Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Has Pain Outrun Your Faith This Year?

Ten years ago, our son Ben shared something that touched me profoundly. He said, “You know mom, I think that the bitterness and cynicism that you are encountering in so many Christians flows from a heart where pain has outrun their faith.” I have shared that quote hundreds of times but just recently while studying chapter two of Revelations did I found a reminder of Ben’s musing.

“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance…I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my Names’ sake, and you have not grown weary. BUT I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”(Rev. 2:2-4)

I am constantly meeting Christians who have “patiently endured” so many painful things but they don’t even notice that their “faith is being outrun by their pain.” They often don’t notice that their patience endurance of a great trial--though so noble—has subtly given them permission to abandon their first love. How does one know if one’s faith has been outrun by the trials of 2009? Ask the Lord to reveal if there is any free floating bitterness, resentment, discouragement or cynicism in your heart that you don’t recall being their in 2008. Maybe you have noticed a “low grade fever” in your soul that you can’t seem to describe or dispel.

I don’t mean to be simplistic—but our faith needs to be growing daily through our quiet times with Jesus and His Word—so that our faith can be strong enough to not only endure but endure without slowing abandoning our passionate love for Jesus. Faith is not some special POTION you can buy at Nordstrom or Wal-Mart. Faith is a direct result of spending some time each day with the Living Word (Heb.4:12)—so that we will be able to tenaciously hang on to God’s love, even when our life circumstances seem to challenge His love for us!

Give yourself the best Christmas gift—get a One Year Bible and make the choice to strengthen your faith daily—so that your faith will be able to “outrun the trials and pain” that are inevitable in the days ahead—as long as you have a pulse! With a growing faith—we can embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Seven Life-Changing Syllables

This is a story from The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning. While teaching the class The Art & Science of Forgiveness, this story was read to open the third night of the class. This morning the Lord nudged my heart and I knew it was going to be the next HOPE ALERT.

I will never forget a retreat experience years ago in the Midwest. It was a rather large gathering, about 7,000 people. An invitation for healing prayer followed each night’s service; I would go into a side room and meet with those who felt compelled to come. On one particular night, the line extended well beyond midnight and after finishing, I went straight to bed, not even taking my clothes off I was so exhausted. About three o’clock in the morning, I heard a rap on the door and a squeaky little voice: ‘Brennan, can I talk to you?’ I opened the door to find a 78 year old nun. And she began to cry. ‘Sister: What can I do for you?’ We found two chairs in the hallway and her story began. ‘I’ve never told anyone this in my entire life. It started when I was five years old. My father would crawl into my bed with no clothes on. He would touch me there; he said it’s what our family doctor said we should do. When I was nine, my father took my virginity. By the time I was twelve, I knew of every kind of sexual perversion you read about in dirty books. Brennan, do you have any idea how dirty I feel? I’ve lived with so much hatred of my father and hatred of myself that I would only go to Communion when my absence would be conspicuous.” In the next few minutes, I prayed with her for healing. Then I asked her if she would find a quiet place every morning for the next thirty days, sit down in a chair, close her eyes, upturn her palms, and pray this one phrase over and over: ABBA, I belong to You.
It’s a prayer of exactly seven syllables, the number that corresponds perfectly to the rhythm of our breathing. As you inhale—ABBA. As you exhale—I belong to you.
Through her tears she agreed…One of the most moving and poetic follow-up letters I’ve ever received came from this sister. In it she described the inner healing of her heart, a complete forgiveness of her father, and an inner peace she’d never known in her 78 years. She concluded her letter with these words: “A year ago, I would’ve’ signed this letter with my real name in religious life—Sister Mary Genevieve. But form now on,
I’m Daddy’s little girl.

There are tear drops on my copy of this book—and I can’t tell you how often I breathe—Abba I belong to You! Forgiveness and healing is a process but oh the privilege to be helping so many with this journey. Why not consider for this Christmas, a stocking stuffer to encourage a person’s liberating freedom from the past through forgiving freely as Abba as forgiven you and I? A sign on I-75 north of Gainesville, Florida reads: “Forgiving others is an absolute necessity!” Help me spread the good news-- order Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness. Click on this link:
www.freeyouselftolove.com and place your order now. After pre-ordering the book on Amazon, forward your email confirmation to Ken@jackiekendall.com. You will receive a password to access to the on-line DVD of Forgiving the Unforgivable.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Almost An Extinct Breed: Good Friends

Recently an old friend read me a poem and afterwards said with deep emotion: “You are one of the few people on this planet that such a poem describes.” My response: “That makes me so sad—to hear that such a GOOD FRIEND is an exceptional thing—especially in the life of such a fabulous follower of Jesus!” I thought about her comments and the poem for several days and I decided that I wanted to share it with all of you. May you examine your heart and see whether you offer such friendship to those that God has brought into your life. I think Christians should be exceptional friends.

On Friendship by George Elliott
Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person:
Having neither to weigh thought nor measure words;
But to pour them out just as they are, chaff and grain together,
Knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
Keep what is worth keeping and then
With a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

True friendship is a ministry of encouragement:
“Encouragement is the kind expression that helps someone want to be a better Christian even when life is rough.” (Dr. Larry Crabb)
“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”(Gal.6:2)
“A friend loves at all times…” (Prov. 17:17)
“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.”(John 15:13)

Laying down one’s life for a friend in the 21st century will cost you time, focused attention and compassion that resists a rush to judgment.
Are you such a friend as G. Elliott and Jesus described?
If you haven’t been this kind of friend in awhile...consider a schedule adjustment that has time for “kindly listening and sifting!”
Have you registered for the FREE YOURSELF TO LOVE CONFERENCE, November 7, 2009? It is this Saturday. You can still register today, call 1-800-965-9324 or go to www.moodyradiosouthflorida.fm
- Common lies that Wreck our relationships
- Happiness Fantasy
- Normalize Fighting
- Men are not Clairvoyant
- Dangerous “Just Friends” syndrome
- My Loved One Should Make Me Happy!
- The dependency that strangles love
- And many more “memos to strengthen relationship

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Your Spiritual EpiPen

While teaching my class on the Art & Science of Forgiveness, the Lord dropped a cool illustration into my heart. I was trying to communicate the significance of letting God comfort us…heal us…restore us through His Word. As I was sharing passionately, I saw an EpiPen (helps stop allergic reactions fast - giving you time to get the emergency medical help you need. These are used to stop anaphylaxis shock—it rescues the one struggling.) I began to share how suffering is like going into “anaphylaxis shock” and God’s Word is like the Epi Pen that restores and saves one’s life. Daily we live in a world that we are spiritually “allergic to” and we daily need a “jab” from an Epi Pen!

“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them(EpiPen) you have given me life. (Ps. 119:92, 93)

Suffering and affliction can be like a ‘sucker punch’ to one’s stomach—taking one’s breathe away” and the “EpiPen” of God’s Word can restore one’s breathe! Spending time in God’s Word daily is like taking along an “EpiPen” everywhere you go…a woman carrying it in her purse and a man carrying it in his pocket. Ready for the next challenge that takes your breathe away and your Spiritual EpiPen will be ready to use and restore you back to hope-filled breathe!

“EpiPen for Relationships”
Have you registered for the FREE YOURSELF TO LOVE CONFERENCE, November 7, 2009? The frame for this conference is forgiveness but the content is much broader!
It will be like an “EpiPen” for Relationships.” We will be teaching on:
Common lies that Wreck our relationships
Happiness Fantasy
Normalize Fighting
Men are not Clairvoyant
Dangerous “Just Friends” syndrome
My Loved One Should Make Me Happy!
The dependency that strangles love
And many more “memos to strengthen relationships”

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Monday, October 19, 2009

An Epidemic of Exhaustion Among God’s Kids

Jesus said to His followers: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”(Matt. 11:28-30)

It seems to me that many of God’s kids are carrying ill-fitting heavy burdens. In the 18th century John Wesley got a glimpse of the unforced rhythms of grace. It is captured in what I would call the “JW Principle: Haste with a Calm Spirit.”

“Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry, because I neverundertake more work than I can go through with calmness of spirit."
(John Wesley)

I am trying to apply the JW Principle of Haste with a Calm Spirit. When there are MANY things screaming for my attention, I evaluate the projects with this phrase in mind--WHAT CAN I DO AND REMAIN CALM IN SPIRIT?My desk, dining room table and kitchen counter were SCREAMING FORATTENTION TO ALL THE PAPER WORK--then I got a call from a dearfriend whose mother-in-law was just killed in a car accident. What can I do in CALMNESS OF SPIRIT???

Applying the “JW Principle” I am able to listen to the Holy Nudge of God and I decide to drive to my friend’s house and weep with those that weep. Then I calmly offer to drive them to the airport. At 5:32 pm my desk, dining room table and counter tops are still piled high with paper work, but dinner is in the oven and I am leaving for the airport to shuttle my precious grieving friends to the airport—all with haste but a calm spirit!

The other day a friend called and asked if I could go somewhere in a few moments with her—a spontaneous request. I paused and asked myself...can I squeeze this in and remain CALM IN SPIRIT...the answer was clear-- NO!!She was disappointed but the calmness in my spirit was so satisfying that Iwasn't thrown into a whirlwind of guilt over saying no to my preciousfriend. I am still busy but my inner woman is more peaceful thanks to BROTHERWESLEY!

In order to apply the “JW Principle” one must surrender his/her junior-god-badge and resign from trying to tame an untamable world. Are you ready to retire from being HCIC (Head Chick in Charge) or HRIC (Head Rooster in Charge)? Early retirement from an “ill-fitted” burden is within our grasp today: Psalm 46:10.
May our week be filled with the blessing of haste with a calm spirit!

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Free Yourself To Love Conference

Have you registered for the Free Yourself to Love Conference with Ken and Jackie Kendall? It is Saturday, November 7th from 9am to 3pm. It will be held at Grace Fellowship. To register go to www.moodyradiosouthflorida.fm or call 1-800-965-9325.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Is There "Ancient" Anger Stored Away in Your Attic?

One of the primary reasons many of us don’t forgive is that we’re too angry even to consider it. We may or may not be aware of the anger we live with day to day. For plenty of people, the anger that holds them hostage to unforgiveness is a rage stored deep in the attics of their hearts. I refer to this as “ancient anger.” Ancient anger is like cobwebs strung across the attics of our hearts, and these cobwebs need to be removed. Frederick Buechner wrote about ancient anger:

Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton you feast on is you.1
It is time to call a cleaning crew to clear out the cobwebs of anger. This cleaning crew can include a pastor, professional counselor, Bible study leader, Sunday school teacher, a prayer partner, or a spiritually mature friend—anyone who will really go in there with you for a thorough cleaning. Let me tell you that if that mass of cobwebs isn’t cleaned out, you can pretty much count on the unlikeliness of becoming free from unforgiveness. The cobwebs of ancient anger will tangle you up!
As we know, the Bible has a lot to say about anger. Does it address ancient anger? Yes, it does! Essentially we are exhorted to not even permit anger to age, much less become ancient. A memorable verse that comes to mind when considering the danger of prolonging anger is Ephesians 4:26–27: “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
(Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness, pp. 140,141)

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Don’t Let Memories Drag You Back into Rage

Returning memories and fresh details of offense can drag you back into the anger that once ruled you. This is all part of the process of forgiving. Forgiveness is both instantaneous and continuous. I forgive my offender instantaneously and then a few weeks or years later, through a vivid memory of the offense, I forgive again—and again (continuously).

A survivor of the Rwandan holocaust expresses this:

My soul was at war with itself. I’d struggled so hard to forgive but now felt duped for having done so. . . . When my neighbors whispered the stories of my family’s sadistic murders in my ear, the feeling of hatred that I thought I’d banished from my soul sprang violently from the depths of my being with renewed vigor. . . . I tossed and turned for hours. . . . I rolled out of bed and got down on my knees. “Forgive my evil thoughts, God.” A sudden rush of air flooded my lungs. I heaved a heavy sigh of relief. The anger that had gripped me like a returning malignancy was gone.4
This woman’s courage to forgive what many would consider an offense too great, with memories far too relentless and vivid, is absolutely stunning.

Instead of resenting memories, one can rejoice that God wants to free us from ruling emotions that are not healthy or beneficial to ourselves or those around us. So often when I teach on forgiveness, people remark to me afterward that they were having flashbacks while I was teaching. I now alert my audiences about the potential for this and tell them not to fear the memories. Rather, they should fear shoving down more pain that will eventually rise up to rule as a despot.

When a memory or flashback intrudes on your day, examine it and consider this: Have I already forgiven this person and released this event? Or have I buried the hurt and anger, and am I still being ruled by what is buried? As David Seamands wrote: “The submerged emotions rise up and express themselves in feelings of deep depression, rage, uncontrollable lust, inferiority, fear, loneliness, and rejection.”3

The next time your brain sends you a memory, flashback, or dream, remember your need for homeostasis and rejoice that you know the 490 Principle (forgive 70 x 7—forgiving again). Practicing this principle is helping you achieve a PhD in Forgiveness—ultimate Christ-likeness. And becoming experts in forgiveness frees us to be experts in loving others. Memories are not the enemy but a vehicle for truth in the innermost part of our souls.

If you are still interested in attending the course on “The Art & Science of Forgiveness,” please come. This class is held on Wednesday’s at Grace Fellowship starting at 7:00 PM and ending at 8:10 PM (so parents can pick up kids when kids’ events end at 8:15 PM). The room is #500 (over the gym). Men and Women are both welcome and childcare is available. The only expense for this class is to get a copy of the book Free Yourself to Love. This book and your Bible will be the class texts.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

A Birth Out of Barrenness

Tomorrow, September 1, 2009 a new book arrives in stores and on Amazon.com.
The title of the book is: Lady in Waiting for Little Girls: Strengthening the Heart of Your Princess. This book is the offspring of the best-selling book Lady in Waiting. As a single woman, DeDe Kendall was mentored by Jackie Kendall in the principles from Lady in Waiting. During her prolonged singleness (until 40 years old!) DeDe taught these principles to singles, teens and college students. DeDe, a classic “lady in waiting,” finally did marry her prince charming. Having dreamed of being a mother since she was a little girl, DeDe was now anxious to have a baby and was so excited about the prospect of such a blessing. However, during her first year of marriage she was to discover that she was not going to have a baby of her own, but that she was, in fact, infertile.

For many people, living with such a shattered dream amounts to a lifetime of being slashed and bruised by broken shards. But for DeDe, the challenge to live with this shattered dream was not wasted. With God’s help, she would create from those shards a beautiful stained-glass window. DeDe returned to what she knew best: teaching the ten principles of Lady in Waiting. The Lord showed DeDe that although she was physically infertile, spiritually she had thousands of children. She had been mentoring, teaching and inspiring little girls for 36 years, and each of these girls was a precious piece in her mosaic. So it was that DeDe, the vice-principal of a Christian elementary school, began to teach Lady in Waiting to elementary students. This passion was the preparation for a wonderful birth that was to happen.

In DeDe’s 50th year, God showed her that He had something very special for this contented barren woman. Her sister-in-law, Jackie Kendall, was approached about writing a younger girls’ version of her book, Lady in Waiting, and she agreed only because she would have DeDe as a co-author. DeDe knew this opportunity to co-write a book with her mentor, sister-in-law and best friend was a dream come true. Indeed, it was to become more than book project, it was her “baby”— a baby birthed from an infertile woman--Lady in Waiting for Little Girls: Strengthening the Heart of Your Princess.

In Beth Moore’s series on the book of Esther, she teaches the principle of the “reversal of destiny,” where God uses situations, and often difficult ones, as turning points in our lives. DeDe believes that writing this book for moms and their daughters is God’s reversal of destiny in her life. Infertility did not keep DeDe from mothering and loving thousands of children as the beloved “Miss DeDe.” And now Miss DeDe will mentor thousands of moms and daughters through this gift: Lady in Waiting for Little Girls: Strengthening the Heart of Your Princess.

Be the first to order this unique Mother/Daughter book—introducing your daughter(s) for the first time to the timeless principles from the best selling book of Lady in Waiting. Every fairy tale has a moment when the prince finally dances with the leading lady. A little girl’s devotion to God should be similar to that of a princess dancing with her Prince. Lady in Waiting for Little Girls is a mother-daughter mentoring book that is to be enjoyed together (girls ages 5—9). Order today on Amazon.com.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Global Forgiveness Day

I absolutely squealed out loud when someone told me that three days from today, August 27th is Global Forgiveness Day. All I could think is—I wrote a book that helps a person celebrate GLOBAL FORGIVENESS—EVERY DAY!!! I grasped this vision for this Global Forgiveness Day in the introduction to my book.

I was reading through the workshop notes of a presentation on Forgiveness given on September 7th, 2006, to the United Nations, and began to ponder the privilege of giving such a presentation. Suddenly, I realized that this book is my presentation to an entity even bigger and more influential than the UN: that is, the huge family of God throughout the world. This book is my UN, my Ultimate Necessity presentation, written with the sole agenda of encouraging my brothers and sisters throughout the world to walk in a daily lifestyle of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the call to love, and one can’t love without the developed skill of forgiving freely.

Have you registered for my class this fall: The Art & Science of Forgiveness? I am regularly asked if I am teaching a class locally. For many years, my schedule has not allowed such a privilege. But this fall, my schedule is allowing me to teach a class. Here is a glimpse of the course premise:

We will thoroughly examine forgiveness and its impact on our marriage,
parenting, and friendships. Often the struggles in our day to day relationships can be traced to our inability to forgive freely. Forgiveness
principles and tools that liberate will be examined. Forgiveness is a most
heroic act that rewrites our past and impacts our future.

My home church, Grace Fellowship of West Palm Beach is hosting this class, room #500, Wednesday nights at 7pm this fall.
To register: The online address to register is:
www.gfwpb.org, then click on the “Community Interest Groups / Wednesday Electives” banner…that will take you right to the registration page. Class title: The Art & Science of Forgiveness. See you in September!

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Don't Make Your Loved One's Carry Your Pain

Recently I was re-reading the acknowledgements I wrote for Free Yourself to Love. When I read what I wrote to my husband and children, I realized that part of the blessing of learning to FORGIVE is to cease making our loved ones carry our pain. Do you need to cease making your loved ones carry your pain—as you live with unforgiveness in your heart? Why not consider joining me this fall for a class I will be teaching titled: The Art & Science of Forgiveness. Here is the course description:

"The heart of emotional health is the ability to forgive. Good relationships (marriages, parent/child, and friendships) are made up of those who have learned how to forgive. This course will examine the "art" of forgiving--forgiving is a specific skill that actually utilizes more creativity than one can imagine. Forgiving freely is a complex science (knowledge) that we will examine and together we will strengthen our 'theology' of forgiving."

The class will begin on Wednesday night, September 2nd, at Grace Fellowship, West Palm Beach. I will be teaching for 11 weeks. If you would like to join me in this class, please go to the online address to register:
www.gfwpb.org, then click on the “Community Interest Groups / Wednesday Electives” banner…that will take you to the registration page. Class title: The Art & Science of Forgiveness.

The reason we need you to register—is to have enough chairs set up for those who are coming and workers for childcare. This class will be held on Wednesday’s at Grace Fellowship starting at 7:00 PM and ending at 8:10 PM (so parents can pick up kids when kids’ events end at 8:15 PM). The room is #500 (over the gym). Men and Women are both welcome and childcare is available. The only expense for this class is to get a copy of the book Free Yourself to Love. This book and your Bible will be the class texts.

This class will take you to the next level of understanding the liberating power of forgiveness. Please consider joining the class. I am so excited about teaching this class in my hometown—hope to see you September 2.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Your Body Language, a Billboard of Your Heart

Your body language and what you say or don’t say are sure displays of your heart’s condition—negative or positive. Warning: people know exactly how you feel about them, even when you haven’t said a word. Your body—or your silence—is tattling on your heart. Research in the new field of social neuroscience is providing fresh insight into this process: “Our brains are designed to reflect and catch the state of the person we’re with, which works to our advantage in most situations by helping us understand each other better, says Daniel Goleman, PhD, author of Social Intelligence.”

Smiles and flattery do not cover up unforgiveness marinating in your heart. Even when you choose silence, your heart’s condition is being detected by those you are with. Remember what Paul told the Colossians: “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourself with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:13–14 nlt).

Offense is inevitable among humans. Therefore, we should wear the clothing of love so that making allowances will be spontaneous. When it comes to offense, the original incident is the fault of the offender, but my allowing the incident to keep offending me is my choice. I can forgive again and call down a blessing or respond in self-harm and be offended again. “Every time the grievance comes to mind, in fact, the body can re-create the emotional and physical duress that accompanied the original hurt. You become agitated; blood pressure soars; stress hormones are released. Forgiveness, however, can restore peacefulness and balance.”

Hopefully by this point you no longer want to simply forget about an injury—which is not always possible—but rather choose to move on by forgiving and by praying blessings on the offender. If you feel daunted by this challenge, read what Kristin Armstrong wrote:

The very idea of generating feelings of kindness for someone who has broken your heart seems at the very least ridiculous, and at the most . . . impossible. The trick is that it is not all about feelings. [Paul] doesn’t say, “Feel kind and compassionate toward one another.” He said, “Be kind and compassionate to one another.” It’s an order, requiring simple obedience, not emotion. Obedience springs from the love and desire to please God, nothing else.
(Excerpt from Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness)

Your book on forgiveness is amazing! I read a lot, especially books about overcoming childhood abuse, but your book is like the "next level". I sat up late the other night reading - and crying - as I identified with each of the counterfeit forms of forgiveness. I think when I am finished reading it; I'm going to have to read it again to make sure it all sinks in!

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Pity for Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway was one of the most famous American novelist, short-story writer and essayist, whose deceptively simple prose style has influenced a wide range of writers. Hemingway was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Why do I have pity for this famous writer? In the last Hope Alert I wrote about a “father’s wound.” This will address a most heinous “mother wound” that happened to Ernest Hemingway.

One of the most tragic revenge scenarios I have ever heard of concerned the author Ernest Hemingway. His mother was so furious that he did not go to college she not only threw him out of the house, but on his twenty-first birthday, she sent him a package. In the package was the gun that his father had used to commit suicide. The mother wrote these words: “I thought you’d want this.”

How could a mother be that hateful to her child? Anger and revenge are so blinding that they can change a person into an emotional monster. Hemingway later committed suicide, as did two of his siblings, Ursula and Leicester.6

You don’t need to hire a professional hit man to hurt another human being for an offense. All humans have creative ways to expedite revenge. If you’re looking to make a person squirm, one of the easiest ways is by not accepting their remorse or apology. I have met hundreds who refuse to accept a person’s apology. These unforgiving people continue to nurse the hurt and grudge, which maintains the emotional gap between offender and offended. I know relatives who have not spoken in years. Such prolonged silence is creative revenge.

In our flesh, we hesitate to lay down our weapon of revenge because of the injustice of it all. The situation seems unjust only because we are not trusting God to enact judgment against the offender. We may think that God is too busy to avenge our offenses or He isn’t moving fast enough for our taste.

I doubt that anyone reading this Hope Alert—would ever do anything as hateful as Ernest Hemingway’s mother did on his 21st birthday. But, when I choose to not forgive a family member or a friend or even an acquaintance…my behavior is as stunning as Mrs. Hemingway. Does that remark seem ludicrous? You and I have been freely forgiven through the precious blood of Jesus and our unforgiving behavior—is an insult to the grace of God in Jesus (Eph. 4:32).

(Excerpt from Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness)

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Hard to Find a Father's Day Card?

Year after year, I see people struggling in front of the card rack, trying to find a Father’s Day card? Why is it so hard? Well, for many people, Hallmark doesn’t produce cards for people who have a father they haven’t forgiven--yet. Oh the difficulty of finding a card, when the father wound in your heart shouts against false sentimentality that is often the theme of Father’s Day cards.

How easy is it for a father to wound his child? My husband, Ken, and I watched the movie Walk the Line, based on the life of Johnny Cash. During the movie there were several painful scenes between Johnny Cash and his father. Johnny’s father was a merciless perfectionist, and his incessant criticism of Johnny helped fuel years of addiction. The shame and anger caused in the heart of a child who has been exasperated by a perfectionistic parent is seen not only in the life of Johnny Cash but in the lives of millions who have heart wounds from such unloving parents.

After the movie Ken said, “I was raised by two perfectionists, and I am a perfectionist, and I am concerned about the impact on our children. When we return home, I want to ask them three questions:

1. What do I do or say that discourages you?
2. Do I do anything or say anything that encourages you?
3. What would you like me to do or say that would encourage you?”

Ken asked both our children, and neither had any major complaints. My heart was touched that Ken was sensitive enough to want to ask such questions. Most parents are often clueless concerning the exasperation and hurt that they have caused their children despite Paul’s admonition: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

If you have struggled with shame and anger and you haven’t been able to trace the source, maybe you need to consider the impact of a parent’s words on your heart as a child. A therapist told me, “Jackie, verbal abuse causes heart wounds just like sexual abuse does.” How shocked most critical parents are when they discover the destructive damage done by their criticism and perfectionism. By the same token, silent and neglectful parents can wound as well—another method of aborted love through anger.

Maybe the best gift you can give your father this Father’s Day—is also a gift that you will be giving to your own heart. By faith, choose to forgive your earthly father, as you have been freely forgiven by your Heavenly Father (Matt. 6:9, 12).

(Excerpt from Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness)

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Trash Apologies

A popular counterfeit of forgiveness is overlooking the wrong. This is where you minimize the offense. For example, when you hear a battered woman say, “He really didn’t mean to push me through that door,” or a mother say to her toddler, “Daddy didn’t mean to yell at you,” you are hearing classic minimizing. If he didn’t mean it, then why did he do and say those things? Sometimes we think we’re being forgiving when we look the other way. We think that’s healthy, but it’s not.

True forgiveness is seeing something for what it really is; that’s when you effectively forgive. When someone makes a rude remark and hurts your feelings, don’t just say, “Never mind,” when they ask you what is wrong. We think we’re forgiving if we say, “Oh no, it’s nothing.” That in itself is wrong. Do not minimize the offense by overlooking it in an effort to appear merciful and patient. In fact, we need to pay greater attention to what motivates us to overlook an offense. Sometimes fear motivates us not to say how we are actually hurt. It is even possible that we want to seem forgiving to another, because, after all, we are Christians, but really that is our pride at work.

Minimization also allows for what Dr. Aaron Lazare has titled trash apologies. Trash apologies contain phrases like these:

  • Mistakes were made. (Rather than “I made a mistake.”)
  • To the degree you were offended. (Rather than“To the degree I offended you.)
  • If I did anything wrong . . . (“If” as opposed to “I did something wrong.”)
  • You can’t expect me to be perfect.
  • If I’ve hurt anybody, I’m sorry. (Again, “If” as opposed to “I’ve hurt you, and I’m sorry.”)
  • I’m sorry you are mad. (But I am not responsible for your being mad.)

(Excerpt from Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness)

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Summoned to Forgive

I know that I may seem like a broken record with my incessant references to our need to forgive. I just want you to hear my heart concerning the bottomless pit in relation to comprehending the depth of our need to learn to forgive freely. Having written my heart in print expressing what I have learned over two decades about forgiving freely—I read something that Brennan Manning wrote and I thought—“wow, another glimpse of the fathomless call to forgive.” Our heeding this summons on a daily basis is inextricably linked to being identified as an authentic follower of Jesus! Here is what our brother B. Manning wrote:

The summons to live as forgiven and forgiving children is radically
inclusive. It is addressed not only to the wife whose husband forgot their
wedding anniversary but also to parents whose child was slaughtered by a drunken driver, to the victims of slanderous accusations, and to the poor living in filthy boxes who see the rich drive by in Mercedes....

The demands of forgiveness are so daunting that they seem humanly impossible. The exigencies of forgiveness are simply beyond the capacity of un-graced human will. Only reckless confidence in a Source greater than ourselves can empower us to forgive the wounds inflicted by others. In boundary moments such as these there is only one place to go--- Calvary.

Stay there for a long time and watch as Abba's Only-Begotten dies utterly alone in bloody disgrace. Watch as He breathes forgiveness on His torturers at the moment of their greatest cruelty and mercilessness. On that lonely hill outside the city wall of old Jerusalem, you will experience the healing power of the dying Lord.

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." Mt. 6:14


Last week I summoned an audience to consider forgiving there offenders and afterwards a junior high girl named Emily shared with me her choosing to pray a blessing on her offending “BFF.” She shared that when she prayed a blessing on her friend, her heart was filled with such peace. This young teen, heard the summons to forgive and touched my heart so deeply with her obedience. Jesus whispered “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” so that Emily and I could shout, “I have been freely forgiven, so I can freely forgive you!” May each of us be as bold as Emily, and forgive the boss that offended us this week or the spouse who has been distracted and neglectful or the child that again has made a choice that is hurtful and very disappointing. Why not pause right now and whisper a prayer of forgiveness on your spouse, child or employer? Amen!

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Monday, May 4, 2009

A New Pledge of Allegiance

Prior to speaking at a large mother-daughter conference, I was told several of the young girls who would be attending had been molested by a staff member. The staff member would be going to trial in the next two weeks, so the past wounds were being freshly confronted.

The morning of this event, I came across the story of Jarius’s daughter, whom Jesus called back to life after she died: “Talitha koum!” (Mark 5:41). Immediately the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Today, Jackie, you are going to call some young girls back from the dead.” At the conference, as each mother brought her daughter up to me, I prayed over each of them that Jesus would heal her heart wound—that He would call each child back from the emotionally deadening experience of abuse. Jarius’s daughter was twelve years old when she was raised from the dead, and most of the little girls I prayed with were seventh graders—twelve and thirteen years old.

In the first Scripture Jesus ever read publicly, He said He came to “heal the brokenhearted” (Luke 4:18 nkjv). Isaiah also referred to Jesus as “familiar with suffering” (Isa. 53:3). Jesus’ familiarity with suffering allows Him to heal the brokenhearted, and my familiarity with suffering allows me to be a wounded healer—and a healed forgiver—in His name.

Then the Lord reminded me of a term that I found while researching the name Yeshua—friend of the brokenhearted (see Ps. 34:18). The term is Kardiognostes, meaning “the heart-knower.”6 The minute I remembered this term, I saw my hand over my heart in a pledge, which would be a daily whispered prayer: “Kardiognostes, heal my heart wounds.” I told each of the girls to place her hand over her heart and continually whisper this prayer to Jesus: “Heal my heart wound, Lord.” The healing of such a wound takes time . . . I know this all too well.

At the end of the conference, as I was sitting alone at the airport, I placed my hand over my heart and pledged a new allegiance to the One who is the ultimate healer of heart wounds. While my hand was over my heart, I thanked God for the abuse that I had lived through as a child, because the suffering I had experienced became the very platform of hope that Jesus can use to call a person back from the dead—“the soul-deadening experience of sexual abuse.” Before you go to sleep tonight, place your hand over your heart and ask Jesus to heal any fresh or old heart wound. “If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation” (2 Cor. 1:6, emphasis added).


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Monday, April 20, 2009

"Amica-bull Divorce"

How often have you heard the expression, “amicable divorce?” Talk about an oxy-moron. Amicable refers to a friendly choice which lacks any antagonism. I want to scream when I hear such comments. When there are children involved in a divorce, it is never amicable for the child. In fact, I have created a new descriptive for this reality: “amica-bull divorce.”

Too many times to number, I have listened to people minimize the abandonment they suffered through divorce. Divorce is epidemic, and the denial about the heart wound of abandonment is stunning. Whenever I hear a person say that he or she had an “amicable divorce,” I’m shocked; believe me, the children of the divorce never felt it was amicable. We are too casual about the incredible pain that comes when spouses/parents separate. It is a terrible wound to be abandoned by someone who should have protected, led, and loved you. To minimize that wound usually leads to the offended spouse’s or child’s burying the hurt.

If you bury the hurt, you’ll bury the hate, because believe it or not, where hurt comes, inevitably hate and anger come also. Have you ever considered the parallel between so many angry children and their parents “amica-bull divorce”?

In a book review in the Wall Street Journal, (The Marriage-Go-Round by Andrew J. Cherlin) I read this caption, “Amid divorce, remarriage and co-habitation, children do not do well.” I have witnessed the reality of this caption for two decades as I have counseled thousands of teens whose parents have been divorced. Too many times I have been heartbroken that the child’s parent was more committed to his or her own personal happiness than working for the good of the family as a whole. Cherlin points out in his book, “Americans celebrate individualism more than people in other Western societies and so believe that they are entitled to make choices that maximize their personal happiness.” Such entitlement has moved divorce into epidemic proportions in the U.S.

As divorce increases, the victimized children increase which only validates again the accuracy of my newly penned phrase, “amica-bull divorce: a divorce which is friendly for the adults but antagonistic for the soul of the abandoned child. I will remain busy counseling and comforting hundreds of teens who need to forgive their parents for choices that too often are so me-centric that they are totally oblivious to the impact on their children. (Disclaimer: I know that sometimes divorce is a necessity for the protection of the children—that is not the divorce that the “amica-bull divorce” is referring to.)

Part of every divorce settlement should be a copy of Free Yourself to Love, for everyone involved in this painful choice. The process of forgiving is a life long journey and it doesn’t end when the divorce is final—it has just begun.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

An Easter Basket That Could Save Your Marriage

Spring is busting out all over! Well, maybe not all over, but at least in the grocery story candy aisle. Have you already bought some goodies for your family’s Easter baskets? My family loves the peanut butter and chocolate eggs and, of course, the tiny jelly beans. And what about your spouse? Do you ever make a basket for your husband or wife as well as the kids?

If you are even considering an Easter basket for your spouse, I want to tell you about some goodies you can put in there that will not derail a diet and will only bless and enhance your marriage. Are you interested?

To make an Easter basket that will bless you marriage, here are the necessary goodies. First, purchase a bag of the multi-colored plastic eggs—you will need a dozen. Begin to brainstorm while driving to work or waiting in the line for carpool at your kid’s school. You’ll want to think of six affirming remarks that would cheer the heart of your spouse. If you can’t think of six, don’t hesitate to ask God for help—since marriage is His creation and God is the ultimate inspiration for marriages that last.

As the words of affirmation begin to come to your mind, jot them on slips of paper, and when you have six, you will be ready to open the plastic eggs and place the notes inside. These words of affirmation will “resurrect” a love that may be lying dormant at this moment.

But that is not all your spouse needs—you both need what is going to be written and placed in the last six eggs. I am going to help you with those.

You are going to write six different “proverbs of forgiveness.” (Remember, a proverb is a wise maxim.) Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. One of the first issues that Jesus addressed after rising from the dead is embodied in the notes inside these six eggs. What is the issue? Forgiving Freely. Forgiving freely is a critical element in loving your spouse; in fact, it is not an option if we want to stay out of divorce court!

Here are the “Forgiveness Proverbs” to place in each of six different plastic eggs.

  1. May we remember: To forgive is a heroic choice, and it is not for the weak but the strong.
  2. May we remember: Daily to forgive one another for what we do best—be human—which is often messy.
  3. May we remember: Being offended is inevitable, but staying offended is a choice.
  4. May we remember: If I go to bed angry with my spouse, I will wake up a little less in love with him/her.
  5. May we remember: Being a good forgiver and a good lover are inextricably linked.
  6. May we remember: Couples who struggle to forgive each other are the norm, but God freely forgave us in Jesus so that we could freely forgive each other.

So, if you fill up your spouse’s Easter basket with this kind of goodies, the sweet treats of affirmation, and these six “Forgiveness Proverbs,” and feast on them in your heart and mind, your marriage will be blessed long after Easter has passed.

Read more about forgiveness in Jackie's newest book: Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness,

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Monday, March 30, 2009

How To Forgive the Guy Who is Just Not That Into You

The new comedy He’s Just Not That Into You, reminded me of the painful reality of how many women have been hurt by what I call “bozo” guys. I asked a single gal the other day what she thought of the movie, and she said, “Good but painful.” She went on to say, “It was painful to watch women who just don’t get it.” I have been on the war path for years trying to warn single gals about their pursuit of “bozo” guys. Now I realize that I need to teach singles how to forgive the bozo guy who just broke her heart, to forgive the guy who is “just not that into her”—who used up her attention, time and body and then tossed her like a paper cup. This is my new passion with singles.

How do so many wonderful single gals end up hurt by the guy who is just not that into her? The main reason she gets hurt is she breaks the 11th commandment: “Defraud Not Thyself.” Countless women actually lead themselves on through the fantasy that this guy who just chatted so charmingly with them for an hour may actually be interested in pursuing a relationship with them. Consider how often women are angry about a particular guy leading their girlfriend on in a dating relationship. Girls and women alike are angered when a guy defrauds a girl by leading her on—often the result of a guy’s agenda to merely play at love to get sex.

Yet how often do single woman get angry with their girlfriends who helped feed her own fantasy about “Mr. Right?” Defrauding oneself is such a masochistic crime against a woman’s own heart. To defraud one-self is self harm! When a gal meets a wonderful guy, her immediate response needs to be prayer and not text messaging a friend about the “Mr. Right” she thinks she has just met.

Being offended is inevitable as long as you occupy a place on planet earth—but staying offended is a choice.

After realizing the time and energy you have put into a guy who is “just not that into you,” you are likely going to be very disappointed. Inevitably, disappointment is followed by anger or depression. Because you know it is not healthy to stay angry, you will actually give yourself a “gift” when you consider forgiving this guy. The gift is your freedom.

Why forgive the guy who is just not that into you? When I don’t forgive I become a prisoner to the resentment of being defrauded by him. One needs to forgive this guy for doing what he does best—being human. People assume that “time heals all wounds,” but that is actually not true. Without the freeing choice of forgiving that guy, time simply moves the pain below the surface where it will ferment and poison your heart.

The gift of forgiving allows you to let go of hurt and move on with hope, because when you have hope, you are no one’s prisoner! Don’t be the gal who is held hostage to yesterday as she refuses to let go of unwanted hurt and move on to a new chapter. It’s in that forgiving chapter that you have the prospect of a happy ending—the freedom to hope and love again.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Time Doesn't Heal All Wounds

People may say that time heals all wounds, but if someone has not done the hard work of forgiveness, time only moves the pain below the surface. So often a person will say, “It hurts too much to feel the pain again.” And my reply is “It hurts more not to feel it.” The insidious crime of rape is not what ultimately kills the soul; it is the shaming silence a woman lives with, often for years, that holds her hostage to the deep offense. Sexual abuse is a soul-deadening crime not only because of the violent, dishonoring physical treatment but also because of the shame that keeps the victim silent.

A dear friend from college sent me some of her counseling notes years ago:

Deal with incest, abuse, etc., in therapy by:
  • Allowing the victims to tell their stories.
  • Allowing the victims to grieve.
  • Helping victims make new decisions—who they are now, etc.
  • Helping them have new experiences.

These notes are so simple and yet so profound. If God’s children would just learn to allow the offended to tell their stories and grieve the offenses—there would be far less spiritual illness in the body of Jesus. When pain is buried, it is buried only for a time. When it comes to the surface of one’s life, and it will come to the surface, it often erupts in destructive behavior that could have been prevented if the person had been able to sufficiently grieve the offense, loss, or devastation.

Shakespeare wisely recommended, “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’re-fraught heart and bids it break.”

Time does heal, but time heals only the wounds we allow the light of God to shine on and expose. Time ferments and intensifies wounds that are hidden, but God wants us to come to Him with all this pain. Too often we don’t face our pain because we are too scared. Sometimes we don’t think God will be able to comfort us adequately, but we need to give Him a chance. In truth, He is more than able!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”(II Cor. 1:3,4)

Excerpt from Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Raising Good Forgivers

Are you concerned about your children’s teeth? If you’re like me, you’ve probably been known to harp on your children to brush and floss their teeth. And it’s a good thing to be concerned about! But I am often amazed that parents can be so thorough in teaching their children about dental hygiene yet neglect the ultimate hygiene of the soul. Parents will allow their children to grind their teeth in anger towards a sibling or a teacher or a parent and not get that the soul is actually “cleansed and flossed” when a person learns how to be a good forgiver.

Likewise, we focus on our children doing well in school or in sports to assure them a great future. But here’s a fact: I know hundreds of students who have passed school but have flunked life.

Children who are coached in how to ask forgiveness and how to give forgiveness will be a pleasure to be around their entire lives
Here are a few coaching tips for teaching your child how to be a good forgiver:

  1. Let the child articulate the grievance, offense or hurt (ie., being embarrassed by someone in class)
  2. Ask the child how it made him/her feel. (You are using this situation for healing and instruction in loving freely—which is forgiving freely.)
  3. Ask your child to name a “hero.” Then encourage her or him to do something truly “heroic”—to forgive this person for hurting their feelings.
  4. Encourage your child to pray with you—because to pray for the offending person is to overcome evil with good. Pray that God will bless this person and make him more like Jesus. (Rom. 12:21) (Note: You can’t fail when you pray with your child. In fact, the only failure in prayer is to not pray.)
  5. Remind your child after praying for the offender that this prayer was a most “heroic” act—to pray blessings on those who hurt you is using the “super power” of Jesus’ in you!

One day our daughter came home crying about how mean her teacher had been the whole week. Apparently there had been several incidents where she had actually screamed at some of the students, including our daughter. I let her continue to share details, so that she could express her difficult feelings, and when she was done I said, “We need to pray for your teacher before you go to sleep tonight.” Our daughter said, “We need to pray for her tonight and when we drive into school tomorrow!”

You see, our daughter was used to the “heroic” choice of forgiving others by praying for them and asking God to bless them—even when they were not acting very loving. We continued to pray for this teacher, and after a week, the teacher actually wrote a letter of apology to every student. Her private world was in chaos, and she was unfortunately taking her pain out on the students.

This incident was not isolated. If I asked my kids, “What do we do with mean teachers?” they would reply, “We pray blessings on them!” “What blessing do you think she needs?” I would ask, and immediately our child would say, “She needs to be nicer.” “OK! Well, being nicer would be a blessing to her and everyone around her.” Then we would pray. Almost inevitably, we witnessed improvement in the disposition of a mean teacher and would rejoice for the obvious answer to prayer.

These tips on forgiving also apply to mean teens. Some teenagers are so mean they emotionally “eat your child for breakfast” when arriving at school. Parents can miss this chance to tutor their teens in the skill of forgiveness through praying for these mean teens. Praying for the kids who hurt kids is a noble and heroic mission; and, in fact, those mean kids themselves are a critical mission field in our kids’ lives.

And remember, as parents, we need to practice these things as much as our children. Being offended is inevitable but staying offended is a choice. A healthy family is a place where failure is not fatal, and where forgiveness is given as freely as hugs and kisses.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Are You Mad at Bernie Madoff?

As I read details of the impact of Bernie Madoff’s investment scam, I can’t help for a moment but be “mad at Madoff.” Reading some of the details of the 13,000 victims of maybe the largest investment scam ever, I find myself imagining a vicious plan of vengeance—and I wasn’t even one of his clients! Madoff’s pride and greed allowed him to cause the hemorrhaging not only of people’s life savings but also their souls.

This heinous Ponzi scam requires more than a mere modicum of justice; but until that happens, what are the victims to do with the rage and anger that keeps their souls hemorrhaging? The answer may seem as audacious as the crime, but the victims will never have internal peace unless they commit an audaciously heroic act.

To stop the soul hemorrhaging, one must forgive: divorce oneself emotionally from the “house arrest” of anger and rage.

Now, forgiving—letting it go, sending it away emotionally—such a choice does not get Madoff off the hook, but what it does accomplish is to take the victim off the hook of perpetual resentment and rage. Forgiving allows us to amend our own stories. It releases us from the sentence of victimization in the prison of revenge fantasies, strangled by the noose of anger. Vengeance merely offers short-lived satisfaction, yet saddles us with a long-term burden. If I take God’s role into my own hands, the role of exacting vengeance, the burden is more staggering than the desire to be avenged is satisfied!

Among the victims of Madoff’s scam, is a hero of mine, Elie Wiesel, survivor of the Holocaust and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. I have admired him for years, precisely because this survivor of the Nazi death camps has learned to forgive—a genuinely heroic deed. He, like Mahatma Gandhi did, understands that forgiving is not for the weak but for the strong.

When asked about his foundation losing almost all its assets in Madoff’s scam, Wiesel said, “All my life has been about learning and teaching and building on ruins. I don’t want to be known as one of his victims. I want my name linked to peace and literature and human rights.” Elie Wiesel understands that one cannot build among the ruins of shattered dreams until one understands the liberating power of forgiveness. A person ceases to be a victim, hemorrhaging from the very soul, when one divorces, releases oneself from focusing on the offender. Such actions end the victimization—whether by a Nazi death camp or Madoff’s heinous scam.

Bernard Madoff is presently under house arrest, but, in fact, all the victims and any others who still seethe with anger are under house arrest themselves, emotional house arrest. If they go to bed, day after day, still “mad at Madoff,” they wake up with their souls still held captive to Madoff. The victims of this horrible investment scam will need to make an investment in their soul’s release from the inevitable bitterness. Isn’t it enough, the agony that his pride and greed has caused? Don’t live one more day controlled by him by focusing on him. Don’t rent any more space in your soul for a Mad at Madoff Club!

Take the first step, choose to release Madoff to the sentencing that is beyond what the courts of the land can do: Release him to the One who keeps perfect records of those who think they can harm others and escape judgment. Remove the anklet of your own house arrest—refuse one more day being “mad at Madoff.”

(Quote by Elie Wiesel—USA Today, Feb. 17, 2009, Article Wiesel Again Rebuilds on Ruins by Bob Minzesheimer)

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Friday, February 20, 2009

A Valentine from Momma Moses!

I am sending you a “belated Valentine” to strengthen your heart of faith. Recently I have been inspired by a principle that Moses Momma knew and I want to pass it along to you. Every time I share it with someone, I notice the impact and I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Jochebed (Moses Momma) was not wonder woman but a woman of such faith that she make it into God’s Hall of Faith (Heb. 11:23). She displayed such amazing faith in her exercising The Momma Moses Principle. What is this principle? It is the principle that allowed a momma (Jochebed) to make a little ark for her beautiful three month old son and place him in this ark and set him afloat on the Nile River. Now Ken and I have been to Egypt and we have stayed on the Nile River and it is not a “stream” but a big river and Moses Momma set her baby in an “ark basket” and set him in this big body of water.

Now the “The Momma Moses Principle” is when a person does everything they can and then by faith release the outcome to God. For Jochebed the Momma Moses principle kicked in when Pharaoh issued an edict to kill all Hebrew baby boys. So Moses Momma hid her beautiful son for three months. When Jochebed could hide him no longer she made a choice to do all she could: build an ark and set her son on a journey of faith. Jochebed placed her little baby in the ark she built and set him on the Nile--without any guarantee. She had no idea about the outcome: rescued by a princess, eaten by a crocodile or capsized by a rough current. Jochebed did all she could do and then released by faith the outcome to God. In fact, Jochebed gave Moses up to God TWICE: first in the floating ark and then to the arms of a princess.

The Momma Moses Principle allows you and I to do our best in this New Year and trust God with the results. Daily you and I can do our best as spouses, parents, friends, employees and then trust God with the outcome. With all our efforts of holy sweat, we need to keep in mind that the only guarantee is the grace to trust God when the “ark is rocking and ready to capsize.” (I gleaned this principle from Jan Silvious new book Smart Girls Think Twice.)

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Are You Too Angry to Purchase a Valentine Card?

Did you know that when you go to bed angry with someone, you wake up a little "less in love" with that person? God's Word addresses this dangerous sleeping pattern: "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." Eph. 4:26, 27.

When I was in college, I was impressed with the relationship between my English literature teacher (Dr. Evangeline Banta) and her husband. She invited me to spend a weekend at her home, where I got a closer look at a love relationship that I had assumed existed only in literature. At the end of our weekend together, I asked Evangeline what was the secret of the love that had flourished after forty-plus years of marriage. I've never forgotten her remark, and it has been the most important marital advice I've ever received. Evangeline said, "We made a commitment on our wedding night that we would not go to sleep angry with one another." Such a simple remark, but it is a foundational truth for love that will last a lifetime. Going to bed angry with one's mate will only result in dragon breath come morning.

Are you having a difficult time finding a Valentine's card for a loved one, because the sun has been setting day after day on anger in your heart? One of the primary reasons many of us don't forgive is that we're too angry even to consider it. We may or may not be aware of the anger we live with day to day. For plenty of people, the anger that holds them hostage to unforgiveness is a rage stored deep in the attics of their hearts. I refer to this as "ancient anger." Ancient anger is like cobwebs strung across the attics of our hearts, and these cobwebs need to be removed. Frederick Buechner wrote about ancient anger:

Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back-in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton you feast on is you.

Being offended is inevitable but staying offended is our choice. Valentine Cards are hard to purchase when the heart is clogged with ancient anger. We are called to forgive one another for doing what we do best-'being human.' Don't go to bed angry again tonight-so you can visit a Hallmark Card shop tomorrow without grinding your teeth in the process. The above material is an excerpt from my book on Forgiveness that is coming out in February. Would you prayerfully consider helping me spread the good news about "forgiveness" by going to www.freeyourselftolove.com.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Do You Know Who Is Reading Your Grudge Book?

Who has a grudge book in their possession? Actually, we all have these books—all human beings are inclined to remember offenses. I know people who keep records of things that have been done to them in embossed, laminated albums! Their holiday scrapbooks aren’t filled with happy photos of the family, they’re filled with images of all the ways things did not go as planned or people did not act the way someone hoped they would. But we need to be reminded that keeping grudge books is in direct disobedience to what God says. First Corinthians 13:5 tells us that “love keeps no record of wrongs” (emphasis added). (Gulp!) That is easier said than done.

Do you know who reads your grudge book? Your mate and children and friends—they all know who has hurt you and whom you are holding a grudge against. When I was a little girl, my mother would tell me stories about how her mother-in-law (my grandmother) hurt her. I never liked this particular grandmother because of those terrible stories. I took up my mother’s offense by effectively memorizing the text of the grudge book she had penned on her soul and copied to mine.

My own children never knew the details of the deep hurt that my mother-in-law caused me. From time to time, they may have caught a brief glimpse of the journaling in my grudge book, but they never had free access to read and reread the pages of that book because I learned to forgive my mother-in-law. The mental journaling in a grudge book ceased!

In the third book of the Bible, we are warned: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:18). To bear a grudge is to take care of it as though it were valuable. In Hebrew the word translated “bear” means to “guard, reserve and cherish.”2 How scary to think that one’s grudges can be cherished like fond memories of yesterday.

When we read the whole of Leviticus 19:18, we grasp the reality that the one toward whom we cherish a grudge is not one we are loving as we love ourselves. When we hold on to cherished grudges, they can actually become family heirlooms that are passed down to future generations. I have a dear friend whose siblings refused to forgive their father, and the anger they harbored for him now possesses the hearts of the grandchildren. Not only do they possess the anger, it possesses them. Ironically, however, the grandchildren don’t hate their grandfather, the object of their parents’ hate—they hate their parents. The sons hated their father and never forgave him, and now their sons hate their fathers!

The above material is an excerpt from my book on Forgiveness that is coming out in February. Would you prayerfully consider helping me spread the good news about “forgiveness” by going to www.freeyourselftolove.com?

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