Sunday, May 3, 2009

Long Haul Living

"...the leaders of their family groups, registered carefully by name." 1 Chronicles 23:24

David designates the descendants duties by clans and families. Employing them together would encourage them to work together and love one another...or would it? Great in theory, but could the daily, close contact divide more than unify?

Yesterday afternoon I was steaming mad. I'm sure a 911 call was placed as billows of smoke must have been seen rising above my head. Words had been fired at me suddenly and unexpectedly, and in an instant, my 'good day' had become 'bad' leaving a wake that crashed the shore of my heart with confusion and anger.

On Tuesday our family begins week ten visiting my Dad at the hospital. I have been by my Dad's bedside 67 of those 70 days. As my Mom doesn't drive, she has accompanied me on every visit. Many of those days, both my sisters have also been at the hospital during some of the time I've been there. I wish I could tell you that we always get along perfectly, but that would not be true. Stress and concern over Dad, worry about Mom, schedules that have been abandoned, families that have been neglected, plans that have been forfeited, have combined to make tempers short and frustrations many. I sat bewildered in the eye of the storm, as my life was torn and scattered with winds of accusation.

What is the one thing that's needed to sustain relationships over the long haul? Forgiveness!

John MacArthur says, "It makes sense to forgive. It is healthy. It is wholesome. It is liberating. It is sensible. It relieves tension. It brings peace. It solicits love. And again I say, it is man at his noblest. It is his glory to overlook a transgression." (Prov. 19:11)

Any relationship, family or otherwise, cannot survive without forgiveness. We have to give up the notion of 'being right' or having it my way. When all is said and done, what is truly important? God is using these trials to perfect me, 1 Peter 5:10. God is working through these mistreatments, unfair circumstances, seemingly injustices to bring about spiritual maturity.

Again, John MacArthur encourages, "Be little concerned about your personal injuries and much concerned about your personal holiness. Remember that in your trials God is at work making you strong and holy."

I will fail. I will offend. I will wound. I will hurt.

I will be disappointed. I will be abandoned. I will be injured. I will be accused.

Peter 2:19-20, "For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly...If you do what's right and suffer for it and endure it patiently, this finds favor with God."

Life isn't always fair. Relationships, especially those in close contact, will struggle. Differences will occur. Words will be spoken. Feelings will be hurt. Tempers will rise. But, pause and think of One who suffered even greater injustice.

"No one ever suffered unjustly to the degree that Jesus did. Perfect, sinless, never committed a sin, never deceit in His mouth and yet He suffered more than any man and He deserved none of it. And in the midst of the suffering, never retaliated, accepted it and just committed Himself to God for the purposes which God had in mind."

May God perfect me through my trials.

"Forgiveness brings heaven to earth. Forgiveness puts heaven's peace into the sinful heart. Forgiveness is the image of God. Forgiveness is the advancement of Christ's Kingdom. Forgiveness is what makes a relationship last."

I'm in it for the long haul.

Additional quotes by John MacArthur, 1997, Grace to You

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Lori said...

Your post was meant for my ears!
Thank you sweet sister for sharing your heart this morning! God is speaking His wisdom to me through you! : )
Blessings, Lori - AZ

Tami and Bobby Sisemore Family said...


Your message today was wonderful! We have just been through a time where we are learning about forgiveness and that it is about ME being right with God and not about the other person. To be honest they could care less if I forgive them and dont think they have anything to be forgivin for. Very good message and it spoke to me today. Unfortunately if both sides are not involved forgivenss does not always lead to restoration of relationship with humans, but Praise God is does with HIM!


Marilyn in Mississippi said...

When my Daddy was sick with terminal lung cancer over a period of two years, I did all the carrying him to the doctor, going to check on him most every day, keeping up with his medicines and how they were given, etc. During the times he would be in the hospital there were many nights that I carried a "pallet" and slept on the floor of his room because he needed someone with him and my stepmother would not leave him yet she was not well enough to stay with him alone. So she would sleep on the cot and me on the floor. I have several brothers and sisters. They normally would just stop by the hospital for an hour or so to "see how we were doing". Finally at nearly the end of his life they would come occassionally and spend the night. I really had to fight bitterness. When my Daddy passed away I really thought that I didn't care if I saw a couple of my siblings any more or not. BUT....the Lord reminded me that "Vengence is mine...I will repay saith the Lord". Plus I think the exhaustion of the "long haul" had taken it's toll on my emotions. It's been about a year and a half now since Daddy died and when I have been around these two siblings I have surprisingly found myself forgetting that I was mad at them because of the way I felt they neglected our Daddy. Sometimes it makes me laugh after I get home from a family function where they were and I think about how I laughed and talked with them. I will say to myself..."Did you forget? I thought you were not going to talk with them any more!" ha
I know God is working in my heart to finish a work of forgiveness toward them. Sometimes the bitter feelings flare back up.

You hang in there sister! I'm glad you're in for the long haul. That's the only way any of us can survive!

Love ya,

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Awesome words of reflection; an obvious painful walk to get there. I'd love to talk further. Let me know what time tomorrow I could call you.

Forgiveness is, indeed, man's noblest. I've never heard it that way before.