Now is Not a Good time to let Ignorance Control Your life.

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”

Thomas S. Szasz

“Forgive” and “forget” are two words often used in the same context. The meaning is different but these words are often associated with each other. “Forgive and forget” is a phrase which is often used when someone is wronged by someone else. Forgiving someone is different than forgetting what happened but these words are not always used correctly..

Forgiving is an action to recover the angry feeling toward the person who offended you or did hurt you. This doesn’t mean you forget all these things but it is the first step to resume the normal relationship you had with this person before these things happened.

I see a major difference in the words forgive and forget. I believe it’s the give and the get that jumps out at me when I see the two words together. We give forgiveness but forgetting is a whole different ball of wax. We should get smart when someone does something bad to us. Something bad requires us to forgive that party and let by goners be by goners. Forgetting is our learning experience. Hopefully in the course of forgiving we learn something and then we can move to forget. Putting one’s self in the position that someone can harm you can be construed as a weakness. Being smart and having forethought before allowing anyone that type of power can help you avoid making these types of mistakes in future dealings with that person. That’s where the learning part comes around.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean to forget. But it does mean that I am no longer reliving the pain, hurt and anger. It doesn’t mean that I excuse the behavior. However It does mean that I don’t judge the person, only the behavior. It doesn’t mean that I don’t protect myself from further abuse. But it does mean that I treat the person with respect and that I do not actively pursue actions that would cause them harm or shame.

Most people don’t realize that when you forgive, you’re doing yourself more good than you are the person you are forgiving. It’s liberating to forgive someone. When you forgive someone for a wrong doing, in essence, you are not telling them that what they did to you was OK. What you are doing, in reality, is freeing yourself to move on from it. When you don’t forgive the person who hurt you, it’s like you’re giving them control over your feelings. When you forgive them and move on from it, you release that control they have over you. It’s liberating, it really is.

When I began to get my life back on track, which I still derail it at times, I expected people to forgive and forget and never bring up my past. That was a very wrong expectation on my part. I should hope that they will forgive me in time, but today I hope they don’t forget. I also hope they don’t keep reminding me of it, but they should not forget, they should keep it in the corner of their mind. They should never forget what I’m capable of if I travel that path again. I they forget, they once again are vulnerable to the same hurt. Maybe it’s good for them to remind me of my stupid actions once in a while, not in anger, but in reflection. It keeps them in the forefront of my mind and reminds me of the debt I owe. It also helps me see the warning signs before the train wreck, it keeps the foolishness fresh, and reminds me how bad it really was, our minds have a tendency to only remember the good times, rarely the bad. I can never forget myself, either, I need the misery to remain fresh, to once in a while remind myself of where I’ve traveled and where I am now. They say the farther you are from a mistake the closer you are to making it again, I need it to remain close to my mistakes in my mind. I don’t need to dwell on it, but it is dangerous for me to forget them.

I still get angry, and I’m smart enough to know that even when it appears to be directed at other people, it’s really directed at myself. When I am offended, it is something inside of me that has triggered it, I didn’t get the response or my needs met, or I took it personal. There’s a Buddhist saying which I like, which is: Forgive, but don’t forget. What that means in this context is: if I’m angry, let it go. But don’t forget that the anger arises because there is still something in me that is not right: that is vulnerable, or inauthentic, or whatever it is that allowed me to be silent when I saw wrong, or to tacitly accept what I felt to be bad knowledge and bad practice. Anger is a fierce energy. It’s a response to something wrong. Misdirected, or suppressed, it can be damaging. But my task is to harness it productively. We cannot go through life taking offense over every little slight. Most people don’t mean to offend us, they simply don’t know how to please us.

I find that anger disappears when I make the change in myself that needs to be made. My resolution of anger is not forgiveness, but to take action. I feel anger when I am forcing myself to be “considerate” of someone who is speaking nonsense. That’s not compassion: that’s just my cowardice and avoidance. I also feel angry just from thoughts and memories in my head. I want to understand what that means for me: and take the necessary action. Make the necessary change. I need to Forgive myself but not forget that I owe a debt and one that should pay with some interest.

This is not to say that forgiveness requires the absence of all negative emotion. That must be mistaken. It does, however, require us to act in opposition to how those emotions would have us act. Surely we are hurt when a friend betrays our trust. This pain would have us no longer share the secrets of our hearts with them. If we choose to forgive, we continue to speak to them in confidence, despite the fact that our pain lingers and bids us not to. And how wonderful! The pain that wishes to silence us is itself silenced when our friend proves again to be worthy of all trust.

The phrase “forgive and forget” is not found in the Bible. However, there are numerous scriptures commanding us to “forgive one another” (Matthew 6:14; Ephesians 4:32). A Christian who does not forgive can reap bitterness and the loss of eternal rewards (Hebrews 12:14-15; 2 John 1:8). Forgiveness is a decision of the will. Since God commands us to forgive, we must make a conscious choice to forgive. This frees the forgiving one from the past. The offender may not desire forgiveness and may not change (Matthew 5:44). Ideally, the offender will seek reconciliation, but if not, the one wronged should still make known his decision to forgive.

In one sense, it is impossible to truly forget sins that have been committed against us. We cannot selectively “delete” events from our memory. The Bible states that God does not “remember” our wickedness (Hebrews 8:12). God is all-knowing. God knows that we have “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). However, having forgiven us, He treats us as if the sin had not occurred. If we belong to Him through faith in Christ, God does not hold our sins against us. In that sense we must “forgive and forget.” If we forgive someone, we must act as if that sin had never occurred. We remember the sin, but we live as if we did not remember it. Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Forget is not mentioned.

Common sense (That is wisdom by the way), would dictate to be cautious with a person for a time. The bible says for us to be “gentle as doves and wise as serpents.” Trust has to be earned back. This means, I can forgive someone for wronging me every time he does. But that doesn’t mean that I have to allow myself to blindly stay in the position to be wronged. God isn’t raising any fools in us. And since we are our brother’s keeper, we are also to show them when they error.

You can forgive a rattlesnake for being a rattlesnake. It is folly, though, to pretend to yourself that a rattlesnake is not a rattlesnake. It is especially dumb when you find out the hard way that a rattlesnake is a rattlesnake and then you forget it is.

Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you forget who they seem to be. It is silly to trust a person to be someone you have not found them to be. But once you find out who they are — what they can be expected to do in this circumstance or that — then forgive them but trust them to be who they have shown you they are — and do not forget it.

Forgiving is an act of accepting a certain event that has taken place in your life. You choose to forgive the person fro what they have done and then you must choose to forgive yourself. You must forgive yourself for the hate the pain the tears that you have shed. When you truly forgive someone you must make sure that you are truly over the situation.

Forgetting is the act of removing a situation completely from your mind frame. Forgetting is something that is almost completely impossible.

Everything in your life happens for a reason, and that is to make you a better stronger person. Never let things keep you down in life, you need to forgive in order to move on with your life. Always forgive, but never forget.

EXCERPT FROM:

Hope in the Shadows by Michael Clark

 

 

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Want to take Risks Without God? Good Luck.

 

Man’s Way Leads to a Hopeless End. God’s Way Leads to Endless Hope.

 

A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper.

He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is safe.

Proverbs 28:25–26

 

There are times when I think I am doing fine and do not need to worry about tomorrow. I will be strong against the sin that I may face. Every time I feel that way, I fall flat on my face, and I let Satan creep in inch by inch. You give Satan an inch, and he will become the ruler. (Another great bumper sticker!)

 

God has a plan for me and I need to understand that He already had my life planned before I was even born. A plan was begun for mankind before God put the first breath into Adam. God knows my every move. Wherever I go, He will be there with me.

 

I sent a saying to my son when he was stationed in Iraq. It said, “I know your name, and I will be with you wherever you go.” That is true for everyone. He knows your name. He is wherever you go. God cares for you.

 

And God even cares for “little people.” What I mean by little people are the people who come into your church—the ones you don’t want to sit next to them because they need a bath. They need help because they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. They are the hungry. Their clothes look like they came from a charity store.

 

Let me make sure you understand! God always hears and loves those who seek Him—little people or not. He doesn’t care what they wear. He doesn’t care if they smell. He does care that they are hungry. He does care that they need love—just like you do.

 

I realize that to love these people you are going out on a limb, taking a risk. They could take advantage of you. They may want to steal the church offering. But you should embrace them as people of worth and welcome them into your church. God cares about them—and you need to as well.

 

Speaking of taking a risk: Don’t you take a risk when you let your daughter go to her first dance alone? Don’t you take a risk when you give the car keys to your son for the first time? You worry about them, but you love them enough to let them stretch their wings a little. They are a little person in your eyes yet. They are still your little girl or boy, but you trust them enough to let them enjoy increasing independence.

 

Our heavenly Father takes a risk with His children every day. He lets us stretch our wings. He trusts us to do the right things. We don’t always do the right things, but God loves us just the same as you would still love your children if they didn’t make the right decisions.

 

We often try to make decisions without God’s help. But as the bumper sticker says, “Man’s way leads to a hopeless end.”

 

Try to remember the risk takers from the Bible. Think of David and his sling shot, Mary washing Jesus’ feet, Abraham raising his knife to kill his son. They took the risk, but they relied on God to help them. They had a heavenly Parent to trust them and protect them. He let them stretch their wings because, “God’s way leads to endless hope.”

 

Stay with God’s way, and the narrow path you walk will lead to endless hope. The wider path leads to destruction, disappointment, shame and despair. You may stretch your wings if you wish, but stay the course that God has in mind for you, and you will receive the final reward—the eternal love of your heavenly Parent.

 

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in loved lives in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:16

 

Further adventures

Man’s way does lead to a hopeless end. We have all been there. You think everything is going great and that you don’t need God to help you during that time. Like clockwork, something knocks you to your knees, and you are praying (crying) to God to help you through it.

 

Let me suggest an alternative: Pray without ceasing! Let God know every day about your day. If it was a good day, thank Him for it. If it was a bad day, ask for His loving care. It is so easy to get in touch with God. It is much better way to communicate than any electronic invention man has come up with. It is similar to e-mail, except you would call it knee mail.

 

Something to ponder

Isn’t it funny that if God is for us, no one can be against us?

(Excerpt from: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World. Chapter 5)

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Mistakes, Shame and Avenues of Grace

You can find shame in every house, burning in an ashtray, hanging framed upon a wall, covering a bed. But nobody notices it any more.

SALMAN RUSHDIE,

The process of growing increases our awareness of the ways we have hurt other people. For many of us this realization leads almost instaneously to shame. And shame leads almost immediately to increasingly desperate attempts to be perfect in order to mask the feeling that we are fundamentally flawed. The downward cycle of failure-shame-trying harder-failure will gradually immobilize us as our self-contempt and depression increase. It’s a vicious cycle that we can become accustomed to.

Our assumption should be that we will not be perfect. We can expect to fail from time to time. Failure does not have to lead to shame or perfectionism because failure is normal. We all experience it. Accepting this basic reality is the first step in the process toward a healthy response to failure and preventing shame.

Experiences of shame lead to fear. When shame causes us to be afraid we make extra efforts to protect ourselves against future experiences of shame. We try hard, for example, to look good. We focus on controlling external appearances. We also try hard to anesthetize our feelings because of our fear of shame. We focus on controlling our feelings so that other people won’t get to know us. If they did they might discover the shame we are trying to hide. In this way shame traps us in a cycle of fear and emotional numbing and covering up.

We need other people to keep us honest and to help us see what we cannot see about ourselves. Honest feedback is one of our best hopes for initiating change. It is very easy to see the problems in others and not see them in myself. One reason I think we judge others so harshly is that we see the attitudes and behaviors that we despise in our life’s but cant control, so we try to control them in others.

It is good to pay attention to the ‘correction’ and ‘discipline’ we get from others. We are not helped, of course, by judgmentalism and shame – we have enough of that to last us a lifetime. But we need to cultivate relationships with people who will – with love and kindness – tell us the truth about ourselves. This information can be the starting point for change in our lives.

But if we hide our shame, it can never be healed. Our shame heals when we reveal our inner being to people who accept us rather than shame us. This is not an easy process for us because we expect to be shamed. We do not expect to be accepted. But we need this kind of honesty. We are not ‘wired’ for honest self-assessment. At the first sight of a problem we experience shame. And our defenses go up. We put our hands over our ears and stop listening.

We do not have to let denial, blame and shame lock us into destructive, hurtful patterns

Addictions and compulsions are a kind of bondage. Painful memories are also like chains that bind us. We try harder and harder to change. But sometimes the harder we try, the tighter the chains become.

In order to change and grow we need to face the reality of our actions and attitudes. Some were life-draining. Destructive. But we are forgivable. We are invited to receive forgiveness. And we are invited to change. The life-draining behaviors that we have pursued can be changed, but not by us alone. We have tried this route, most of us more than once. We can only change through a change of heart and that can only be accomplished by Christ.

Sometimes it is difficult to imagine having our ‘hearts at rest’ – to have Serenity. The part of our heart that is damaged by shame reminds us of all our inadequacies and failures. One of the ways to overcome shame is to see when shame is just junk put into my life from the past. By others and circumstances. We follow in the footsteps others have laid out for us. We have listened to so many voices that we have become what they said we should be. We have been trapped by other peoples lies about us. Learn to see yourself as Christ sees you, worthy.

Guilt and Shame are sometimes used to describe the same thing. But I believe that there are differences. Shame is different from healthy guilt.

Guilt is the unpleasant feeling we experience when we violate our beliefs and values. Guilt is based on forgiveness. Guilt results from a violation, transgression, or a fault of doing something wrong. This can result in feelings of remorse, and dealing with guilt can be as simple as an apology. We can do something about guilt. We can change our behavior. In biblical terms, we can repent.

Overcoming shame, however, is much more challenging. Shame is based on self-esteem. Shame goes deeper than guilt. It touches the very core of our identity. Shame results from a feeling of falling short, and a self-image that lacks control. Shame is a feeling of inadequacy; a sense that “I am no good.” “Guilt says `I have made a mistake;’ shame says ‘I am a mistake.'” You are not a mistake

We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. But we are not our failures. The problem with identifying with failure is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy especially in the case of shame. Shame can keep you in the same cycles of life, believing you cant change. It’s the difference between a football team that tries not to lose and one that tries to win. One who sees himself as a failure is trying not to lose. And any coach will tell you that focusing on defeat usually will ensure it. So don’t let shame cause you to consider yourself a failure. You may sometimes fail, but you are not a failure.

It is the labels we place on ourselves that become self-fulfilling prophecies, resulting in either shame or success. Are you living with labels others have place on you.

Overcoming shame takes time, patience, and most of all, understanding – especially with yourself. It takes time to learn to deal with our mistakes honestly and directly at the guilt level before it progresses into shame – which is toxic to anyone.

If you think about it, mistakes aren’t just sources of shame in your life; they’re also avenues for grace.

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Slow Down in the Rat Race, You’re Killing Yourself

 Before I post, I want to let all of you know that Michael and I would love to hear from you. Your comments help us to know what other things you want to hear about. You comments help others to grow.

You can email me at: doug@dougbolton.com and let me know your thoughts. Michael is posting tomorrow. He will let you know if he wants you to email him as well.

Doug

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He Who Kneels Before God Can Stand Before Anyone

 

I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.

Psalm 17:6

 

It seems that everyone is on the fast track these days. You get passed by cars even though you are going the speed limit. The commuter trains are jammed full. Everyone you see has a cell phone up to their ear.

Some call it the “rat race.” However, even rats stop whenever they want to.

We feel like we need to climb the ladder of success. Some do it in such a way that anyone in their way will be stepped on. They don’t realize that each step on the ladder is made of paper, and although they may make it up to the top, the trip back down is very fast! You can be king of the mountain today, but you could be a has-been in the valley tomorrow.

I think back to a time when things weren’t so frantic—to a time when you could lie in your front yard and watch the clouds go by; a time when you could play with your dog; a time when you had a leisurely barbeque in the backyard and everyone in the neighborhood was there; a time when there was just your wife and you and no children.

Those were the days, my friend, and you thought they would never end. And they weren’t just the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer—much of life went at that pace. Then you noticed you didn’t have time to lie in the front yard. You were too busy mowing it and trying to keep it looking better than the neighbors’ lawn. You stopped having pets around because no one was home long enough to care for them. And the barbeque was long ago replaced by a quick wave to our neighbors and food from the drive-through. What’s a barbeque???

You now have three children—and they are very costly. Two are in college, and the other needs new equipment to be able to play on the school football team.

Are you on the fast track? Instead of a racing on an oval track, are you simply going in circles? Is there no end to the cycle?

Did you know that the oceans even stop to rest? They flow back and forth every day, but there is a short time when they reach their peak and do not flow anywhere. They stay still for about half an hour and then they start to flow the other direction. It is called high tide.

When you go crabbing (a sport, not an attitude!), you see the rope line to your trap going one direction and then at high tide the rope slacks and even disappears down into the water. Then when the ocean starts up again, the rope does a complete turn and heads the other direction.

I know how it is to feel we can’t take the time for even a short pause like the ocean does each day. It seems we feel we have to keep going no matter what. We feel driven—we are driven.

I know what that’s like. I’ve been there. I have wanted to be near the top. I have wanted to be more important. I have wanted; I have wanted; I have wanted.

Then one day I read this in the Bible: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). That hit me right between my “wanting to be important” eyes. God cares more about my spending quiet time with Him in prayer than He does about how important I am.

Think about this: A thousand years from now, will it matter how important you were in this world? Will it matter what title you were given? How hard you worked for that title? Nope. The meek (not the “top bananas”) will inherit the earth. Your success and your money do not go with you to the cemetery.

Instead of fame and fortune to pass on to our children, God wants our legacy to be a quiet and humble spirit that waits on Him.

When I really understood Psalm 46:10 for the first time, I realized that I needed to slow down, take time for prayer, and spend more time with God. I needed less time in the rat race.

“But I don’t know how to pray; I don’t know what to pray for,” is a common lament. Romans 8:26 says, “We do not know what we ought to pray for” and that “the Spirit himself intercedes for us.” Paul was talking about people who feel just like us. And in other places, Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6) and “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

You can pray for your children, your parents, your church and your neighbors (even the one with the dog who barks all day!). How about something unique? Pray for yourself. God doesn’t think we’re being selfish when we pray for ourselves. He wants to hear about our hurts and our concerns.

God doesn’t turn anyone away. He didn’t turn away Moses. He didn’t turn David away. He listened to Job. He listened to Sarah. He listened to Doug. He will listen to you.

God listened to me. I learned what a comforting feeling it was to have my heavenly Father listening to my cries. He spent hours with me helping me through some very tough times. The times I thought I wasn’t going to live to my next breath, He was there to help me through the storm.

Asking God to be on our side is like living in a muddy polluted river and suddenly having fresh water flow into it. It may take awhile for it to completely clear up, but with God’s help and our prayers, it can be a rich productive river again.

 

Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

Ephesians 6:18

 

Further Adventures

I remember when I first started coming out of the web of fear and anxiety I was stuck in for many years. The web kept pulling on me trying to keep me from getting away. I struggled because I wanted to finally be free. It was an exhausting, hard fought battle. Little by little I was able to get my arms free, and then my legs. Finally I was able finally able to leap into the loving arms of God. You can do the same thing. It will not be easy to rid the poisonous bite of the spider (Satan.) He will try to suck all the energy out of you even though you are struggling to free yourself. Turn to God, and let Him stamp the life out of the spider. Let Him put new loving blood flowing through you. Once you are free and strong again, He will be there to protect you from all enemies for the rest of your life on earth,

Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that the faster we go the more behind we get?

(Excerpt from, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.) Chapter 18

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