Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

Helping Hand Christian Stock Images

This is a great example of what we can do for others. The action it takes to make things happen. Our words only mean so much. Without our walk aligning with our mouths, it is just talk.

Here is a familiar story or for some not so familiar at all. Either way, a great read and a great example of relative love in action.

An addict fell in a hole and couldn’t get out. A businessman went by. The addict called out for help. The businessman threw him some money and told him to buy a ladder. But the addict could not find a ladder in this hole he was in.
A doctor walked by. The addict said, “Help, I can’t get out.” The doctor gave him some drugs and said, “Take this, it will relieve the pain.” The addict said thanks, but when the pills ran out, he was still in the hole.
A renowned psychiatrist rode by and heard the addicts cries for help. He stopped and said, “How did you get in there? Were you born there? Did your parents put you there? Tell me about yourself, it will alleviate your sense of loneliness.” So the addict talked with him for an hour, then the psychiatrist had to leave, but he said he’d be back next week. The addict thanked him, but was still in his hole.
A priest came by and heard the addict calling for help. The priest gave him a bible and said, “I’ll pray for you.” The priest got down on his knees and prayed for the addict, then left. The addict was grateful and he read the whole bible, but he was still stuck in that hole.
A recovering addict happened to be passing by. The addict cried out, “Help me, I’m stuck in this hole!” Right away, the recovering addict jumped in the hole with him. The addict said, “What are you doing?? Now we’re BOTH stuck here!”
But the recovering addict said, “It’s okay, I’ve been here before, I know the way out.”
-Anonymous

The relative history and that related bond can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Reaching out to someone who you know is struggling with something that you have struggled with in the past. Being able to get on their level exactly where they are, knowing that all you have is truth to give to them because you have been there. And offering it in a loving manner, giving advice with a way out. Leading by example.

Many people offer many different solutions and pathways for addicts. People who have not been through what the addict has gone through. People who ‘think’ they have gone through what you have been through and think they know the answer and think that they have something to offer. They push it. They constantly advise and admonish with their mouths and the only action of their speech is a reaction, getting angry when you do not agree with their belief system. They constantly bring up your past and use it against you regardless of your victories. Trying to correct something that isn’t even there to correct. Looking for a quick fix, a way to figure you out in a split second.

If I am a plumber, do I have any place in giving an electrician advice? Does a non-addict have any place giving an addict advice? Can someone who has never done an opiate tell a heroin user how to get better? They may have good advice but it will not hit home like it will from someone who has been there and gone through the pains of addiction and the loss of self worth. Most of all coming through and breaking the chains of addiction. Setting a firm foundation in God and using Him as the Answer.

Time goes by and you are out of that hole. Say you believe. Say you have come such a long way from your past and people still don’t believe you. People still need to find a way to tear you down. Instead of praising God for your clean time and how you have come back from the dead, they argue over petty ideas and dispute over personal beliefs. Fighting over foolishness. Claiming your dignity and splattering your worth.

This will happen. This has happened, but I got news for you, you are on your own path. You have a story to tell. You have no one to prove a thing to. You have been chosen by God himself to lead and admonish others through love…

“And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15

To love and help others. To lead not as the ones who lead with their mouths but to lead as the ones who live by their example. Make your message your lifestyle. Go out and make disciples. Give what has been given unto you.

Give the second chance. It has been given unto you. Stay humble and never forget where you came from.

Reach out and lend a helping hand. Do it the same way it was done to you.

Become the Difference.

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I think the number one thing that holds us back from progressing, growing and moving forward is the inability to forgive and let things go. Are you ridden with anxiety, problems and wonder why there aren’t more blessings?

We hold on to so much. We have been hurt. We have been sexually assaulted. We have been verbally abused. Beat. Thrown around. Left for dead. We have been destroyed in so many ways. Neglected. Ridiculed. Bullied. You can add one if I may have missed a specific event. You get the point.

Now before I move on, I am not and I never will ask anyone to ever or even try to ‘Forget’. Because that’s impossible. It may come with time but everything that impacts our lives and that has wounded us leaves a scar. Some deeper and bigger than others. Scars that can be seen not just through our own eyes but even through other people’s eyes. Scars that have affected our personalities, which have affected our quirks, our manners and how we react in different situations.

There are reasons why we react and overly engage when strife comes our way. There are reasons why we gossip and verbally destroy others when we are around a certain person. It’s the outcome of what has happened. The outcome of what we think may happen. We have a predestined and a preconceived notion of just about everything that is going to take place with people all around us.

So even with these scars, are we able to let go? Are we able to let go of even the meanest and dirtiest things that have ever happened to us? Yes. Are we expected to let go immediately? No. But we are expected to forgive. We also need to understand that we are not the only ones going through this. That there are others, many others, that have been through worse circumstances than us and that have also been freed from them as well.
We do have it in us to forgive. To let go. Sometimes we need time to figure out what happened, why it happened and how it could ever happen. It’s mind boggling to think about. But we need to forgive.

Feelings of resentment and anger towards someone may never go away. And when we come across that certain someone it may trigger extreme immediate anxiety. It can be painful. I have been through it. Hyperventilating and blackouts. A feeling that I can’t breathe. Loss of direction. Loss of a reason of even why I was standing where I was. Vertigo.

It took time. It took perseverance. It took talking to God and reading the Word of God to understand why I went through what I went through and why I needed to forgive. Could I say that all the drug induced instances and problems I caused were because of a childhood trauma? I could. I could also say that people never forgave me and why the hell would I ever forgive them? And even worse, I am done caring. I am sick and tired of everyone, just stay as far away from me as possible. People suck.

I can come up with one thousand reasons why I did what I did. I can give you thousands of legitimate reasons and excuses on why I am the way I am. I could write a blog that would sound so good and so comforting that many psychiatrists and therapists alike would just swarm in their chairs with excitement. It would be ‘socially’ and ‘politically’ correct to the society we live in.

But I will not give not one excuse or one reason for causing pain towards others and for the destructive mess I left behind during my addiction. I take full responsibility. Period.

Why?

Because I let go of what was holding me back. I let go of the torturing pain that set me off like a rocket. I let go of the destruction of my childhood, the pain, the loss, and the indescribable events that happened behind closed doors. I let it all go. I will never forget. But I have forgiven. There are scars. I am human. I am not perfect. I still have flaws. I am and always will be a work in progress and I am not afraid of talking about anything that has made me who I am today.

As gross as things can get, they happen for a reason. That reason will be revealed to you one day. My problems and trials made me a stronger person. I didn’t always persevere, but when I did, when I made it through the storm, purpose was revealed. The sun shined and strength, like no other, blanketed me. God said, “See, I told you! Follow Me.” As I called upon Him, even when I thought He wasn’t listening, He was there guiding me the whole time. How I even knew to call upon Him during struggling times is beyond me. But today it is an automatic. He has guided me and brought me out of darkness so many times. His presence is so evident.

So the big question, how do we let go? How do we let go of the anxiety fueled train that is steaming through blockades of medication, gossip, character assassination, anger, hatred, bitterness, scorn, self-pity and ignorance? How do we get to a place of peace, hope, love, temperance, faith, joy, long suffering, gentleness, goodness and meekness? How is this even possible? How do people get over their past? How come some people move beyond the destruction in peace and walk a life of happiness after all that has happened to them?

Read this verse, the immediate verse after the Our Father Prayer… “For IF you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But IF you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14, 15.
Now believe what you may. Truth is not determined upon one’s belief. It merely sets a stage for a choice to believe or not to believe.

There is so much in this one verse. This verse is very self-explanatory and needs no introduction or synopsis. It only needs an origin for the strength to do so. The strength to ask God to forgive and the power to forgive. We pray. We seek. We ask. We take action. Continually. We persevere.

“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your STRENGTH. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Isaiah 58:11

Become Free. Become the Difference!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Let’s get all excited to meet up with family and friends most of us do not even want to see. Sad but true. If we were that excited to see our friends and family we see on Thanksgiving, we would probably see them more often right?

A time for harvest and celebration of gratefulness, giving thanks and overly warming others with comforting propaganda. A time to eat a ton of food that will most likely knock you out for an hour or two. If you’re of Irish or Italian descent, the gossip has already started in the kitchen.

It IS a great time to catch up and spend time with family and friends. Eat some great home cooking and just take a break from life for a few and relax. But the main reason for this holiday is in its title ‘Thanks’… ‘Giving Thanks’.

Welcome to America. Home of commercializing anything that makes money and ups ratings. ‘Black Friday’… Shop until your wallet’s empty. Camp out in front of a huge chain store as if you wanted to be first in line to be touched by the Pope. Trample over anyone and anything that’s in the way when the floodgates open to get that ‘once in a lifetime bargain’.

Anyway… back to giving thanks and being grateful. I thank God for work. I thank Him for being able to do the things I was not able to do. Simple things. Like remaining opiate free. Not so simple yet so simple. Things like not having to wake up in the fetal position, dope sick. Like not having diahrea flying out my back side due to withdrawals. I thank Him for the people in my life who are productive and beneficial to my success. Success as in a forward movement, not living in the past and overlooking where and what I was but where and what I am today, strong, confident and alive.

I’m thankful for the littlest things. Things I dare not say because most of you just won’t get it. I got a heater switch fixed in my work truck. It made my day! I thanked God. I’m STILL happy and thankful for it. I bought a new pair of boots; my smile is much bigger because of them.

I’m also able to do the best I can at work; to perform at my fullest. I’m thankful for the ability to show up to a job and complete it within a scheduled time frame. Thankful for the ability to keep moving forward to the next job, building integrity and trust with clientele.

Why so thankful? Why so thankful for the small things as well as the big things? Why do I resort to thanking God for everything I have? Well, who else am I going to thank?

There was a time where I was a slave. A slave to an addiction. I gave my life to it and I lost everything. Literally. Homeless. Lost. No faith. No hope. Complete emptiness. On a suicidal road to a second death. So when my life turned around, I gave birth to a whole new sense of living, a whole new sense of self-worth and a whole new method of understanding gratefulness; what being grateful really means.

See, I gave up. I surrendered. God pushed me toward this place called the Cross. Where I fell to my knees and fully surrendered MY ways, MY wants and MY needs. I asked Jesus to come into my life and make me new. And why it took so long to do so, I do not know. It’s free for crying out loud. I always knew it was. It didn’t cost a dime. Just took willingness to understand that my ways got me no where and that His ways are True and will guide me as I move forward. I always knew He was there and always knew He was willing to forgive me of my transgressions and wipe them out as far as the east is from the west. But this is my story. The path I chose.

I’m thankful to be alive to be able to be thankful. So why do I thank God? I thank God for His Son paying the ultimate penalty for my wrongs. That because of what Jesus went through for me, I am able to live, through Him. I am able to live and enjoy His Grace and His Mercy on a daily basis with thanks and gratefulness because of Him. This is why I thank God for every little thing that I have that goes good, that goes bad and that simply goes.

“Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am Strong”
Let the poor say, “I am Rich”
Because of what the Lord has done, for Us… Give Thanks.”

Become Free… Become the Difference!

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My mom, the one I probably hurt the most during my destructive journey.

Mom’s love their kids wholeheartedly and almost with a Godly love, an unconditional love. No matter what happens you know your mom will be there and love you no matter what. It’s such a comfort knowing that too.

Today is Mother’s Day and it was nice to be able to drop off some flowers to my mom and spend a little time with her. Things were not always this grand though. I caused some damage during my addiction and to be where I am today is simply a blessing. But there was a time when I didn’t speak to my mom for almost two years. Nothing she had done, just simply guilt and shame for what I had done.

I was a junky at the time and being a low class junky I did stupid selfish things. I stole, I lied and I manipulated. I should have ended up in jail for what I did, let alone hell for what I did. Walking around with no faith and no hope brought complete shame to me for my actions. I didn’t have the guts to call my mom up for two years. Disgusting.

I contacted her the day before I went into rehab. Why? Because I knew I needed change and that this change would help with our relationship. I knew that things would be better, not perfect, but better and I knew that I had some work to do, even to this day, building up trust.

But I knew, even to this day, that during those two years of not contacting my mom, she still loved me the way she always does. That agape love. The love you can not break. Did I take advantage of that? Yup. I hurt her bad. I hurt her and lied right to her face even when she knew the answer and she still loved me.

This is how God loves us. Unconditionally. We mess up, we hurt others, we destroy bridges but God always loves us no matter what. When we ask God to forgive us, He cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness, He forgives us as far as the east is from the west, He removes our transgressions! He is faithful and just to do so.

This is why asking for forgiveness is so important and confessing our exact wrongs to the people we hurt is so healing and powerful.

Going up to the person we hurt and simply saying “I was wrong, I hope one day you can forgive me…” may be tough but it takes the load off our backs. It’s giving a little of the pain away and allowing room for forgiveness. I am still, to this day, asking people for forgiveness for my past. It’s something we must do to improve ourselves and to move forward. It shows that we are not always first, that we can be humbled, be grateful and remain teachable.

My mom didn’t deserve one thing, not one repercussion, not one lie during my addiction. She forgave me. Her love persevered through a tough time. Because of the love she has shown for me, because of the love God has shown and continues to show for me, because of His wonderful Grace and His Mercy, because I have been given so many second chances, and simply because I know for a fact that I do not deserve any of it… I try to give back and love as best as I can.

This life of Recovery, the amount of gratitude I have, the chance to give back, the unsurpassing love and Grace that I have experienced from friends and family I have hurt, people that didn’t know me and offered their time to help me, complete strangers who offered advice, counselors, program directors, other addicts…

Thanks mom for your love and your strength. I love you. Because of you, I know how to love and I know how to be strong.

Become Free, Become the Difference!