I’m going through Jeremiah for the second time and am viewing it very differently. The first time I read it, I was saddened thinking about how God’s own chosen people could so drastically turn away and anger God so much. This time as I read it, I see God’s unfailing and everlasting love. He gives His people chances and opportunities to repent in order for GOD to CHANGE His mind and not destroy them, even though He has seen all that they do. God never wants to hurt us, but He will never share His glory with another. Holiness. There is no sin nor impurity that can stand in the presence of the Most High God. He longs for us to rid ourselves of it, because if we don’t, He will. But He loves us and is patient, giving us time to reconcile with Him. Praise God.
It was never hard to forgive myself for getting below a 2.0 GPA my first semester in college. It was my first semester and it’s a lot more common to do poorly than to do exceedingly well, especially when the only class you’re taking is biology lecture and lab! It wasn’t difficult to forgive myself for my behavior and mindset in high school. I was 15 and 16 years-old and let’s just leave it at that. But for some reason it was so difficult and exceedingly painful for me to forgive myself for hurting someone I loved. Regardless of the fact that your first love is indeed your first love and who ever gets that right? Eventually people do if they stay with it but to knock it out of the park your first time at bat is not very likely, and that is fine.
That is the last thing, to my limited knowledge, that really bothered me and kept me up at night. I couldn’t help but think of myself as some terrible person who ruined what she had and took everything for granted. But you know what? No one gets it right first time around. And if they do, many blessings y felicidades to them! But odds are, we don’t ever see it coming nor do we catch ourselves in the act because we’re so blind to everything we’re doing and naturally, we think we are right.
It’s so easy to victimize yourself but it is so hard to sit back and look at the whole situation, including yourself. What did you do? What did you say? How did you provoke a certain reaction? Why were you not being completely loving? I said it before, it is so hard to do it but it is even more difficult to realize that we have to do it. Stop pointing the finger at everyone else and look at yourself. Once you do, odds are you will not like what you see and that’s okay. As long as everything inside of you wants to reach out, apologize, and do your best to heal that wound or those wounds of the other person/people then that is good. It’s good to feel pain. There is a time for it.
“More of You, less of me.” God will strip you bare of yourself in order to bring you where He’s called you to be. Abraham was told to offer up his son to die. Hosea was told to marry a prostitute. Joseph was told to marry a woman who was pregnant. God told Abraham to offer up his son to see how much he loved Him. Of course in the end Abraham does not offer have to up his son, but he was given a glimpse of what it would soon be like for God to really offer His one and only Son. Hosea was told to marry a prostitute to feel just a little bit of the anger and jealousy and hurt that God felt when Israel would worship other gods, or in other words, when Israel would commit adultery, just as the prostitute did. Joseph was told to marry a pregnant woman despite the fact that any unmarried woman who had sexual relations was to be stoned to death for being a shame to her family and “promiscuous while living in her father’s house.” God told him to do this (for I’m sure more reasons than this) in order to receive his blessing because he had favor in the eyes of the LORD. My goodness. Now, how hard is that? How hard is it to completely lay yourself aside and almost purposely kill your beloved son? How hard is it to marry a woman knowing that she will cheat on you, with everyone else knowing it as well? How hard is it to marry a woman who appears to be an utter disgrace? God asks us to do so many things that are painful, but it is in order for us to build and to draw near, or nearer, to Him. If we want to be used by God, we can’t walk around with the same fluff that everyone else has. We have to be put through the fire and burned in order to remove any impurities or qualities that God does not desire us to have. It hurts, it’s painful, it’s hard, we cry, we agonize, but we come out of it all brand new. If we trust in God and continue on through the pain and trials, we will come out exactly how God wants us to be.
Breaking off a relationship was in God’s will for me. It was in God’s will for the both of us. I never would have felt that inescapable feeling and stirring of my heart to part ways time and time again if that wasn’t the case. What was most painful about it all was that in my heart, I wanted to stay but in my heart, I knew that I couldn’t. How confusing is it to have your heart telling you to leave and to stay with the one you love? This greatly influenced indecisiveness, back-and-forth, tug-and-pull, heartache, sadness, everything. So why, then, was it so hard to forgive myself if I now know that I was just being emotional-full human? My assumption is because it dealt with someone I love. What’s even stranger is that he hurt me as well, but I always forgave him, and for the most part, instantly. All he had to say was, “I’m sorry” and I would gladly say, “It’s okay, boyfriend,” while we were together or just a simple, “It’s okay,” while we were not and I meant it. I guess when it’s yourself that you’re looking at, you feel like you know better or that you should know better and that your behavior and actions are unacceptable and inexcusable. Well, it was that way for me at least. But at the right time, you have to realize that it is okay, you are okay, and that you have to forgive yourself.
For a short while, questions came to mind and I asked myself, “Shouldn’t we live life enjoying it to the fullest every day?” “Shouldn’t we do what makes us happy and avoid what makes us upset?” “Shouldn’t we follow our hearts and fulfill all of our desires?” No. The answer is, “No.” We are here to bring glory to God on earth, then worship Him forever in Heaven. That is all.
So he apologized to me. The first apology was not a real apology. The second was close, but didn’t quite make it. The third… that was it. He sent me three of the longest messages ever, just saying in different ways that he was sorry and that he wished the best for me.
He didn’t (or doesn’t) understand why I still love him… why I still show him compassion and love and grace and mercy. He was being a very, very, very mean person, so why would I forgive him? Why would I embrace him and tell him that everything’s okay? Why would I even acknowledge him after all he’s said to me?
Well, God sent His son to die for us, while we were yet in sin. While we were hating him, mocking him, KILLING HIM, He still loved us. He knew that without love, we’d never make it. He knew that without showing grace and mercy, we’d be headed straight toward destruction. He knew that without offering forgiveness through a once-and-for-all sacrifice, we would never stop spilling blood to cover our sins, and God loves obedience to His Word far more than He loves sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).
We are called to be like Christ. Should we not extend as much love and mercy and forgiveness as we humanly can and time and time again? YES! 🙂 God did it for us so let’s do it for the world!
So, why the “aHA!”? Well, I believe that the enemy tried to throw me off course. I believe that he tried to make me stumble and fall back into sin. I did, I will admit, but God has forgiven me and I praise and thank Him for that. I thought this was all just a move of the enemy. But of course, and we can reference the book of Job for this, God doesn’t allow the enemy to do anything without His permission. God knew what He was doing. The enemy might have meant to crush me, but in the end, God taught me a lesson, and I praise and thank God for that! Hallelujah! Gloria Dios!
For a while (before all this happened) I believed God was showing me what it was really like to be a Christian. And I thought He stopped when I got caught up in this mess… but He didn’t. I was just too caught up and in the middle of it all to realize what the LORD was doing. (Though honestly, I probably wouldn’t have realized it until the end anyway even if I wasn’t in such a mess.)
As Hosea was told by the LORD to marry a prostitute to understand God’s love for Israel despite her unfaithfulness, I believe God showed me how to love someone no matter what they do to hurt you. No matter how many times they bash you or hurt themselves or make you feel like just some girl and on purpose,… you love that person anyway.
I realized this yesterday morning in church. God never stops working. We just have to do our best to remain faithful and know that if we remain righteous and dependent on God, He will work everything out for our good and His glory. God won’t let the devil win. The enemy has already lost… so aHA!