Friday, October 21, 2011

How to Hinder Your Prayers to God

I laid down the kids at night and as usual grabbed our Growing with Jesus Daily Devotional.  I told Ryan to pick a number from 50 to 200.  He picked page 176.  I skimmed through the pages till I found the right number and repeated the title out loud to the kids "God Forgive as You Forgive."  I smiled thinking this would be a good lesson for the kids.  The scripture it called for was Matthew 6:14-15 so I had Chaz read it aloud.  I'll give you the version that came from the kid's devotional book as they heard it.

"If you forgive others for the things they do wrong, then your Father in heaven will also forgive you for the things you do wrong.  But if you don't forgive the wrongs of others, then your Father in Heaven will not forgive the wrong things you do." 

I had to read that again.  Sigh.  I know, I know.  I've read it sooo many times. Then I went on to read this out of the kid's devotional.

"Did you know that God's forgiveness actually stops when you refuse to forgive others?  Your friendship with God is possible because of his forgiveness.  If God were unwilling to forgive your sins, your sins would build an invisible wall between him and you.  But God placed every sin you'd ever have on Jesus and washed them away at the cross.  Forgiveness is important because  IT COST GOD THE LIFE OF HIS VERY OWN SON.  Who do you need to forgive today?  A friend?  A schoolmate?  Your mom or dad?  Everyone makes mistakes.  Sometimes tese mistakes my hurt or disappoint you. 

Today: Don't build a wall of bitterness or anger around your heart.  Instead, choose to forgive."

Oh, that really touched my heart.  I still wanted to focus on the kids so after we talked about it I asked each one if there was someone they needed to forgive.  Knowing it was probably little stuff and nothing really big I knew they wouldn't be embarrassed to say it aloud.

Our dog Henry
Ivy (6):  I forgive Ashley because sometimes she bothers me.
Ashley (4): I forgive because I want Jesus in my heart and I want to go to heaven.
Kyle (8):  I forgive Chaz for putting his underwear over my head. I forgive our dog Henry for making us walk through his farts in the living room.
Chaz (11):  Hmmm.... I really can think of anyone I need to forgive.
Ryan (10): No one has been mean to me mom.  (For some reason I felt like he was holding back but really didn't want to push him.

Then I looked towards baby Caleb and asked if anyone needed to forgive him.  Everyone giggled as they looked over and saw him rolling around in his bed completely oblivious to our study.  He was holding a muted megaphone up and talking through it.  Just entertaining himself.

After laying the kids down I got my tired self into the shower.  It had been a productive day.  Was able to homeschool 4 kids, make some good meals, organize two bedrooms, and had a great discussion with the family around the dining room table.  While in the shower my shoulders just hung.  I felt like my energy was drained.  

Thinking about the study with the kids I asked myself, "Is this why I felt like my prayers were reaching only about as high as the ceiling?  It just felt like my prayer life has been completely flat.  What is forgiveness?  Is forgiveness giving someone permission to hurt me again?  No, of course not.   Well, I can't just erase those bad feelings towards them so what do I do?  I don't exactly feel like taking them out to dinner just yet.  A pastor put it in the right perspective before that made perfect sense to me.  Forgiveness is when not only you forgive them, but you never speak of the offense again.  You don't keep that offense as a weapon for an argument.  You just don't talk about it no matter how mad you are.  I had done exactly that.  People that had really hurt me I not only closed myself off to them but I continue to talk about their offenses over and over.  Maybe not to them but in the privacy of my home with my husband.

How could I?  God gave His on son who was brutally beaten and killed for my sins, which are many by the way.  I couldn't forgive others?  After all the kids were sound asleep and my husband, I prayed to God and named every person before Him.  Then I asked God if He would forgive me for my bitterness.  He had forgiven my humongous debt and here I was holding others hostage in my heart.  

I want my prayers to reach heaven.  I had a peace in me after giving all that to God.  I don't want to grow old with a dried and twisted heart.  I want others to see joy and peace in me because of having Jesus in my heart. Not see an old lady flinging her cane around at people in the store because they got in my way and I had to get my bitterness out on everyone that passed by.

Often, when I see someone who has to constantly hurt others, be critical, judgmental, closed off, inconsiderate, I see a person who has a lot of hurt inside.  Like a ship that's been damaged from war but never rebuilt.  Who wants to live in a damaged ship till it sinks?  I don't.  


Taryn said...

Acts 7:60KJ-Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.(2 Timothy 4:16KJ)

sunnylattegma said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing that.


Emily said...

i have this devotional for my sunday school chickadees, i never use it though because it just doesn't fit the layout of our lessons- it would be great to use at home. Often i find the most timely messages are those i teach my chickadees. Forgiveness is a profound message of love.

Amber said...

This post spoke straight to my heart. I think I have some forgiveness to give that's overdue....