Friday, October 21, 2011

Choose to Fellowship, Choose to Forgive

Today's reading teaches that in order to love eachother as Jesus loves us, we need to model Jesus' example in four areas: fellowship, forgiveness, acceptance, and sacrifice. Today we focus on the first two.

At the end of today's chapter we had two questions to consider. I have two answers for those questions :)

1. How can I take my experiences of fellowship a step deeper?
The book describes fellowship as "companionship of individuals in a congenial atmosphere." The two key words here are 'companionship' and 'congenial.' So in layman's terms: fellowship is spending time with people I like and doing things I enjoy doing with them.
I am a people person. I am also an activity person. I have an activity or two for every day, and usually I try to find a way to invite other people to most of them.
Whether it be an afternoon at the playground, icecream at the PX or an evening in the backyard, I am happier if I have other people around to share the experience with.
What I am noticing, though, is that far too much of what I would consider fellowship is scheduled around my kids' activities so they have opportunities to socialize. I enjoy the playground, icecream, and playing in the backyard because my kids do. However, I can take my experience of fellowship a step deeper by scheduling time together with friends doing grown-up activities too. Once upon a time, I used to like to do things that were not showcased on Nick Jr or Parents Connect. I need to take time to get back to that person, and I need to take some of my lady friends along with me!
Frankly, this might be a challenging time to start doing it, just because my husband is gone and I will need to find alternative care for my kids so I can do these activities. But where there is a will, there is always a way. ;)

2. Who is the person in my life I need to forgive?
ME! I know that sounds strange, so let me explain...
Of course, if you read yesterday's blog, you realize that I am not immune to anger or resentment against other people. I am, however, always quicker to make excuses for other people and to forgive other people of their transgressions than I am to forgive myself of my own. I take the blame and bear my guilt forever.
Call it the curse of being the first-born child. I am an extreme perfectionist, I am my harshest critic, and I am my toughest judge. I am telling the truth when I say that people usually get away with being nasty towards me because I am quick to decide what I must have done to make them act that way. No matter the offense, it is always largely my fault (or so I tell myself.)
Praise God for being so much more forgiving than I am! I need to have faith that when I ask for forgiveness, I am made clean. Then I can learn from my mistakes and move on. I need to quit blaming the mistakes of others on myself. I am not Jesus...I do not have to bear the burden of their sins. But I do need to forgive them as Jesus has forgiven me.

Someone give me an amen :)

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