“Forgiveness…Even For Me?”

“Trigger Warning” There are some verses in the Bible that assume things about how people are.

There is no commandment in the Bible to love yourself. It’s just assumed that everyone does.

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:39 (KJV)

There is no commandment in the Bible to forgive yourself. It’s just assumed that everyone does.

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:15 (KJV)

But not everyone loves themselves. Not everyone forgives themselves.

This can be true when we have made bad choices mostly perhaps on our own such as choosing addictions like drugs or alcohol, starving ourselves or cutting ourselves.

This can be true as well when we have been manipulated or forced into making bad choices without fully understanding what is going on or what the consequences will be. Childhood sexual abuse can make it very difficult for a person to love themselves and to forgive themselves.

Sometimes there is an abuser, a predator, who has very carefully manipulated the situation so that they seem to be not at fault. The abuser may be “just trying to help” or “taking the place of someone else who can’t or won’t help.” These are lies and deceptions that mask their true intentions.

The abuser may even make the child believe that it was really his or her own idea, not the adult’s idea, and that they are just as naive as the child, just playing a game that the child wanted to play. They may say something like “Just remember, this was your idea and what you wanted to do.” They will not say that they are enjoying the manipulation, the power, the control, the sexual thrill.

Looking back with adult survivor eyes, there may be pain, embarrassment, and the feeling of betraying oneself. You may doubt yourself. You may blame yourself for not being smart enough, for being gullible, for liking the attention, for allowing yourself to be used like that.

Years and adult decisions can put distance between the adult survivor and the abuser, but how does one make decisions to put distance between oneself? How do you get away from yourself? There is legal recourse that can be taken against an abuser, if you choose to take that route, but how does one take legal recourse against oneself? How do you make yourself pay?

Here is the dilemma.

If someone hurts God, treats Him like He doesn’t matter, then that person is going to pay for that betrayal. You mess with God, you are going to pay. The gun is loaded and cocked. The gun is fired at Jesus instead of you. This is sometimes the way that the Gospel is presented. Someone has to die. It’s either going to be Jesus or Me.

If someone hurts Me, treats Me like I don’t matter, then that person is going to pay for that betrayal. You mess with Me, you are going to pay. The gun is loaded and cocked. Only in this case, the gun is fired at Me.

When we hurt and betray ourselves, that’s not against God. That’s not messing with God, so maybe Jesus didn’t die for that. God gave Jesus to die for the hurts we give to God. Jesus took the penalty that rightly should be ours.

But who am I going to give to die for the hurts I gave to myself? The only person I can give to die for the hurts I gave to myself is me.

Stuff like this can make you want to kill yourself. No lie.

So think about how Christ and His Cross are presented. Is it like “when there is sin, the gun is loaded and cocked so somebody has got to die”? Jesus was crucified so God could change His mind about us? Is that right?

This next quote was part of our message on The Second Sunday Of Easter, and it came at just the right time as I was thinking through what to say in this post:

“Jesus didn’t come to change God’s mind about us, but to change our minds about God.”

This is an important message for everyone, on the last pew or not.

There is only one thing that I want to add for those on the last pew who hate themselves and are unable to forgive themselves for whatever reason, including those who believed lies, were misled, and abused as children. Even though everyone has a different story, is remains true for everyone who was abused as a child.

“Jesus also came to change our minds about ourselves.”

You did nothing wrong. You did nothing wrong. You did nothing wrong.

You were never in control of the situation, even if you were led to believe that you were. You could not have been smarter. You could not have figured it out on your own. Your abuser was not your equal. Your predator had a plan to succeed no matter what you did or didn’t do.

I believe with all of my heart that just as Jesus came to change our minds about God, He also came to change our minds about ourselves.

He can change your mind about yourself, and He can heal you.

Here is the only other part that I’m putting in bold. If you can relate to this and are struggling with this or know someone who is…seek counseling. There are resources available that can help you. I’m just drawing and writing from my limited perspective. But there are professionals that can help you. Seriously. Jesus is right there with you on the last pew. Honestly.

“Voices From The Last Pew” Update

This is a “trigger warning” concerning tomorrow’s post for “Voices From The Last Pew.”

It will be titled “Forgiveness…Even For Myself?” and is a companion posting to “Forgiveness…Even For Them?”

The post will take a look at how some people have a difficult time forgiving themselves, and the new person sitting in “The Last Pew” reflects on how she was abused sexually as a child.

This posting today is just a “heads up” in case some readers may be concerned that this may bring up painful memories from their past. You have a right to deal with things based on your own timing.

Hopefully it will be a good post, one that the Holy Spirit can use to bring help and healing.

“So Now What?”

So what do you think? Did anyone back then make a connection to Passover when John the Baptist called Jesus “The Lamb Of God”? Maybe he was just speaking prophetically as prompted by God, not knowing what that fully meant himself?

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 (NASB)

I think it interesting that the Israelites were told to take the first Passover lambs into their house on the tenth day of the month and keep it with them until the fourteenth day of the month. (See Exodus 12.)

There are scholars who are much better at explaining the “Why?” of this, but I think it perhaps in part had to do with bonding and making a connection with the lamb. It may have had more meaning when it had become like a family pet, and it may have helped emphasize the pain and cost of sin.

It can make us look at sin differently, particularly casual sin, when our Lamb becomes personal and has a name which, I believe, is Real Life Jesus.

The part of today’s comic strip about “Walter” is strictly my imagining through western cultural eyes. I can’t say that there was really an emotional connection between those families and their Passover lambs, just what is recorded like in the Books of Moses. Nevertheless, I think that there is great value for us to try to see these things through ancient Jewish eyes, so I’ve made that a personal study goal as part of my own “So What Now?” One helpful blog that I follow here at WordPress is “My Heart Is For Israel.” You’ll find a great deal of researched information there as well as downloadable PDF documents! Why not check it out?!?

Landing Page

Hot Off The Press! (Read Everything)

Comic Strips (Read Just Your Favorites)

Monthly Digests (Downloads)

“Watch Out, Miss Gladys! Watch Out!”

This is #014 of “The Lloyd Servant Show,” and I’m afraid the trepidations have just begun for Miss Gladys! (It’s not everyday you get to use the word “trepidations”!)

It’s obvious that there is a scheme underway. Perhaps something like whatever it is that happened to poor Miss Betty Mae Butler…or worse! But it’s been a while since we have heard anything about Miss Betty Mae. (All is not lost. She will make another appearance soon!)

I have a feeling that with a chance to get his hands on Miss Gladys’s Lottery For Life Sweepstakes winnings, “Lloyd Servant” (Bradley Martin) will stop promoting the “Miracle Pie.” After all, every scam has its limits.

But what if Bradley and Bradeena have met their match in Miss Gladys?!? Appearances, as we are learning, can be deceiving!

“The events depicted in this comic strip are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.” No inferences about the cartoonist’s personal feelings concerning cat ladies should be made based on this comic strip.

Landing Page     

Hot Off The Press! (Read Everything)   

Comic Strips (Read Just Your Favorites…Like All Of “The Lloyd Servant Show”)

Monthly Digests (Downloads)

“Meet The Unlikely Author”

So what do you think? Is it possible that sometimes our own contrary ways can get in the way of God’s blessings? Does God withhold blessings from us?

“Contrary” is not a word that we hear very often anymore. It has often been used to describe children who are stubborn and want to act in ways that are against the desires of their parents.

Even in all of our contrary ways, God still desires to bless us in ways that will demonstrate His love and tender care.

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32 (KJV)

Sometimes, I think, our Heavenly Father has to wait until the time is right so that we don’t think that being contrary is what got us those blessings! And I really think that it grieves Him when we believe that He is not taking good and proper care of us.

Although we shouldn’t doubt the goodness of God, sometimes I think that I do, maybe you do too? Perhaps it is partially caused by a need for immediate gratification. I think that I am learning to say, “Even though I see the groundwork was laid many years ago, I’m glad that this blessing was delayed.”

I have one final thought to share about immediate gratification. This is one of my favorite verses from the Old Testament. It seems to be saying that love erases time, and when our love for God is great, we transcend the boundary of time.

And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. Genesis 29:20

Landing Page     

Hot Off The Press! (Read Everything)   

Comic Strips (Read Just Your Favorites)

Monthly Digests (Downloads)