Principle of (Personal) Release

Warning the following content is overwhelmingly good news. Proceed with caution.


To give this message some context for a long time I’ve had random moments where an event from the past, recent or otherwise, will just bubble up from some dark corner and come to the forefront. I would find myself reliving an embarrassing moment or dumb, hurtful statement spoken or decision made. The feelings that accompanied that experience would hit anew, fresh as if it were a ten-second old incident. It would be a very random occurrence too, doing some mindless task like washing the dishes or taking out the trash. I believe that’s evidence of undealt with baggage. Maybe it’s not, but below is an advisory antidote.


Dr Edwin Louis Cole, the late pioneer of the men movement in the USA, popularised a biblical truism which will be the basis of this, our conclusion in the Vulnerability series. 

“The sins you forgive are released, and the sins you don’t forgive are retained in your life. If you forgive, you release. By not forgiving, you retain. So simple. So profound. So divine. So true.”

I’ve known that phrase for a while. I know for a fact I haven’t applied it consistently but there has been some concerted effort on my part. One area I totally spaced out on was on the aspect of self-forgiveness. The very concept eluded me for its sheer alienness. “Forgive… myself? What drugs are you on gancho?” From that Christian worldview – where the wonderful, too-good-to-be-true news of Jesus paying the ultimate price and taking the punishment for my own wrongdoing so I can be reconciled with the Father by believing in Him – it was more than a little difficult to ingrain the idea of the wrong party being the one to also dole out forgiveness. 

“I did the wrong but I forgive you.” It sounds absolutely absurd – except it isn’t. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ve probably encountered the powerful speech tool “I am”. If not you’ll want to check it out here: Self-Esteem Building Hacks

We’ve talked about being vulnerable with others and being real. Can we take that step to be real with ourselves too?

Ok, so maybe it’s starting to make sense. Maybe I can buy into forgiving myself for foolish decisions I’ve made in the past, releasing the thing that I’ve actively tried to bury deep in my heart… but, how? How do I do that? I’ll take a leaf from a page a friend of mine shared with me just this Friday. It sounded corny. I almost didn’t do it. Almost – but it worked for me. I trust it will for you too.

The Process:

Look yourself in the mirror.

Hold your stomach.

Take a deep breath.

Then talk.

Say your name aloud, affirm that life is a journey where you make mistakes and learn from them.

Say I forgive you *insert your name here* for the bad decisions you made.

Now it’s time to stand up and walk.

And then address the thought of regret.

Whenever it jumps up again say scripture. (If you don’t know any appropriate one I would suggest looking up “verses about forgiveness and being made new”)


That’s it. You can breathe out now and walk tall and free. Thanks for reading. We’ll be jumping into habit formation on Thursday.

Image Source: Heart Shaped Lock

 

Penpal

Dear God,

So lately I’ve been looking around at the world you created and I’ve got a bone to pick with you. What’s with all this poverty and death? Why did my grandfather get sick and die under your watch? Why do babies die in their mothers’ wombs? What’s up with accidents and global warming and wars where people who don’t even pick a side suffer? What about global catastrophes? Cyclone Idai? Haiti? If you’re so all-powerful and all-loving and ever-present and know the future why do you let this all happen? Are you just plain sadistic?

Yeah I’m pissed but most of all I want answers. Give them to me will you?

Thanks,

Joe


 

Dear Son,

Where do I even begin? My love for you and all the earth knows no bounds. I created you so that I could love you. I made the earth for you – everything I made was good. I AM good. Nothing outside of me is good. Therefore I designed you all for fellowship and relationship with me.

What do you think of slavery my son? You abhor it don’t you? So do I. Consider this, how can there be love without a choice? So I gave you and all mankind free will. With all my power and all my love I am faithful to my word and will not go against this one thing, your choice. I love you so much I give you a choice everyday, life or death, Me or death. “Choose life!” I shout from the heavens and to your heart, but I won’t force you, you get to choose. I gave you dominion over the earth. I won’t act without your say so, not because I have no power, power I have, but I have given you all the authority. I will not subvert it by acting without your permission. I AM faithful to my Word, how else would you trust Me? I even sent My most beloved Son, whom I love more than anything to die, for you! To restore the broken relationship between us. To usher in a better world than the corrupt one that exists now. He came with two instructions that let you know my heart:

  1. Love me with all your mind, soul, heart and strength.
  2. Love your neighbour as your love yourself.

Would you be complaining if this blueprint of living life my way were followed?

I made the earth and everything in it was good. When I made man it became very good. My plan is to make it even better. Lean on Me, trust not in your understanding and I will make your path straight. It’s ok to be mad but in due time you’ll see that no one loves you more than I do, and no one ever will. A life without Me was never my intention. Each day I call to you so that you choose life and life in abundance. That you choose Me.

PS If you find time please read the rest of my letters where I speak in depth of my love for you. I’ve compiled them in a book I’m sure you’ve heard of.

God.

The Pit

Nobody likes the pit. It isn’t a pleasant place to be in, but when you look back more often than not you’ll have a different perspective of the pit. The pit isn’t always an intended destination, but it can turn out to be for your good. The pit is the place where despair and desperation marry, their union seeks to take control of your life and smother you with their baby, depression… if you overcome this trio however, the pit will be where your character is built and you develop the traits required for you to flourish when you achieve what was once thought impossible. If you let it, the pit will weed out all of your shortcomings and jumpstart your transformation to being that man or woman you aspire to be.

One of my favourite true stories involves a bragging annoying teenager who was loved by his father above all his many brothers. He was egotistical and vain and would often share what he envisioned himself becoming, demeaning his siblings in the process. What did they do when the favourite child’s pride became too much for them? They threw him into a pit and told their father that he’d gone missing. In the pit the arrogant teen’s pride was instantly stripped away, replaced by a deep appreciation of life and everything that he had and a realisation of the value of others. In the pit he stopped envisioning things falling into his laps and developed a mentality of discipline and hard work steeped in iron-wrought principles that would not bend under intense pressure. It was in the pit that the metamorphosis he needed for his visions to come true occurred and years later when he was promoted to be the most important man on earth, the pride he had prior did not destroy him. On top of that he went on to forge an unbreakable, genuinely positive bond with his siblings. The pit gave him humility and the ability to forgive. That guy was called Joseph.

So the next time you find yourself in the pit, a pit you could have fallen into because of your own ignorance or poor decisions; or one where you might just be a victim of circumstances, look up and grasp the image of the sky above knowing that…

the time in the pit could be what propels you way above the clouds, far beyond the stratosphere to leave you dancing among the stars.

This marks the conclusion to the Individuality series. I will definitely return here once I’ve completed reading ‘Slight Edge’ and implementing more of these techniques in my own life. See you tomorrow for the start of the Creativity series.