Sunday, July 20, 2003

Weekly Word for July 20-26, 2003

“Offenses must come” (Mathew 18:7)

For years I have known about this passage. Jesus told us that we would be offended and also we would offend others! I dislike offending anyone! I have always wanted to make everyone and everything happy and alright. But the reality is: “Offenses must come”!

This past week-end was one of those periods of time when - if things are good - they are very good - but when they are bad - well, they are awful! Ted and I had one of those wonderful days where the sky is blue, and everything in the world seemed so beautiful! We had gone to the coast - marveling at the ships out on the ocean, listening to the music that was playing in the area, and enjoying each other’s company. I am so thankful for those moments that I get to fall in love with Ted all over again! They amaze me! Then, evening came - and somehow we found ourselves pulled in two different directions. There were chores to be done, neighborhood children to listen to and help, and before we knew it - we were on separate ideas, and in separate places.

Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. (Ephesians 4:26 & 27)

Poor Ted, he didn’t even know that I was angry at him! I had told him that he could watch a movie that he loves - and I don‘t! I wish I could say I was above sinning, but I’m not! I told him he could, and yet I wanted him to do something else - to be with me! We seem to do that to those who are closest to us. We somehow believe they can read our minds, and know what we want! Because both of us have been hurt in our lives, our reactions are sometimes based on those hurts. Neither one of us wanted to hurt the other, but we did!

By Sunday morning, I had put up a large wall to keep Ted from knowing I was still hurt - and to keep him from hurting me again! But very quickly we knew that something was very wrong. It was so simple - and yet such a huge deal - that it would have been very easy to have let the anger stay and grow! (and do not give the devil an opportunity. - Ephesians 4:27) We didn’t - we brought it all to the Lord in prayer, forgiving each other. It was another “moment” that brought more healing and life to us both!

And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)

I had a dream awhile ago that made me think about hurts - and forgiving others. In my dream, I saw this woman and her sister. I knew them both very well. I looked at them and waved, and then I said: “How are you?” The sister looked at me as if I had just said something so awful! I looked at the woman and then I realized that I had hurt her. I hadn’t meant to - but I did! This woman had lost her son in a terrible car accident. He was such a wonderful young man when he died! This mom’s wounds were always with her! “How are you?” meant that she had to look inside of herself - and all that was there was her pain of losing her son. We don’t mean to hurt others, but because we cannot see inside of them, we do. We might say something so innocent - and yet it goes inside and hits where another has pain, has losses. It takes grace and understanding of this, to realize that even in innocence we cause hurts. Because others are wounded - we will always run the risk of hurting another person.

“And forgive us our trespasses, as we also have forgiven our trespassers.” (Mathew 6:12)

Trespassers - Those who go where we don’t want them to! A friend called me a few days ago. She is a struggling mom who has been through some rough times. She also has some wounds inside. She told me how she had stopped going to church and bible study. She didn’t want to be hurt. We always risk being hurt when we interact with others. Again - offenses must come! Choosing to keep others away - also keeps love away! When my friend went back to church, she didn’t find perfect people there - she found flawed people. Just like you and me! She also found friends. Ones who cared and wanted to help her with her children and all that she was struggling through.

The Lord did not cause Ted or me to be wounded. He does not cause you to be wounded either! But offenses will come! When they do, will you allow Him to help you to forgive and be forgiven? Will you allow Him to heal your heart and set you free?

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

God bless you in the coming week ahead.

In His Love,

Debbie and Ted Ayers