Reblog: “A Call To Forgive” By Therese Shelesky

This woman has an amazing story. She overcame bitterness of losing a relationship with her child!

It’s difficult when people hurt us, especially those we love and those who are hard to love.  Whether family, friend or foe, bottom line it hurts and depending on the offense, it can make us down right out angry, unforgiving and bitter!

Over the years I have been hurt, who hasn’t.  I have suffered at the hand of others many times – – physically, verbally and relationally.  The most heart wrenching was the loss of my relationship with my daughter.  A loss that was, in part, because my daughter heard an abundance of hurtful words about me from others.

As a disciple of Christ, if I choose to hold onto the hurt, the pain, and/or bitterness and resentment, then my heart will become hardened – – it will be blocked from being able to love, to forgive and to heal.  In fact, it will distance me from my relationship with God and His Son.  The Psalmist David wrote in Psalm 103:8-12 “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness.  He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.  He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear Him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.  For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”

Looking back at the mistakes I’ve made over the years, I know that I have hurt others – – I am not exempt from causing the same pain that others have caused me.  As a Disciple of Christ, these mistakes were in need of making right, asking for forgiveness and proactively doing my best to reconcile with those I hurt.  One of those mistakes was with my daughter’s father.  With the help and strength of Jesus, I took the steps needed for reconciliation and, regardless of my daughter and I not being reconciled to this day, my heart rejoices over letting go of the pain I caused my daughters father.

Bottom line – – if God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, loving, kind, patient and forgiving with me – – ME, the one who has made so many mistakes, poor choices and hurtful decisions to the point of not only hurting others but also my Creator – – who am I not to forgive another who has hurt me?  God forgives and forgets – – “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgression from us.”  “He has not dealt with us according to our sins.”

As a disciple of Christ, I am to follow that teaching and example.  Regardless of the offense, I choose to forgive those who have hurt me, like God forgives me – –



To reach Therese Shelesky:

Women of The Way Ministries
Attn: Therese M. Shelesky
P.O. Box 776017
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477

Mad Woman Syndrome

I feel like a mad woman right now. So many things are running through my mind and I feel overwhelmed in how to handle so many things. Not pregnant, when I get to this point I normally sit, cry it out, then get refocused on what is at hand. Being pregnant, everything is a tad more emotional and difficult to deal with. Regardless of the amount of tears though, it has to be dealt with in the same way. And how exactly is that?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” —Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

It’s not easy. It’s not always quick. It is efficient. It is the best advice you will ever receive. Understanding it may take some time. Understanding His reasoning may take some time. The hardest thing about being a Christian for me is sometimes accepting I REALLY DON’T have to know WHY. My human nature wants to know WHY. I should have enough faith in God to know He will handle any situation around me if I’m walking with Him. Doesn’t mean I’m perfect and don’t mess up myself – that’s where His grace comes in and grants me forgiveness. It’s in the times when we purposely choose to walk away from Him or ignore Him I think He lets us fall. Maybe trying to get our attention or maybe just a consequence of our own actions (or lack of). Regardless, we have to have HIM to succeed eternally. All the accomplishments in the world won’t matter when we die. You will go to heaven or hell WITHOUT your money, your job, your status, your toys, your earthly body. Cherish the people around you and the opportunities God opens up for you (whether to give or receive). Paul speaks of what “love” really is in a long, descriptive and specific list:

Love is: patient, kind, doesn’t envy, doesn’t boast, isn’t proud, doesn’t dishonor others, isn’t self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no scorecard of wrongs, doesn’t delight in evil, rejoices in truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, never fails.

If you need it more specific than that, I can’t help you, ha ha. I fall into many of these and I’m sure you do to. It’s important to know YOU WILL trip up and fail in one of these areas… we are human! How you handle it is more important I think. Apologize when you hurt someone. Figure out why you don’t love someone and work on it. If someone has done you wrong in the past don’t hold it over their heads… because they are human too… and have moments of weakness just like you.

For my situations bothering me? I put myself in the same shoes as you. I walk the same road of worry, anger, fear, confusion and not wanting to care. But we are built differently than that. We are built better than that. You do care whether you want to admit it or not. Drop the pride and allow God to filter into your heart. Trust me when I say, I’m going through the same thing. God told me to do something regarding a situation in my life – so I did. I knew nothing would be reciprocated; however, I did expect to be acted towards differently. Nothing really changed… and it broke my heart. But I was obedient regardless and I know God is proud of me for that. There have been other times God has told me to do something and I didn’t because I was too angry or upset in that situation. I was wrong for my disobedience and should have acted on what He told me to do. When the definition of “love” says doesn’t keep scorecards of wrongs – I personally – think that can be translated into not keeping scorecards of rights also. Many people do this and if we keep any sort of scorecard it’s not going to benefit us, only drive our human nature in the wrong direction.

Cheek to Cheek

Recently, I have been struggling with anger. Towards who, is not the important question here. The important question is what does God tell us to do? How do we react to it? How do we handle it? Our flesh and our spiritual man are two different identities in this equation. Which one do you follow? I don’t have all the answers yet. While I wish God would give me one swift answer – He hasn’t. And He won’t. He wants me to learn it for myself so I can apply it later in life and pass it along to others. If you think what we go through is only for us you are highly mistaken. Many times what we go through (minus free will) is for others… so we can know how to help that person. Imagine if we followed the script (the Bible) line by line and actually did what we were told to do – the influence we would have on others? Imagine the “brownie points” we would have with the Lord?! It doesn’t matter what the subject – finances, loving someone, encouragement, praying, stepping out, sharing our testimony… it all required obedience and He sees everything we choose to do or not do.

This week, I was reminded by the Lord of a few things. Last Friday in my prayer time He said, “Your blessings will continue to come as long as you are obedient.” Sunday morning’s service was all about finances. I knew that meant we were on the right path – but to keep going. Then He spoke to me early this week, “I will not take you out of here until you change your attitude. I have incurred this problem. You have to pass the test. I am watching.” As you can imagine the 2×4 was about as big as it could get. My own attitude had created a situation I wasn’t happy with at all… but for the Lord to tell me it is my own fault? Goodness, that took about a day to adjust to. So I dive into more prayer trying to fully understand His word. Yes, “attitude” is referencing my immediate tone with this situation but it also runs deeper. What I am beginning to discover is this: there is always a deeper reason for our actions besides what is on the surface. Not to sound like a psychologist – but it’s the truth. When I started to think about why I would have an attitude in this situation I realized I had deeper issues than I wanted to acknowledge. Now my flesh – here is me being brutally honest – doesn’t want to face “diving deeper”; however, God saying I have to pass the test and that He is watching makes me realize I don’t have a choice if I want to move forward. So where am I left? Angry, confused, feeling conquered, and often alone because it seems no one else could possibly be where I am. One day at a time is all I can take and unpeel one layer at a time and deal with it. I know, I know – I sound like a shrink – but it’s the truth. How can I deal with moving forward when I can’t even deal with my past? As hard as it is to be thankful in times of discomfort I am thankful God loves me enough to chastise me and reprimand me. He is my loving Father – enough to discipline His little girl.

SO… back to the original question. What to do when you are full of anger? God says love. And it’s hard! Everything I have read says to love. Not bite back – sabotage – speak badly against – but instead to turn another cheek. By turning another cheek God is showing us the power love has and He believes THAT is what changes people. Not money, wealth, status or any other worldly obtainable thing. Only love. This devotion I received today says it all… I can’t argue with the Word. I don’t necessarily care for it at the moment, haha, because I really don’t want to apply it. Again, brutal honesty. What is more frustrating is when you are starting to see people for who they might actually be and it’s not who you have convinced yourself they are. If you claim to have never been in this place you are lieing to yourself because if you have flesh on your bones you have been here.

44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, Most people believe in force: guns and armies. Most people believe in money: “financial power.” Many people believe in education, that “If we just educate people enough we can change the world.” Hardly anyone seems to believe in the power of love to change things. No one seems to think it would do any good to “turn the other cheek.”

Jesus didn’t tell us to “turn the other cheek” just so we could get beat up more. Jesus believes in the power of love. Jesus believes that evil can be overcome with good.

ROMANS 12:20-21 NKJ
20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

God still believes in the power of love. He believes that if you love enough, and for long enough, people will finally come to their senses and respond to that love.

JOHN 13:34-35 NIV
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus said the mark of His believers would be their love. Where did we go wrong?

SAY THIS: Lord, help me to believe in love, and to act in love.