Barb's Space

Observations about life, family, church...anything else that is on my mind from the perspective that God rules, no matter what

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Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

I am a 65 year young woman who has changed much in the last few years. I'm single again. I changed jobs twice (learned new skills), had a serious stroke in 2008, "retired" and after getting better started taking up new interests, and am continuing to get more fit. Some things have matured. I've enjoyed watching my three guys grow into men I respect and am proud of. One waited 11 years to have his first birth child. Today I'm a grandma of six (four boys and 2 girls between two families)! I have learned to love Jesus even more, and I have regained my sense of adventure. Someone said, "The best is yet to be."--I believe it, if I keep an open mind and heart and keep growing and walking with God.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Forgiveness Triumphs

I watched part of the Today Show this morning, and saw Gayle Haggard, wife of former New Life Church megachurch pastor Ted Haggard being interviewed. It actually was a very good interview. She just wrote a book called Why I Stayed, which speaks about her choice of forgiveness for her husband.

It reminds me of something our pastor read to us in prayer meeting a few weeks back. It was in a book by Danny Silk entitled Culture of Honor. Danny said that if we are going to be a healing, restoring church we will take each case needing healing and restoration very individually. He spoke of a music minister who committed adultery. This man was a very anointed minister and was bringing much to his church. When he was asked why he had done this thing, he said he didn't know. Those over him said there had to be a reason, and it eventually came to light that he had been able to express his love for the Lord in worship in front of thousands, but had never been able to say he loved his family members. He wasn't able to love anyone who was imperfect. When that and the reason for that were dealt with, he could give and receive true love in his family and started doing so. He totally repented for the adultery, and is now in an accountability relationship, and bearing fruit while ministering again.


Some would say that man would need more discipline and time before he could minister again. But is that true? How long does it take to repent for something and start to walk in that repentance? Isn't that the goal of church discipline? The Matthew 18 pattern for church discipline mentions taking sin before the whole body only when every other means of dealing with it has been exhausted. Sin should be dealt with only within the sphere where it happened if possible.

Repentance isn't just words, but there won't be repentance if the root cause isn't discovered and dealt with. Too often the body of Christ deals with the fruit of sin and doesn't find the root. This almost guarantees a recurrance. If the man is really in an accountability relationship, being honest and vulnerable now, that will take care of things for the future. 


As human beings, however, we want our pound of flesh. We say we want restoration, but we really almost instinctively want to make the one who hurt us pay first. That is not God's way. He wants relationship with us so much that Jesus died and took the penalty for our sin to make that possible. Should we make others pay more than God does? How much have we been forgiven, and should not that same forgiveness be offered to our leaders and others?


That is what Gayle Haggard is saying, I believe. I googled her and went to their website and read their statement. I believe forgiveness is definitely in order. The body of Christ dropped the ball in this situation as much as Ted Haggard. I further believe that if we can't learn this lesson, we will continue to lose some of our best people, for the enemy doesn't play fair and will exploit any weakness, especially in those who are mightily used in God's kingdom. Let the one who has not sinned throw the first stone.

2 Great Ideas:

Blogger Cheri said...

Barb,

I agree whole-heartedly with your post! We are living in a pound-of-flesh culture (actually, that's just human nature, isn't it?), but God calls us to step up higher, as Christ did on the cross. He set the example that we're to follow.

I know for me, I never knew freedom until I extended forgiveness. It has been a dance God and I have done many times in our walk together, and when He wins, I win!

I see this pattern in my two boys. My oldest (a stepson) has never truly been able to forgive his dad and mom for getting a divorce, and it shows. He isn't free. He is walking with God, but he tends to hold Him at arm's length, if that makes sense. God has even been able to do some amazing restorative work in our relationship, but until our son can let go of the bitterness from the past, he will not be 100% free or happy. I pray for him often, because he has children of his own now, and the generational curse of disconnected relationships is bound to repeat itself, if he cannot forgive. His attitude often reminds me of that of the prodigal father's oldest son, the one who didn't run away and was mad when dad killed the fatted calf upon his brother's return home.

Our younger son, however, has found a true forgiveness in the Lord. He has accepted responsibility for his own sin and forgiven family members for theirs. He walks free, and the relationship that is unfolding between him and other family members is an awesome thing to behold.

Thanks for posting this.

Cheri

January 27, 2010 12:36 PM
Blogger Ella Jo said...

This post touches on a very sad period in my own life. You know that I was the one who wronged many in my life. And many of those people were (rightfully) very hurt by my actions. Our relationships have never been the same, partly because many of them wish for retribution. I understand that wish, but... my ultimate responsibility is to God, and He is the one to whom I truly owe repentance. If I'm good with Him, then what can anyone else hold against me? And once I realized that, and stopped wishing for a way to provide that retribution that others needed but I felt would betray God again -- once that happened, God was able to heal many of those relationships. So thank you for your post. I whole-heartedly agree!

January 27, 2010 8:27 PM

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