You have begun in us, the Spirit You have given us, the forgiveness You have bought for us, and the desire You have given us to live in freedom rather than to hide behind past failures. Please help us to use that freedom to love others as You have first loved us. By Mart De Haan
Two comments written by readers of the above article
Thank you for this post. Is beating myself up, in fact, a form of self pity ? I find myself doing this, but now I can come to this site and allow GOD to work on me in this area and other issues that hinder growth; coming boldly to my father in prayer for forgiveness in my life also includes faith on my part to believe and except forgiveness. Now I see how GOD says child like faith is the key. Thank you JESUS.
I have saved and re-read this post, repeatedly. What great comfort and solace for those of us who have been held in bondage to the shame and guilt of the past. Praise God, we are FREE to revel in your love Lord, and serve others as you lead us by the power of your Holy Spirit and the saving grace of our Saviour’s sacrifice and forgiveness; Thank You Jesus.
Some verses from one of my favourite books of The Holy Bible
Romans Chapter 8 verses 1-4 and 14-39
Life Through the Spirit
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,
4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.”
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.
20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?
25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans chapter 3 verses 21-26 Righteousness Through Faith
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Let him who is without sin cast the first stone
1 Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.
3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group
4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
By Steve Goodier http://www.LifeSupportSystem.com
A well-to-do woman sipped tea with a younger and not-so-well-heeled acquaintance on the veranda of her spacious mansion. “When my first child was born,” she said, “I decided to do something especially nice for myself. So I built this exquisite home.” “Well, isn’t that nice,” said the other with a bright smile. “And on my 40th birthday I bought myself that beautiful antique Rolls Royce in the driveway. Why, I think it’s the most gorgeous automobile in the world.” “Well, isn’t that nice,” said her friend. “And for no reason at all, I decided I needed a special gift, so I acquired the most wonderful collection of ridiculously expensive art I only show to my most cherished friends. I hope you can see it someday.” “Well, isn’t that nice,” came the pleasant response. “Now tell me, what have you done for yourself lately?” she asked. “I went to charm school.” “Charm school! Land sakes, child, what on earth for?” “So when I feel like saying, ‘Lady, who gives a rip?’
I smile and say, ‘Well, isn’t that nice.’” How often is tact just having something you want to say and not saying it? An interesting story comes from 19th Century England. According to the account, Queen Victoria was once at a diplomatic reception in London. The guest of honour was an African chieftain. All went well during the meal until, at the end, finger bowls were served. The guest of honour had never seen a British finger bowl, and no one had thought to brief him beforehand about its purpose. So not knowing what else to do, he took the bowl in his two hands, lifted it to his mouth and drank its contents down. For an instant there was breathless silence among the British privileged guests, and then they began to whisper to one another about the breach of etiquette. But the queen herself saved the moment when she likewise lifted her bowl to her lips and drank. The diners caught on and a moment later 500 surprised British ladies and gentlemen simultaneously drank the contents of their own finger bowls. It was the queen’s tact and consideration that guarded her guest from certain embarrassment. I know we’ve travelled a long way from the antiquated customs of Victorian England and it can sometimes be hard to relate. But it’s summed up well by a piece of advice attributed to a certain J. Masai: “Feelings are everywhere — be gentle.” Maybe that’s what it’s really all about. Feelings are everywhere and the world is harsh enough. Just be gentle. Do you think they teach that in charm school? Steve Goodier
It sounds too simple but if you put Jesus first in everything you do, think and say, (as far as you are able to, or know how to), everything in life will gradually get better and better as time goes on. (This does not mean that you will not have any problems. It is just that Jesus helps us through any problems we have in this life.) Your priorities will gradually become easier too. You will become more practised as you go on in life and learn more and more about what it means to put Jesus first. The Holy Spirit will teach you all you need to know about this, once you have asked Jesus into your heart and asked Him to be your personal Saviour and LORD. We learn through reading The Holy Bible, praying(pouring your heart out to God) and throughout life, as God guides us through all the joys and sorrows that happen to everyone. Margaret Mainwaring
Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps. — Saul Bellow
Let’s take this one step at a time. First somebody is going to have to catch the fish.”
I recommend that you watch The Revelation TV Channel on Sky channel number 581 or Freesat channel 692 and Roku Box UK and USA. You can also watch programmes on their website at http://www.revelationtv.com/ They are a Christian channel. They have live, interactive programmes, which are wonderful for people who are lonely and many programmes that help people learn about the love of God and how to live the Christian life. The presenters and guests make you feel that you are part of the Church family.
If you feel you need God in your life and you don’t know how to find Him and you feel alone, lost, guilty and frightened, I recommend the website from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association http://www.PeaceWithGod.net