Online Confessions by Keith Giles
This week I ran across a blog entry that I felt misrepresented the words of Jesus on the subject of forgiveness. I attempted, as lovingly as possible, to ask the author a few questions and explain why I disagreed. This person eventually deleted all of my comments to their article and removed all trace of our debate.
I felt angry that my voice hadn't been heard and felt that I had no recourse but to post my arguments and make my case over at my own blog.
I did try my best, at the time, to be fair and loving and use language that veered away from outright attacking him or condemning him. But now I realize that I could have gone a bit further towards extending this person a little more grace. I know that if this person had been my best friend I I would probably have said something like, "My friend and I were having a little disagreement about a difficult passage of scripture this week. Here's my interpretation of what I think Jesus really says about forgiveness."
Instead, I got pissed off because he was deleting my comments and trying to deflect any and all criticism. That made me feel like I had to find a place to display my side of the story publicly. Where else but my own blog, right? Oh, yes, yes, it also bothered me that he was twisting the words of Jesus and misleading those people who follow his teaching, but in my mind I think I was more upset that he had dared to delete my comments and silence my voice. I mean, who does he think he is, right?
LET'S TALK MORE ABOUT ME
My chief complaint and greatest offense was personal. My secondary offense was that he had twisted the words of Jesus. I don't honestly think I realized that at the time, but now at the end of the week I have to confess that this is much closer to the truth.
So, I need to confess this to everyone and admit that I have re-discovered the Pharisee inside of me who cares more about what people think about him than he does about what people think about God or His Word. This is a painful thing to admit about myself, but I can't deny this is true. I ask for your prayers and for your help in putting to death the Pharisee in me. I am praying that God would help me to see these sorts of things more and more so that I can identify my hypocrisy and pride and submit these areas of my life to Christ, the Great Physician, who (I hope and pray) will be merciless as He cuts this infectious, evil junk out of my heart.
WE'RE NOT DONE YET. OH NO.
On a similar note: On the way to work this morning I realized that I really needed to forgive someone. I was angry at them for something they did and I was keeping it inside.
Last night at house church I sat there and talked about how God has been speaking to me about forgiveness (due to my exchanges with the offending blogger) and how I've been reminded that forgiveness is something I need from God daily, and how I need to remember the "Conversatio Morem!" (Constant Conversion) principle of coming daily to Jesus to bend the knee and confess my sins and lay myself at His feet.
I sat there on the floor last night and said, "It's not like I have anyone in my life I need to forgive right now". Honestly, at the time it really didn't occur to me that I needed to forgive this person. They had hurt me and I was a bit angry at them for the decisions they had made, but I didn't think that I needed to forgive them for anything. I guess I just thought they needed to apologize or change their behavior. Maybe I was hoping that if I just stuffed it deeper inside my heart that eventually the pain would subside. I mean, it hasn't ever worked before but you never know when these acts of futility might eventually start paying off. Right?
HERE'S THE GOOD PART
Anyway, on the drive to work today I was praying and asking God to put His finger on the place in my heart that needed healing and comforting (because I feel kinda sad about some of the things I'm seeing in our house church, and I'm feeling like a bit of a failure in some ways because I can't be all things to all people and I don't have the time I used to have to be there for people I care about, and I'm not sure I know how to lead our church through our current growth phase, etc.), and as I pulled into the parking lot He spoke to me and made me realize that I do have someone I need to forgive. And then He took me back to last night, sitting on the floor and saying "I don't think there's anyone I need to forgive" and helped me to see that I really do need to forgive this person. I need to set them free. I need to set myself free. I need to have this relationship healed and I need to be healed myself.
I'VE BEEN SET UP
When I back all the way up from the events of this week I almost wonder if God didn't allow me to trip over that wacky blog article and respond to his post and get into this drawn out online argument and post a rebuttal on my blog and ask six mentors and friends about their opinion on the issue, and share last night about the need we have for forgiveness...just so I could drive into the parking lot this morning and realize, and admit, and accept, that I need to forgive this person and love them and set them free and allow God to heal the wound in my heart.
STARTING WITH THE MAN IN THE MIRROR
God is showing me so many things about myself these days. Some of them are hard to accept. Some of them are just reminders of things I've known for years, but have recently forgotten. But all of them are for my good. All of them are because He loves me so much it's beyond ridiculous.
I don't know if this confession helps anyone else or not. I just know that, as I let go of my hurt feelings and set this person free in my heart, I am suddenly, incredibly set free myself. The weight is lifted and the chains have fallen off. I have wings. Why didn't I do this a long time ago?
It's good to forgive and to be forgiven.
Try it sometime.
Email me directly at "Elysiansky" (at) "hotmail" (dot com)
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