Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I usually like to keep my posts light-hearted, hopefully being an encouragement to someone who is having an otherwise bad day.  But sometimes writing about something that lays heavy on my heart helps me to process it through in my own mind.

Lately it’s been on the importance of forgiveness.  I’ve been surrounded by people and/or situations that require forgiveness on my part {welcome to life, right?)  I’m also seeing circumstances that people are going through that could’ve been avoided had forgiveness been extended in the first place. 

Without going into all the biblical passages that speak of forgiveness, I’m realizing I don’t have a choice…well…I do, but I don’t if I’m striving to be Christ-like.

One example—a false sense of responsibility—doesn’t sound like a forgiveness issue on the surface, but if left unchecked can cause bitterness to take root.

I’m realizing how much guilt and having a false sense of responsibility go hand-in-hand.  James 1:22 says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”  We tend to concentrate on the doing, but did you notice we have to hear first?  We have all heard of the Martha syndrome.  She was the one who was ‘doing’ while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.  False sense of responsibility.  But this scripture isn’t about whether one is a doer.  It’s focus is on the hearing and then being obedient to do what you hear.  If time is spent in fellowship with the Lord (the hearing) then when a need is presented—cleaning the church, doing a bible study, volunteering for this or that—you will know if you are the one required to complete the task (the doing with obedience).  If guilt (after saying no) presents itself front and center, then it’s a pretty good indication that a false sense of responsibility was at play.

What does this have to do with forgiveness?  Saying no can make people really mad.  Seriously.  Especially when it involves people who think the required task requested is beneath them, and you should jump just because they said so.  And we all know that attitude is out there.  Are you a ‘jumper’?  or an obedient hearer?

Enough said.


{next up:  finding the balance between enabling vs. true service.  And yes, forgiveness is intermingled in there also!}

It’s All Good!



  1. Excellent post Brenda! I confess, I used to be a jumper! I would feel so guilty for telling anyone "no", especially at church. Then I grew in my relationship to the Lord and HE gave me a clear sense of who I needed to be, in Him. That's when I learned to say "no" and know that I was still in his will.
    The more you know who God wants you to be, the less you will say "yes" out of guilt. And that is true freedom!

    This is a great post (and I already said that):))

  2. One good thing I learned in life was to say, "No." But the greatest thing I have learned in life it to truly be in tune with God, (through Bible study, prayer, serving, etc. ) to hear HIS voice and know when to say "Yes". Learning when to say "yes" and following in obedience is just as important as learning to say "no." It's all about our "knowing" HIM. His sheep hear HIS voice. Praise God. Think I might have to post about this sometime in the future. You so often quicken my Spirit that way, Brenda. Love you, (((hugs)))

  3. You are so right! I struggle with the whole Martha thing, and am ever so good at allowing that guilt thing to take priority. Thanks for this reminder.

  4. We just had an issue come up in our family involving the need for forgiveness. Unfortunately the one offended just pulled away from everyone, which was painful to all of us, but we finally were able to talk it out and apologize to each other. In the midst of this I read this blog post on forgiveness (http://www.theologyforwomen.org/2013/01/why-dont-you-just-apologize.html), and something that really struck me was when she said the other person's perceptions are their reality. I think that was where I made a mistake in this situation: I tried to explain away what they were upset about because I thought they had taken something in a wrong way, they felt unheard, unacknowledged, and even more hurt.

    For several years I thought that anything anyone at church (or college when I began to attend a Christian college) asked me to do was God's will for me. You can get quickly snowed under that way! I still wrestle with it, because I have been on the other side and felt some people said no too easily (a lady at one church, president of the ladies' group, used to say "You can't say no until you pray about it!" But at least she acknowledged people could say no) but on the other hand, some people don't say no enough. There are times I really didn't want to do something but didn't feel the freedom of spirit to say no to it, and found God stretched me through it; and other times I had no problem saying no at all, and someone else did it and did a marvelous job. I also learned on the other end of things that just because I thought someone was perfect to help with a ministry, that doesn't mean they thought so, and I learned to pray for the right helpers.

  5. This is a great post, Brenda.
    I actually came to comment on the one about enabling (but couldn't find it) because I'm dealing with a very similar situation (ongoing for months) and it's pushed me to a pretty angry place. Thank you for reminding me that forgiveness plays such a crucial role. I think I haven't wanted to deal with that but am realizing more and more that it isn't optional. :)


Thanks for taking the time to visit with me. I enjoy your comments very much. :)