Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Twenty-First Time

Why do we do this so often? 

(In case you're wondering, this song has nothing to do with Winter Jam.) I was listening to it and thinking about how we pretend not to see those in need. 

Why do we do this so often?

My youth group leader talks so much about sitting with those people who sit alone at lunch and I’ve always thought of one or two, but not done much. Today, with this song and a very moving story from a girl in my youth group, I realized that kids now don’t sit alone so much as they just tune out of the group they sit with. Kids all over the lunch room sit with headphones on, heads on tables. They are alone. True, maybe they like music a whole ton, but maybe (and I feel more likely) they very simply have no one who will really talk to them. In spirit, they are alone. 

Anyway, there are people at school - and at work and in the mall - who are alone. I see them. You see them.
Why do we not act like Jesus to them? Why do we walk on by for the twenty-first time?

(That’s not rhetorical! I want your opinion!)

P.S. It's been such a long time since I've heard this song (The Twenty-First Time by Monk and Neagle) on the radio!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Get Back Up

tobyMac sang this at Winter Jam and it’s another song that really touched me.

There are always scars when you fall that far.

Every experience we have ever had will leave some kind of mark on us. Whether that mark will be physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental has yet to be seen.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28

God is preparing us for futures greater than we can imagine. He is making us into people who will be able to persevere and people who will have the faith to weather any storm.

That’s why we have to get back up.

Because God is not finished yet.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Just got back from Winter Jam (a group of Christian bands that’s touring now)! This song really hit me. It was just the perfect timing for a song like this. Actually, the unofficial theme of the whole thing was forgiveness. Thanks, God. :)

Enjoy! (Have you heard this song before?)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Forgiveness = Losing?

On Wednesday, I asked my Bible Study leader to pray for me and a friend of mine. Our relationship has been headed south and I wanted guidance on what to do. I had been praying and praying for months without a clear answer. I asked her to pray because I didn’t know anything else to do. 

On Thursday, at a Bible Study at my school, one of my friends, Jason, taught a lesson. He started it by saying, “I’m going to teach on forgiveness today.” I immediately scanned through my life and decided that I didn’t have anything that I needed to forgive. I almost closed my ears to the lesson, but something, like a whisper through the walls of my soul, made me listen.

He used part of Tenth Avenue North’s song Losing and he spoke on forgiveness:

I can't believe what she said

I can't believe what he did
Oh, don't they know it's wrong, yeah?
Don't they know it's wrong, yeah?
Maybe there's something I missed
But how could they treat me like this?
It's wearing out my heart
The way they disregard

Well it's only the dead that can live
But still I wrestle with this
To lose the pain that's mine
Seventy times seven times
'Cause Lord it doesn't feel right
For me to turn a blind eye
Though I guess it's not that much
When I think of what You've done.

Before that, I knew what forgiveness was –receiving mercy, grace, and having your faults let go of and forgotten – but I realized that forgiveness didn’t wait for the “I’m sorry.” Forgiveness is given before the other person is ready to be sorry. They may never be sorry. Forgiveness means you don’t expect an apology.

I had been expecting an apology.

For months.

I discovered, as Jason was teaching on forgiveness, that I hadn’t forgiven this other friend for even the things he had apologized for. 

I had been holding on to the anger and the wrong he had done to me. And because he had continued to do wrong to me, my feelings were renewed and strengthened. I was angry. Angrier than I thought.

It didn’t feel right for me to turn a blind eye. I had been wondering how he would learn to say sorry and how he would learn what I didn’t like if I always forgave him without him asking. It didn’t feel right to lose the pain that was mine. 

Jason also used a Bible verse in his lesson:

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.Colossians 3:12-14, The Message

Be content with second place.  He kept saying that. Forgiveness is being in second place. Forgiveness is being happy with–and choosing–second place. Forgiveness is not winning, but losing. Losing, at least, according to the world’s definition. But to God, forgiving puts you at the front of the pack. The world’s last becomes God’s first.

Jason used the Super Bowl as an example of “losing.”

“Say the Ravens lose the Super Bowl. Think about if the Ravens go into their press conference praising the 49ers and how well they played, you know, “They played really well today and their teamwork was awesome. They’re a great team.” People will think they’re crazy. People will be like, ‘You lost.’  That’s like what forgiveness is.”

Forgiveness is crazy. It’s totally against our instincts. Our self-preservation tells us not to forgive, but to make the wrong-doers pay us back. But Jesus practiced forgiveness, even up until his death and then even after.

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 
–Matthew 26:28

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. –Colossians 3:12-14, NIV

Now, my plan of action with this friend of mine is to forgive. No matter how much more he hurts me, I will forgive him. I won’t care how many more times; I won’t care what it is exactly that he says; I will forgive and then I will forget.

7x70, baby. 

Do you think forgiveness is crazy? How do "normal" people view forgiveness?