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Sunday, February 13, 2011

You keep loving us and You restore us

From a teaching on love in a class called servanthood on

So often God shows me a wrong attitude by taking me through a hard time, where i get to learn that someone i had judged, was doing the best they could with the grace of God they were given, and that God had a bigger purpose in what they were walking through, than i could have known. So there is wisdom in "withholding judgment" and praying for "the other" as if you truly knew that we are all desperately in need of a Savior. I put in Bold letters the lesson.

"A couple years ago, I had an experience where someone close to me in the ministry betrayed me
and sinned against me. Afterwards, this person was very sorry and appeared to be repentant. But I
was so hurt, I did not trust him anymore. I did not want to forgive him. I just wanted to cut him
off because I had been grieved. I was angry. One day I was telling this person, “Just leave me
alone.” And he said he would, but on one condition—“If you will call Pastor Chuck Smith and
ask him what you should do. I have called him and talked to him and he told me he wants you to
call him.” I was betrayed again! I thought, “No, I am sure he will agree with me.”
So I called Chuck and told him my side of the story. He was sympathetic to a degree, but he
began to ask questions about this person’s repentance. I had to admit the person appeared
repentant. He seemed sorry. But I said, “Chuck I do not believe him. He is a deceiver.” Chuck
said, “He seems very sincere to me.” “Yeah, Chuck, but you do not know him like I do. You see,
I love him, Chuck, but I do not trust him anymore.” And he said, “Wayne, I think you are bitter.”
I said, “No, I am not bitter. I am just hurt.” He said, “You are hurt and you are bitter about it.” It
was not funny at the time, though. He said, “I think you need to forgive.” And I said, “Chuck, I
think I need to cut him off.” He said, “Well, Wayne, it sounds like your mind is made up. So I
have to go now.” It seemed kind of abrupt to me. I said, “Well, will you at least pray for me
before you hang up?” “Sure.” And so we prayed. Chuck prayed, “Lord, thank You for loving us
so much. And thank You that You do not love us like Wayne says that he loves this guy.”
actually said that. I thought, “Are you praying to Him or me?” But he prayed and said, “Thank
You that You are so merciful. And yet, when we ask forgiveness, You do not cut us off. You
keep loving us and You restore us. Amen.” You know it really struck a note. Not a good one, but
it struck a note. I told him thank you for praying for me. And I think I mentioned something about
faithful are the wounds of a friend.
Through that God began to show me that there was bitterness that was choking me. It was
choking my life and it had to go. The Lord asked me to fully forgive this person, to restore him,
and cover that sin. Love covers. It forgives and cleanses and forgets. He said, “My love suffers
long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4). I am just really being honest here. I began to think about
this. And honestly I told Him at one point, “Lord, I do not think I want to love like You do if this
is what it is about. I mean, You died for us. I do not want to suffer long. I will suffer short maybe,
but not long. This is just too much.” But He said, “Don’t you want to be like Me?” “Yes, I
absolutely do.


Anonymous said...

Good story. I can relate. I've often experienced being cut off from other Christians. I always seek to reconcile and am willing to admit fault and injury on my part if it has taken place, but many are not willing to ever even discuss the matters that they tell OTHERS I've wronged them on.

I believe Jesus came to reconcile and if we believe his message and live in Him, we ought always to seek reconciliation towards all other people, especially those in the family of believers. Either we believe that or we don't and our actions prove it.

It's very discouraging to share the truth and in turn be cut off, excluded and gossiped about...but it is what it is. If they did it to Christ, they'll do it to us and I have to succumb at some point to the fact that I cannot make anyone reconcile with me. (though I wish I could) The Lord uses all things, good and bad to get us to the place he is taking us and perhaps he uses that exclusion and shunning towards me to guide me to cling to Him alone all the more.

I just wish more Christians practiced honest investment in one another regardless of what goes wrong in their relationships so that we truly could be unified and living in the unconditional love of Christ rather than the conditional love of man.

I always say love that refuses to interact and invest genuinely is not love at all; it's lip service to a religious belief that a person neither practices nor understands the power of. Our love should look increasingly more like Christ's--costly, sacrificial, unconditional and unending. To say we love someone, yet refuse to know them intimately or closely is to lie. Religion smiles on Sunday and holds a superficial conversation in the grocery store; Love runs to those with whom their heart strives in anger or pain with a phone call, a lunch date or a meeting with an arbiter.

All I want is real relationships...unfortunately they are very hard to come by these days. I'm thankful for those who are honest with me when I sin and reconcile with me when I sin against them. They are those who practice true religion and love.

Chuck said...

our pastor yesterday said this,

If you repeat the matter you are keeping a record of it. "love keeps no record of wrongs."

He who conceals a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends. Prov17:9

Persecution will be used to remove the spots and blemishes in the body of Christ, but we would be a lot better off to submit to His conviction NOW.

thanks for commenting lori