Day 28: Overlooking the Junk for the Love

Day 28: Overlooking the Junk for the Love

Hello friend! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by! This post is part of a 31-Day writing adventure, of which I only have a few days left! I’d love for you to meet up ’round here and read along for the rest of the series (and beyond…). You can find the introduction to the series, and a “Table of Contents” as each day goes live, right here. Thanks so much for dropping in!

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We were in the foothills of the NC mountains a few weekends ago, as the Hubs was second shooting at a wedding and the small people and I had tagged along for the adventure. While HH was working, we’d been on an adventure to see a friend of mine during the day, and after eating an early dinner, we were back at the hotel with some time to pass before bedtime. I gathered everyone up for a little walk, and off we set to get moving.

Before you can say Hampton Inn, we almost had an explosive moment of disappointment that forced me to throw in the parenting towel.

The Bear really wanted to ride the elevator (we were on the ground floor and hadn’t needed to use it) and thinking, Heck, it’ll at least take care of five or ten minutes, I said we could, quietly, nicely ride the elevator up to the top floor and back down again. When we arrived at the elevator, our little TigerTank wasn’t feeling very tigerish. He stared at those doors, whimpered, and started to cry:

“I don’t want to ride the Alligator!!!!!! I don’t want to ride the Alligator!!!!”

For all my explaining, the elevator was not an alligator, and the elevator would be fun and safe, he still saw two metal jaws opening wide to capture people. The doors closed, and when they opened again, the people were gone.

Scary stuff for a two year old, if you think about it.

I had to quickly scoot all the kids out the back door because the Tank’s upsettedness and the Bear’s disappointedness were about to collide in a cacophony of noisiness.

The Bear experienced significant disappoint in not getting to ride the elevator and was temporarily inconsolable. Once we were outside, he plopped down on the ground, arms crossed in front of his chest, bottom lip out far enough for me to walk on it, occasional sighs of frustration escaping from his lips. Oh, the honest emotions of a five-year-old.


It took no small feat of coaxing, and some serious attempts at explaining why the Tank was afraid, to convince him to let this thing go. As far as he could see, the Tank just ruined a moment of fun for him and he was none too pleased. I promised him a ride the next morning (when the Hubs would also be present to handle non-alligator-riders) and he eventually, after some time, recovered. But forgiveness was another matter altogether, and on this occasion, I’d guess forgiveness only happened in the sense that the situation has completely been forgotten by now.

When I think about my own life, I realize there are times when I’m the disappointed one with the bottom lip poking out and the arms crossed. (On the inside, of course.) I get hurt by a harsh word from a guy at the bank, or disappointed when I’ve shared something important to me with someone important to me, hoping for them to take it seriously, and they don’t.

Hurt comes in a lot of different ways, but you can be sure of one thing: it comes, and it’s pretty easy to come by.

Forgiveness, though, is not so easy to come by.

Writing to the church in Colossae, Paul issued a challenge to the believers there to live with certain qualities, in consideration of the fact that God had chosen them. He said:

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must also forgive others. {Col. 3: 12-13}

Proverbs gives a similar encouragement:

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. {Proverbs 19:11}

How quick to be offended are most of us? Do we generally tend to assume the worst in a situation where we think someone said something they should not have said, or didn’t do something they should have done? Do we quickly take an offense to heart, and allow it to ruin an hour or a day of our time? Do we pour a mental bath of self-pity, and jump in the tub to soak in it?

{Pass me a towel to dry off. I’m guilty.}

What if we were, instead, quick to overlook an offense? Quick to come up with potential reasons why the other person has been offensive toward us:

She has really been hurt by something that happened recently — she is speaking out of a place of hurt. He has such a large amount of work to manage right now, he didn’t mean to overlook this thing that was important to me — he just has a lot going on.

And then quick to simply forgive, let go, overlook, bypass the offense, to continue in healthy relationship, to move forward in peace.

Yes, there are times when confrontation is a necessity. But many times, it’s just our pride that makes us think it’s necessary. Often, it is actually to our glory to choose not to be offended, to be patient and live consistently focused on the other qualities we were instructed to clothe ourselves in instead.

In God’s glorious goodness, He first forgave us — and forgave us so much — so set an example, and give us the perspective that when we forgive, we are often forgiving very little in comparison. He doesn’t ask us to do something He wasn’t willing to do first!

Try extending extra measures of grace to the people around you today. I think you’ll enjoy the peace that follows.


The Beauty of Saying I’m Sorry

This morning as I was preparing to spend time with the Lord, I’d already written down a few things and looked at a few Scriptures that were on my mind. Very appropriately, one of them was James 1: 22, But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. As I prepared to read the chapters in the Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan I’ve mentioned to you before, I just took a moment to ask the Lord if there was anything in the way, inhibiting my ability to connect with Him and hear from Him.

I think our sins separate us from the Lord and cloud our ability to hear clearly. It’s as if we’re one of those boxy old boomboxes and sin causes us to push down and close up our antennas. Since I was about to dive into another chapter in Leviticus I felt it especially important to make sure all lines of communication were open! Anyway, the next thought in my mind was the poor attitude I’d had in the kitchen in an interaction with my Hero Hubby just a few moments earlier. I asked the Lord for forgiveness and promptly got up, went to the living room where HH was and asked for his forgiveness, too. He forgave me, and asked for forgiveness as well.

Friends, all I can say is that there is just such a beautiful joy in obeying the Word of God, and asking for forgiveness, from Him and from others for the big and the small. Even though I have to do it on a regular basis, and it takes humility and effort, it brings such joy. I was a bit teary-eyed as I gave my Hero Hubby a kiss and headed back to the bedroom to continue getting into the Word. What joy there is when we are at peace with one another!

The Sermon in a Nutshell: Ask for forgiveness, and genuinely seek it. Forgive others, as you would want to be forgiven. This may be a lesson we learned in our childhood, but still it’s one of the most relevant rules for us to live by day in and day out.

Shame, Shame, Shame!

For the past few days, I have been sensing a feeling of uneasiness…like a bit of distance from the Lord that I didn’t understand. I was reminded of His word that says, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1&2) As that came to mind, I continued to ask the Lord what it was that was making me feel like we were separated, and why He felt far away. (Be reminded, if the Lord feels far away, it’s normally you who moved.)

At first I didn’t get a sense of what the matter was, so I went on about my business. Then last night as I lay in bed, a memory came to mind from about five years ago. An incident that I won’t go into detail about happened, which left me feeling cheated, angry, frustrated, guilty and even ashamed. Mind you, this was no major incident — really not a huge deal — so it was strange to me to be reminded of it all these years later, and to think hmmm….what is it about this that is so unsettling to me, and why am I struggling to put it away?

I was suddenly reminded of a statement a friend of mine who is staying with us at the moment made — “The two ways we usually deal with sin are blame and shame.” This might be a rather rough paraphrase, but it was enough to get me thinking about the incident I’d been mulling over from the Lord’s perspective, and to realize there was a depth and breadth of issues within it that I needed to deal with. First, I blamed myself because the incident put a dear friend of mine in a situation that was uncomfortable for her. The Lord showed me the truth: this was not my fault, the free will of other people placed her in that situation — people choosing not to follow the Lord. I also discovered that because of that, and everything else that happened, I felt ashamed. Ashamed that I’d put my friend in that situation, ashamed because I felt like I’d compromised, and ashamed that I hadn’t listened to my gut instinct that “something was fishy”. I repented for not listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and God reminded me of His goodness.

I also needed to extend forgiveness to the person I trusted who hurt me and put both of us in that situation. I needed to acknowledge that I’d been trying to cover myself because I was ashamed of what happened. I needed to turn to the Lord and ask His forgiveness for covering myself and hiding instead of committing all this to Him.

Back in the garden, Adam and Eve were ashamed of their sin and began to cover themselves and hide from the Lord, and we often do the same thing today. Sometimes we do it because we don’t want to be seen in our sin. When I was a kid, if I had disobeyed my parents, I ran and hid. This was because I didn’t want the spanking that was due to me as a punishment for my misbehaviour. They often had a difficult time finding me, and as a result, I didn’t get as many spankings as I deserved! Often I think today I’m still hiding and hoping I won’t be found, instead of dealing with something because I don’t want punishment. If I had been honest about what I’d done, I might have even been forgiven, and received a lesser punishment!

The good news of the Gospel, however, is that Jesus took the punishment for our sin (the eternal separation from God we deserve) on the cross. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him. We need to learn to forgive those around us, knowing that the forgiveness we receive has a direct correlation to the forgiveness we extend. We need to learn to stop hiding from God because we’re ashamed of our sin. The great and glorious Good News is that we can turn to God, and He will deliver us, and remove our shame.

David prayed, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.” (Psalm 34:4&5) God is willing and waiting to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God promises this over and over again! David prayed, “I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5) And again He promises: “…Then you will know that I am the Lord, For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.” (Isaiah 49:23)

God is so good! He was waiting all along to help me deal with this past hurt, and I finally brought it to Him so He could show me the truth, and His desire for me to walk free from shame, blame, and condemnation. He can convict us, cover us, and cleanse us instead! May we all learn to turn to the Lord quickly, to be honest about our mistakes, and to let Him remind us how much He loves us, and how, even when we’re behind the bushes somewhere sewing fig leaves, He still wants a relationship with us, and He wants to make us whole.

The sermon in a nutshell: Don’t hide from the very Being who can set you free from the the shame, the guilt and the condemnation of your past!  He wants to walk with YOU, and to make you whole!