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Posts Tagged ‘self-condemnation’

How many times in life do we ask, “Why, Lord, why??? Why me? Why now?” I’ve asked that question more times than I can count, and I’ve learned it’s a good thing to ask, because God always answers. He always shows and teaches me knew things through every dire circumstance I go through.

I was listening to CBN’s Spiritual Gifts Seminar online when Gordon was teaching about Moving in the Power of God, and what he shared really touched me and taught me something I needed to hear regarding a situation I have been struggling with.

(I am adding my notes from Gordon’s teaching in another post for anyone who is interested in reading them. Of course, you can also watch the teaching yourself at:

http://event.cbn.com/spiritualgifts/event/?EventID=114120)

Here are the key passages Gordon spoke from:

 

Luke 22: 

31“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

 33But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

 34Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Peter Disowns Jesus

54Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 

 57But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

 58A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” 
      “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

 59About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

 60Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62And he went outside and wept bitterly.

John 21:

Jesus Reinstates Peter

 15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”

      “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

      Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

 16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

    Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!

 

These passages literally brought tears to my eyes even as I listened to Gordon speak on them and later read them, simply because I could so identify with Peter. Like Peter I had forgotten my past so much so that I thought I was perfect in one particular respect. I thought I could never fall into one sin, or be like the other “sinners” who are blinded and don’t quite realize what they are doing. In the past I had always discerned well when confronted by such situations and was able to deal with them strongly – maybe even overly so. I had even built up a reputation for being against those that gave into it and failed the test – not so much against the persons really, but the issue itself, although I did distance myself from people who gave in for fear of being associated with such behaviour and falling into it myself. Ask any of my close friends and they will testify to this. “Janie doing that? No way!” It was totally unimaginable.

And then, boom! A weak point in life and I rolled headlong right into it, almost before I realized what it was I was getting myself into. Sure I can blame circumstances, people and the enemy himself, but none of that is truly justified because it was a conscious mental decision to just do it followed by some very foolish actions. I can well imagine Jesus looking straight down at me the same way He looked at Peter, while the rooster crowed. “Did you really think you were immune and that you could never fall into this yourself? Well, guess what? You’re wrong!”

However, that was not the end. Thankfully, I do not serve a God who is quick to condemn and does not forgive. I can’t tell you how pathetically miserable I have felt about myself, putting myself through self-condemnation and knowing full well that what I was doing was wrong. One the one hand I wanted to be free of it, but on the other hand I actually enjoyed it because it gave me some kind of false comfort. Perhaps it made me feel good about myself and let me forget the sad reality, or perhaps a million other things, none of them justified in any way. 

The only thing that gave me comfort today was to know that despite Satan having asked for me to “sift me as wheat”, Jesus had been praying for me. He had prayed that whatever I went through, my faith would not falter and that I would return to Him. And not just that, but that after I myself had overcome, I would be able to strengthen others like me. Sure, I would go through this rough patch in life as difficult as it was because I was being sifted as wheat, refined, purified. When I had come through I would be a vessel fit for the Master’s use, and the Master would use me to encourage and help others through my own example. Wow!

I love how Jesus has his talk with Peter after the resurrection, commissions him into his service and basically reinstates and reaffirms His call on Peter’s life. It’s such a weight lifter just to know that God does not give up on us just because we have failed in a test, but that He is willing to forgive and accept us when we repent of it. I am so thankful that His call on my life hasn’t changed just because I screwed up. His plans still remain and I can go to Him with a repentant heart in that faith. 

I can literally hear Jesus say to me, “Janie, Janie, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Janie, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Ah! That brings tears to my eyes just typing it! So here I am, turned back to strengthen my brothers and to comfort others with the comfort I myself have received from above.

I can imagine that anyone reading this might be wondering what this great, big “sin” is that I have been writing about. Well, it’s something I’m not quite comfortable talking about yet, but I will in time. And really, it’s not so much about what sin it is as much as it is sin and struggles itself, because what I have learned is applicable in any trial and testing. So I am thankful to have been sifted as wheat.

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I’ve learned in all my difficult circumstances to stop and ask God, “What do you want me to learn from this situation?” – something my Dad set a great example for. I admit that I haven’t spent as much time as I used to with God of late. I’ve been so caught up with travel and work that I’m way behind my Bible reading schedule too. So, is this Your way of telling me I need to focus on You and spend more time with You? Am I drowning You out in all my busy-ness and leaving no room for Your voice to be heard? Forgive me, Father. Speak Lord, Your servant is listening…

“I forgive you. You have to forgive yourself and let it go.”

I do.

So… I take my laptop for servicing, and they find that there is no external or internal damage, but it turns out the Hard Drive has crashed – that too, more likely because of my having installed Norton Anti-Virus than my dropping it! What a relief! Thank you, Jesus! So much for all that guilt and self-condemnation! Either way, lesson learned:

1. Don’t install Norton AV on a Mac and then drop it down a few days later.

2. Don’t be careless and drop your Mac anyways!

Retrieving data would cost a bomb, so I agree to having them reformat my Hard Drive. But then a couple of days after reformatting, it crashes again. So this time they have to actually replace my Hard Drive. Thankfully, my laptop is under warranty, so the next day I receive my laptop ship-shape, all updated and in working order, with a brand new HD only minus my files, and I haven’t had to pay even a single paisa!!! Whoa! I’m amazed! Datalogics is THE place to go for anything Apple in Chennai, and Mr. Diwakar rules!

(http://www.datalogicsindia.com/)

 

Then I stop to ponder how symbolic the whole situation is of my own life and where it has been. I had made a mighty big mistake but a few months back and put myself through the torture of blaming myself and trying to figure out what I had done wrong and what I could do to make things right. Oh, so much shame, pain, guilt and self-condemnation, not to mention the anger and bitterness! Over the months I had learned to accept my mistakes, forgive the other people concerned and ask for forgiveness myself – both of God and man. That done, I thought that I had learned all I could from my mistakes and that time would heal, but I was wrong.

Like my laptop I was at a fragile point in life and despite having taken all the precautions I thought necessary, I was on the brink of crashing under pressure. Nothing I could do in my own might could ever make things right – not the mind, not the will, not the knowledge or the power. Trying to reformat my system wouldn’t be good enough either, because somewhere there would always be a bad sector and time and again I would only keep crashing. Only He could take my corrupt, messy, wounded heart of stone and give me a pure, clean heart of flesh, a heart that could love again and be loved in return. All the trash of the past would be wiped out and I could begin again with a clean slate. No doubt it would be difficult to rebuild from scratch, but it would be well worth the effort. It was just a simple choice I had to make, and it would literally cost me nothing. I had a life-long warranty in Him.

So… I begin afresh by forgiving myself and letting go, giving it all up to my Maker and letting Him give me a complete change of heart drive.

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