Forgiveness sets us free. We can have peace, or we can be bitter.

We can have peace or we can be bitter. Forgiveness sets us free.

Forgiveness – painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Mahatma Gandhi

This is our life we have to make the most of it. At funerals and visitations, the point is brought home more fully. At some point, it’s all over. Whatever we didn’t do, fix, make amends to, make right, forgive, build, learn, achieve, see, or experience, the opportunity is gone.

The splits in families are evident if you are watching from the sidelines as I was. The woman who died is who I knew. She was one of the funniest, fun loving, full of life people I’ve met. She had a hard life with two marriages ending in divorce, raising six sons and losing one to cancer in his twenties.

At the funeral home, I was watching interactions between the attendees. A small group chatting and laughing was approached by a woman and immediately one of the members left. The one that left was I believe the deceased’s sister. At least there wasn’t a scene but differences can’t be put aside even in death?

It makes one wonder about one’s own family and how things will be handled? It is my belief that when we don’t handle things while someone was alive we have more to regret after their death.

When we got home we watched “The Shack” on Netflix. This was a book pick for the book club years ago. I didn’t realize it was made into a movie. If anyone is looking for a movie or book whose central theme is forgiveness this is the book or movie for you.

Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free. Dave Willis

The author’s wife encouraged him to write a book for his children, and that is who the original audience was intended to be. It was self-published and through word of mouth became a best seller on the New York Times bestseller list.

There is a part in the book where the protagonist Mackenzie meets Wisdom. Wisdom tells Mackenzie he is here for judgment. He asks, “What am I being judged for.” He is told he is not being judged, he is to be the judge. “Which of his two children does he send to heaven and which to hell?”

“I can’t choose”, he says.

“You must,” Wisdom says.

“Take me,” he finally says.

God has told Mackenzie earlier that she has seen what each person went through before they did whatever they did. She says that she does not condone what is done, but wherever there is evil the results will be felt. We all have free will and our choices lead us where they do. Forgiveness is what severs the chains that bind us to the hurt, betrayal, and loss that ruin the good that is left in our lives when something horrible happens.

We don’t choose what happens in our lives, we do choose how we react to what happens. Forgiveness can help us move forward better, instead of bitter.

Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace. Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoy it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, peace, and love.

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How Christianity changed the world.

Christianity Made the Modern World - photo of pink rose taken by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The Christian gospel is a two-way road. On the one hand, it seeks to change the soul of men, and thereby unite them with God; on the other hand, it seeks to change the environmental conditions of men so the soul will have a chance after it is changed. Martin Luther King Jr.

As our friends left last night one of them said. I expect this to be in your blog tomorrow. We talked until 4:30 am, about everything but much of it revolved around, Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life.

We somehow got on the Industrial Revolution and my son said, “we believe the Romans had the knowledge to build steam engines but didn’t. Some believe the rationale for not building steam engines was they were a nation powered by slaves. What was their impetus to change?

The impetus for change according to my son was Christianity and the belief we are created in the image of God. This brought about the push to abolish slavery and to get rid of the Divine Right of Kings.

Our friend loved Jordan Peterson in the beginning but no longer feels the same way. We were trying to understand why and it has to do with atheism. Jordan Peterson asserts “atheists really believe in a God, and act as if they do.” What my son believes this means is, you are allowed to not believe in God and live in Christian countries, because of Christianity.  Christianity has created so much of what we value.  Jordan Peterson asserts that even if you don’t believe in God it is useful to act like you do. What this means to me is everything you need to live a good life is found in the Bible. If you follow those rules, you live a good life, if you live a good life you are more likely to be happy, if you don’t follow the rules you are more likely to fall into a life that seems like hell.

Should we not press it home upon our consciences that the sole object of our conversion was not the salvation of our soul, but that we might become co-workers with our Lord and Master in the conversion of the world? Lottie Moon, Baptist missionary to China (1840-1912)

Christianity brought us the enlightenment of all people being equal – even though it has taken a long time to implement. Slavery is gone from the Western World because of Christianity. Christians became the abolitionists. It was non-conformist Christians that brought us the Magna Carta, and the right to vote. It was Christianity that promoted mass education, democracy, and human rights. It is Christianity that brought us laws to protect the common man.

Christianity has shaped every area of our lives, its influence is so huge we take its heritage for granted and forget that Christianity was the source of this civilization.

It is Christianity that created Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Step Program. Believing in a higher power is useful, believing there is more strength to lean on than just our self, allows us to believe we can do things we don’t believe we can do alone. If thinking makes it so, then believing in God even if you can’t prove there is one, is useful. So many people turn their life around when they find God. This falls right into Jordan Peterson’s belief it is useful to believe in God because how can you not feel empowered if you believe “all things are possible through God who strengthens me”?

If we become a secular world and lose our belief in God, what else would we lose?

“Where there is Love and Wisdom, there is neither Fear nor Ignorance.
Where there is Patience and Humility, there is neither Anger nor Annoyance.
Where there is Poverty and Joy, there is neither Cupidity nor Avarice.
Where there is Peace and Contemplation, there is neither Care nor Restlessness.
Where there is the Fear of God to guard the dwelling, there no enemy can enter.
Where there is Mercy and Prudence, there is neither Excess nor Harshness.”
—Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

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How Christianity Made The Modern World - The Legacy of Christian Liberty: How the Bible Inspired Freedom, Shaped Western Civilization, Revolutionized Human ... Transformed Democracy and...Heritage by [Backholer, Paul]
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Prayer is talking to God. You’re not alone.

Talking to God photo by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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God is always ready to listen anytime you are ready to talk to him. Prayer is simply talking with God. Unknown

Last night a new Toastmaster gave his first speech titled My Spiritual Journey. He talked about the conversation he had with God when his mother was dying of cancer when he was 15 or 16. God told him he could have ten more years with her. She recovered and he forgot about the conversation with God as he went about becoming a young man going to University and building a life. His father called him and told him his mother was very ill. She died ten years after his conversation with God.

It made him start having conversations with God again. This time he felt the conversations were one sided. He was talking to God but God wasn’t talking to him. Years later he felt God talked to him again, telling him that God was everywhere with everyone, all the time.

I’ve never had the experience of thinking God talked to me. An Aunt of mine was dying of cancer when I was about 16. My father and his brothers flew to Los Angeles to see her on her death bed. Her son was about 16. She prayed she would be granted enough time to finish raising her son. She got that time and much more. Later she accompanied her son on missionary trips to China.

If we can talk to God we are never alone. What do you need to talk to God? I don’t think you need anything just voice your thoughts, or meditate, whatever you find comfortable doing. I think this is the tricky part. Many people don’t feel comfortable talking to God.

When you pray, be sure that you listen also. You have things you want to say to God, but he also has things he wants to say to you. Joyce Meyer

I’ve always felt comfortable talking to God. I was very young when I started and that might make a difference. When we are young we don’t question if we can, or if we should, or who are we to think we can, we just do. It becomes comfortable. It is what we do in time of need, when we need answers to questions no one else can give.

In a strange way this relationship with God seems divorced from Church. I don’t know how to explain it. Walking in a forest, being by myself, out in nature or by myself at home is when I talk to God.

It is the most comforting thing in the world to talk to God when things don’t make sense, seem overwhelming and out of control. Being able to talk to God gives us strength to deal with what is. Whatever will be. We don’t have a choice, we have to deal with what is, the good the bad, the happy, the sad. Knowing we can get through it is different than thinking we can’t. We must get through it, the only way forward is through whatever lies ahead. Talking to God can make it better.

One night I dreamed I was walking along the Beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was only one. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat. I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord. “You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me? The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child is when I carried you.” Mary Stevenson

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