Tag Archives: Forgivness

The Abusive Brother

As well as being part of  a human family, we are also part of a spiritual family. For me it’s my fellow christians that I feel are my spiritual kin.

As Christians we are brothers and sisters in Christ, we are family, kin, related. We don’t always agree, we sometimes disagree a lot and sometimes aggressively, but nonetheless we are kin, we all began in the same way, found Jesus and head into eternity the same as everyone else in our family, God willing of course. But want if one of our kin falls from grace so dramatically that it is difficult to trust him or her again. How do we live out the love your neighbour mandate that Jesus himself gives us?

We could of course reject the individual but that is easy, and may lead to them reoffending. The alternative road less travelled is to live out the command love your neighbour (no matter who they are or what they have done) as yourself!

In recent months the church has been addressing, its checkered history in relation to our brothers and sisters in Christ who abuse. We have investigated, reported back, created covenants of care, been in the law courts seeking justice for all.

But after the clamour for justice has been satisfied, and the headlines have moved on, when the churches covenant of care is part of the fabric, and the congregation has moved on past the shock. What then of my brother the abuser?

That individual man or woman are still my kin in christ. How can I love them, knowing what I now know, as I love myself or even as much as God has loved them? A God who has forgiven them, and set them free from their sins as far as the east is from the west. This great liberator God who sets free, redeems, heals, and so much more. Or is that just talk, when it comes to the pedophile, or the abusive brother or sister!

This  is the hard edge of Love, of what it means to be a christian, this is the stuff that makes our prayer life deeper, our hold onto God tighter. Unfortunately for some this is the point they leave, sadly and understandably perhaps, they  cannot entertain a God whose servants, collared and un-collared abuse.

The excuse sometimes given in a misplaced attempt at engendering compassion for the accused, is that we are all sinners, which at some level of course is true. However that sentiment doesn’t cut it, in this scenario. Yet there is truth here, it is always unto the individual man or women to listen and to what degree to God. Choosing to behave as God and society would want, or instead ignoring the still small voice of the victim along with God saying stop.

So how do I love my abusive brother? Initially perhaps there is an honest realisation that for now loving the abusive brother might be a step too far, but deciding to be on that road and take that first step towards love, is to be intentional about what and how the lord wants us to love with all people.

On that journey to love there will be various stages forgiveness, acceptance, and perhaps peace. There will be a redefined relationship. It is in that relationship however where the abusive brother or sister might find healing, and a lived out love that is hard fought, but bears incredible fruitfulness, in the message not least of a God who’s love through Jesus is singularly unconditional.

So brother and sister in Christ, may whoever we are, wherever we have been or whatever we have done, may our family be an example of all the power, healing and grace that God offers us through christ.

Last Post: http://godlifechurch.me/2015/11/16/discover-your-place-in-heaven/

The secret to peace

My daughter is for ever telling on her older brother for is apparent wrongs, no matter how minor, sometimes she will even throw something at him if he annoys her a lot!

When your wronged what would you like to do to the person who hurt you? Seek revenge or seek to forgive? Which I wonder is harder the latter of the former, which brings the most rewards, the most peace, but also perhaps is the most costly?

The act of forgiveness doesn’t so much affect the perpetrator. It doesn’t mean they don’t have to deal with the consequences of their actions or live with their guilt.

Forgiveness releases the victim, brings healing to the one who has been wronged. Forgiveness gives us a choice, to draw a line in the metaphorical sand of experiences. To say to ourselves I will not let him or the situation define me, shape me, cripple me more than it has. I will not let it break me more than it looks like it has done.

So should we forgive someone’s involvement in the the pain of another or indeed ourselves? Not that we allow them to reoffend, but set them and us free to flourish rather than be rooted by the ball and chain of guilt, shame and the realities of there crimes and our sense of victimisation.

There may be situations in our lives that have needed a serious effort to forgive. Not just once or twice, but every day. I find I can’t do this on my own, but Jesus helps me, to such a point that forgiveness over a long period becomes a habit, a line in the sand which I don’t step over, and god stands with me on that line. However if I or we step over into the darkness beyond the line, Jesus takes our hand and gently leads me back to the light.

Forgiveness isn’t cheap, nor is it easy, but it is a journey worth traveling as the best journeys often are. Forgivness enabled Nelson Mandela to work with his former white oppressors, it helped Martin Luther king push the agenda of racial equality. There are so many other examples, and when we look at the issues of Syria, or Ukraine, with the unwillingness to forgive, leads to the hell confusion and human degeneration we see on our TV screens. The unwillingness to forgive in Northern Ireland challenges the future of the peace process. A lack of forgiveness challenges our ability yours and mine to receive healing and move forward free people.

This day this moment, ask the Lord to help you begin the road to forgiveness and ultimately your personal peace and salvation.




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