Unforgiveness Heavy Price

My heart has turned cold
It’s hardened towards thee
Over a hurt perceived

What if the offense was intentional
What if you don’t care
What if the words “I’m sorry” never come

I know I should open my heart
Find the words to say
Restore fellowship with you once again

Yet my heart is reluctant
Unwilling to risk vulnerability
By giving voice to the pain

My heart has grown cold
It’s visible on my countenance
Effecting my thoughts and deeds

Oh Lord, I know this is wrong
Tender my heart
To Thy perfect will

My conscious is pricked by the words I read
Unforgiveness exacts a price
Heavier than I’m willing to pay

I want harmony and unity
With my fellow Christian
Fellowship restored with God and man

Susan Bunts Wachtel
February 16, 2009

Lessons from the Wine Press

When talking with a friend who’s in the midst of difficult circumstances…I was reminded of time, not too long ago, that felt like a wine press. While not wanting to lecture my friend…I wanted to pass along things I had learned to spare him some of the painful lessons I learned the hard way.

Don’t take the bitterness, hurt and anger from the present or the past…into the future.

Keep your eyes unwaveringly focused on God and the future. Don’t look back.

Remember that God has a perfect plan for you and your future…and sometimes He uses painful circumstances to get you there.

During this time…there’s a sifting that goes on. In that process…you will loose some people and things that were once important. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The wine press reveals character both in you and those around you.

It reveals true friends and those who are just around out of convenience or necessity.

Forgive, forgive, forgive…and when it doubt forgive some more.

Loose the attitude…it serves no purpose…and will only hurt you as you go forward.

Don’t bad mouth!

When you get to the point where you are so alone…and no one seems to be around or care…that’s where you will find the quite presence of God. He will strengthen you and you will go on.

You learn more about yourself in the wine press than any other place.

Remember with fondness people and good times. It’ll hurt to do so…but it will be bittersweet.

Gleanings

“We can never fully know God’s power in our lives until we are at our weakest.

“Rejection…doesn’t rejection hurt all the more when it comes from one who knows you well?

God is at work in me right now…not sure exactly to what end…and what will be the result…I feel as though I am under construction as I have embarked on listening to Beth Moore’s “A Woman’s Heart” Bible Study.

When listening to the CD’s I sometimes feel assailed by thoughts and ideas and memories from the past. Sometimes they come so fast I can’t even remember them so I can write them down. Other times…I can hardly wait to get to my computer or put pen to paper. I made a mad dash to the computer to jot down the above thoughts.

On Thursday morning…as the water flowed over me during my morning shower and I was waking up…I was surprised when I clearly recalled an episode of painful rejection from last year. Good gracious…where did that come from? The enemy? Yeah…I’ve been feeling some arrows coming my way lately. One of his most effective instruments is to make me feel alone, isolated and rejected…so that I will distrust God and His motives and work in my life.

Today as I continued to listen to the CD’s…memories from my teenage years and early adulthood came to mind. I found myself wishing that I could talk to my mother…just talk as an adult…and deal with left over issues. Things that were never discussed or dealt with during our life. Ask why or what were you thinking? Or what was going on in your life that caused this or that? Unfortunately…that’s a conversation that will have to take place the other side of heaven…since the woman I see each week bears little resemblance to my mother. At times she knows I’m her daughter…but more often…I’m her sister or an old schoolmate that comes to visit.

Our relationship was not a great one. Sometimes I use to think it was because we were not biologically related and she never really bonded with me or maybe didn’t like me. But in actuality…I think we were just very different. Just like I’m not perfect and a work in progress…she too was that when I was growing up. A mother…not bad…but surely not perfect. One who carried her own scars into motherhood and life.

I do find myself concerned for her salvation. One who didn’t have a close walk with God…nor did she talk much about God, nor know His word. We didn’t go to church, nor read the Bible until after my father died when I was 10. After that we started to attend church. It’s hard for the outside observer to know for sure…but from the evidence throughout her life…I’m left with the thought…I don’t really know if she has ever accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Thus you will find me quizzing her or preaching to her every now and again.

I wonder…does her repeating the sinner’s prayer when her mind and will is fading if not gone…does it count? Or is it just me…trying to lead or drag her into the kingdom?

On a recent preaching episode with Gayle…I was explaining the Gospel. When I asked her if she wanted to accept Jesus…she responded, “Well I’m not sure…that sounds too good to be true.” Indeed it is too good…but thankfully it is true. I got her to say the words. Only the Lord knows the results of those words. Did it take…is she saved? I don’t know. Thus…I will likely continue to press the point.

Even though I have a life time of rejection that is blinding at times…I remind myself that I have been accepted by God. That if all else forsake me…that I am accepted in the Beloved. Does that help…yes mostly…and no for pain still remains…and questions…and scars.

There are times when I want to say to God…I believe in You. I am grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus for my sins…and I’ve accepted Him as my Lord and Savior…but I can’t go on. I’ll live a decent life…and won’t get involved in that which is wrong…but I don’t want to do anything more than that. I want to just live my life. He of all people knows the hurt in my heart…and knows that which is deep and invisible to others…but it’s bright as the noon day sun to Him. He knows it…and He has the ability to help heal and end that pain. But for whatever reason…thus far He has chosen not to.

And that’s when I start to get a stinky attitude…and say I love you God…but I don’t want to do anything more than live my life. I can’t give that which I don’t have. For an outpouring of love and service…surely I need to have my tanks filled. But they remain dangerous close to empty. I’m tired of running on empty.

Does having lived this life with pain make me more compassionate and understanding towards those who are hurting? Yes…I know well what it’s like to have a hurting heart. But in some respects…it’s also dulled my feelings. The hurt has caused scars that are tough. Scars which help protect my heart from further injury. At times…I can be rather cold hearted and uncaring. I feel like I’m running on empty…and by my own power and can’t go much further.

I do believe that this will necessitate me trusting God…even when it doesn’t feel safe and when I don’t want to. So does that bring me back to my first point?

“We can never fully know God’s power in our lives until we are at our weakest.

Hum…well…I’m there. Today I feel as though I’m at my weakest…and need a miracle. I don’t only want to know rest, peace and the fullness of love when I get to heaven. I want to know it down here…this side of heaven. I want to give to people…out of the fullness and abundance of my heart…not only from a heart that is running on empty.