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Loving in Loss

P1020723Two days ago dear friends lost an adult son in a tragic work accident. This morning I received an e-mail from the father who described what happened last night when their grieving family reached out to the man who had accidentally killed their son, brother, husband, and father.

The note described not only their overwhelming concern for the man responsible for their loss, but how a devastated and broken man tearfully responded to the outstretched arms and hearts of a widow, her daughters, and a whole family of bereaved loved ones.

In a world populated with hurt and wronged people… who hurt and wrong others— accidentally or intentionally, mindlessly or mindfully, with or without a sense of consequence— everyone ends up losing something of their own life whenever something is taken at the expense of another.

Loss is not only the legacy of a victim. Loss overtakes us when we find ourselves faced with what we have done to the harm of others—intentionally or accidentally.

Who among us has not hurt and been hurt? Who can afford to not receive or give the grace that is our only hope for this life and the next?

Where can we go but to the One who cried when he saw how deeply a community and family loved the man that he was about to call back from the grave?

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48 Responses to “Loving in Loss”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Having worked in underground coal mines for as long as I did, I went to several funerals for men who had been killed at work. Yes husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, and friends. Such pain is almost unfathomable in a world of believing that God loves us and watches over us the *loss* is far reaching.

    One such fellow had been camping in the spring along a river with his young family, when his two year old son disappeared. A large search party with State Police tracking dogs were called in to help look for the child. The dogs ran down to the river and stopped.

    All hope was lost and the search called off. That fall hunters found the body of the little fellow only about a half mile from the camp site away from the river. He had wandered off got lost sat down and awaited rescue, then died in the cold of that spring night.

    The family was devastated, but who do you “blame” for this tragic death; his mother, father, the dogs, the search party, God?

    A few years later this same man was working with others on a long wall shear deep underground. The shear, a large drum with large bits or teeth that is used to cut the coal from the seam had to be removed in order to replace a bearing. The drum was stuck and as the men worked to remove it with hydraulic jacks our friend looked around in front of the drum to see if he could see anything when it popped loose.

    It crushed his skull killing him instantly.

    This family who had already buried a two year old child now had to bury his father.

    The widow sued everyone connected to the accident, except of course her husband whom was as much to blame as any of the others, she buried him.

    My father had a name for such money derived from suing someone over the death of another “blood money”.

    He wondered to me how anyone could ever enjoy having it or spending it.

    Forgiveness is the only medicine for such pain as everyone involved is in pain and the only cure is love in its many forms.

    My heart goes out to Mart’s friends and to the person who feels responsible, though some may ask where God was and feel let down by Him as well. Do you think sometimes we have to forgive God too as we look for answers and healing?


  2. Bill says:

    Good Morning,

    Mart, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friends’ son. I know such pain impacts you and your family as well. So please accept our condolences. This has to be a difficult time for everyone who knew the young man who died.

    Your blog post follows a conversation I had last night with a wise man who told me, “Everyone is doing the best they can. Cut them some slack.”

    I had asked him for advice about confronting someone and he said, “Softer is better.”

    In other words, he took note of the fact – as you did in your blog post today – that we’re all human beings.

    You wrote:

    ** In a world populated with hurt and wronged people… who hurt and wrong others — accidentally or intentionally, mindlessly or mindfully, with or without a sense of consequence — everyone ends up losing something of their own life whenever something is taken at the expense of another. **

    That’s very similar to what my friend told me last night.

    We’re all doing the best we can – even when tragedy strikes by accident, as it did with your friends’ son.

    What the family did by reaching out to the person responsible was remarkable, truly an inspiration…and an example of compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love that is rare these days.

    I feel terrible for all concerned. But I am grateful that you shared this with us today. It’s a reminder to me that we’re all human beings who are hurting and wronged. So when I interact with others…

    Softer is better.

    Love to All,


  3. joycemb says:

    What comes to mind this morning is how connected we all are. We all share in the same feelings of loss, separation, grief and pain, and what better way to express that connectedness than to empathize and if that is hard to do then just take a moment to put oneself in the shoes of the other. I too am feeling sadness over the loss of Marts friends’ son, as I lost my own son when he was 20 in a terrible accident also. Yes, Jesus certainly knows about loss and does empathize with us.

  4. poohpity says:

    Jesus knows! He knew the bigger picture with Lazarus yet was right there sharing in the sorrows with those around Him. He knows! He shared in the whole human experience and who better to comfort than one who knows. He knows we will hurt others and be hurt by them yet knows the bigger picture.

    I have no idea what losing a child is like but I know it must be devastating sending my deepest sympathy. Thank you Mart for sharing what a gracious, loving response looks like.

  5. belleu says:

    Since losing my grandson three years ago, I can relate to this suffering family. It is so wonderful that God has given them all hearts full of forgiveness. May the Lord be with them giving them comfort and peace.

    The day after my grandson died, no one knew the cause. One of his friends thought it was the drug he gave him. He said to me, “I’ve killed my best friend!” He was inconsolable. I told him, “He isn’t dead; he is with God now.” We hugged and cried together. Another young man thought it might have been him who killed Craig. They had been rough-housing and he hit Craig pretty hard on the head. He was horrified at the thought it may have been his fault. Craig’s mother, my daughter Sandy, called his family and said, “If it was you, we forgive and love you.”

    It turned out to be Craig’s own doing by drinking too much alcohol and having asthma. While he lay face down on a sofa he smothered. Our precious boy was gone.

    The loss of one you love so much is terrible; but God’s grace is sufficient to comfort and help you. I still can’t look at pictures of Craig without feeling sick inside but I go to God and he gives me peace. My daughter blamed herself for not being a good enough mother. I kept wondering, “What more could we have done for him?”

    Well, we all have to leave Craig to God, who loaned us that wonderful boy for 21 years. I do believe he will go with us to heaven on the last day when the dead are raised.

    When I think of the many times I have made mistakes in driving, I’m so thankful I have never hurt or killed anyone. There are so many accidents in the world and we should remember that we could have caused one too that took a life so we should be as forgiving as your friends are.

  6. bubbles says:

    Tragedy has a way of quickly pulling important things into focus and helps us see what is not important.

  7. belleu says:

    Joy, I am sorry about your son. May God give us, and everyone who has lost a loved one, grace and strength.

    Bill, I appreciate what your friend said to you. Yes, all of us have lives full of struggle and we are all doing our best. Softer is better. I think Jesus lived by that. He was very soft with his disciples.

  8. street says:

    stumbling blocks / unforgiveness, sin, death…

    restoration of life / Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Love, Resurrection

    getting stuck on a stumbling block is a very painful experience, much like doubters castle in pilgrim’s progress. not being able to forgive, even yourself, is a big one. only God in His Great Mercy can move a soul past these kinds of debts. a heart of gratitude and joy will turn back to Him and say,”Thank You!” and worship!
    God bless your relationship.

  9. SFDBWV says:

    I have two directions this morning for my thoughts to go pertaining to this subject. The first being in reference to Mart’s mentioning Jesus weeping as he came to raise Lazarus up from the grave, 4 days dead.

    I am old enough that I have heard many other’s explanations of why Jesus would have wept knowing that in just a few moments weeping would turn to joy.

    I have come to wonder if the incident has only *one* explanation or if it may mean different things to different peoples and if they all are correct.

    Thinking in concert with that concept makes me wonder about so many other incidents of Scripture and how each and every one may have a multitude of purpose, not just one explanation and the cause of why so many people disagree over Scripture. Because it may be meant as a personal message to each heart.

    Psalms 30:5 is one of those verses of Scripture I am reminded of nearly every morning as I stand outside and watch the colors of the sky changing from dark to light as the morning rises.

    I sometimes think of every broken heart and how marvelous it is that those who believe and trust Jesus have hope that in the darkest hour of their soul there is hope that in the morning *joy* will replace weeping.

    My second thought will wait until later this morning, as I let my first one sink into my being.


  10. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    As I rose this a.m. I prayed, “Lord Jesus, this day may it be what you have willed it to be — my nation deliberating war — thirteen years out from a time of massive loss in NY, Washington DC and a field in Pennsylvania.”

    Mart, you wrote:

    “Loss is not only the legacy of a victim. Loss overtakes us when we find ourselves faced with what we have done to the harm of others—intentionally or accidentally.”

    The old saying that “sin has consequences” does bear
    reflection as your friend, Mart, your co-worker Steve, your son Joy, your grandson Belleu must leave our midst. With no direct guilt or personal responsibility, it seems to me, there is cause to grieve when wave after wave of sorrow washes over our lives in this world.

    Thankfully, Mart you conclude your post:

    “Who among us has not hurt and been hurt? Who can afford to not receive or give the grace that is our only hope for this life and the next?

    Where can we go but to the One who cried when he saw how deeply a community and family loved the man that he was about to call back from the grave?”

    The death and raising of Lazarus are the foretaste of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus wept (John 11:35). So, there is affirmation of our tears — the Lord is moved, just as we are. (Psalm 56:8)


  11. SFDBWV says:

    There is a story in our local paper this morning updating us on the 2010 coal mine explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine owned by Massey Energy that killed 29 men.

    The story says that after a long and exhausted study of the explosion that it was “manmade and preventable”. Four mining officials were prosecuted already for falsifying records and lying to investigators.

    I could easily begin an editorial as how nothing about the story is unique or new in the mining industry, but I want rather to speak of the subject of forgiveness.

    Mart’s story sounds as though the young man’s death was an accident and the man who felt responsible forgiven and consoled by the victim’s family as should be.

    However what happens when the *accidental* death looks more like manslaughter and negligence, even purposeful negligence is at fault? As I understand it Jesus tells us to forgive without exception.

    Can we honestly say that we can forgive people who kill a loved one out of criminal negligence and mean it? Do we feel that they should not be prosecuted and simply forgiven and move on?

    There is a lot more to living in loss than being able to love in loss if we are honest with ourselves and with others.


  12. poohpity says:

    Steve, the Foley’s seemed to think so.

    What makes any of us any different from anyone else when we realize we have been given grace. We have all done things not worthy of forgiveness but yet we have received it from the One who had every right to condemn and sit in judgement. If it was good enough for Jesus then it is good enough for me no matter the circumstance.

  13. street says:

    lately i have been think of death as God’s nuclear option. when confronted with death we begin to think about what really is true and what is not so true. death points to God, because of what is written in the Bible, and reveals the temporariness of man on earth. you are right mart. “Who among us has not hurt and been hurt? Who can afford to not receive or give the grace that is our only hope for this life and the next?”
    we need Him more than our next breath or next heart beat.
    oh where can i go for comfort from this sin stained body of death? oh my soul to the Lord Jesus ruler of life and death.

  14. joycemb says:


  15. joycemb says:

    Such a sad day today. Funerals, and also the news reminding us of 9/11 13 years ago today and all the sons and daughters lost. When I am down I go to music, “Bless The Lord, Oh My Soul” by Matt Redmond expresses the deep trust the battered soul finds in Jesus.

  16. SFDBWV says:

    Last evening while discussing this subject with my wife I was reminded of what Paul had to say concerning *revenge*.

    First one has to read the full chapter of Romans 12, but my particular attention was drawn to Romans 12:20 whereas Paul says concerning an enemy “for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

    My thoughts then focus on the intent of doing good for your enemy. The true motive for kindness shown towards those who show you evil.

    Is it to show them a better way? To teach an enemy, in hopes of turning him into a brother? Or is it to “heap coals of fire on his head”?

    Personally I like Romans 12:2 whereas we are encouraged not to be conformed to this world, but transformed so we can prove the will of God.

    Action instead of just words.

    As well as another reminder of just how perfect Jesus is and I am not.

    Like the men who begrudgingly threw down their stones walking away from the adulteress in obedience to Jesus, they weren’t all that pleased with justice not being served in favor of mercy. Romans 12:19 reminds us to leave revenge up to God, but once again are we hoping for mercy for a violator or for God’s perfect justice to eventually prevail. Where is the intent of our heart?

    Once again for me I may *want* to feel I may have fully forgiven someone, but there is always a nagging resentment that hangs on to every forgiveness given from my lips and not completely my heart.

    So because I am honest about my feelings, am I then doomed to face judgment as a result?

    Not according to Jesus who says to all who have nailed Him to the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    Reading the news I see that Pistorius was found not guilty of murder, but rather of culpable homicide. His wife’s family is not pleased.


  17. bubbles says:

    Sometimes forgiveness comes quickly and other times I think forgiveness is a process. I have had to ask God to help me forgive someone, and then a while later, I have to ask for help again. He will help us forgive if we ask, I think.

    When we don’t forgive, it would be like drinking poison and hoping another person would get sick from it.

  18. cbrown says:

    Bubbles, I love the point made in your post above. it can also be modified slightly to- I have had to ask God to forgive me and then a while later, I have had to ask for forgiveness again. 1 John 1:5b “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” verse 7 ‘but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

  19. SFDBWV says:

    There is a news story that started yesterday and somewhat concluded today about a 19 year old who escaped from a prison in Lima Ohio. T.J. lane is serving time for the murder of 3 students and wounding 2 others one of which is paralyzed.

    While in court during his trial and sentencing he was defiant flipping the bird at the courtroom and showing no regard for the families of his victims as they spoke during the sentencing procedure.

    Though captured this morning before being apprehended, State Police were staying with his victims’ families and the school where the murders had taken place was closed as a precautionary measure.

    Amazing that he still can cause pain for some many.

    Can any of you truthfully say that the families of his victim’s should forgive this man and if not, be in jeopardy of judgment from God for not doing so?

    What kind of society do you think we would have if we simply forgave every offender against people or the state? What kind of love are you then showing victims of rape or murder or a long list of sins against people by allowing their assailants to go free?

    Mart’s story is about an accidental death and from what I understand a very sorry individual who felt responsible, and love and forgiveness covering and aiding the healing process.

    However there is a world of other circumstances whereby it isn’t quite as easy to offer love and forgiveness, especially when it isn’t ask for.

    Are we then left to feel guilty because we want to see justice prevail?

    Life isn’t simple and hiding ones head in the sand doesn’t make all of the bad things or people in this world go away. While we await God to exact His perfect judgment we have to protect ourselves and our neighbors from a long list of dangers. That means sometimes we have to punish offenders as well as show mercy when applicable.


  20. cbrown says:

    Their were 2 men crucified with Christ. One repented and one did not and that it is between God and them.If I do not choose to personally take ownership of every injustice reported in the newspaper am I “hiding ones head in the sand”?Should I share the Gospel with a man serving a life sentence with no chance of parole or should I seek permission to stand outside his cell and mock him?

  21. poohpity says:

    I forgive because I have been forgiven. You are so right bubbles if I do not it is like drinking poison hoping the other person gets sick. Good one! Anger, bitterness and hatred only harms the one carrying those feelings. I am unable to do it as quickly as the Lord did but it is a process that He seems happy to help me through. How the Lord helps me through that process is by reminding me all that He has forgiven me for.

  22. poohpity says:

    No one deserves to be forgiven, it is only by God’s amazing grace we are. Christianity 101 the fundamentals of our faith, spiritual milk as it were.

  23. SFDBWV says:

    Chris why is it that anytime I speak of crime and punishment you sound offended? I hope I am mistaken, but nowhere in my comments are there any remarks designed to demonize criminals and say they are outside of forgiveness.

    The thrust of my comments are that it is easy to say we forgive someone who has hurt us, but sometimes it is more difficult than just saying it, that is if we are honest.

    Is the man you speak of serving a life sentence there because of an offence against you or someone in your family?

    Would you be as quick to befriend him if he were? Honestly!

    In times past and perhaps still in some places today, a murderer is given ample opportunity to make his peace with God before his execution; but just like at Calgary still executed for his offence.

    Today in the news is an interview with the mother of the American journalist who was beheaded by Isis. Publicly she and her husband have stated their forgiveness of their son’s killer, but today she is “appalled and disappointed” at the American governments mishandling of the whole matter; forgiveness for one but not the other.

    Odd your speaking of the two criminals at either side of Jesus, as one ask for forgiveness and one didn’t. Does that mean one was forgiven and the other not?


  24. street says:

    SFDBWV says:
    September 11, 2014 at 6:12 am

    I have two directions this morning for my thoughts to go pertaining to this subject.

    been thinking of the two ways we can view death. most of the time we view death as punishment and sometimes as a gift and on rare occasions both. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked and neither should we. do take note of what people say and do because that is what is in their heart. if the angles rejoice in one repentant can you even imagine what takes place when one of His adopted children comes home for good?! think of the prodigal son. what a Great Hope we have in Jesus and a Father that spared nothing to conform us to perfection. thank God for separation that teaches us and molds us with good and evil for the Glory of God. He is for us in a very good way, there is no darkness in Him! God bless every thought and intent that conforms to the will of Him who loves you.

  25. belleu says:

    I think forgiveness and justice are two different things. We can for give someone for murdering our child, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to go to jail. Of course he does; he may murder someone else!

    I have read of people who go to jail to give Bible studies to people who have murdered their loved one. This is forgiveness. We look on a person as someone God loves and wants to be saved. We look on a killer as someone who may not be eternally lost and needs God’s love.

    Even Christians, when they sin, usually reap what they sow in this world.

  26. street says:

    even when people realize justice is served by capital punishment there is still great lose. sure there is lose from the offense committed, but there is lose from the criminal from what could have been and should have been. like blessings and goodness instead of the curse of man.
    sure sinners sin but don’t let those who call them selves christians suffer from doing evil because it profanes the Name of God. i guess this brings us back to accidents or short comings.

    4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

    6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

    7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

    8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

  27. cbrown says:

    Belleu, when I was responding to your post this morning I wanted to include the verse “be holy for I,the Lord your God am holy”. I thought that it was in 1 John.I then referenced 1 John 1. Steve in your post you referred to who I might have talked to last night. One of the men has 5 more years to complete his sentence. We were talking and he would not tell me his name. Finally, he went and got his I.D. and contritely handed it to me. His first name is Leviticus. Later this morning I turned to Leviticus. The summary at the beginning reads,”‘holiness’ or ‘holy’ appears more than 150 times. Observe also the repeated command:be holy for I, the Lord your God am holy'(11:44,45;19:2:7,26)also 1 Peter 1:16.God commands his chosen people to strive for holiness. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can become what God has predestined us to be. A light in the darkness.

  28. bubbles says:

    There is withholding forgiveness and then there is bitterness. They can be two different things.

    God forgives us when we as for forgiveness. So I think people saying we have to forgive without being asked is saying we have to do something that even God doesn’t do.

    What I was referring to was more of being bitter towards another in not forgiving. I think we can withhold forgiveness if not having been asked for it, but it does not have to make us bitter.

    I am not good at communicating, I am sorry.

  29. poohpity says:

    Steve, how on earth can you assume they do not forgive the government just because they are “appalled and disappointed” in them. That has nothing to do with forgiveness.

    Forgiveness does not mean whatever was done was OK and right or goes without consequences. It does not mean you will ever forget. It means you are trusting God with it. It does not mean one will not seek the judicial process. One is giving up what they feel is their right to punish and take revenge.

  30. poohpity says:

    If one ever had to wait on someone to ask for forgiveness then most would go to their grave before that ever happened. Jesus forgave without being asked to.

  31. poohpity says:

    Matt 6:12,14; Mark 11:25; Eph 4:32; Col 3:13

  32. jeff1 says:

    Its not surprising today that many people are turning away from Christianity. I listed to a preacher who said a lot of people who believed in God no longer called themselves Christian. That is not surprising when I read on this blog the expectations that bloggers here have of Christians i.e. having to forgive evil terrorists for carrying out barbaric acts. Does anyone here actually believe that Satan exists and that their is still a war between good and evil. These terrorist do not care about God’s ways or they would never behave in such a barbaric way. As Christians we must condemn such acts against God and mankind otherwise we might as well be on Satan’s side.

  33. street says:

    Bubbles said

    There is withholding forgiveness and then there is bitterness. They can be two different things.

    this looks like a grenade with a pin missing.

    Dear bubbles let me explain. remember the saying you reap what you sow? I always took that in the negative never in the positive and maybe rightly so because some do not respond at all. negative sowing evil/ positive sowing good. you are right forgiveness and justice are two different “animals” i use this term because both can destroy you if you let them. David had a son he did not forgive, turned out badly. sure you can withhold forgiveness. love requires forgiveness, but i warn you justice requires love too. seeking justice is the first requirement.you can not get to mercy till after justice
    or you profane righteousness. the death and resurrection of Jesus is the best thing ever for happen for mankind. it takes love to explain it properly.

    i know you did not mention justice, but you implied it by withholding forgiveness, a really bad place to be.
    Matthew 6:15

  34. poohpity says:

    I wanted to share a praise. My oldest son had some of his pictures published of his girlfriend. It was the cover and pages 22-28 of java mag az dot com. :-)

  35. poohpity says:

    The Foley’s used what happened to their son from both the government and IS to form a foundation for others who are going through the same thing for support. Turning evil to good that seems to be the kind of thing a forgiven heart will do.

  36. street says:

    there is no forgiveness unless they receive it freely. receiving forgiveness implies repentance. even isis understands this and uses a rifle barrel. thinking two godless political organizations can negotiate justice between individuals sounds like another crime. only when two parties fear God and there is enough evidence for godly third party to decide. you might get what you are looking for. the Bible says to settle before you get there. i also recommend you not lie even if you can get an easier sentences or a better settlement. God plays no favorites and negotiating with some one who loves you is crazy. Abraham would have sold out Lot, God stepped in to save him. later on he saved him. can’t remember if it was before or after sodom. now i know i am way off topic. so much for death, life is so much more fun in all it’s forms!

  37. belleu says:

    If God says to love our enemies, do you think he loves Satan? I do. Satan was once a created angel of God’s. He fell and took many other angels with him. I think God loves Satan and feels sorry for him, but he can’t change him or save him – he has gone too far and it is impossible.

    There is a galactic war between good and evil. We can hate evil acts, like terrorism, but does that give us the freedom to hate the people who carry out the acts? No. God is love, he cannot hate anyone. He wants us to be like him. God also told people and nations their acts were horrible and sinful, but he asked them to turn to him and be saved. “Why will you die?” he asked them.

    My sister thinks you don’t have to forgive someone unless they ask for forgiveness. But Jesus on the cross asked God to forgive those who crucified him. God would forgive them if they repented, but he can’t if the don’t. Jesus was our example and forgave those people as he was dying so we should do as he did.

  38. SFDBWV says:

    For two days I have been trying to remember who it was I read about some time ago who had done an extraordinary act of kindness and still His name escapes me, sorry.

    He is something of a well known individual who had left a large sum of money with a friend and went off to serve in the Armed forces during the First World War

    The friend had tried to make the best of the situation by investing the money, but lost it all. He felt so badly about losing his friends money that he committed suicide.

    After his return from WWI the celebrity whom I can’t recall his name felt responsible for the death of his friend and for the reminder of her life he financially helped take care of his dead friends widow.

    I apologize for not remembering the name of the man, but the story remains with me as a real true act of loving through loss and showing of a noble heart.

    Atonement should be the reaction of forgiveness, sometimes we have to not only say we forgive someone, but show them we do. Just as when we are forgiven we need to make atonement for our trespass however possible.

    These are acts of love, not just empty words.


  39. bubbles says:

    Give a verse that says we must forgive those who haven’t asked for forgiveness. If they ask, we should forgive.

    God doesn’t do that with us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us. If we don’t ask for it, He doesn’t forgive.

    We are telling Christians to do something that even God doesn’t do.

    I still say we can withhold forgiveness and not have bitterness in us.

  40. SFDBWV says:

    The night before last I had a very strange dream that I can remember only in part.

    It was one of those daylight dreams and in a familiar place outside just above the view. However what was stranger was that I was talking to God or rather He was talking to me.

    He was showing me a large stew pot or cauldron and in it was some kind of mush cooking that was yellow and looked like squash cut up in some kind of semi liquid stuff.

    He was explaining to me that people can’t help be the way they are because once they ate this they became just as the animals and animals can only be animals and nothing else.

    I have been trying to figure out the dream as well for a couple days. It seems to almost be as much of a warning as an explanation.

    One of the components of forgiveness is understanding or even sympathizing with an offender. Realizing that, depending upon the offence, the offender can’t stop himself from whatever it is he has done because that is who he is and he doesn’t know how to be anything else.

    Such a person is to be pitied and not condemned for being what they are.

    I believe that Bubbles is right in that on the surface if a person does not ask for forgiveness we are under no obligation to forget that persons offense. Yet as long as we don’t let go of the bitterness of the act against us it still holds a power over us.

    The only power then to be released from its grip is to forgive by way of its not being important to us anymore.

    Forgive-forget-be set free.

    Just been thinking about….Good morning Bubbles, I see you are up early too. It is 56 degrees and drizzle here, looks like a cool fall day ahead.


  41. bubbles says:

    I’ve worked late every night this week. The grass is high because of the rain. The yard needs mowed but it’s raining again. I have something that needs done on Monday night. I don’t mow grass on Sunday but if it’s not done today, it’s not getting done. . .
    I can’t mow in the rain.

  42. belleu says:

    “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matt. 5:44 I’ve always thought that to love your enemies would include forgiveness. But I do understand what you mean that it seems strange to forgive what someone has not asked to be forgiven.

    I think if we don’t forgive then bitterness will be the result even if we don’t want to be bitter.

  43. Bill says:

    Good Morning,

    These comments have gotten into an interesting area…as well as the inevitable disagreements.

    A couple of comments. Take them for what they’re worth.

    1. I think belleu is correct (September 13, 2014 at 8:16 am) when she wrote:

    “I think if we don’t forgive then bitterness will be the result even if we don’t want to be bitter..”

    I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever experience, seen, heard, or read about unforgiveness that didn’t fester, become bitterness. There is no positive aspect to unforgiveness.

    I believe the danger in not forgiving outweighs whatever “right” we have not to forgive.

    *** See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; (Hebrews 12:15 ESV) ***

    I think the “root of bitterness” takes hold much too quickly in those who do not forgive.

    2. bubbles (September 13, 2014 at 5:03 am) wrote:

    “Give a verse that says we must forgive those who haven’t asked for forgiveness. If they ask, we should forgive.”

    How about Matthew 10:8?

    “…Freely you have received; freely give…”

    Or how about John 3:16:

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV)


    “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34 ESV)

    The entire story of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, centers on a God who chose to forgive us when we didn’t even give a crap about him.

    “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8 ESV)

    I think the concept of forgiveness is written throughout the Bible. I do not think it is ours to withhold, at any time, for any reason.

    You wrote:

    “God doesn’t do that with us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us. If we don’t ask for it, He doesn’t forgive.”

    I disagree. He has forgiven us, whether we ask for it or not. Why? Because Jesus died on the cross to wipe out our sins. All of them. Forever. Gone. God has forgiven all.

    Our asking or not asking for forgiveness has no bearing on what God does at this point. He already did it. Our asking is for OUR benefit, so that “no root of bitterness” arises.

    You wrote:

    “I still say we can withhold forgiveness and not have bitterness in us.”

    Not possible. Never has been. Never will be.

    Please show me one person on the planet who harbors unforgiveness who is NOT bitter about something, or is NOT double-minded in all his/her ways, or is NOT unable to freely give love and compassion. I don’t think you can show me such a person. Unforgiveness ALWAYS leads to bitterness. That’s the nature of human beings.

    How do I know this? Because CONFESSION – whether in the strict Catholic sense of revealing sins to a priest, or in the Protestant sense of confessing our sings to God – is cathartic. It heals. It relieves. It makes us right.

    If confession is necessary for inner healing, what does NOT confessing (holding unforgiveness against another) do to us?

    I don’t think we have a choice. I think we are to freely forgive if we are to be whole, healthy people.

    To put it another way: What possible reason could one have NOT to forgive, even if the other person did not ask for it? Can anyone think of a sound reason not to do that?


  44. joycemb says:

    Good morning all,

    I Cor. 13:5 speaks of one of the ways of love.

    I love you all,

  45. joycemb says:

    I Cor. 13:5 NLT is what I meant to reference speaks I think to forgiving.

  46. jeff1 says:

    I think you are all very mature in your walk with God but remember many are still struggling. I was brought up with preachers who told us God wanted to punish us for our sins therefore when bad things happened I believed it was Gods wrath. I don’t believe that people intentionally hold on to bitterness but it creeps up on them when they have not been able to forgive. Peoples reasons are complex and hurting people find it more difficult than those who have passed that stage. It is good to know that God understands this and is patient with all as it is easy to feel left behind when you see others are maturing quicker. That is why we should be slow to judge others for all our circumstances are so different. Also remember that hurt people also turn away from God and need time. I listen to the song ‘One day at a time Sweet Jesus’ when life start to overwhelm me and it is very soothing to a troubled mind or heart.

  47. Bill says:

    That was beautifully put, Jeff. Thank you for the reminder.

  48. jeff1 says:

    Thanks for your comment Bill. It is nice to get feedback.

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