Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

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There’s something about being in my forties and heading toward fifty that got me thinking about my life… what have I accomplished? …will I leave a worthy legacy?  …what will I do next?

Mid-life crisis?  Maybe.  Natural progression of thought of a man growing older? Possible. Or is it something more dark and sinister? Could it be the roots of years of trying to measure up… years of being graded…. a lifetime of living for the accolades of others… worrying about making my mark… ambition fueled by the need to be recognized.

And, many would say, “What’s wrong with any of that? Isn’t it just being human?”  Well… maybe that’s true. However, whether it’s natural or not, I’m done with it. Finished with chasing false finish lines, and living up to my own self-induced standards of defining success; I’m through with collecting proverbial trophies in some lame attempt to justify my existence and earn my next opportunity.

I know… that is the way of our modern world: build your Resume in order to move ahead… get a better job… make a better life… make your mark.

Unfortunately…. That’s not going to work for me anymore.

You see… I BURNED MY RESUME. Yep…that’s right. Not only did I burn it, I shredded it.  Yeah, I literally took copies of my RESUME and shredded and burned it.

You know why? Because I am FREE!

Oh yeah… that’s right!

I have checked out of the pursuit of selfish ambition that leads to nowhere! Because I have realized that I have been a hypocrite. Yep… that’s been me… the selfish, prideful hypocrite building a resume that does not matter.

“Have you lost your mind?” you may ask.

Well… Maybe. But I don’t care. Because I am happy and free. Free from what? Free from me.

I have realized that to many times we allow our past mistakes and failures to rule our lives and guide our steps. However, an even more dangerous dilemma is when we allow our past Successes to hold us back from the great adventure that beckons us each day. We’re to busy “polishing trophies” and talking about “the good old days.”

Success can make us just as afraid of failure as failure can, because we become paralyzed by the concern of whether we can measure up one more time.

You know what…Who cares?!

Does it really matter!?

NO… NO and again I say NO!

Success is temporary. Failure is seldom fatal.

So what do I think matters?

Life…. Living… embracing the moment we are in.  And… knowing who we are regardless of what we have accomplished. Like I’ve said, I’ve been a hypocrite.

Hypocrite: a person who’s action do not match their stated beliefs.

As a stated follower of Jesus Christ, I have said that all that truly matters is what God thinks of me; my self-worth and value are determined by who I am in Christ, not in what I do or what others think of me.

Hypocrite! Hypocrite! Hypocrite!

Well… I’m done being a hypocrite. I want to walk in what I have preached and stated: I am loved by God and He is who I live for. What other people think of me or my own self-induced list of requirements to be successful is not what defines me.

And… I am free!

Free to truly love people as they are, because I’m not trying to prove my worth to them.

Free to take risks, because I am not bound by my past… good or bad.

Free to laugh, free to cry, free to live, free to give.

Free to delve into new relationships even though I’ve been hurt before.

Free to Forgive.

Free at last… Free at last… Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

                                           John 8:36

Yeah… I burned my resume, and yeah I might be crazy. But I’m free… I’m happy… and best of all… I can love and… I can love again. I can forgive. I can stop looking at others through their resumes and just see people who God loves unconditionally, and I can do the same.

So… here I go… into a life without resumes. Measured only by the love of Christ and measuring others with the same.

It’s gonna be fun!

Wanna come along?

(Thank you to my friend who looked me in the eye and said, “Harlan, it’s time to shred your resume.” I am forever grateful.)

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He looked me in the eyes.  I looked back. He licked his lips as he stepped closer.  I moved to the other side of the couch, and turned away.  When I turned back, he had disappeared. Then…

As quickly as I could turn around, IT was gone. My perfectly grilled piece of chicken had vanished…and so had he…our dog Shiloh.

A perfectly grilled piece of chicken is one of the things I look forward to in the summer.  I love to grill and I love chicken.  I have learned the art of marinating; using just the right amount of heat; timing the turning of the chicken at just the right time. And when it is done…the flavor is magnificent and the meat is tender. Unfortunately, Shiloh our dog also appreciates my grilling skills!

Like a tasty piece of grilled chicken, most things worth having in life require an investment of time, practice and dedication. And nothing hurts more than when you have invested yourself into something worthwhile, only to have it stolen, lost, or destroyed.  A piece of chicken can easily be replaced; but what about the things that really matter, like…relationships?

There may be no greater pain than investing your emotions, heart, soul, energy and all that you are into a relationship only to have it end. We have all felt that sting.  It can cause our hearts to be guarded and full of suspicion.  It can make us leery of any and all relationships. It can cause us to hold up bitterness and unforgiveness as heroic symbols of our pain and loss. It can keep us from trusting anyone ever again.

In the moment of greatest loss, pain, self-denial and suffering, Jesus cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” His closest followers had betrayed and abandoned Him. He was alone on the cross, giving all He had for all mankind, including the very ones who betrayed Him, left Him, and falsely accused Him.

His words in that moment could have been a diatribe of insults and accusations towards all who had put Him there. But instead, he once again did what few of us could do.  He looked past the pain of the moment and into the power and hope of the future.  His life was being given for us to have life; but even while he was giving His life away, he did not hold anything against those who brought Him his present pain.  Instead, he chose to love.

What an example.

May the pain of relationships lost cause us to be more like Jesus instead of being trophies of suffering that we keep as reminders to keep others at a distance.  God, help us to forgive and try again.

One last thing…if anyone has seen my dog Shiloh, please send him home, because that’s my piece of chicken he’s holding in his mouth. Father, forgive Him!