How Flabby is Your Forgiveness?

I have a weekly routine of exercise. When I miss it, like the break I took last week when I was out of town at the Exponential Conference in Florida, I can feel it when I get back to my usual routine.

It doesn’t take more than a week to feel “flabby.”

That’s true of our ability to forgive, as well. If we don’t daily—even all throughout our day—exercise our “forgiveness muscles,” we become flabby. We gravitate toward irritation, argumentativeness and bitterness. But when we choose to forgive on a daily and moment-by-moment basis, … 

We gain –

  • God-awareness.
  • Self-awareness.
  • Humility.
  • Empathy for others, especially for our offender.
  • An ability to remain calm, feeling God’s peace when chaos or accusation is present.
  • An ability to extend a boundless supply of God’s grace to others.

Look back over the list above and grade yourself on how strong you are in each area.

Would you give yourself an “A, “B“, “C” or even worse?

What specific step can you take to improve that grade—moving closer to God and forgiving others?

Tell me about it in the comment section and we’ll cheer each other on to greater strengths in our ability to forgive!

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I also want to highlight a couple of amazing blog posts“Wise Words”that I’ve come across recently:

“My Confession” by Alecia at Marriage Life: who shares the hardship and ongoing nature of healing from the betrayal of an affair. So very powerful!

“The Accepting Marriage” by Scott at Choose to Trust: who fleshes out what acceptance in marriage looks like. Believe me, it might not be what you expect! I kept thinking about and chewing on this one for days and days.

My husband and I also had the privilege of getting to meet Scott from Choose to Trust while we were in Florida. It was a “sweet” meeting—especially since Scott paid for our “sweet” drinks (mine was a caramel frappe at Panera! Oh, yeah!).

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Here are some pictures taken with my iPhone of what we experienced at the Exponential Conference (sorry for the poor quality on some pics)

Me and My pastor hubby, Gary
We experienced incredible worship times

She was one of my faves of the band!
Francis Chan really brought it–funny, wise and so very humble!

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Joining with NOBH, Works for Me Wednesday, Mom’s the Word and To Love Honor and Vacuum

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    • Nan

      I think when we set our “me” filter too high we are more apt to infer evil where none was intended. So we are more apt to decide what they REALLY meant instead of accepting what they said. We read into things and put our own spin on things.

      I do better at forgiving when I don’t let things start in the first place, i.e. taking people at their word instead of deciding what they “really” felt! Thanks for hosting today!

    • Tyson Cooper

      Forgiveness can be really difficult and to remain spiritually prepared to do so is just as tough. I appreciate the suggestion to do a self-evaluation of my ability to forgive. It always seems like I need to practice forgiveness when I am least prepared and inclined to do so. I guess that’s God’s way of helping me flex my forgiveness muscles and help them grow. Thanks Beth!

    • Megan@DoNotDisturb

      Yes, forgiveness is something we need to practice everyday for our own benefit as well as the benefit of others. And really, don’t I need it everyday too? Thanks for sharing!

      Megan

    • I had gone off my exercise routine (for months!) and just got back to it this week. I hear you! cos every muscle in my body is now hurting!

      Just the other day, I was trying to let go of a situation but was fighting the urge to pitch tent and “really think things through” first.

      But from experience, I knew the longer I thought about the situation, the harder it would be to climb out of the hole. I keep re-learning that I don’t need to understand something in order to forgive it.
      Great reminder today.
      Love the pics, looks like you had a great experience!

    • Oh, that conference looks like so much fun! My RX for forgiveness or anything in which I have become flabby:
      In my prayers, I pay special attention to that area and force myself to acknowledge events/people to which I need to offer forgiveness. It tends to come grudgingly at first, like muddy water out of an old, unused pipe. The more I turn on the faucet, though, the clearer and more easily it runs.

      Thanks for the conscience poke, Beth. 🙂

    • I can feel it — the forgiveness losing its tone. It feels a lot like my body going into “winter mode” … just snuggling in and doing what feels good, rather than what feels right … and then feeling good because of the amazing results!

      I’m in a season of slacking right now. I can feel it. You do have to know what it is you’re feeling, otherwise, you can attribute it to other stimuli … but when the object of your forgiveness keeps knocking, you can’t miss that kind of hint! 😉

      Thanks, Beth!

    • I agree, Nan. And the longer we choose to hold on to little bits and pieces of bitterness, the more we become focused on protecting ourselves and trying to “figure out” or infer what the other person meant, instead of pouring out God’s grace immediately. It’s an area that is still a work in progress for me! 🙂 Thanks for weighing in on the conversation, my friend. You’ve added some important insights.

    • Yes, I think forgiveness requires faith and is often needed when things seem out of control or “against us.” I guess you could say that when you strengthen your faith muscles, you also strengthen your forgiveness muscles and vice versa. Thanks so much for your insight into the conversation, Tyson. It always makes it more fun for me when fellow-bloggers share here as well as the link up!

    • Yes, Megan, we all need that forgiveness–both giving and receiving. This life here on earth is hard and relationships (especially marriages) are messy. I’m so glad we have a Savior who provides the necessary grace to make it through. Thanks for adding to the conversation, my friend. I appreciate all that you do at Do Not Disturb!

    • Oh, wow! Months? That would be hard to come back from, but I’ve been there too, Ngina. And yes, each day we have the opportunity to exercise our forgiveness muscles and, like you, sometimes I don’t want to. It hurts or is hard like getting back at exercising after a month of not. 🙂 The reason I wrote this post was due to my own inner struggle to “exercise forgiveness.” Everything I say here is always a reminder first and foremost to myself!

      Love having you “say hi” and add to the discussion. I always really appreciate your authenticity and humility, my friend!

    • Yes, that’s exactly where God works on me first–in my prayers. He can dismantle my huge justifications and excuses in nothing flat! I’m so glad you stopped by, Kim. I always love seeing your sweet face here and appreciate your kind words as well, my friend!

    • Oh, yeah, and love your words, “I don’t need to understand something in order to forgive it!”

    • And I forgot to mention, I love your analogy of the old, unused pipe. Sounds like a great future post idea for you!

    • Yes, that’s a great analogy, Amy. But like most things in winter, we’re really shutting down that life-giving flow when we choose to “hibernate” our forgiveness. And yes, this list was helpful for me too, to not attribute my situation to someone else’s fault. I have control over how I will respond, even if I can’t change the way they treated me or continue to treat me. Thanks for adding some great thoughts to the conversation, my friend!

    • Esther Irish

      Thank you so much for you invitation to link up!

    • Marty Walden

      I just finished Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. I would love to hear him speak! Thanks for the invite to linkup. Have a blessed day!

    • If we don’t daily—even all throughout our day—exercise our “forgiveness muscles,” we become flabby.

      So true. Lack of forgiveness leads to resentment. So an ability to see where forgiveness is necessary is crucial to remaining mentally and spiritually healthy. Not to mention that forgiveness, for many (most?) is a process. Just like with working out…we don’t get “results” right away. We have to work at it little by little to see progress.

    • Thanks so much for coming by and doing so, Esther! It’s great to have you here, my friend!

    • I love that book too, Marty. He’s even better in person, I think. You just see his humility and humor so much more clearly or at least it “feels” more compelling in person. Thanks so much for linking up and stopping by to encourage me!

    • Yes, you’re so right, Clint. We don’t always see the results of our forgiving choices immediately, but in hindsight I sure feel the effects of not making those choices! Thanks so much for linking up and coming by to add to the conversation.

    • Love this new phrase-flabby in forgiveness.. gonna use that one with my kids, I think. It’s a metaphor that just might stick. Thanks for hosting here.

    • Nan

      And we think we become “experts” at figuring out what they REALLY meant! Yes, better to let it go and let God give grace than to hold on and become imprisoned by our own chains! Just wanted to thank you for linking up and invite you to link up the same post tomorrow (or a different one if you want) as I don’t know how many people came back to visit a couple of days past the linky day! It will be live sometime tomorrow afternoon!

    • Wow, I’m honored, Alicia, that you would use that phrase to teach your kids about forgiveness. I’m so glad to see you in the line-up as well. I always love having your blog highlighted here. You’re an incredible writer with amazing insight, my friend!

    • I’ll be sure to do that, Nan! Thanks for reminding me about your linkup, my friend. 🙂