I love Peter's experience of walking on the roaring sea with Jesus. But the thing is, Peter's story is often misunderstood. Do you have a step you need to take?
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As we get ready to dive into the second post in our Facing Forgiveness Series, I wanted to point new readers back to the first post (so you can follow-along). Also, you are invited to join the Step Out And Thrive Inner-Circle Facebook Group where we dive deeper into each post and get to know one another better. If you have been enjoying our weekly Forgiveness Interviews, you can connect with them inside of the group as well. Plus I go live every single week during the series 😃
I held the piece of notebook paper with fists clinched tight. Just a few days before, I had met with a close friend who was also a certified Caring For The Heart Biblical counselor. She willingly walked through my story – my whole story.
through pure anger
and times I honestly could not look her in the eye – she stayed with me through it all.
After months of meeting, she handed back to me a piece of paper that I had completed. As the page came closer, I began to recognize my writing. I had to write the names of the people who had hurt me, the pain they had caused and accept the consequences of their actions. I completed the assignment by crossing out the directions and then writing “No way” in big letters.
I thought that had settled it. I was wrong. So very wrong.
Choosing not to forgive never brings peace. It’s a false positive that prevent true peace from beginning.
As we began to talk, honestly, my heart remained hard. You see, I knew all about the pain Jesus endured for me and my sin on the cross, but at that moment the only pain I could see was my own. I knew forgiveness could be freeing, but if I just let all of this go, who would I be? I was so comfortable holding onto the shame, loneliness of the secrets I had been carrying, anger, self-hatred and insurmountable rejection. This was my life. I couldn’t just let all that go. I didn’t know how. I had more questions than answers.
I left our meeting that day with my hand still clinched tightly to my incomplete assignment. I wasn’t being sent home to complete the piece of paper. No, she urged me to simply bring the matter before God.
It’s always better not to tell someone what they need to do, but allow God to do what only He can – no strings attached.
No matter how many times I folded that piece of paper, it would find a way to unfold itself, just so I knew it’s presence. Whether I placed it in my pocket, in a book, on my desk or even on the floor – it always found its way back to me.
God began to move in big ways. These quiet moments in-between appointments, God began to quietly speak to my heart.
It’s not the counselor, the pastor, the friend or the encourager that changes people. Instead, it’s the space these people allow God to have to work in the way only He can.
As I sat down to read my Bible over the weekend, the Spirit led me to the final hours of Jesus’ life. In one chapter, I read exactly how Jesus understood the darkest moments of my life through the darkest moments of His.
Matthew 26: 40-41: Jesus’ disciples leave Him alone in His greatest hour of need. He knows what loneliness and rejection feels like. He knows what it looks like to be misunderstood.
Matthew 26:50: Jesus’ friend Judas betrayed Him with a kiss. He knew how something could feel right yet be so wrong. Jesus knew betrayal and the loss of friendship. Jesus understands why it is so hard for me to really trust others.
Matthew 26:52-54: Jesus watched as Peter’s anger caused pain. He knew the pain God’s salvation plan would bring. Jesus understood submission. Jesus understood anger.
Matthew 26:62-63: Jesus understood the art of silence when human words seem useless. He understands when it feels like I’ve lost my voice. He understands the feeling of being lied about and disrespected.
Matthew 26:67-68: They spit in Jesus’ face. I’ve had this happen to me as well. He was physically abused and He allowed it to happen. Jesus understands physical and emotional pain.
Jesus still has many more verses to get to the cross. His clothes would be stripped (this is sexual abuse), he would be flogged (physical abuse), hurled insults at (verbal abuse) while He carried His cross (physical and emotional abuse).
It’s one thing to know about the pain that Jesus endured.
It becomes personal and unbearable when you truly realize He went through every moment of His pain for you.
Not only does Jesus understand, He died and conquered death so that our pain can be forgiven.
Jesus spoke to my heart that day about my closed, clinched tight fist. After reading through Matthew 26, I felt Jesus asking me, “Bethany, can I please have the pain – the shame, anger, rejection, loneliness, hurt, betrayal and abuse – can I take this from you so that you can open your hand freely again?”
When the Holy Spirit works, sometimes you are so glad you are all alone. I did the bitter cry that day – letting go of pain and tears that had been locked-up tight for so many years. My paper was useless because it had been drenched by my tears. God was clearly at work.
The forgiveness journey is not started by human words or actions, but instead by God revealing Himself in a new, fresh way. If our pain continues to be bigger than His salvation, we will miss God’s hand every single time. But when the power of the cross overshadows our deepest pain, tears of freedom can begin to flow.
Forgiveness is not something we do but instead it is God’s work displayed in and through us.
The pressure to forgive is off. Simply ask Jesus to speak directly to your pain. When you are ready to forgive, He will be waiting to walk with you the entire way. After all, He knows your pain.
This “Sermon Jam” was published way back in 2013 and I stumbled upon it right when I began my forgiveness journey. I would stream the video as I exercised in the morning – every single morning! I needed this Truth of the cross in the center of my mind and rooted in my heart. We are Barabbas my friends and have been given salvation through Christ. You are so loved.
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What pain word do you need to know that Jesus understands?
Linking up with Kelly Balarie this week!
Hello and welcome to Step Out And Thrive Ministries! My name is Bethany Boring and I am proud to be called a child of God before any other title or role. I am a mom to 3 amazing boys. I enjoy writing for this Step Out And Thrive community and walking with you as we venture through the ups and downs of life together. I am an ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach (Christian Coach Institute Graduate), Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, mentor, Certified Human Behavioral Consultant (DISC Personality) and an author. As always - dare to do more than just survive, step out and thrive!