Fear of Asking for Forgiveness

I had a conversation with an elderly man once who told me he was afraid to go and offer forgiveness to someone for something that had occurred.  He was afraid because he wasn’t sure if the other person remembered and he didn’t want to rile them up ‘at this stage of the game.’   I asked him what he meant by ‘at this stage of the game’ and he said, “Oh you know . . . the end of . . .” he paused for along time;  “Speaking about the ‘end of my life’ is not always easy.” I found it eased people’s minds for me to ask if they believed in ‘eternal life’ and would then ask if they might consider using the term ‘the end of life as I know it now’  because the Bible tells us we will be changed.

But back to the title of this note – fear of asking someone for forgiveness – It’s understandable that you don’t want to rile up other people if they’ve forgotten about something – but on the other hand, it’s not good for a person to be riled up because they have a need to be forgiven or to forgive.   I had been in a similar situation once even though I wasn’t at the end of my physical life, I was at the end of life as I once knew it.  After receiving the Holy Spirit and asking the Lord for a more forgiving heart I began a process of preparing in my heart to forgive people who had hurt me in the past and as I was doing that I thought about times that I had perhaps hurt someone and not sought forgiveness thinking they and I would ‘just get over it.’   That’s not a very biblical answer on how to handle our relationships.

When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray he included the words ‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’  And in another place in Scripture Jesus teaches that we must forgive others if we want to be forgiven and in another place he states if you know have sinned against someone you should go and ask forgiveness from them before bringing your gift to the altar.  (It was common in ancient days to offer gifts to the High Priest) That custom has been changed as we believe the gift we give is the gift of ourselves – that we are to become living sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving.  Forgiveness is a gift of peace that we receive and give.

There are ways to approach people if you have a need to ask for forgiveness. You can first pray about how to approach them, you can pray for them to be prepared for your request, you can approach softly, not for your own need, but because the Lord might already be working in their life because he desires reconciliation.

Sometimes people are missing from family Christmas celebrations due to a lack of reconciliation.  The birth of Jesus is sometimes spoken about as a sign of God’s desire for the world to be reconciled to himself.   John 3:16 tells us God loved the whole world so much he gave us Jesus.  Jesus’ ministry, his prophetic teaching. healing and preaching was all about reconciliation, helping people to realize that God loves them.  To fully experience the peace we sing and talk about during the Christmas and Holiday seasons might take losing a fear of giving or asking someone for forgiveness – it might be the best gift you give each other this year. Continue reading


Don’t Be Afraid

How often have you heard these words spoken to you?  What was happening in your life when someone whispered them into your ear or spoke them loud and clear?

Don’t be afraid Mary – she was going to have a baby . . . not just a baby though – this baby was going to be her savior, and not only hers, but the whole world.   Don’t be afraid?  Really?  That’s a pretty big calling don’t you think?  Being told IN ADVANCE that you are going to be the mother, not of some king or some military leader, or a president or a governor – no, the savior of the whole world.   HOW IN THE HECK AM GOING TO HANDLE THIS?!!!  I’m thinking that’s what most women would be saying – maybe that’s why God chose a younger girl – maybe she wasn’t hardened by so many life’s experiences . . .

OK, so let’s put some of this in perspective for our own lives – Because Mary wasn’t afraid, she didn’t say No.

How many times has fear of something caused you to say no?

It takes a courageous person to say yes to the angels in our lives that speak to us about letting the Holy Spirit overshadow us so that God can do something marvelous.

Doesn’t our Salvation from the world and all it’s troubles begin with saying yes to the Holy Spirit who guides us into truth on paths of peace?

Don’t be afraid of salvation – it’s a good thing – it’s personal and communal.

Don’t be afraid of letting God do a new thing in your life . . .

Drawing Wisdom from the Lord’s Life and Prayer

Words and titles matter to authors and to their readers. The Subtitle of My book is ‘Drawing Wisdom from the Lord’s Life and Prayer’  I could have made this the title of the book, or I could have used ‘Gaining’ Wisdom . . .  But I chose to have it be the subtitle and I chose Drawing Wisdom.   Why?

I think the one thing Jesus did more often and better than human beings is prayer and living through stressful times without manifesting all the behaviors that much of humanity does when dealing with stress.  So, ‘Praying Our Way Through Stress’ is the title because it focuses on prayer as a way of helping us manifest more Christ-like behaviors.

Drawing Wisdom implies doing something and Gaining implies receiving.  More often than not we must ‘do something’ in order to become wiser.  That something is usually ‘study.’  Studying can be done in a variety of ways – but it requires another skill – one of listening with both our minds and our hearts. We can draw wisdom from the world or we can draw wisdom from Jesus or we can draw wisdom from both.  Jesus lived wisely in a world that was torn by strife, much like the world we live in today.   Jesus came so that we could live abundant lives in a world of strife.  What are we striving for?  I’m not going to answer that question for you, but I am going to tell you that at a very stressful time in my life I went away for 36 hours of quiet time.  No talking, only listening.  And in my prayer time the words – ‘Cease your striving’ kept rolling through my mind until they sunk deeply into my heart.

We are approaching the holiday season, we have Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years coming up.  What are you striving for during this time, in all the preparations you are going through, what are you really striving to accomplish?