Thursday, August 30, 2007

Theory to reality

Last Sunday night it was my turn to facilitate the discussion during our small group meeting. The topic was dealing with conflict. I waxed long and eloquent on the inevitability of conflict and the necessity of forgiveness. Forgiveness is absolutely a work of God, we cannot do it on our own, I asserted, and everyone nodded their heads in solemn agreement.

Oh, but our God is faithful. At least in my case, He rarely allows my assertions to remain in the realm of theory; nope, He makes sure they bear themselves out in reality.

The very next day, I was offended. I was disappointed. In short, I was hurt by someone I care about. It was a small thing, really, but I felt betrayed all the same.

So, now the choice, to forgive or not, is mine. Do I choose bitterness and resentment, or forgiveness and grace? This much I know: forgiveness is far easier to advocate speaking hypothetically amongst friends and fellow believers. It's much, much harder to actually do.

And so it is with much--okay, all--of the teaching of the Bible. So much the easier to say than to do. I can claim to believe it, but do I live it? Is my faith theory or reality? A list of principles I advocate, or a radical, all-consuming way of life?

If you love Me, Jesus said, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15) In other words, you won't just claim to believe them, you will live them. Alternatively, James 2:18 says faith without deeds is useless. We live what we believe. What we believe is supported (or contradicted) by how we live.

God's Word is clear: I am to forgive. Not just once. Not just twice, but again and again. I show myself as belonging to Him by actually forgiving, not just nodding my head in agreement that forgiveness is right and good.

And as we agreed in our small group discussion Sunday night, genuine forgiveness is impossible apart from God. It is a work of His Spirit within me. I cannot, but He can.

He makes the theory, reality.


  1. Yes, He does...God-glorifying reality. He is so faithful to remind you of so many scriptures that serve to strengthen and encourage you to follow hard after Him. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Theory and reality. Oh yes I relate. So easy to talk about and much harder to walk it. Only by the grace of God.

  3. Awesome post! A great reminder to live it and live it LOUD! :-)

  4. I just experienced something similar. And, as you, have forgiven by His help!
    On a different note, I have been away from blogging world for a while. Haven't posted on mine in weeks. But, I wanted to tell you that as I scrolled down reading all of your posts I have been refreshed. I always am. It is so wonderful reading about your experiences, knowing that others are out there sharing my experiences and allowing God to get the glory in all of them. Thanks for writing!

  5. Lisa, I'm so glad you are back from your break! Wow, what a post. Your words cut straight to my heart with clarity and conviction. I have definitely seen that what I sow I reap. The John 14:15 reference is a perfect reflection of sowing and reaping what pleases Him, which is my goal, but so much easier said than done. Thanks for writing this...

  6. Thank you, friend. I truly needed to read and receive this today. Not my heart over Your truth, Lord. Keep me to Your Word.

  7. True forgiveness isn't really possible with out God. I am so glad that He's there for me and with me.

    Thanks for the inspiring post. :)