At a Fuller Theological Seminary event I attended last week, a student from the Congo named Patrick asked an Anglican bishop, “How do you forgive those who have killed a member of your family?” The bishop answered, “It is very difficult.” In a private conversation afterwards, I asked Patrick, “Were any of them Christian?” “Yes,” he answered, “But they were of a different tribe.” This put my forgiveness struggles in perspective. Robert Muholland, a theologian and retired New Testament professor of Asbury Theological Seminary, recently said at our New Life Leadership Conference that forgiveness is the most difficult spiritual discipline. I think he is right. I have not thought of forgiving others as a discipline like prayer, Scripture study, worship, etc. This is a fresh nuance for me. It can take weeks, months, even years to forgive certain hurts done to us. The deeper the relational investment, the deeper the wound. Every leader in God’s church I have. Read more.
The journey into a profound spirituality for me began when I said, “I quit.” Take the following assessment below and see if you need to quit: You need the approval of others to feel good about yourself. You are angry, sad, or disappointed and feel guilty about it – or don’t want to admit it. You believe you don’t have choices. You do for others what they can and should do for themselves. You are so focused on others that you rarely consider your own hopes and dreams. You say “yes” when you would rather say “no”. You have difficulty speaking up when you disagree or prefer something different. You’re becoming a less loving person instead of a more, loving person. You are resentful and tired because you regularly “try to do it all.” You are afraid to admit your weaknesses and flaws. If two or three apply to you, you may need to. Read more.
I received a letter recently that I wrote to myself after a 3 day retreat over seven months ago. It reminded me again that I am the most difficult person for me to lead! The following are a few rich nuggets of gold from this short letter: 1. Remember what you are all about. (In my case, it was to take 30-50% of my time to write). 2. Guard your spirit from trifles, fast from overconsuming, and forget what others think. (See “The Woodcarver” story). 3. Feel your own weight and density. There is no need to wear other people’s faces (See the poem, “Now I Become Myself”). 4. Go to the fields and be lovely. Come back when you are through with blooming. (See the poem entitled, “Camas Lillies). 5. Stay the course and be kind to yourself. For a free sermon I preached on what it means to live a life where. Read more.