thatmom

real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

forgiving one another

 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”   Colossians 3:12-17

A while back I came across a phrase emblazoned across the front of a t-shirt that read “Don’t get mad, get imprecatory,” a reference to those Psalms which invoke curses upon enemies and that are commonly referred to as “imprecatory psalms.”  Those Psalms which are in this category include Psalms 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56, 58, 69, 79, 83, 137, 139, and 143, the most familiar being Psalms 69 and 109.

In the past few years, I have been taken aback by the number of believers who have actually made praying an imprecatory prayer for others, including professing Christians, part of their personal and public prayer times, being the most personally offended when told that Psalm 137:9 which says “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!” is appropriate to pray as we consider unbelieving moms and their babies who are aborted!  As I recently heard in a sermon, once we pray for God’s justice, we had better be prepared ourselves because God will begin that justice with us!  I don’t know about you, but my prayer is for God’s mercy….and daily!

While I know that most of us do not open our personal journals and write imprecatory psalms, I also know that we, as homeschooling moms, do experience similar feelings toward others from time to time and sometimes we strongly express those feelings!  We become angry when we hear that homeschoolers are persecuted by state officials.  We easily take up offenses for our children when others are critical of us or of homeschooling in general.  We are frustrated and offended when another homeschooler implies that they homeschool in a better way than we do.  We become discouraged and feel personally threatened when a relative, especially one of our parents or in-laws, grills us on homeschooling and expresses disapproval.

A few years ago, I decided to plant a vine around the fence in my back yard.  I went to a local garden center and, after looking through all the choices, flowering, fast-growing, large-leafed, small-leafed, etc, finally remembered the lovely trumpet vine my dad had growing in his yard.  I approached the check-out with two small, unthreatening pots and the clerk looked horrified.  “Oh!”  she said, “I don’t think you really want to plant a trumpet vine.  Do you realize that once it is planted anywhere, it will take a bull dozer or a stick of dynamite to remove it?”

I think of that story every time I read Hebrews 12:15, which reads, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”  You see, unforgiveness, when it becomes entrenched to the point that it becomes bitterness, becomes like the trumpet vine, a bitter root that is not easily removed and one that can produce bitter fruit.  Bitterness causes us to miss God’s grace!

I believe that there are two things that can quickly become a temptation for bitterness for a homeschooling mom.  If a child chooses to sin, how often have I seen or heard of unforgiving homeschooling parents pronouncing their child as rebellious and treating them as unbelievers!  Thus begins an ugly, vicious, downward spiral where the child reacts and makes other bad choices.  Rather than conveying to the child that grace awaits them at the end of the driveway, that “prodigal” child is pushed further and further away toward the pig pen!

The other area where I have seen the lack of a forgiving spirit is toward husbands who do not take leadership in their homes, at least the brand of leadership that a wife thinks a homeschooling family must have.  False expectations build and build until, in frustration, a husband gives up and mom is left with only a distorted snapshot of what she thinks her family should look like.  Forgiveness is forgotten and “many are defiled” as the writer of Hebrews predicts.

Both of these areas of unforgiveness can be traced back to worshipping at the idol of “the perfect homeschooling family,” of disobeying the warning that “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)   It is only as we maintain an attitude of forgiveness toward one another, believing that God really is working in our lives, no matter what happens, that we can prevent bitterness from taking root.

I also believe that this passage in Colossians tells us HOW to forgive one another.  It says “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” 

As we express to the Lord thankfulness for everything, the good and the bad, the disappointments and the struggles, the despair and the pain, we begin to praise His name and worship Him in our hearts and that is where the peace of Christ must rule!  Thanking God for the offense and asking God to give you an attitude of forgiveness toward your offenders is the first step toward rebuilding relationships that have been broken.  I am also including a few other passages of Scripture for study today and pray that they will be a blessing for you.

Matthew 6:9-15

Isaiah 43:25

Psalm 103:12

Psalm 130:3-4

Isaiah 38:17

Matthew 5:23-24

Luke 23:34

And, if you have a chance today, listen to one of my favorite worship songs, Blessed Be Your Name, by Matt Redman. As you listen, think of it in terms of thanking God and blessing His name for whatever is causing you to harbor an unforgiving spirit today!

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your name

 Copyright 2007

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2 Comments»

  Sue C wrote @

Karen,

You are right on with your post re: hsing moms! Where did you learn all this good and helpful stuff?! 🙂

Sue C

  thatmom wrote @

Sue, you know, once you start reading the Bible and seeking to make application of what it says to where you are in life, it all falls into place!


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