"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
April 6, 2016
Have you ever got your feelings hurt or felt offense over something; than later learned that there was absolutely no reason for you to have felt that way? Perhaps there was a misunderstanding, or you thought you were being ignored, or you thought people were saying or thinking things that they really weren't, or your perception of what happened or didn't happen was wrong?
I'm sure that we have all felt that way at one time or another. It's easy to feel sorry for ourself or feel as if no one cares or feel as if we've been slighted, when we've been offended or had our feelings hurt. Perhaps when that occurs, we need to step back and look at the situation and see if what we think is going on or what has happened is really the truth, or if it's a misperception.
This happened to me recently. Yes, I get my feelings hurt and get offended from time to time; even though I try not to!
Last week, Jon found out that he had to fly out of town to work over the weekend. The day before he was scheduled to leave, he started having back spasms and was in quite a bit of pain. His flight was in the afternoon, so that morning we went out for a late breakfast, before Jon went into the office to pack what supplies he needed to take and catch up on some details he needed to see to before leaving town. I could tell that Jon was really hurting. He was moving slowly and would wince from time to time. I felt so badly for him! I was worried that flying on a plane, sleeping in a hotel, and being on a job site for long hours would only aggravate his back issues.
I posted a request on Facebook to a personal Horton family page that is set up, as well as to a page that is set up for our church people, asking people to please pray for Jon and letting them know what was going on. Hours went by, and no one responded on either page! I felt a little slighted and it really kind of hurt my feelings that absolutely no one posted, saying that they were praying for him. I thought, "When anyone else posts something, they always have a lot of people comment that they're praying; and they are shown love and concern! Does nobody like me and Jon or care about what's going on with us?"
After a few hours, I was looking at the posts and realized that it didn't show that anyone had even seen them. Hmm, that was odd!! I started thinking about it..... there have been times when I've posted something using my phone or iPad and the post don't show up, for whatever reason. There is an online game that I play on Facebook with a brother-in-law. We can message one another on that game page; but I cannot send a message, nor do I see messages on those two devices. I can only do so on my laptop. It dawned on me that I had typed those two posts on my iPad, not on my laptop; therefore, it wasn't showing up for anyone to even read!! I asked my sister, who I knew had been on both pages, and she said that she hadn't seen my post on either page.
What I "thought" was people ignoring me or not caring, wasn't that at all! They didn't even see my posts and know that Jon was needing prayer! I had got my feelings hurt and felt offense for absolutely no valid reason.
Proverbs 18:19 says, "An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars."
Perhaps there are times when someone does say or do something outright that we hear or see, and it does cause us hurt. What should our response be? Should we harbor unforgiveness and hold onto that offense? Should we keep bringing it up over and over again, telling others about the incident? We humans are awful guilty about "sharing" with others when someone has wronged us! We think that it somehow makes us feel better to tell someone about what happened and get them on our side; giving us sympathy and pity. I've been guilty of this; more times than I'd like to admit.
This past week I've been reading from Matthew and there were some scriptures that stood out to me, even though I've read them numerous times.
(Matthew 18:21-35 NLT) Peter asked Jesus, "Lord how often should I forgive someone who who sins against me? Seven times?" Peter may have felt as if he was being pretty generous, with forgiving someone who offends or sins against him seven times! My goodness, most of us feel as if we're being pretty godly and generous if we forgiven someone once or twice; but surely seven times is above and beyond what God would expect of us! Perhaps Peter felt like Jesus would think he was being really a godly man for thinking that forgiving someone seven times was enough.
But Jesus replied, "No, not seven times, but seventy times seven!" What?!?! That sounds crazy! We often have a hard time forgiving someone one time. I mean really forgive, where we never bring it up again and leave it behind us in the past and move one!
Jesus shared this parable to bring His point home:
"The Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn't pay, so his master ordered that he be sold -- along with his wife his children, and everything he owned -- to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master and begged him, 'Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all." Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.
"But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. 'Be patient with me, and I will pay it,' he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn't wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, 'You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn't you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt."
This is the moral of the parable that Jesus spoke to the disciples, which we need to take heed to today: "That's what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart." Whoa!! When Jesus says to forgive someone seventy times seven, He means business!!
Next time you (or me) gets offended and harbors unforgiveness in our heart towards someone, perhaps we need to reread this passage of scripture and be reminded of how often our Father has forgiven us our trespasses, which if totaled in monetary value would equal "millions of dollars"; yet we refuse to forgive someone for a "few thousand dollar offense" and want them to be punished to the fullest and suffer for their wrong-doings. That puts things in perspective!!
I've heard that in the Greek language in Jesus's time, and probably in the customs in the Roman empire, the number 70 times 7 is kind of like infinity in modern English. I've heard that the Greek language had an older number system that was already obsolete, or maybe ancient by then, that only counted up to 60. That's where 60 seconds per minute and 60 minutes per hour comes from.
But I've also heard, "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." That is pretty cynical compared to "fool me once, no problem; fool me 489 more times, that's okay, too." Society these days actually looks down on someone who forgives easily. They are called saps, dupes, or doormats.
If it's too hard to be willing to trust someone, even after they've needed forgiveness, maybe we can start with our attitude toward others who forgive and then trust again. We need to stop treating them like they are wrong for it.
I'm not suggesting we all start giving credit card numbers to anyone who calls with some promise and a convincing caller-id. But we should start encouraging others to forgive friends and family more.
1 head lettuce
1 bunch green onions, chopped (optional)
1 tomato, chopped
6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 small package frozen peas
1 lb. bacon, fried and crumbled
Layer ingredients in order in a large bowl. Shredded cheese can be added as a layer, if desired.
Mix 2 cups mayonnaise, 1 cup sour cream, and 1 package of dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix together; spread over top of salad. Do not toss salad! Cover and refrigerate overnight or for several hours. Can be mixed when ready to serve.
On May 14th, you are invited to a pig roast fundraiser to be held at our family property in Lampe, Missouri that will benefit Praise Assembly of God Deaf Church. The meal is on a donation basis. If you are unable to attend but would like to give a love offering to the building fund of this church, you may contact me and I will give you information on how you can do so.
PADC (Praise A/G Deaf Church) rented a building from another church for many years, with their goal being to one day have their own building. In November 2014, they purchased their own property, which has a house and large shop building on it. The church is currently meeting in the house, with plans to remodel the shop. At that time, the house will be used for Sunday School classes, Children's Church, and an office. The shop will be the sanctuary. For over a year, they have been dealing with the city trying to get zoning issues cleared up and getting the correct permits so that they can move forward, but have been hitting a lot of different roadblocks and delays. It looks as if things are starting to slowly progress forward. The church is outgrowing their space and is desperately needing more room. For many years, it was a congregation averaging approximately 30-35 people, counting the youth and children. In recent months, the church has been growing! There are enough children, where we are needing to separate some of the classrooms and add additional classes; but right now we don't have the room. This past Sunday, there was a sign language class from ORU that visited, bringing around 18 additional people to our congregation for that one service. We were bursting at the seams! The men set up as many extra chairs as they could fit into the space, and we were packed full. That doesn't happen every week, but we are needing growing room!!
If you would like to attend the pig roast, you are more than welcome to attend. If you would like to send an offering to help the deaf church in this endeavor, that would be much appreciated. I'm going to be honest, those in the church who can give, do give. But it being a small congregation, everyone has pretty much given all that they can give; and continue to do so. It takes a lot of money to purchase property in the city, lots of money to remodel, and lots of money to keep a church going. We are not located in an upscale area of Tulsa! The property is located in an older part of town, which is closer to where a lot of the deaf population live. The house needs some remodeling and will need a new roof at some point and needs some updating; but that will be done after the shop gets remodeling into the sanctuary. Most importantly, please pray that God will meet the needs of this church so that they can continue growing and accomplishing the work that God has in store for them. Pray for favor with the city so we can get all the necessary permits; pray for financial blessing so we can get the property paid off and get the remodeling done; and pray for souls to be saved and lives changed!
I am thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn't have stumbled across my strength. - Alex Elle
We love you!
Loretta & Jon