Always if I want to write about something simple I will put a photograph of my dog in. This is because, as you’ve seen from other posts, he has a simple view of life. His biggest decision he had to make this morning was whether he ran across the park to get a treat from someone he knew or not. In the end he decided it was a bit too far for just a small treat. But he appeared content with his decision.
Anyway I’ve not been to church for a long, long time. I try church on and off and then find that it all gets too much for me. I can’t do it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t hang out with God, don’t ponder the whole faith things – again as you will have noticed in these posts. But it is the complexity of the whole church thing I find hard work. [Interestingly I was reading a post on Facebook this morning that asked if maybe we knew too much and that from reading ALL the letters in the Bible we knew things that were never meant for us. An interesting thought. Perhaps we should only ever read the gospels and talk to God??]
So yesterday I was pondering, praying and planning for the series I want to start with the youth group I co-lead looking at The Lord’s Prayer so that the young people see The Lord’s Prayer as a template and not something you rattle through as fast as possible. [If you look back through my posts or search “Lords Prayer” you’ll see I’ve looked at a lot of this before] What struck me was the simplicity of it all.
Basic tenant – you have to believe in something not just bigger but beyond your understanding who created the WHOLE universe and also not only cares for you but loves you unconditionally just as you are. You are loved unconditionally by the Creator of the Universe. This Awesome Creator gives you everything you need each and every day for whatever situation you are. Not what you think you need or think you ought to have but the simplicity of what you need. But also you have to believe that what you get is what something/someone greater than you knows to be right.
I think that’s why Jesus said we were to say “Abba Father” because a good parent knows their children’s needs, especially when that child is under 10. Remember too that in Jesus’s culture children were moving into adulthood from their early teens and being expected to make their own way in their world, not as we treat children!
So this Amazing Creator thinks we are awesome just as we are and loves us just as we are. But we will make mistakes. The Creator knows that and doesn’t love us any less for it. Though we can love/like ourselves less when we make mistakes and not believe we are loved unconditionally just as we are. This, I believe, is why we have to forgive regularly. I have to forgive myself for each time I mess up, each time I lose it, each time I am fearful, each time I just don’t live up to who I truly am, etc, etc. And for me if I know that My Creator loves me unconditionally even when I screw up it is so much easier to forgive myself.
But then comes the hard bit – or at least I find this bit harder – I then have to forgive others. I am working on this and it is an ongoing process. But I also think it is why Jesus told Peter to forgive 70×7 or whatever the sum was. Because it is an ongoing thing not just for different offenses but often for the same offense. But if I believe am loved unconditionally then so is the person that hurt me. If I can be forgiven then so can the person who hurt me.
Just the other day I got hurt really badly. It hit on an old wound and reopened it. I wanted to lick it for a while. Instead I took this hurt to God and was reminded that I was going to be doing this whole Lord’s Prayer thing with these young people and I realised I need to forgive. It wasn’t easy because the person couldn’t see what they had done wrong. They felt justified in what they had said and done. But that didn’t matter. I still have to forgive. I had to let go.
I noticed I hadn’t forgiven when I was writing an email to someone and started to put my moans into it. Thank goodness I didn’t press send because I was able to delete it all and write something more uplifting.
No where though in this forgiveness process have I felt some heavy hand telling me I “Must“. It has been a gentle thing inside of me. I often wonder if because we are made in God’s image then there is a part of God inside of each and every one of us. And I do wonder if prayer is as much tapping into that as it is speaking to something outside of ourselves.
So Simple Christianity – I am loved unconditionally just the way I am, I can ask and receive what I need each and every day, I can be forgiven each and every moment of every day once I realise I’ve screwed up, BUT I need to let that flow outwards to others,, which means I have to love them unconditionally and be willing to forgive them every moment they do something that hurts me.
SIMPLE BUT NOT EASY