Outwardly I spread out kindness, grace, even good-deeds, believing my actions would convert the pain of betrayal, blame and condemnation. Act yourself into a feeling, so to speak.
Outwardly I resisted, controlling and protecting through avoidance by positioning myself to not be in the offenders presence for a duration. Time heals all wounds, so to speak.
The above is an excerpt from last weeks post Journey from flames to forgiveness. This journey of forgiving started in the upside down way of the world–do and then I will be the forgiver and the forgiven; do and then I will be rewarded; do and then I will receive (worldly) blessing.
Strive to follow the rules and then I will please God and become complete in Christ.
In our human world, it is natural to want to have rules to follow, laws to live up to, yet is that what God calls us to? Are His ways the ways of the world? Does He call us to follow the way of rules to become worthy of being complete in Him?
I tried to find my own words to answer these questions with what I think is truth but Paul’s words say it so much superior.
What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily. Galatians 2:20-21 The Message
I’m struggling friends, of what to write, as there is so much here to unpack! It is the foundation for understanding how much we are loved without needing to ‘impress God.’ It is through this love, our identity in Him, we no longer are ruled by our egos, others opinions of us, and our human vulnerabilities. And we are free to love ourselves and others as Jesus loves who keeps no records of wrong.
(Love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5
When we grasp this understanding that we are already complete in Christ, loved wholly and unconditionally, we no longer need to be loved by anything else in this world. Often our hurts, offenses made against us are from expectations we have on others on how we think we should be treated. Our identity gets wrapped up in our attachment to how others satisfy our egos. So when others do not live up to our own expectations, our character feels attacked, and we take offense. We become afraid and build our walls of defense.
In other words we become a slave to others opinions and treatment of us.
But Jesus showed us a Way out of this entrapment to freedom. He showed us how to love.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:24
They do not know what they are doing. No judgement, no unmet conditions, just Perfect Love seeing the brokenness in his offenders, and keeping no record of the wrong. Instead, He rose and came back into a world that crucified Him because He loves us that much!
When we grasp this understanding of this perfect love He has for us, where there is no condemnation, no-need to please or make-up for our transgressions, we begin to love ourselves as the Father loves us, freeing us to let-go of any need to be loved and treated a certain way to feel okay in this world. And in that way we free others too, from our own judgement and conditions. This leads us to take no offense and casts out our fears of being vulnerable because we are complete in Christ, and fully loved just as we are now. We can then take that understanding of God’s love for us and return that same love out to the world.
Friends, I don’t pretend to know it all. Paul’s words again express this so much more superior than mine.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12
Camp on these words for a moment-Christ Jesus took hold of me. He’s got you, looking out for you, because of who He is-Perfect Love.
And how can we understand His perfect Love that holds no record of wrong, that does not take offense and extends only grace? I believe only through the Holy Spirit, asking our eyes and heart to be opened to Our Good Father.
Open the Eyes of My Heart-Michael W Smith