Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tonight, I watched another miracle happen!

Tonight I watched another miracle happen.  God reaches into lives torn apart by the ravages of sin.  Our sin affects our relationship with God.  Our sin affects others.  But people don’t seek out counsel when they are tempted.  I don’t get to meet them until sin has given birth and relationships are dying.

“each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  James 1.14-15

However, these dying relationships are symptoms – symptoms of what has become the pattern of this relationship.  This dying is the grandchild of the evil desires of the individuals.   

There is an abundance of strong emotion being churned out by wounds, some of them fresh and some festering.  When this happens, anger is prevalent.  There is a lot of jabbing at each other.  There is much dredging up of lists of grievances.  There is a tearing of the heart – loathing the thought of being hurt anymore and yearning for reconciliation.

When this becomes another round in the ongoing fight, I call time-out and draw attention to myself - I draw attention away from them.  To derail this runaway train, I ask, “What is it you want to accomplish here?”  Their answers generally will not match the behavior they’ve just displayed.  So, I pursue their answers. 

I educate:
  • Forgiveness does not require anything.  I can forgive anyone.
  • Repentance does not require forgiveness.  I can repent whether I'm forgiven or not.  But, repentance does require that I seek forgiveness.
  • Reconciliation requires both repentance and forgiveness.  The relationship cannot mend without both.

I encourage:
  • Ephesians 5.21-33
  • 1 Peter 2.19-23; 3.9-12
  • Philippians 2.3-4

I instruct:
  • Leave nothing undone on your part.  Seek forgiveness for everything you’ve done wrong.  Ask, “Will you please forgive me?”
  • Grant forgiveness.  Say, “I do forgive you.”
I pray with them:

  • Lord, please clean and bind their wounds so they will heal and not become infected.

  • Lord, please wrap your arms around them like a warm blanket and hold them tight and close.
  • Lord, please pour Your peace over them like a healing, soothing ointment.
  • Lord, please convict them over the things for which they need to seek forgiveness.
  • Lord, please surround their home with Your angels to protect them from all enemies of the cross (Psalm 91.11), so that their home will become a sanctuary where peace will begin to reign.
  • Lord, please breathe hope into their lives.  Please calm their storms.  Please heal what is hurt, fix what is broken, and clean what is dirty.
  • Lord, please teach them how to do the hard work of seeking forgiveness, repenting, and changing things so that this crisis will not continue on this downhill slide.

I watched one of these couples hold hands while we prayed tonight.  I watched them change from attacking to acknowledging their own responsibility for wrongs.  I watched them walk through the door with hope.

Tonight, I watched another miracle happen!

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