Often we can get caught up in our offenses. We can journal to God about all the people who have disappointed us, or who have hurt us. We spend so much time building a case against our offender(s), and we do whatever we can to get God on our side, and hope that He will console our wounded heart.
Just the other day I was doing this very thing, making a list of all the people who have recently disappointed me. I also made sure I listed WHY I had to forgive them because I felt like God needed to take note of what I was forgiving. I also made sure to note how difficult it was going to be to trust them ever again, and how I was completely justified in that considering the events that had led to this conflict in my heart.
It always amazes me how much God knows me.
He knows me more than I do, and you know what? He is NOT disappointed in me. During that same prayer time where I was building up my case against these people, God pointed out that He wasn’t disappointed in me despite all that HE KNEW about ME, & He isn’t disappointed in THEM either.
This bit of grace melted my heart of pride towards these people. Nobody’s perfect. I know my heart and where it has wandered just this past week, and God’s not disappointed in ME! Grace abounds!
When I was able to receive that bit of grace I was then able to turn around and offer it to the list of people who had offended me.
Even in their imperfections, the same grace God has offered me, He offers to them as well.
One thing I have learned about these offenses though, is that the effect of their actions on my life is solely dependent on whether or not I allow them to influence my heart, or my actions.
The only person that determines someone’s influence over MY LIFE is ME.
So not only do we have the choice to offer grace and forgiveness to our offenders, we also have the choice as to whether or not their words and actions towards us have any sort of influence over us. Through boundaries we have more power over our emotions and actions. When we set up boundaries we are simply determining WHO has influence over our lives.
Right now we can decide who has influence over our heart. Once we have identified those we want to allow to have influence over our life we can then release everyone else from the burden of WHO THEY ARE NOT. If they are not the person who speaks life and truth over you, then it really doesn’t matter because there are boundaries, and you will no longer be disappointed when they don’t meet that expectation.
If there is an offense, then maybe we have allowed the wrong person to have too much influence over our heart and actions.
If there is an offense, then maybe we have yet to identify lies we are believing and the truth that sets us free…
No matter what Christmas was for us in the past, it seems like every year it has the opportunity, and the possibility, to be something completely different and brand new. That’s what Jesus brought with Him as He was born into this world; He brought with Him a clean slate, a fresh start, and something brand new to our lives and to our faith.
Today I invite you to come and take this imperfect advent journey with me to discover the beauty of the good and perfect gifts God has given us through His Son Jesus. Let us journey together to discover what those gifts are, how we can receive those gifts, and most importantly the importance of being a good steward of those gifts.