Category Archives: faith

True Forgiveness : Is Through Reconciliation

 

wedding rings

 

2 Corinthians 5:17-20

17 Therefore if any man be in 200701handChrist, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Reconciled : In the Greek is katallage

To exchange, have adjustment,

Old word in the Greek language that refers to an exchanging coins.

WHAT IS REALLY FORGIVNESS?

1) FORGIVNESS is NOT CONDITIONAL

· NOT “I WILL FOR GIVE YOU IF”

· OFFERED EVEN IF IT IS NOT ASKED FOR

2) IT ISN’T MINIMIZING THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE OFFENSE

· IF IT IS WORTH FORGIVING IT DID HURT YOU.

· DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING WRONGED AND BEING WOUNDED

· WOUNDS ARE UNINTENTIONAL, BEING WRONGED IS INTENTIONAL

· WOUNDS DON’T REQUIRE FORGIVENESS THEY REQUIRE ACCEPTANCE AND RECOGNIZING THE FALLEN WORLD AND IMPERFECT ENVIROMENT,

· DON’T CHEAPEN FORGIVENESS

3) FORGIVNESS IS NOR RESUMING A RELATIONSHIP WITHOUT CHANGE

· NOT SAME AS REBUILDING OR RESTORING A RELATIONSHIP

· FORGIVNESS IS INSTANT, BUT TRUST IS REBUILT OVER A PERIOD OF TIME.

· IT TAKES MORE THAN FORGIVNESS FOR RECONCILIATION.

· FORGIVNESS IS BASED UPON GRACE, TRUST IS EARNED.

4) REAL FORGIVNESS IS NOT FORGETTING WHAT HAPPENED

· “HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN IT YET?” “I’M TRYING!” —- THE WHOLE TIME YOU ARE TRYING TO FORGET, CAN’T FORGET! WHAT ARE YOU FOUCUSING ON?

· YOU CAN’T FORGET SOMETHING BY TRYING TO FORGET IT.

· THE ONLY WAY YOU FORGET SOMETHING IS BY REPLACEING IT WITH SOMETHING ELSE.

· THERE IS SOMETHING BETTER FORGETTING IT IS REMEMBERING GOD! – ROMANS 8:28

· WHEN I FORGET SOMETHING, I DON’T THANK GOD OR PRAISE GOD!

REMEMBERING HOW MUCH I’VE BEEN FORGIVEN

KJV Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

NO EARNING

NOT DESERVING

NOT FEELING

WE NEED TO IMAGINE HARMONY, EVEN AT THE POINT OF GREATEST CONFLICT.

WE NEED TO LOVE PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE AT AND HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THEM WHEN THEY HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN THEMSELVES OR GOD.

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION IS EXEMPLIFIEDBY:

1) PERSONAL INVOLMENT

2) PERSONAL ENCOURAGEMENT

Bitterness

Bitterness is loss frozen in resentment. Bitterness grows out of our refusal to let go when someone or something is taken from us.

Cosmic Consequences

You could argue that bitterness motivated Satan to attempt to destroy and thwart God’s plans. You could argue that bitterness motivated the Pharisees to have Jesus put to death. You only have to look at India and Pakistan, Israel and Jordan, Bosnia and Croatia, and Northern Ireland to know that wars are caused by bitterness, and that such bitter disputes fuel even more reservoirs of bitterness that last through generations, and continue to hold people in vice-like grips.

Personal Consequences

There are often physical consequences such as headaches, ulcers, sleeplessness, heart-attacks, anxiety, fear, tension, depression. This, of course, doesn’t mean that anyone with a headache or heart-attack is bitter, but prolonged bitterness will have physical consequences.

The mental consequences of bitterness are continued hypercritical attitudes. Nobody can do anything right. There is usually anger and resentment with things don’t go our way (and they often don’t).

And because of the attitudes that accompany bitterness, there are inevitably social consequences. 

Deuteronomy 29:19

Bitterness is described as a root that grows into a poisonous plant. Bitterness spreads and infects others. They either catch the critical and grouching spirit from the bitter people, or they decide to avoid their company. And, of course, the rejection caused by the bitterness leads to the people concerned feeling even more bitter, and so the cycle continues. They rarely go because they feel rejected. And when they do go, they almost have to make sure that people will reject them. Churches have been paralyzed for years by unresolved bitterness, and so have individual Christians who refuse to deal with the bitterness they feel towards God.

Bitterness is loss, frozen in resentment. And bitterness is also a chain, tying us to the thing of person we want to be free from. Until we deal with the bitterness we cannot escape from the loss. People want vengeance, but end up with a hypercritical spirit, ulcers, rejection, and chains. We hope that our bitterness will in some way influence others, but all that happens is that it destroys us.

And it is not only anger that is a choice. Its close cousin bitterness is also a choice. We respond the people or events by saying: ‘You made me bitter …’ But, as Christians, we are not victims. We are responsible for we do, say, think, and feel. Nobody can make us bitter. We choose to respond to situations in a bitter way.

You know that it is not people or circumstances that make people bitter. What makes us bitter is our attitude towards people and circumstances. Its not the people or the circumstances. But the messages we tell ourselves, and its the feelings we nurture. You know that you can take two people and put them through equally horrendous circumstances, and one will come out riddled with bitterness, and another will come out radiant.

1 TIMOTHY 2:5-6

5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be
testified in due time.

mesithi in Greek is defined as mediator , one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant

THE SIMPLEST TRANSLATION OF THE WORD MEDIATOR IS “IN THE MIDDLE.”

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center
410-808-6483
theodoreawadjr@comcast.net
http://yacrisishotline.tripod.com/
http://youngadultcrisishotline.blogspot.com/
youngadultcrisishotline@comcast.net

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Conscious Compassion

Conscious Compassion

The engine is fact (God and His Word) and the fuel car is our faith. We should place our trust (the fuel) in God and His Word (the engine). The passenger car is feeling. It would be foolish to place our trust (fuel) in our feelings (the passenger car) … the train will not run! In the same way, we should not depend on feelings or emotions.

The bible teaches in Luke 6:31: as you would others do to you, do you even so to them:

The difference between sympathy and empathy is significant to the Christian walk.

SYMPATHY says in words: “Boy, I’d really hate to be in that man’s shoes.”

EMPATHY says; “I have imagined what it must be like in that man’s shoes, and what I’d want someone to do for me if I were in that condition, I will do now for that man.”

Empathy places itself in another person’s shoes, and from that perspective realizes both the feelings and the need, then says: “I’m responding.”

Jesus words: “Do unto others as you would they do to you,” covers every aspect of life. In Matthew 25:32-46 Jesus said: Freed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Take in the stranger, (homeless). The hungry, naked, and homeless need not only food, clothing and shelter. They need some one to help them learn a skill, get a Job and become responsible. If they are a Drug addict or alcoholic, help them find an agency the deals with deliverance from whatever pathology they have. Care for another human being as if they were your parent or sibling. Have that conscious compassion.

Empathy must also place itself in the shoes of the infirmed. They are lonely and need visits. Helpless and need a hand accomplishing things. They may need other support and help to go to agencies and fill out forms to acquire aid.

ANYONE can repent of past conduct, and begin a new life, and be trusted as if they never did any wrong.

What are we as Christians going to do that have to answer to the lord for each act and word toward the hungry, naked, homeless, sick, and prisoners. When Jesus said: when you done it unto them, you have done it unto me, ENTER INTO KINGDOM OF GOD.
We must think Jesus, who is God, was mistaken when he said: When you failed to do it unto the least of these my brethren, you did it not me. BE CAST INTO EVERLASTING FIRE!

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. If it was the love of God that led us to repentance. Do not allow your love to grow cold.

Empathy will open up and earn the right to confront an individual.

Psychologists call it empathy, the rare capacity to put ourselves into the shoes of our partner and accurately see life from his or her perspective.

Empathy combines two important capacities: to analyze and to sympathize, to use our heads and to use our hearts. Our analytical capacities involve collecting facts and observing conditions. We look at a problem, we break it down into its causes, and we propose solutions. That’s analyzing. Sympathizing is feeling for another person. It is feeling the pain of someone who is suffering or feeling the anger of a person in rage. Analyzing and sympathizing are the twin engines of empathy. One without the other is fine, but their true power is found in combination. We need to love with both our head and our heart to empathize.

While the word “empathy” is never used in the Bible, it is, in a sense, what the whole Gospel message is about. The apostle Paul encouraged empathy in Hebrews when he said: “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3). He also said, “We who are not strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1).

Sympathy focuses on sharing (experiencing) a person’s bad news or feelings, feeling sorry for the person suffering the bad news/feelings, and whether the sympathizer agrees with any of the person’s beliefs, opinions, or goals whereas empathy focuses on sharing (experiencing) a person’s bad and good news or feelings and understanding the bad or good news/feelings rather than feeling sorry for the person’s bad news/feelings or agreeing or disagreeing with the person’s beliefs, opinions, or goals.

Sympathy emphasizes sharing distressing feelings whereas empathy does not emphasize any particular type of feeling. The listener using empathy shares (experiences) whatever feelings the talker is expressing at the moment, regardless of whether the feelings are distressing (grief, for example) or pleasant (love, for example).

Sympathy may also involve agreeing with some aspects of the other person’s feelings, beliefs, etc. whereas empathy emphasizes understanding all of them with no interest in either agreeing or disagreeing.

The person using empathy tunes into the entire inner world of the other person whereas the person using sympathy typically tune

s into only those aspects with which he agrees.

The listener using empathy usually responds more comprehensively to the talker as compared with the listener using sympathy.

At this point you may be thinking: So far you have discussed sympathizing and empathizing with a person’s feelings or beliefs. What about other aspects of a person such as values or goals? I will answer this question by introducing the concept of a person’s inner psychological world, which I will divide into two parts–“the heart part” and “the head part.”

The heart part consists of feelings.

The head part consists of beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, opinions, values, memories, wishes, goals, etc. I have grouped all of the head part components under the label of “beliefs” in order to simplify my comparison.

Both sympathy and empathy involve “tuning in” to (“entering”) the other person’s inner world. After tuning in, the person using empathy temporarily becomes that person in a limited way (“identifies with”), for example, the grieving and loving son; this does not usually happen for the person using sympathy.

Empathy is closely related to the concept of sympathy. We cannot examine empathy without examining sympathy because their meanings are similar and their usage overlaps somewhat. The concept of empathy is a fairly new one, while the idea of sympathy has been around much longer. Empathy has evolved over the past century from its first usage as necessary to aesthetic experience to the idea that it is a fundamental part of human nature and necessary for psychological well-being. This essay will elaborate on how the concept of empathy evolved from the concept of sympathy to include understanding of a person or object, and how the modern usage of empathy is important in our understanding of the human condition.

In psychotherapy, the writings of such theorists as Rogers and Kelly have led to a widespread acceptance among therapists generally of a view of understanding as ’empathy’. Rogers in particular stresses the therapeutic importance of the therapist’s understanding the patient from the patient’s perspective. In order to grasp the meaning for him of the patient’s experience, the therapist has to put himself in the patient’s shoes, to try his level best to see the world from where the patient sees it. Rather than the patient having to learn the therapist’s language and theoretical system, the therapist has to learn the patient’s. In this, he has to attend not so much to the patient’s words, as to their meaning for the patient.

Feelings, Empathy & Decision Making

What is an emotion? Emotion is usually considered to be a feeling about or reaction to certain important events or thoughts. Feelings can be either pleasant or unpleasant.

Many of us are familiar with the train diagram (in the “Four Spiritual Laws” booklet) to illustrate the principle “Do not depend on feelings.”

The engine is fact (God and His Word) and the fuel car is our faith. We should place our trust (the fuel) in God and His Word (the engine). The passenger car is feeling. It would be foolish to place our trust (fuel) in our feelings (the passenger car) … the train will not run! In the same way, we should not depend on feelings or emotions.

Moreover, feelings are undependable. The same event may generate different feelings in different people; how then should we interpret the event and the feelings that follow? Even the same feelings can mean different things to different people.

Some have misunderstood “do not depend on feelings” to mean “deny your feelings.” There is nothing wrong with feelings per se. Emotions filled the Psalms. Jesus wept (John 11:35-36). Eph. 4:26 acknowledges anger as a valid emotion; it doesn’t say, “Don’t be angry because anger is a sin.” The issue is what you do when you are angry. When an argument between my boys gets heated up, I told them, “I understand that you are angry but you cannot show your anger by hitting or name-calling.” We can be human and Christian at the same time.

I’m a Christian, I’m a man, a man with feelings,
Yet sometimes I’m afraid to own my feelings.

Then God said to me:
I’ve made man so be free to be human
be free to own your feelings
but do not deny me.

The above is an excerpt of “A Conversation with God” which I wrote in 1978.

In Matt. 26:38-39, Jesus gave us an excellent example of acknowledging His feelings when He said, “Remove this cup from Me.” This was Jesus’ honest request not to go through with the crucifixion. Jesus knew that He was facing not only the agony of crucifixion but also the trauma of taking on the sins of the world (upon His sinless self) and being separated from the Father. At the same time, Jesus did not deny the Father. He said, “Thy will be done …” (Matt. 26:42).

John R.W. Stott wrote on page 120 of The Contemporary Christian,

“I learned to my astonishment that God, whose ‘impassibility’ I thought meant that he was incapable of emotion, speaks (though in human terms) of his burning anger and vulnerable love.

I discovered too that Jesus of Nazareth, the perfect human being, was no tight-lipped, unemotional ascetic. On the contrary, I read that he turned on hypocrites with anger, looked on a rich young ruler and loved him, could both rejoice in spirit and sweat drops of blood in spiritual agony, was constantly moved with compassion, and even burst into tears twice in public.

From all this evidence it is plain that our emotions are not to be suppressed, since they have an essential place in our humanness and therefore in our Christian discipleship.”


People are sometimes not fully aware of their own emotions. To acknowledge their feelings and control their behavior?

  1. Teach them “feeling words” (e.g., happy, sad, bored, angry, hurting, frustrated).

    A good way to verbalize feelings is to say “I feel _______ (emotion) because _______ (reason).”

    An individual who is in touch with his own emotions and struggles can better take the other perspective to empathize with others (c.f. Heb. 4:15-16). Developing emphatic reactions to other people’s feelings contributes to morality in that when a person feels someone’s joys and pain, he winds up feeling good when he makes them feel good and feeling bad when he hurts them.

  2. Allow our individuals to express their feelings in acceptable ways.

    When a person is frustrated, it is natural to cry. To command him to stop crying is to deny his humanity. We can acknowledge the individuals feelings by saying, “I understand that you are _______ (emotion) because _______ (reason).” Depending on the nature of the problem, you may want to be supportive and encouraging or be firm to get the individual to change his behavior.

  3. How do I know another is emotionally mature? There are no firm standards of emotional maturity such as there are for physical development. “Balance” is a key word. If your child is able to take control of his feelings then he is doing fine. Emotional maturity comes with the passage of time and is based on experience in handling setbacks in life.
  4. Suggest what to do about the situation that has upset them.

    Individuals can be motivated by reason, also subject to passions, desires and other emotions that can motivate them strongly and sometimes in the opposite direction.

    In decision making, we must be able to distinguish between what is really good for us and what seems good for us. Making this distinction is a matter of clear, rational and biblical thinking that is able to weigh the alternatives. It is at this point that emotions may dominate and rational thoughts go out the window! Therefore, it is important to establish principles beforehand as to what to do when caught in that situation.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center
410-808-6483
theodoreawadjr@comcast.net
http://yacrisishotline.tripod.com/
http://youngadultcrisishotline.blogspot.com/
youngadultcrisishotline@comcast.net

How Is Your Conscience?

How Is Your Conscience?

Everybody has a conscience, the reflective part of the mind it largely has to do with the past, but it can deal with the future in that we may project how we would feel if we do this or that. Mainly the conscience deals with the past. Our conscience is responsible for our joy or lack of joy.

The conscience was designed to be the human’s moral compass that detects the presence of evil. The conscience is as valuable as its training. It must correctly differentiate between good and evil to be of significant value to the person. Becoming a Christian commonly involves retraining a poorly trained conscience. The objective of this training is to make a Christian’s conscience aware of and sensitive to God’s standards and values. The Christian desires to yield to God’s perspectives rather than his/her own.

When a person acts consistently with his/her understanding of right or wrong, the conscience reacts positively. When a person violates his/her understanding of right and wrong, the conscience reacts negatively. Consciences react with no feeling if they are neglected or dead.

In one way the statement, “Let your conscience be your guide,” is correct. In another way, that statement is incorrect. The statement is correct if a person means, “I should be true in my actions to my standards and values.” The statement is incorrect if a person means, “My conscience defines my standards and values.”

The correctness or incorrectness of the statement is determined by one’s understanding of the role of conscience. If the person understands the conscience is reacting to his/her standards and values, the statement is correct. If the person thinks the conscience defines/produces standards and values, he/she is incorrect.

When a person violates his/her understanding of right and wrong, he/she has a “guilty conscience.” The conscience convicts that person of being wrong because he/she violated his/her standards or values. The conscience did not declare the person’s standards and values. The conscience declared a violation of the person’s standards or values.

The American culture has produced an increasingly “feeling” oriented society. A significant standard in determining if an attitude or act is right or wrong, good or bad is how that attitude or act “feels” to the person. Good “feelings” commonly confirms something is right.

Every Christian should be maturing in his/her understanding of God and His purposes. Each Christian is growing in his/her understanding that surrender to God involves much more than “blind obedience” to a religious system or a personal theological perspective. As a result of that understanding, his/her conscience is continually growing and maturing. That growth and understanding often involves growing beyond past positions of conscience. This is not a matter of searing the conscience but of maturing the conscience.

First, right and wrong or good and bad are strictly individual determinations. If it “feels” good then it is good–even if it “feels” bad to others. Thus the cry becomes, “Do not judge me!” which often means do not evaluate my “feelings” by your “feelings.” Many firmly believe there is no absolute right and wrong or absolute good and bad. Everything is both good and bad or right and wrong depending on the circumstances of the individual.

Note the use of “my feelings” to determine right and wrong or good and bad is often a justification of a personal behavior/position. Appealing only to feeling allows the person to focus on personal justification to the exclusion of person evaluation.

Second, if an attitude or action does not violate “my” conscience, it cannot be wrong or bad. Stated in another way, if the attitude or action “feels” good or right then it has to be good or right. In many instances, “feeling” is the ultimate consideration. The “certain proof” something is wrong is a “bad feeling.”

To many American individuals (as frequently is true in other modern societies), the ultimate criteria for determining right or wrong and good and bad is personal feelings. It is rapidly reaching the point that something does not have to “feel good” for it to be right; it just does not have to feel bad. Thus, if “my” conscience does not react against something, it has to be right. This situation creates numerous ironies. One of many illustrations: A person can be so opposed to abortion that he/she classifies it as murder because it takes a life. Yet, he/she can take the life of someone who makes abortion possible, and without “feeling” it is wrong. Thus, by appealing to a powerful feeling, one is justified in his/her own opinion in preventing “murder by abortion” by intentionally “murdering.”

Good choices and decisions come from good standards and values. Godly consciences come from good choices and decisions based on good standards and values. A good choice and a good decision is determined by the results of the choice and decision years later, not by one’s feelings at the moment of the choice or decision. Often choices and decisions of great value do not feel good at the moment of choice. Often choices and decisions of horrible consequence feel wonderful at the moment of choice or decision. The issue often is NOT “how do I feel at the moment of choice,” but what is the continuing result of the choice.

Lesson one: because something “feels” right and good does not make it right and good.

Lesson two: if one’s standards and values are incorrect, his/her conscience will be misguided.

Lesson three: one’s conscience is no more reliable than the standards and values that train his/her conscience.

Lesson four: a conscience is a good conscience only if it is reliably trained by good standards and values.

Lesson five: it is possible to have right motives and wrong understanding at the same moment.

Lesson six: culture’s standards frequently serve as poor standards for training a conscience.

Training a conscience is only to be entrusted to God, the Father of Jesus whom He made Christ. God’s standards and values must become the person’s standards and values. Thus, developing a good and godly conscience is a lifetime journey, not an earthly destiny. As the person spiritually matures in Christ, standards and values constantly undergo development. The conscience constantly changes through development as one’s standards and values mature in Jesus Christ. Developing a godly conscience is a lifetime undertaking.

The feelings of a conscience can be trusted to be right only when a person is certain his/her standards and values are God’s standards and values. As a person matures in God’s ways and priorities, his/her standards and values mature. As standards and values mature, the conscience changes.

The cultural swings in this society in less than one life span are dramatic. We have gone from a society that inhibited emotion to a society that feeds on emotion. In the mid-twentieth century, a woman endured significant social consequences if she had a child outside of marriage. Today there are unmarried men and women who deliberately have a child outside of marriage. In the mid-twentieth century it was not unusual for sexual activity and expression to be repressed even in marriage. Now sexual activity and expression are at least sanctioned and at most encouraged prior to marriage. Alienation in marriages, divorce, single parent homes, blended families, and life styles are much too frequently the result of an individual’s “feelings.”

Within the Bible it is easy to pick out 4 types of conscience. They are:

1. A Seared Conscience

2. An Untrained Conscience

3. A Weak Conscience
4. A Biblical Trained Conscience

1. The Seared Conscience-

The seared conscience is a conscience that has been activated by biblical truth but, is no longer activated by biblical criteria. The conscience has no guilty feelings, see nor see any need for excusing what they do. It is this conscience that blasphemes the Holy Spirit. 1 Tim 4:2
2. The Untrained Conscience-

The untrained conscience has never been activated by biblical truth. Therefore those with untrained consciences do not have or have very few guilt feelings, they don’t make excuses for what they do since they don’t know the biblical way in doing things. The conscience is these folks can be remedied by being taught and trained in biblical truth. This conscience can be easily led to depression by reacting improperly to life’s issues.
Rom 1-3
3. The Weak Conscience-

The weak conscience is activated by non biblical criteria. A weak conscience produces guilt feelings for the wrong reasons. These folks could have good standards they live by but have idols in their heart. They may do things for acceptance by God, to be accepted by the Church, to be loved by mom or dad, or in order to get something from God since that “bargained with Him. This conscience can and often is easily led to depression by reacting improperly to life’s issues.
Rom 14:1,2,23
4. A Biblical Conscience-

These folks have a conscience activated by biblical truth. They have proper guilt feelings for the right reasons when they do wrong and sin. They are in the proper position to handle guilt and problems God’s way. These are the people inthe Church that have grown and are called “spiritual” by the Apostle Paul. (Gal 6:1)
2 Tim 3:16-17, 1 Tim. 1:5

May God grant us to have a biblically functional conscience by then grace, illumination and dynamic power of the Holy Spirit.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center
410-808-6483
theodoreawadjr@comcast.net
http://yacrisishotline.tripod.com/
http://youngadultcrisishotline.blogspot.com/
youngadultcrisishotline@comcast.net