If you’re reading this, you mostly likely have witnessed this sort of behavior in yourself or perhaps someone you love or care about. It has always been a conundrum for me–I have never been able to wrap my mind around why I would go after something that I know is going to hurt me and others and in the end leave me unfulfilled and empty. One may surmise that it’s just selfishness on the part of the reckless person; they’re too wrapped up in self to care about how their actions affect others. This is definitely true to an extent; one cannot argue that point. However, it has been my experience that this does not get to the heart of the insanity of such actions. We all know people who are self-absorbed and while they exhibit selfish traits, they would never go off the deep end and risk everything for a few moments of pleasure. No, there is more to it than that. It’s not my intent to make excuses for such behavior; I simply would like to know what separates us from “normal” people. This is my first post on this subject, more to follow in the coming days.
“To dwell on the past simply causes failure in the present. While you are sitting down and bemoaning the past and regretting all the things you have not done, you are crippling yourself and preventing yourself from working in the present. Is that Christianity? Of course it is not.”—Martyn Lloyd-Jones
One day years ago, a teenager left home to attend college. His mother, worried about him, gave him a Bible and printed a verse of Scripture on the flyleaf. The young man soon discovered college life to be an endless series of parties, in which he spent all the money he could acquire on fleeting pleasures. On one occasion, he needed money for whiskey, and he pawned his Bible for it. Nevertheless, he eventually made it through college and became a doctor in a large hospital.
One day, Dr. Mackay treated a dying patient who knew that he was dying and asked for his “book.” After the man passed away, Dr. Mackay noticed the man’s “book” among his effects. He couldn’t believe his eyes. It was the very Bible his mother had given to him years before, with his name and the verse of Scripture still on the flyleaf.
He retreated to his office and began poring over the book. Several hours later he knelt and asked Jesus Christ to be his Savior and Lord. Dr. W. P. Mackay later became a minister and the writer of the old Gospel hymn “Revive Us, Again.”
Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes, Page 56
In his book Caring Enough To Forgive / Caring Enough To Not Forgive, David Augsburger suggests that forgiveness is a “journey of many steps” taken carefully and thoughtfully, the steps including:
1. To see the other as having worth again, regardless of wrongdoing;
2. To see the other as equally precious again, in spite of the pain felt;
3. To cancel demands on the past, recognizing that changing the unchangeable is impossible;
4. To work through the anger and pain felt by both in reciprocal trusting and risking until genuineness in intention is perceived and repentance is seen by both to be authentic;
5. To drop the demands for an ironclad guarantee of future behavior;
6. To touch each other deeply, to feel moved by warmth, love, compassion, to celebrate it in mutual recognition that right relationships have been achieved.
“There are no winners when a marriage begins to unravel.”—James Dobson