Faith For Hard Times

On the one hand, there seems no living advantage in having faith - to give up our lives that God might 'control' us. But, on the other hand, there is one thing for which faith is indispensable. When life turns against us, which it inevitably does.

Faith is indispensable when life spits at us through the teeth of rejection. The saliva of denunciation is humiliating, but faith makes it possible to take the next step as if we were never more accepted (and through Jesus, we are!).

Faith is obligatory when we have no sane choice other than step into the unknown in the belief that God is good and won't let us down.

Faith is crucial when anguish abounds. It gives no credence to giving up.

Faith is paramount when our backs are against the wall. All other options cavort sink with ineffectuality.

Faith is the imperative for hope when life turns to death.

Faith is priceless when the Jewel of Hope falls out of the crown of life.

We need to believe in our suffering, that enduring our suffering patiently produces in us patience. To not believe is to make of the suffering something utterly futile, which has no character of the love of God about it.

We believe in our anguish that our choice to endure will redeem some precious and priceless compensation; treasurable growth. And it turns out, that's the way endurance works.
The love of God infuses life, and to go about life without faith is to go about life choosing hopelessness, as if there were no other options.

There is no point to life without hope-producing faith. But with faith, we overcome mountains of impossibility with little other than the belief that we can. Because, we can.

We must save faith for a rainy day. But we're apt to live frivolously on the long balmy days as the storm belt threatens.

It's tragically ironic. We build faith when we most need it by the truckload.
We're most ill-prepared when the rains come teeming down and the gusts howl in a torrent.
Build a viable faith now, by living in a force-ten conditioned life.

How To Forgive

I have had more than 7,000 clients in the past two decades. It is amazing to consider that a large percentage of them had serious issues that were associated with unresolved hurt, resentment, guilt or bitterness.

Some people stay in abusive or toxic situations because they think that they should just repeatedly forgive the person or people who are inappropriately hurting them. They ignore their own needs and put up with injustices thinking that the others will change or that things will get better. Lack of assertiveness, low self-worth or the idea that there aren't any options, hold them as prisoners when that isn't healthy or necessary. Just because you married, gave birth to or were hired by someone who treats you poorly doesn't mean that you have to allow yourself to be their target.

Other individuals have the opposite problem. They emotionally and mentally hold on to words or situations without being able to forgive. Sometimes the offender is dead or a great deal of time has passed yet the hurt is still preventing the victim from living free of bad memories. The one who hurt you might not even realize that you are suffering and that they caused this.
Regret results when people are not able to forgive themselves. They may be stuck thinking about something that they said or did in the past that cannot be changed. Holding onto the idea that one has not made good choices or done wrong, however, only leads to illness or depression.

Forgiveness is not about completely forgetting what happened. In fact it is important to consider how poor judgement or unhealthy relationships occurred so that you can prevent similar situations from happening again. There is an old expression that states "experience is something you wish was happening to the other guy!" Experience, however, builds character.

Forgiveness is about letting go. It involves a firm decision to not allow the hurt or person to have power over your life. It allows you to live free from the pain that otherwise would continue to steal your time, energy and focus.

Following are some steps that will help you to move towards forgiveness:

1. On a blank piece of paper write down one sentence that clearly describes the unresolved hurt. For example you might write "I was abused as a child".

2. Under that, write one sentence that describes who hurt you and how this was done. You might write something like "My father called me horrible names and hit me".

3. Then write one sentence about your role in this. Perhaps you will write "Sometimes I provoked him on purpose just to get even".

4. Next write a sentence that describes how this situation continues to affect you. "I continually doubt myself and never really trust anyone".

5. The following sentence will dispute and reframe the old memories that have been haunting you. You might write "Messages from the past can only control me if I allow them to do so".

6. Finally, write a sentence that describes what you are going to do from today forward. "I will let go of the negative messages, recognize my strengths and replace hurt with thankfulness." 

Memorize this statement and repeat it over and over again when the old thoughts appear.

Learning how to forgive takes work and commitment but will reward you with long-term joy and peace.

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