Monday, January 12, 2009


And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness...
Exodus 34:6

Have you ever been hurt by another person?

Have you found it hard to forgive?

I was asking the Lord this weekend to show me if there was "any wicked way in me" (Psalm 139) and He reminded me of "the cringe."

[Now I am going to blog this, but I am asking you not to assume that this is about anyone or anything in particular. 23 years is a long time to live in the world and along with those 23 years have come many hurts and wounds. Please be gentle and extend grace as I share these things with you, for I believe there are others like me who are struggling to forgive and I would not share this otherwise.]

"The Cringe" is a phenomenon that I named after noticing that when I have a beef with someone, I often cringe if I find myself faced with the possibility of seeing them. This is unhealthy and just plain wrong, especially when I cringe at the thought of being around brothers and sisters in Christ.

Friends, this should not be!

So as I asked the Lord if there was any wicked way, and he showed me "The Cringe" I had to sigh. Sometimes I ask questions to which I already know the answer.

As I think about the people that hurt me, I am reminded also that it all goes back to this:

If I believe that God is who He says He is, then the original problem behind "The Cringe" (my awkwardness or fear) is that

are you ready for this?

I am not trusting His character to make it right. His Word tells me He will, after all.

Everything, and I do mean everything, comes down sooner or later to an issue of faith. Do I believe God will reveal truth and make it right? Do I believe God has called me to love and forgive without condition?


but to be gracious, just as He has been gracious to me?

I didn't understand that word when I found it again in Exodus 34 last Tuesday. But I could not get that word out of my mind this weekend for anything...
I looked it up, and although it has several definitions, this is the one that was most helpful:
to be merciful or compasssionate

God is showing me that it's not enough to forgive. I must show great compassion and understanding, just as he shows me. I have a high priest who can sympathize with the deepest parts of my humanity. To avoid showing that to another person would be to deny the very nature of the God who lives in me.
Being gracious is not just about forgiveness. It's about having compassion on the human condition we so easily recognize in other but miss in ourselves.

So here I am, declaring that I need the grace of the One True God to not only love and forgive, but to be gracious. To extend mercy and compassion. Now for those of you who have heinous things done to you, this does not mean that we offer excuses for the behavior of others. Rather, it is living in the declaration of the Gospel, which is that...

"... God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

He willingly laid down His own life for us while we were His enemies. Not only did He love us, but His compassion on us caused Him to desire to lay down His own life in order for us to find redemption. Now that's compassion. That is mercy.

That's the gracious thing to do, isn't it, girls?

And that makes me want to lay down my artificially created "right" to be upset, or to be hurt, or to have "The Cringe" manifest itself anymore.

Forgiveness is a choice, and it will never be a feeling before the choice is made. So if you are like me, you better quit waiting for a feeling to come and make the choice to walk in FAITH that God is who He says He is and offer compassion.

Don't miss out on a chance to be like Jesus and offer grace today. I need it so desperately, so how could I ever withhold it from anyone?

Be gracious.