Don't Ever Doubt Yourself... from: Raising Samuels
It seems in this technological age, God knows to reach us in our inboxes or on a favorite website. For the past week, all of my devotionals that I follow were talking about forgiveness and loving your neighbor as God loves you. I then went to church on Sunday, and again same message. I had some downtime this week being sick and had some time to catch up on some homeschool magazines. Again, same message. I got about to the fourth article and I just heard a voice say, "Really? You need to Me to show you one more article or message on this?"
To love one's neighbor, or friend, or co-worker, or family member might be hard for some people. Especially if that person has hurt you. My sister gave me a great reminder this week on being hurt and how we are to act: "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." (Matthew 18:21-22 NIV)
I was extremely hurt by a friend and a neighbor. Her and I had a falling out about two years ago and it was devastating because her son and my sons were best friends. It was hard for me to tell my sons that they couldn't play with their friend anymore. It was after this though that I found myself for the first time in my life, heavily involved in church and learning about the Word. (something I was never taught as a child) My sons began to make new friends at church as did I and in a way when this door on a friendship closed, a new window of light came into my life.
My husband and her husband remained acquaintances throughout this ordeal because they work together and we all live in the same neighborhood. Her and her husband had a second baby who had severe complications at birth and it is an on-going battle for this poor baby. I am ashamed to say that it took me several months for me to reach out. We of course sent out massive emails to church members and prayer requests and had our congregation praying for this babe and the family. My family and I also prayed for them but this week, I felt God's message press hard into me. I thought of Romans 5:8 NIV: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Wow. God wants us to have love for one another. He even loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us on a cross and after all of our sins, He still loves us. I thought ok, put my ego aside and sat down and wrote this person an email encouraging her of God's love, even though she is a non-believer.
I have yet to receive a response but that's okay. I feel I honored God's request to reach out to this person and I truly pray one day, she does get to feel His love. I also had horrible things happen to me after I sent this email. I had an account try to get hacked and then I had an unauthorized charge in my checking account two days after I sent this email. I know this just was Satan trying to confuse me into thinking what I did was wrong, and I almost fell for it. I know what God was trying to tell me and after that email, I felt a relief because I offered forgiveness with grace.
I'm here to tell you, don't ever doubt that voice. You know what voice I mean. The one that gets louder and louder until we are called to action! For the past several weeks, my husband has had this voice in him at church, calling for him to rededicate his life to Christ. The message I had for this neighbor lead my husband back to the Lord! He grew up in the Baptist faith and realized after a testimony at church and me being brave and listening to the Holy Spirit, he needed Christ in his heart and not just his head. He went and met with our pastor and he will be publicly announcing his rededication at church this week. God is so good!
Genesis 4:7 NIV says, "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Honor the voice in you that comes from the Holy Spirit and rule over the temptations and traps that Satan tries to leave out for us. I really felt compelled to write this tonight and I hope it encourages many of you! God bless :)
*Photo credit to Lightstock.com for their free photos. Updated 6/19/14.*