Tag Archives: deceit

Fools and the Foolish… Is it ALL just “Fun and Games?”

It’s April Fool’s Day! It’s a silly day for playing some good ol’ funny jokes and having a bit of fun! At the same time, there’s a fine line when it comes to making sure we don’t sin in our silliness; by telling lies to our loved ones and friends, using their phobias to frighten them, and forgetting that a joke is supposed to make people laugh, instead of causing others to be distressed. Foolish people always seem to cross over the line, all in the name of “fun and games.”

Those who cross boundaries, by hurting other people in order to get a laugh, are desperately in denial when they claim, ” It was just a joke.”  Jokes are supposed to make everyone break out in a chorus of laughter. If you’re among several people telling “jokes,” and someone else is not smiling, or is even on the verge of tears; there’s surely a fool in the group; one whom has left their good sense and compassion behind. 

Hanging around with fools interferes with healing; so if you’re trying to heal, you better learn how to tell a foolish man from a wise man; and take the high road. The Bible gives us all kinds of warnings about fools: how to identify who they are, red flag warnings about what they do, commands to stay away from them, and instructions on how to handle them. We need to keep our eyes and ears focused on Jesus, so we won’t pay heed to fools when they come around, and…fools… will… always… come…back…around.   

Do not let a fool lie to you, and tell you that you’re the problem, when it’s the fool living an unrepentant, ungodly life. A fool will accuse you, spouting off lies, such as: “You have no sense of humor… You can’t take a joke… You’re no fun!” All the more reason to avoid fools; being that their lies get into our heads. These ugly lies take a toll on our emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical  health; blocking the way to the healing God wants to provide for us. We must pray against these lies, and renounce each one in the name of Jesus; for as long as it takes for them to disappear completely. 

God also promises He will deal harshly with fools who try to intervene in our lives by: spreading their foolishness around, attempting to destroy us, our reputations, and our ministries; and doing it all through the spreading of gossip, lies, and slander. Protect yourself from fools by using biblical boundaries. Know that when you finally decide  to let your heart heal, and put the necessary boundaries in place, so you can live a productive life which is pleasing to God; fools…will …always… come… back… around. “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Prov. 13:20 NIV).

When you refuse to engage with unrepentant hearts, cruel jealousy, and the raging anger of fools; these very fools will rush in and attempt to get you to believe even more ugly lies about yourself. You will hear things such as: “You are a coward… You are unforgiving… It’s all your all fault… You’re unreasonable… You’re so difficult… You’re delusional… You need psychological help.” These kinds of hateful lies can get in your head if you are not keeping Jesus in the center of your life. You must renounce these negative lies in the name of Jesus. Ask God to remove the lies from your mind, and fill you with His Holy Spirit. Ask Him to replace the lies with His beautiful truth, and His promises to restore you; and bring health to your body, mind, spirit, and soul. Always, Let God be your affirmation… not fools. “Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are” (Prov. 26:4 NIV).

God tells us to stay away from fools for a good reason. He doesn’t want us to become distracted by people who are more interested in generating a laugh, getting attention for a juicy bit of news, and making someone the “butt of a joke, at the expense of making themselves look “good;” instead of living a life which brings true joy by choosing to grow wise; and bring honor and glory to God. If we blindly walk around ignorant of the senseless, sinful folly of simple fools; we will be more susceptible to being fooled by the more manipulative wolves and pretenders. This, in turn, leaves us vulnerably open to something even more evil, insidious, and dangerous; the devil himself. For the devil is a great deceiver, and he looks to fool you each and every day, and he knows how to make it look like it’s all “fun and games.” “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Pet. 5:8-9 New International Version).

But the silver lining lies ahead for those of us who trust Jesus, and look to God as our shelter in the storm! We have supernatural protection from all fools and pretenders, and we have power and authority in Jesus Christ, to also stand against the schemes of the devil! Only children of God have this promise of God’s Almighty Protection! “When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes” (2 Cor. 2:10-11 New Living Translation).


So go ahead: wave a colored rubber snake and run around the house, put blue food coloring in the milk of your kid’s cereal, tell a friend his shoe is untied or your mom that her shirt is inside-out, and scream as you throw a rubber chicken in the kitchen while you’re preparing dinner! Giggle at all the reactions; laugh, and give hugs! Celebrating with a little bit of silly foolishness on April Fool’s Day, is a good reminder of just how important it is to be alert and diligent, so we don’t get fooled by the real foolish antics of others. Gain wisdom to avoid being fooled. All we have to do, is ask God, and He will freely give it! “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (Jas. 1:5 NIV).


Have more fun by avoiding the company of fools; get more joy by gaining wisdom!

10 Questions for Christians Marching for Causes (Series: Social Media Sadness, Badness, and Madness) 

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? As a Christian, how do you know which causes to support, or if you should participate at all? So many people are going in so many different directions, including our brothers and sisters in Christ. There are genuine believers, wandering believers, young believers, old believers, sincere believers, rebellious believers, passionate believers, laid-back believers, well-intended believers, entitled believers, people who falsely believe that they are believers, dangerously lukewarm believers, evil people pretending to be believers, and lost non-believers. These people are all loved by God, but they are not all Christians, just because they claim to be so.

A genuine Christian believer is one who has received Jesus Christ, and has a relationship with him. Many genuine, yet imperfect, Christian believers are living in confusion, conflict, and chaos because we listen to lies. If we do not engage in prayer, bible reading, and the pursuit of Jesus, we become more susceptible to being deceived, just as a non-Christian does. Unengaged Christians still have salvation, protection, rights, and authority in Christ, but they are living as if they do not. They cause confusion among their brothers and sisters in Christ, who seek to obey God and live by His Laws. With some claiming to be Christians, yet not living out a Christian lifestyle, it’s easy to see why people are led to march down so many false paths in the name of “Christianity.” Upon closer inspection, it’s not so difficult to find out why we are not all on the same page. The only pages that will truly unite believers, are those in the Bible.

As Christians, we have an innate desire to share truth, and fight for just causes. After all, we are fighting a spiritual battle every day. Most causes have political ties, with both liberal and religious undertones. We are living at a time where corruption is around every corner, with our country split right down the middle on whether we should respect and follow the godly laws upon which America was founded. Christians need to make sure we are not trying to “create our own truth.” For God IS Truth, and Only HIS truth is true. We must place our own hopes, dreams, and fears, into God’s hands, while trusting Him to care for them. We should then ask The Holy Spirit to speak truth to our hearts about the causes which ignite passion in our hearts. Then we must exercise wisdom and discernment, before marching forward.

There are many wonderful causes, and we are proud to participate in movements which could bring important changes for our country. But when a cause gets elevated over and above God’s truth, or attempts to replace God’s authority, we are definitely marching to the beat of the wrong drummer. Even the devil masquerades as an angel of light. Satan will deceitfully lead Christians down a path of distraction, danger, and eventually destruction if we do not keep our focus on God. Does your cause line up with scripture, or does it deceive you into believing your cause is the exception to God’s Laws? “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5 New International Version).

Ten questions, Christians can ask ourselves, when deciding whether or not to get involved with a cause:

Does your cause…

1.  …Lead others towards God’s commandments and laws, or draw them away from God’s safety and protection?

2.  …Honor and respect God, or pay homage to your own selfish wants and desires?

3.   …Promote a peaceful bible-based message centering on goodness, nobility, and purity, or a false religion stirring up evil, chaos, and vulgarity? 

4.  …Spread Christ’s good news of hope, truth, and love, or ungodly shouts of anger, hopelessness, and hate?

 5.  …Involve prayer and possibly fasting, or involve impulsive acts based on flaring tempers and quickly-changing emotions?

 6.  …Come about after seeking God’s wisdom and discernment, or after being persuaded by the media, and opinions of others?

 7.  …Stem from a solid foundation on biblical truths, or from getting caught up in passing trends and fads? 

8.  …Stem from a passion to follow Jesus, or from a desire to further the agenda for separation of church and state?

 9.  …Come backed with proof and prophecy from the scriptures, or from worldly influence and ideals?

10.  …Give you peace that you are doing God’s will by following Him and listening to His voice, or leave you with the unsettling, smug satisfaction of using your own voice, while leaving God and Jesus out of the picture?

Christians who stand, march, and fight for causes which do not align with God’s Holy Laws, are hurting themselves and others. In a world drowning in deceit, there will be times that Christians with good reasons and well-meaning intentions, will support and participate in causes without realizing the evil motives of the enemy moving underneath. When a Christian discovers that the cause does not please God, he or she will experience conviction, seek forgiveness, and choose a different path. Christians need to understand that our emotions will deceive us; we can’t trust in a cause just because it makes us feel good. We need to ask Jesus to lead us to the truth, which will bring us peace. A cause without God in the middle, is quite simply, a lost cause!

The Silver Lining is God knows the hearts of His children. God knows whether we are truly seeking Him, or whether we are willfully engaging in the sins of stubbornness, rebellion, and pride. But God can use everything for our growth and His glory! Our job is to view situations with discernment and call out the sin, without judging our brothers and sisters in Christ, whom we are called to love. We can disagree with others, but demeaning fellow believers with threats, insults, name-calling and other forms of abuse does not display the character of Christ. Instead, we should pray for each other to grow, and in humility, acknowledge and understand that we all come from different walks of life.“Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you” (Jas. 4:11 New Living Translation).

The most important question is: Are we willing to walk, march, and run for GOD’s cause…in order to grow the Kingdom of Jesus Christ? No cause is more worthy of our valuable time and energy. Eternal lives depend on us! There will be many times when people oppose, fight, and insult us as Christians for sharing the truth. We will be judged, as others seek to take over, hoping to drown out the message of righteousness in Jesus Christ. God has revealed in the scriptures, that our compassionate, truth-filled words will fall on deaf ears. The spiritually blind cannot see what the eyes of the spiritually discerning can see. People cannot receive truth until they elevate God above their own agenda and causes. But God promises us victory in Jesus! People can march for their causes, but the battle has already been won for us. The victory is ours, and our freedom is in Christ Jesus!

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (1 Cor. 15:57 English Standard Version)

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“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
(Phil. 4:4-8 NIV)

Distracted, Rejected, NOT Dejected! 10 Truths

I learned a tough lesson this week, but God proved Himself ever Faithful! There are “Christian” ministries out there with people who claim to know and love Jesus, but when faced with Truth, people who have been wandering off of God’s path, will stubbornly dig in their heels, and refuse to budge. They refuse to invite Jesus into the middle of a controversy, and insist on being in charge. Unwillingness to follow Jesus, makes a familiar, well-beaten worldly path look easier, when God’s Word tells us the path to Him is narrow and difficult to find. ” ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:13-14 New International Version).

Truth: Only when Jesus is invited into the middle of our relationships, ministries, and lives; will we be able to reap the benefits of his compassionate grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Sometimes there is a biblically based need for placing boundaries in order to protect our safety or well-being. Other times, we may try to mend a situation several times, without success, which results in the inability to reconcile. In these cases, we forgive in Christ, and move on. But, when Christians turn their backs on genuine brothers and sisters in Christ, who come bringing truthful messages meant to save people, help them grow, and steer them onto the right path; it is the same as turning their backs on Jesus and his message. People living in lies tend to become uncomfortably stubborn; clapping their hands over their ears, shouting at the top of their lungs at the same time; doing anything to shut out the truth. Refusing to listen to a messenger sent by God to help people avoid heartache, danger, and deceit; is the same as refusing to listen to Jesus. It is to reject God’s own Son. ” ‘Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me’ ” (Luke 10:16). 

People like this may indeed be saved, and headed towards Heaven, but they aren’t walking the straight and narrow path that Jesus walks. They step off a little to the left, so they can allow in a small lie here, or a small lie there. They stumble to the right, so they can promote their religion or cause in the name of Jesus, yet he can barely be found among it, if at all. They might even fall completely off the precious path, because they’ve been blinded by pride. If they don’t make their way back, they stand as hypocrites do, preaching to people to walk the path, as their own feet walk in a different direction, all while leading others to destruction. For God’s Word says: “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (Prov. 4: 26-27 New International Version).

I’ve been here before. Why God, has it happened again? Why, when I believed myself to be among sisters in Christ, did I become deceived? Were there red flags?

“Why yes, yes there were,” said God. I humbly realized He wouldn’t have allowed me to be in a situation, without giving me warnings. So I asked my God to show me the good that could come of this situation. I asked Him why I had allowed myself to become distracted again, by what I had perceived to be a “good Christian cause.” He gave me these words I’ve penned, and He revealed several truths; some of which were revealed through my family members:  

Truth: “You need to spend your time wisely; it is part of learning to be compassionate to yourself. 

Truth: “Not every work with God’s name on it, is really God’s work, though some of My truth may be there. I can work My glory through anything, but that doesn’t mean I want you there.” 

 But I thought I knew this! I don’t usually jump to get involved.

“No, my child, you did not yet quite understand. For you rushed in, and you didn’t listen to the still small voice; your own voice, that told you something was wrong. You didn’t listen to your still small voice telling you, that you’d decided on doing only certain things assigned by Me, but then you took on something else. You consulted me, but were impatient in waiting for my reply. You also didn’t remove yourself from the situation earlier, as I waved red warning flags before you. You forgot to check in with me, until push came to shove. You didn’t get out when you realized you were behind in the ministry I gifted you with; the path which I’ve assigned you to walk. You got distracted. Yet, even though you waited until the last minute, I’m not only going to help you, I’m going to make a brand new and better thing from it all!” 

God was right…as always! I hadn’t yet learned this. 

Truth: God wants me to only do just what He asks me to do.

Truth: God believes in me, and loves me, and has given me my very own ministry! 

Truth: If I help somebody else with their mission, and it even slightly deviates from the path of my own mission (where Jesus shines first and foremost ALL the time) then God doesn’t want me in that other place!

Truth: Getting involved in a ministry which does not fully align with God’s truths He has revealed to me; may distract, delay or even bring my own ministry to a halt. 

Truth: It doesn’t matter if anyone stands with me as I go forward; it only matters that God is standing beside me. 

Truth: God gives me the people I need most to support and encourage me along the way; no more, and no less. And I am never, ever alone. “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us” (Rom. 8:31)?

I’d been distracted and rejected, but not dejected. The experience of having been treated badly was nothing when compared to the relief of knowing you are headed back onto the exact path God has laid out just for YOU; that place where you find peace and joy and comfort in knowing you’re using your gifts in just the right way God intended!

Truth: The silver lining is seen by those walking the path of Truth, because in walking true, the lies are easily trampled under our feet! For Jesus says, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19). When you walk the steep and narrow path, you’re not afraid of the sharp incline that lies ahead, because God will lend you His own strong hand, and He will pull you up to the mountain top! As you stand there hand in hand with Jesus, he will look down at you proudly, and smile. I can’t wait to look up into his shining face, and nod, saying, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim.4:10).

Prayer: God please forgive me for when I stumble off of the path you created just for me. Help me to follow Jesus and not get distracted. Jesus, I love you! Hold my hand; I don’t want to let go of you! 

“I have decided to follow Jesus…

No turning back, no turning back…

Though I may wander, I still will follow…

No turning back, no turning back…

The world behind me, the cross before me…

No turning back, no turning back…

Though none go with me, still I will follow…

No turning back, no turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?”

Lyrics attr. S. Sundar Singh

Hindustani Melody

Public Domain


Avoid Being Deceived in End Times

We are living in end times, a time of high deception. Though we do not know the day Jesus will return, God reveals many signs in the bible, and tells us to watch for them, so we will be prepared for our Messiah’s second coming. Elevated deceit is a big red flag for end times. But, because deceit comes cleverly disguised, it’s difficult to know when it’s present. We must constantly and consistently pray against it. 

Christians are not immune to being deceived by others, so we especially need to be praying, and actively reading God’s Word. The bible contains instructions on how to both identify and avoid deceit. We also need to ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit, and to point us towards the truth. 

Matthew 24 should be read by every Christian. It discusses the incredible deceit that will overwhelm the world during end times. It gives explicit instructions on how to identify the antichrist, who will set himself up in God’s holy temple, blaspheme the name of God and demand to be worshiped. As if that weren’t horrific enough, people will witness the greatest deception of all, “The ‘abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel ” (in Matt. 24: 15) which will signal the end of the world as we know it: the antichrist will claim to BE GOD! 

People will fear the antichrist and follow him to avoid being killed. But they will also be fooled by the miracles of the antichrist, and blindly choose to follow him, based on having fallen for his lies, because they have refused to accept God’s truth! This is spoken of in 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2. The people’s reverence for the antichrist will come from the greatest deception ever known. They will think he has come to save the very people he cannot wait to destroy!  “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thess. 2:4).

The silver lining is that the “abomination of desolation” will not be overlooked, and it will not go unpunished by God. In fact, it will signal the arrival of the second coming of Jesus! Jesus will come to save us, and he will destroy the antichrist! “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven,with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matt. 24: 30-31 New International Version). This is also spoken of in the 12th book of Daniel. We don’t have to fall for deception. For Christians, there should be no confusion about where Jesus is or who he is. God clearly says not to listen to anyone at all who claims to know where Jesus is. God says Jesus will find us, and come get us! 

We will escape having to experience unimaginable peril and distress, such as the world has never known. We will also escape Hell, as we go to live eternally with Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven. As we wait for Jesus to return, our job is to share the gospel with those who are dying in deception. It will become more and more difficult, for people to see and hear the truth: All people can have life through salvation in Jesus Christ. 

“Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Messiah,” and will deceive many’ “
(Matt. 24: 4-5).

“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time”  (Matt 24: 23-25).

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life”
(Galatians 6:7-8).

“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:1-2).

Tell the world about Jesus, while there’s still time. Even if the world does not end today, many people’s lives do. Jesus is the one and only way to the everlasting! Share his love with everyone you know! “If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faithand of the good teaching that you have followed” (1 Tim. 4:6).

  

Insult to Injury on Social Media…Jesus Understands

“Hahaha!” Another mean, degrading, or crude insult has been put on social media, and you’re tagged in it…but…you’re not laughing. You may be the target, or you may just be invited to join in on the “joke” at the expense of someone else. Maybe it’s even at the expense of the unknown person in the photo itself. 

Many times, both teens and adults get caught up in making fun of others to get a laugh. The truth is, there are a lot of people who aren’t laughing on the inside. Jesus isn’t laughing either. Sometimes people will go along with it because they feel intimidated, embarrassed, or confused. They may be trying to figure out the friendship, but deep down they wish the rude post had never been shared in the first place. 

No matter what anyone insists to be true, this just isn’t the way real friends treat each other. True friends encourage and uplift each other, instead of tearing each other, disguising it as a “joke.” Those who approve of this type of behavior are listening to lies. The devil cleverly uses denial and deceit to eventually turn people against each other. Insults and dirty “jokes” about others, turn themselves around in a person’s mind, and begin to do their damage. They hurt everyone involved, including the offender, but especially the victim. 

Constantly making people the “butt” of jokes, even clean ones, is a form of bullying, even if everyone pretends it isn’t so. It’s also a sign of underlying issues not being addressed…sin issues. Usually it’s a sign that forgiveness needs to occur. 

Even subtle bullying, the sharing of inappropriate posts, can contribute to depression in a teen. Adults aren’t immune either. You can help a friend, by checking in with those who have been tagged or targeted, and giving them your support. You can let parents know what is happening, and you can report inappropriate posts when necessary. Most of all, you can pray with, and for someone who has been the target of online joking and teasing. Teens should ask a trusted adult to help them handle the situation.

Regardless of what the crowd thinks, it only matters what God thinks. Here’s what God says in the bible about crude jokes:  

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Eph. 5: 3-4 New Living Translation).

Just because someone says something about you, doesn’t mean it’s true. Only God’s words are good and just and true. A person’s word is only good if it aligns with God’s scriptures in the bible. Pray against denial and deceit in Jesus’ name. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit and tell you the Truth. 

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (Jas. 1:5).

If you’ve been insulted, you can go to Jesus and talk to him about it. He will comfort you, and help you to heal. Jesus knew all about being insulted. He was mocked and spat upon, even though he was the Son of God! 

 “Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, and said, ‘Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you’ ” (Matt. 26: 27-28)? 

If you’re the offender, and it’s possible, go to that person and ask for forgiveness. Ask Jesus to forgive you for your sin. Even if the offended party does not forgive you, there’s a silver lining: God forgives you, which means your sin is wiped clean. 


” ‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool’ ” (Isa. 1:18).

  

Other related articles from The Silver Lining:

Gossip, Lies, and Slander? No Worries! God Has Your Back!
Freedom from Bullies for the New Year and Beyond

12 Steps to Forgiveness with Boundaries

Have you forgiven someone, only to be accused of harboring unforgiveness, because you’ve had to establish necessary boundaries for healing and protection? If you’re feeling guilty about having less contact because of an unhealthy or abusive relationship, the guilt is not from God. God does not want His children to be doormats. How can we forgive others, while keeping boundaries in place? How can we do both, while continuing to please God, as we daily walk with Christ?

We can recognize that God set boundaries and expected them to remain in place: “Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors” (Prov. 22:28 New International Version). We can take comfort in knowing that Jesus, himself, set boundaries: “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith” (Matt. 13:58). We can take godly steps towards forgiving others, by seeking Jesus, as we put boundaries in place:

1. Set aside time to step away from your offender. Even Jesus retreated, and stepped away from the crowds of people in order to spend time with God, and pray. If the offender lives with you, step outside to clear your head, or go visit a friend. Walk away, and give yourself some space. If you need a quiet spot to talk to God, and can’t get away, find ten minutes to pray in the bathroom or your closet. Sit in your car, and read a Psalm. Retreat. Jesus is an example.

2. Pray this simple prayer: “I forgive (name of offender) in the name of Jesus.” We can’t do it alone. That’s why Jesus died for us. He died to forgive us of our sins, and to forgive others. Through Jesus, we can forgive others, grow our relationship with him, and show others the way to salvation. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matt. 6:14). Jesus is forgiveness.

3. Ask God to remove your pain, and fill you with His Holy Spirit. It hurts when people sin against us, whether directly, or indirectly. Ask God to remove your pain. Then ask Him to go to the empty spot where pain once resided, and fill it with His love for you, until it’s overflowing! Jesus is a healer.

4. Ask God for wisdom in establishing healthy boundaries. God gives wisdom freely to those who ask. Wisdom will help you to discern what kind of boundary you will need to allow for healing: some contact, little contact, or no contact. You can do any of these, while still continuing to walk with Christ. Jesus is a teacher.

5. Ask God to give you strength and courage to keep the boundary. The devil will do everything possible in order to try and make you remove the boundary. He will find people to spread lies, gossip, strife, fear, and chaos. His intent is to plague you with anxiety, so that you will not change. He wants you to settle for staying in your old, familiar rut. If he can keep you ignorant of truth, you won’t go forward and learn about how Jesus can heal you and change your life. Jesus is strength.

6. Ask God to provide you with support. The devil has the goal of isolating you. He will use rejection, depression, doubt, and any other fiery darts he can throw at you, to try and convince you to remove your boundary. He knows the boundary is there for your protection, healing, and growth. He hates that God is going to heal, change, and use you to win others to Christ. God will put people in your life to replace those you’ve lost when you established the boundary. Your support will be comprised of Christians who know your heart, pray for you, and encourage you in your walk with God. They will fill in the missing gaps. Jesus is a friend.

7. Ask God to reveal truth in the hearts of those who come against you. The devil will deceive well-meaning people into believing that they are helping, when they come to you, trying to convince you to break down your boundary. They may not have knowledge about the whole truth of your situation, so they don’t understand. They may accuse you of being unforgiving, cruel, fake, or even anti-Christian. God knows your heart, and that is all that matters. However, God knows our need for love and fellowship, and He will provide everything we need. Don’t be afraid! God knows what He is doing! Jesus is truth.

8. Know that when you’re most tempted to break down your boundary, God is about to give you a big break-through! Keep your boundary. Continue to forgive others who hurt you, disrespect you, or shun you. God has a plan. The enemy wants to destroy you, but God means to use it all for good! Live your life, honoring God, knowing that the boundary is there for good reason. If it needs to come down, GOD will show you, and He will make it obvious. Be ready when God says it’s time. You will have a heart that has already forgiven, and your past pain will be behind you. Jesus is courage.

9. Read or listen to scripture, and pray. Scriptures keep us wrapped in truth. When we are struggling, God’s word lets us know that we are doing the right thing. Knowledge of the bible keeps us ready for the battles that will come our way, when we are doing something against the grain of what everyone else thinks we should be doing. God’s word is living and healing. It helps us to see others through the eyes of God. The bible helps us to see that Jesus loves everyone, even people who hurt us. The bible changes our thoughts. We can begin to develop love and understanding for our enemies, even if we don’t approve of, or accept their behavior. Jesus is comfort.

10. Pray for salvation for those who have hurt you. God says to pray for our enemies. The goal is for others, no matter how much they’ve hurt us, to gain salvation through Jesus Christ. Our prayers, and yes, even our boundaries, can help another person to receive eternal life. Jesus died for everyone. Pray that those who have hurt you will come to know Jesus. If those people are already saved, pray for their walk with The Lord. Realize that many people who profess to be Christians, are not really saved, and do not have a relationship with Jesus. “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers’ ” (Matt. 7:22-23)! Jesus is salvation.

11. Seek your own relationship with God, while the boundary is in place. During a time of separation from someone who has wronged you, allow God do His healing work in you. You will begin to see the damage in the people who hurt you, and realize they are broken just like you. This doesn’t excuse what they’ve done. It does give us insight into what Jesus did for us. Our sins put Jesus on the cross, and he died for us, even though we didn’t deserve it. It’s love beyond measure. “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:22-23). Jesus is love.

12. TRUST GOD. Understand that your boundary may allow time for the offender to draw closer to God. Recognize that the person who hurt you, is also deeply loved by God, and needs a relationship with Him. He or she may need time to dig deep down, and repent of his or her own sins. The boundary may create a void of loneliness and desperation, which only Jesus can fulfill. Your boundary may bring someone to true repentance, and draw that person towards a relationship with Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, your offender can heal, receive forgiveness for sins, and receive eternal life. This allows him or her a chance to live a godly life on earth. Only then, can true reconciliation occur. Jesus is protection.

There is a silver lining…God is in Control! Though your offender may continue to try and hurt you emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually, God is your protector. His Son, Jesus, heals our pain. Recognize that people may be struggle with jealousy, anger, or fear, when you place boundaries between them and yourself. Some people lash out in frustration, when they lose access to their ability to manipulate and control you. The devil thrives on ruined relationships, but God is All Powerful! “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). God is the one who is ultimately in control. With God as our protector, strength, and shield, we have already won every battle.

Though reconciliation is the ultimate goal, it’s not always possible. You do not have to allow an abusive person back into your life, to prove your forgiveness toward that person. This could even delay all the work God is doing in your life, and in the life of the abuser. Pray against guilt in the name of Jesus. We need godly relationships in our lives. Often, we need to step out, and let God step in and do His work. Sometimes we need to let others catch up, before we can be in a relationship with them.

It’s difficult to create a boundary, and even more difficult to keep it in place. But God’s silver lining is found in the amazing things He has planned for you during the storm. God will use your experience to make you stronger, healthier, and joyful. He will use your experience to bring glory to His name! God knows your heart. Forgive, leave your boundaries in place, pray, and continue to follow God. God will let you know when, and if, the boundary should be removed. Trust Him! He knows what He is doing! Jesus is Savior!

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Ps. 16:6

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