Mom to Mom
by Maria Houston
Sometimes God applies His truth in our everyday lives in amazing ways. I had been sitting next to my closed Bible, thinking about what passage of Scripture I should study. My weekly women’s Bible study is on hiatus, causing me to feel free to roam beyond my prescribed pages. My mind went to a favorite passage of my mentor’s husband, who recently passed away. Rarely a conversation with him would occur without mentioning Romans 8. In honor of him, I read it in the Amplified version, allowing God’s assurances to wash over me anew.
I was reminded once again that what the Law could not do God did (Romans 8:3). He stepped into our wicked world filled with sin, destruction, and hate and decided to fix this horrible mess Himself. Just like a toddler who tries to clean herself up and fails, we sit in our failed good works and attempts to make ourselves clean again. Just like a good parent who steps in and cleans up the child, God Himself steps into our mess and truly makes us clean.
My eyes scanned through the passage, stopping where I felt humbled.
“For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the
things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living
according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will
and purpose]. Romans 8:5.
“What do I set my mind on?” I meditated. “What consumes my time, thoughts and worries? Where does my energy go? How do I comfort myself?” I began to pray for more of a desire for Him. I asked forgiveness for desiring the world so much. I asked forgiveness for worrying about so many earthy things. I asked for God to forgive me for not setting my mind on things of the Spirit.
“For if you are living according to the [impulse of the] flesh, you are going
to die. But if [you are living] by the [power of the Holy] Spirit you are
habitually putting to death the sinful seeds of the body, you will [really]
live forever. Romans 8:13
I couldn’t help but feel ashamed. I desire things of the world so much. After all, when do I ever worry about spiritual things? Instead all of my worries are concerned with material, physical, medical, or financial matters. I must put these things to death, habitually, depending on only God to make things right.
The next few verses encouraged me to go to God, to call him Abba Father, and to depend on Him just like a child would do. I am not to cower away in my sin but instead boldly approach Him like a child approaches a loving parent.
I read the rest of the passage reminding myself of God’s love for me. I enjoyed the next few moments marrying together prayer and the reading of scripture.
Seconds later, the dings of my phone interrupted me. A text conversation with a dear friend began, unveiling the pain I was still feeling regarding a situation. Through a series of questions, I recognized the areas in my heart where I was able to easily forgive. But there were other areas where I was still cold, hard hearted, and bitter. My friend called me out, asking me if I could specifically forgive this particular indiscretion. In anger I texted, “It is impossible because she does not deserve that.”
Shame and embarrassment fell on me like bricks from the sky as I suddenly saw the hypocrisy of that statement. Didn’t I just ask God moments ago for forgiveness? Now I was withholding forgiveness for another.
I had just asked God to have mercy on me, a sinner. Is there a part of me that believes I am more worthy of forgiveness than someone else? Have I become the judge and the jury in determining who and what is worthy?
It felt like cold water on my face. I felt shock at my own sinfulness. In that moment I felt something released in me. Suddenly I was able to forgive. I thought back at people who have deeply hurt me and began to release forgiveness. Decades of grudges began to be loosened. I can forgive, not because they deserve it, but rather because I do not deserve to be forgiven. If I have been forgiven anyway, then I must also offer forgiveness towards people who do not deserve it.
I closed my Bible, amazed at the power of what can occur when prayer and God’s Word combine forces. I thank God for His work in my heart and for releasing me from so much pain. For truly what I could not do, God did.
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