Partying over the Truth

Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth—1 Corinthians 13:6

 

Have you ever been happy that someone got the punishment you thought he or she   “deserved”?

Have you ever – rejoiced when your “enemy” got what was coming to -him or her?

Have you ever been glad that your spouse did or said something that proved you were right?

-When a television show depicts a mistreated wife falling in love with her husband’s best friend and committing adultery, have you ever felt happy?

Have you ever vented your anger and frustration – on someone who has hurt you in order to hurt back?

All of these scenarios are a form of partying over wrongdoing.

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There is something dark about celebrating the failure or punishment of another. There is something wrong about relishing in proving another person wrong. There is something evil about self-righteousness, about unleashing your anger on another, even if you feel that person “deserves” it.

Love does not party over wrongdoing!

But, love does party over the truth. Love does things differently. Love celebrates the truth. How do we do that? Let me suggest four decisions you can make to party over the truth:

  1. Decide to live in reality. I find that when I try to hide the truth in order to protect others from being uncomfortable, I am not living in the truth. In order celebrate the truth; I must live in the truth. Give your loved one the facts and the truth but deliver it with helpfulness and with kindness. As Paul reminds us, “Speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
  2. Decide to find the good in people whom you don’t like. When you dislike someone, it is easy to find that person’s shortcomings,to point those shortcomings out, and then to share your criticisms with others. But, love finds the good in people. Love finds the good they do. Love finds the value in those you don’t like.
  3. Decide to celebrate the person I don’t like when something good comes their way. When your enemy succeeds in doing something good, throw a little party his or her way. Send -a card, an encouraging text message, or a give a complement face to face. I have seen – many cross-country meets where the number one runner did not do well, but yet – was able to celebrate a rival’s success.
  4. Decide to pray for your enemy when something bad happens to him or her. Pray for that person to find comfort, healing, and hope. It does your heart no good to celebrate the failures of others. It does your heart much good when you bless your enemies.

So there are some decisions that you can make to grow in your ability to party over the truth!

Let me know the ways you have decided to rejoice in the truth.

Let It Go

This year a fun Disney movie came out called Frozen. In that movie Elsa sings the song, “Let it Go!” Every 6 year-old-girl can sing that song. One of Elsa’s struggles was forgiving herself after she “froze” her sister Anna.
The “Let It Go” song is about breaking the shackles that others put on us. But the most difficult shackles to break are the shackles that we put on ourselves. Like Elsa, we can find it very hard to forgive ourselves.
Probably the most difficult person for you to forgive is yourself. It takes great courage to forgive oneself. We will try to excuse ourselves or cover up our mistakes or failures, but to forgive takes real courage because we must face our sins.
We often hurt ourselves, but we have the most difficult time forgiving ourselves when we hurt those we love deeply. The pain we inflict becomes the hate we feel for ourselves. In my anger towards my father’s death, I often lashed out toward my mom. She was patient with me, but I remember saying harsh things and not remembering that she had lost her husband, lover, and best friend. When I realized how cruel I was, how could I forgive myself. How dare I?
Let me walk you through a path to forgiving yourself.
1. First, you need complete honesty with yourself. You must honestly assess what you have done and the impact of the action done or the words spoken. The impact is important, because we tend to minimize the damage we do.
2. Second, be clear headed when evaluating yourself. Be clear on knowing the difference between self-esteem and self-forgiveness. When we esteem ourselves we acknowledge our good. When we forgive ourselves we face our evil. When I face the fact that selfishness, pride, rage, lust, revenge, etc. abides in my inner being, it is then that I am facing reality rather than being clouded by what I hope I find there.
3. Third step is to embolden courage in your heart to take responsibility before God and before those you have hurt. This may require restitution of some kind.
4. Fourth, confess concretely. In forgiving yourself there is no room to minimize what you have done. You must be clear to yourself, to God, and possibly others. This requires you to specify your wrongdoing. Therefore, there is also no room for “everything I do is sin.” Be as concrete in your confession to self and to God.
5. Finally, confirm that your value is because God’s love for you has been revealed when Jesus died on the cross for you.
God knows you better than you know yourself, sees your impure motives, your selfishness, and your pettiness better than you can. If God forgives you, why can’t you forgive yourself? Embrace the cross.