Life is a daily struggle at times. We have choices to make. Sometimes we make good ones, other times not so good. Consequences follow. I tend to be very introspective, too much so at times. And I tend to become my own worst enemy. Honestly, at this juncture in life I am very battle weary. Some days I just want to give up. But that's not the life Jesus wants me or anyone to live. He died so we could have an abundant, victorious life in Him! He forgave our sins before we were even born! Today I was reminded of that in Romans 5:8 when Paul says: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)
This morning I attended the worship service at my local church here in Velarde. I lifted my voice in praise to God through hymns, advent reading, and the reading of the scriptures. I love His Word. I find inspiration in hearing it, speaking it, and living it. When I was a child my parents and grandparents, as well as my Sunday School teachers and school teachers taught me about the love of God. I memorized scriptures, and I taught my children to memorize it. I en-grafted it on my heart. But as I grew up I began to feel that my value was dependent on what others felt about me. I wanted to be loved and cared for by someone special. I wanted the home and family.
When I returned from my local church, I turned on my second church service, the live stream from Flatirons Community Church in Colorado. The teaching comes from the Sermon on the Mount, a section of scripture that God has brought me back to over and over again throughout the past few years. Today Ben, the Teaching Pastor, talked about loving our enemies. While he was talking, sharing candidly about his own personal feelings about those who'd wronged him and others whom he loves, I began to think about others who'd made statements about me or hurt me or those I love. I thought I'd dealt with those feelings, but I came to realize that I had not released all of them. I wondered how I would react if I came face to face with them. I've gone through considerable healing over the last several years, but some things still hurt. But, another feeling that has grown in spite of all the hurt is the love and compassion I have for others who have failed in their lives. I want to wrap my arms around people and tell them they are loved and forgiven. My heart breaks for what breaks God's heart. The depth of these feelings is so immense. Yet, the one person I find it hardest to forgive is myself! I allow satan to beat me up almost daily, reminding me of things, my imperfections. Today I realized that I need to love myself, as Jesus loves me. As I love others. As I want to forgive others. I want my life hidden in Christ Jesus my Lord. I want to respond to people as He would in compassion and love and with forgiveness. As He hung dying on the cross He said, "Father, forgive them fore they know not what they do." And that's so true. We become so blinded by emotions that we do mindless things. We react in stupidity, and in so doing we hurt others and ourselves.
I want to be free from this prison of hating myself or holding a grudge against anyone. We have ALL sinned and fallen short of God's glory. I don't judge others, so why do I judge myself? I am a new creation! A friend sent me a list of scriptures from Christian author Neil Anderson about the Truth of who we are in Christ when we receive His forgiveness. If anyone is struggling, I would be happy to send them along to you. Professing the Word over our lives and over the lives of others brings liberty. I am so thankful that I have friends who remind me when I forget. I also know that when the battle is ongoing that God is getting ready to bring victory again. He has a plan for my life, and I do trust that plan. I may not be able to see the next step, but He already knows! Can I continue to trust Him, as He asked? I pray so, as His is the only path I want to follow. Yielded, I come, Lord.