HOW Often?

(This question came on my Facebook newsfeed this morning. Since I took some time to answer it, I thought it might be a helpful thing to post here this morning.  I’ve addressed the topic of forgiveness more than once on this blog, but it bears repeating. 

This is just scratching the surface. It is by no means THE definitive answer; rather, I’d like to think of it as something to get you started in doing your own Bible search on the topic. )

 I’d love to know what your thoughts are on forgetting. I think that often we put barriers up that were not previously there as a standing stone that we were wronged, and we will never let it happen again.

Linda Kreger
Linda Kreger For starters, the first person who ever said, “Forgive and forget” didn’t have the first clue about human nature. We do not have the infinite ability to forget, as God does. When He forgives, He drops our sin into the sea of his forgetfulness, and remembers it no more. 
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I wish I could do that. Unfortunately, I am finite in every regard, including the ability to forget when I have been wronged. For us, the key is in realizing that forgiving is a process, not an event. Jesus told Peter that we need to forgive “seventy times seven.” In other words, we need to forgive to infinity and beyond, to quote Buzz Lightyear  The first time I forgive, especially when the wrong has been grievous, ongoing, perhaps is still happening, is the beginning of a long process of choosing over and over to forgive again. What I have learned is that Satan is very busy reminding me of the offenses, and I have to recognize his voice and shut him down; then I have to pray, asking God to help me keep on forgiving. Another thing I have learned is that in the beginning of the process, this could happen several time in a day or a week. As time goes by, the forgiveness seems to seep into my thinking and emotions so that Satan isn’t very successful in reminding me of it.

It is important to understand that we forgive not for the sake of the offender, but for our own release from the prison of anger and bitterness. Sometimes the person we need to forgive is already dead, or has no idea of the hurt, anger and bitterness we hold because their sin has never bothered them. To approach a person like that and tell him you have forgiven him may get you a big horselaugh. Not worth it.

You do not have to continue to be hurt when you have forgiven. Women who have forgiven abusive husbands do not have to continue to accept the abuse. That’s a whole other conversation. Children who have forgiven abusive parents, siblings who have forgiven abusive sibling—there is no requirement that we need to stick around and let them continue hurting us. There are boundaries to be drawn, consequences to be established and kept, so that the cycle of abuse is broken.

I think I can safely say that 80% or more of the people I see for depression/anxiety are people who have never learned how to deal with mistreatment, real or perceived. They have never understood that “forgive and forget” is not in the Bible; but they also have not learned that to repeat the offense over and over in conversation and/or memory is to keep it alive. Hurt and anger turn to self-pity, then to bitterness, and finally to depression.

This is just scratching the surface. It’s a huge topic, one I’ve had to learn to deal with in my own life. I’ve developed handouts for my clients; I’ve spoken about it in conferences and seminars. As long as we live on this earth, we’re going to be experiencing hurt, offense, anger, bitterness, and depression. The only antidote is to learn true forgiveness, and to understand that it is often very hard work. Where we love deeply, forgiveness can be very difficult.

I also believe that when a person offends over and over, across time, it is very possible to stop loving that person, The offender often seems to think that any behavior of his is excused because he himself was hurt. And it can become a generational cycle. Very sad, often tragic. And again, a whole other conversation 

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Israel Regathered

Isaiah 27:12-13. “And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”

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The regathering has already begun. Since Israel gained statehood in 1947, the Jews have been making their way back. But during the Millennium, every single one will be restored to the Promised Land.

I was looking for the meaning in verse 12, and as I read through several commentaries, here is the one that seems to describe it most clearly.  Taken from

http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/isaiah-27-12.html :

Isaiah 27:12

And it shall come to pass in that day
When the song will be sung, ( Isaiah 27:2 Isaiah 27:3 ) when God will appear to have taken particular care of his church, and is about to bring it into a flourishing condition; when its troubles and afflictions will come to an end, with a sanctified use of them; and when the city of Rome will be destroyed, and all the antichristian powers, then will be the conversion of the Jews; for antichrist stands in the way of that work: [that] the Lord shall beat off;
or “beat out” F7; alluding either to the beating off of fruit from a tree, or to the beating out of grain from the ear; and signifies the separating of the Lord’s people in the effectual calling from the rest of the world; as the fruit beaten off is separated from the tree, and corn beaten out is separated from the ear and chaff; for this beating off does not intend judgment, but mercy; and is done not by the rod of affliction, but by the rod of the Lord’s strength sent out of Zion, even the Gospel, the power of God to salvation; which, in the ministration of it, should reach from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt;
from the river Euphrates, on the banks of which was the city of Babylon, to the river Nile in Egypt, which were the limits and boundaries of the land of Israel, ( Deuteronomy 11:24 ) ( Joshua 1:4 ) ( 13:3 ) and in which places many Jews F8 were, or would be, as in the following verse ( Isaiah 27:13 ) . The Septuagint version is,

“from the ditch of the river to Rhinocorura;”

which, Jerom says, is a town on the borders of Egypt and Palestine. The meaning is, that the Lord would find out his people, wherever they were, in those parts, and separate and call them by his grace, and gather them to himself, and to his church and people, as follows: and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel;
as fruit is gathered up, when beaten off of the tree; and the phrase “one by one” denotes either the fewness of them, and the gradual manner in which they will be gathered; or rather, since this does not so well suit with the conversion of the Jews, which will be of a nation at once, it may signify the completeness of this work, that they shall be everyone gathered, not one shall be left or lost, but all Israel shall be saved; or it may be also expressive of the conjunction of them, and union of them one to another, in the Gospel church state, into which they shall be gathered, as fruit beaten off, and gathered up, is laid together in a storehouse. To this sense agrees the Targum,

“ye shall be brought near one to another, O ye children of Israel F9.”

I don’t usually copy/paste or quote, but would rather study and put things into my own words. Sometimes, though, that would be reinventing the wheel. I have found

/www.biblestudytools.com  to be a usually reliable and helpful source.

 

Ignorance and Rebellion

Isaiah 27:11. “When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on the fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore He that made them will not have mercy on them and He that formed them will shew them no favor.”

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It was usually the task of women and children to gather wood for the fire, so it was natural for Isaiah to refer to women in this context. He is speaking of the desolation of Babylon, and the statement that follows is chilling.

They have no understanding of God, His plan, or His ways. God will have no mercy upon them. He will show them no favor. They had chosen ignorance, rebellion, and persecution of Israel under Antichrist, and for those reasons God would show them no mercy.

I was scanning a news article yesterday about what some college students at Berkeley in California think free speech really means. Their interpretation is that if anyone says anything contrary to the liberal agenda, then that shouldn’t be allowed. The reason?  It hurts people’s feelings. However, if a left-leaning  person says something that offends someone, that’s okay because it’s the truth, and people need to learn to accept it and quit arguing.  In other words, choose ignorance and rebellion, and persecute those who get in your way.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

Babylon

Isaiah 27:10. ” Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness; there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof. ”

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This verse is about  the fortified city of Babylon,  which had seemed impregnable.  It will be destroyed, isolated.  It will become the habitation of animals.  Babylon the  Great, the Beautiful City, the center of civilization, will be a lost place with no human habitation (Is. 13:19-22).

Idols Destroyed

Isaiah 27:8-9. “In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: He stayeth His rough  wind in the day of the east wind. By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when He maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.”

Bible Quote Isaiah 27:9 Inspirational Hubble Space Telescope Image

Last Friday we looked at verse seven, which taught us that God will not spare those who oppressed Israel; and that although Israel was punished for her sins, especially the sin of worshiping false gods, she would be spared the severity that God visited upon her enemies.

Now, in verse eight and nine, we see God’s mercy toward Israel. In measure enough to purge Israels sin, He has judged His people. Verse eight, when it shooteth forth, refers to the stroke of judgment of v. 7, which was for correction and not total destruction. God would debate or curb the stroke, knowing how much to give His people: and He will control His judgments on them like He would the rough wind in the day of the tempestuous and violent east wind, so that full damage will not be made on them. The east wind was always violent and rough in Judea (Job 27:21).

By this judgment upon His people the iniquity of Jacob will be purged: and the proof of such cleansing from sin will be when Israel is caused by God to throw down the stones of the altar and the groves and throw away the images they had worshiped.

Random Thoughts

Part One

Well, folks, we’re all still here. The world didn’t end today.  I know, we still have three more hours, but I’m not in the least concerned.

If you are a student of the events of the end times, you know that things are shaping up. Of course, people have been saying that since Jesus went back to heaven! But political affairs, the return of the Jews to national Israel,  the alignment of the nations of the world, the move to a one-world government–so many other things, all are falling into place just as biblical prophecy said they would.

BUT–I knew the world wouldn’t end today because some other things have to happen first.

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Will it look like that?  I don’t know. I just liked the picture 🙂

The Rapture, or “snatching away,” of the church–all believers from around the world, will take place. Then the seven years of Tribulation under Antichrist.  Then the return of Jesus to the earth, the Millennial Kingdom, and the Battle of Armageddon, the final defeat of Satan, along with other details that I haven’t named.  It isn’t time yet for the earth to be totally destroyed.

So relax, would you please?  Don’t sell all that you have and dress your family in white sheets. Don’t go stand on the highest hill you can find and wait for Jesus to come. It isn’t going to happen that way. We’re going to be going about our daily lives, and when the Rapture occurs, or the return of Jesus to the earth, no man knows. Not the day, not the hour.

Part Two

The subject of shame came up several times in my counseling office this week.  People who are burdened beyond bearing with shame find it hard to function day by day.

Guilt is what we should feel when we have sinned, hurt someone,  entertained impure thoughts, rebelled against God.

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Shame is what we often feel about who we are. Shame is often something that was heaped upon us by others when we were growing up.  If your parents told you that you were worthless, then you probably still feel the shame of those words. Any time someone else belittles us, we feel shame. The sad thing is that we often turn around and belittle someone else, and that’s because we’ve never learned who we really are.

Four verses I use in my office may be helpful to you.

Colossians 1:16 tell us that all things were made by God, for Himself. That includes you. You were made on purpose, just as you are, for God’s own fellowship and purpose.

Ephesians 2:10 says that we are His workmanship (the Greek word is poema, masterpiece, literary work of art!)  poema is a thing of great beauty and value, treasured by the Maker. The same verse tells us we were created to do good works that were ordained for us before time began.

Psalm 139: 14 says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  We are miracles of God’s creation. The same passage tells us that He knew every detail about each one of us before we were ever conceived.

Jeremiah 29:11 was, I know, in reference to Israel.  However, we can understand and apply the principle. God thinks about each one of us; His thought toward us are of good, and not of evil.  He has plans that will give us a hope and a future.

If you are struggling with shame today, remember that you are the creation of God. If you are a born-again child of God, then you are the son or daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is nothing in you that is shameful. Sin is dealt with through confession, repentance, and seeking forgiveness.  Our problem is that we know all these things on an intellectual level, but we do not appropriate them in our hearts. We are not humble before God when we fail Him; that lack of humility often leads to shame and guilt.

Part Three.  I am so privileged and blessed to teach, still, after all these years.  Tomorrow morning I get to lead the high school girls’ class.  Friday I got to teach a class of high school homeschoolers,   and maybe someday they’ll develop an appreciation for Shakespeare 🙂

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I am 70, often feeling every minute of my years, but I get all excited still  when I get to lead someone to Christ during my work day, or teach young people just starting out on a path I’ve long ago traveled.

God is always good.  All the time, even when circumstances aren’t good, He is good.  God is Good, and Good is God.

 

God Punishes, but Preserves, Israel

Isaiah 27:7. “Hath He smitten him, as He smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by Him?

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The pronouns in this verse could lead one to give up trying to figure out what it means.  I’ve read several explanations.  Amazingly enough, they all agree with each other!

Here’s another way to read it:

Has He (God) destroyed him (Jacob) in the same way He (God) destroyed Jacob’s enemies?  Or is Jacob (Israel) dealt with in the same way as Jacob’s enemies have been slain?

The answer?  No. God’s wrath, poured out on  Israel’s enemies, was not and will not be poured out in equal measure on Israel.  He punished Israel for her sins, but He will redeem and restore Israel. Israel’s enemies will never be restored (Is. 63:1-5; Zech. 14; Mt. 25:31-46).