Posted by: sailingspirit | May 5, 2011

God Refurbishes and Recycles

Mastering forgiveness is one of the most challenging aspects of the Christian life.  How can we imagine ever not feeling, and forgetting, the horribly painful thing someone has done to us?  Especially when it was done intentionally?  Marriage-related hurts are probably the single worst, because they cut to the deepest vulnerability of our selves.  Our very value typically hinges largely on our spouse’s opinion of us.  Yet the Bible tells us that God can heal and restore marriages–He is the ultimate master of refurbishing and recycling everything in life, to include marriage relationships.  But how does He do it?  Do we have evidence?

Well, first of all take a few minutes to consider the trustworthiness of the evidence.  Consider all those relationships on which you form your opinion about what’s possible.  What percentage of those relationships consisted of two born-again and committed Christ-followers?  Scrap any that don’t meet this standard.  Now, out of this list, what percentage reconciled successfully?  Does that impact your thinking?  Most people draw conclusions on polluted data.  Don’t be one of them.

Step 2 is to identify whether the person you’re struggling to forgive is “in the shop,” that is to say whether he or she has submitted to refurbishment.  If not, you’re back to Step 1 aren’t you?  Under the constant influence of the Evil One, he or she is only going to get worse.  It’s like mold on bread.  Waiting doesn’t make it less moldy, does it?  Nope.  I quote a Rumi poem: “Love of the dead does not last, because the dead will not return.”  Yikes!  That’s pretty telling, isn’t it?  So your forgiveness journey will be to set your own self free of the hurt, and keep your window of blessings from God open and clear.  However, if you ever loved that person, you saw something worthwhile in him or her.  Pray that morsel doesn’t get lost forever!  And I can personally attest that prayer for someone’s lost soul squeezes out any personal pain.  There just isn’t room in your consciousness for awareness of how messy your life is AND how messy his or her life is.  The Word tells us that if you focus on praying for that person’s mess, God will clean up yours while you’re not looking.  So switch your prayers to an urgency for him or her to submit–and fast!  Your prayers might be the only hope of that cursed mess coming to an end.

If he or she is submitted, then shift your focus to faith in God’s talent rather than your perception of that person’s ability to change and convince you so.  Isn’t that really what’s so hard–that you just don’t see how you can believe him or her again, trust again?  If they’ve failed you, you’re probably thinking they’re damaged goods.  But it’s never too late with God!  The whole Earth was damaged goods after The Fall but Christ’s offering saved the day!  And His promised actions to come again, defeat all evil and selfish ways forever, then establish the final kingdom without taint or mar is exactly the proof we need to believe God is able to refurbish that person and recycle your relationship!  And if you’ve been a Christ-follower for more than a day, haven’t you experienced some big changes in yourself, too?  So you know He can do it.

A really important key to achieving reconciliation is staying mindful–at all times if need be–that we are ALL works-in-progress.  That none of us starts out perfect, so we’re all dragging around some flaws like the ball ‘n’ chain.  But God continues to sculpt and edit and shape each of us, daily, to become better with time, not worse.  That is, people who have submitted themselves willingly to daily improvement are getting constantly better, not worse.  We are like bottles of wine, achieving better and better vintage.  If you would like others to notice and appreciate the growth you’ve achieved, ought you not also look for their progress?  And, if you’re grateful that God didn’t give up on you after years and years of your wandering, don’t others have the same opportunity to be in awe of His mercy?  He is generous to all.  When you shift your focus back to how amazing God is, your faith will build and you’ll start feeling better.  He can help you clean up your hurt and help you learn to see the bigger picture at the same time He’s helping clean up his or her selfishness and helping him or her see the bigger picture.  You both are being helped step up to a higher level, not just return to the neutral spot you were in before.

Here’s a point I heard just a couple nights ago and which seems to illustrate this perfectly (paraphrased):

“Relationships are not to be endured over time, they’re to be enjoyed over time.  God can even make you fall in love with your spouse over and over again!  You won’t have to worry about infidelity because you’ll be falling in love with each other again.  Remember, at the wedding in Canaan, Jesus turned water into wine.  He is able to turn the mundane into the intoxicating!”  — Pastor Joseph Prince

So if you’re working on the above, you’ll come out okay.  And on the rougher days, go ask some couples–Christ-committed couples–to testify about How God makes their relationship stronger with time.  It will build your confidence in God’s ability.  You will know you have arrived at the forgiveness summit when, as Azim Khamiza puts it, that person “has safe passage through your mind.”


How has this impacted your thinking on the matter?

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