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“Overflowing With Thankfulness”

January 11, 2013

This is such a hard one for me to write. I’ve wasted so much of my life being bitter that quite often I don’t praise God for how great I have it. I planned on posting a personal pity party this week. I do want to lay out a portion about that, just to explain where I’m coming from. This is about the choice we have in life to either grant forgiveness or stay bitter. It’s that simple!

See, I remember as a teen going to youth group straight after a baseball game with my hat on. If you were alive back in the 80’s you may remember when it was taboo to wear a hat indoors, let alone in the house of God. For a teenager with sweaty “hathead” though, it was so humiliating to be told to take your hat off. Old people, right? (I’m laughing because I know I’m old now) I truly am glad to see some churches allow people to come as they are without making them feel unworthy. Fact of the matter is we are all unworthy, so why does someone’s attire bother you?

I also remember having a good friend and teammate who I invited to church often. After months and months of asking he finally came. I didn’t realize one of our youth leaders was his aunt. Imagine the reaction in the depths of this p.k. when my mom told me the youth leader was worried about me hanging out with her nephew? He could be a bad influence on me. What? How about our God is greater than that and he can change anyone? Even your nephew!

Well I didn’t have the courage or strength to deal with it. I didn’t have a strong enough relationship with Jesus to leave it up to Him. I allowed the “leaders” to label my friend(s) and me and kind of gave up. I went off to Bible college, where I would have an episode of binge drinking and my heart literally stopped, twice! That behavior led to my dismissal from school and the following Sunday I was asked to sit in the front row at church. I listened to my dad preach about “restoring the saints” and then suspended my membership from the church. So if you didn’t know me before, now you’re starting to see how a preacher’s kid didn’t think forgiveness was possible!

Now back to the title, “Overflowing with thankfulness!” It happens to be the end of Colossians 2:7. This week in church we were encouraged to memorize verses 6 and 7. Well, as you see, I have dealt with bitterness for quite some time. Honestly, things are the best they’ve been in my life right now, but the memories abound. When I’m sitting here wanting to share how I’ve been wronged I read these words and say to myself, “hey dummy, look how great you’ve got it!” My parents have been married 50 years now, which is amazing. They love me and I love them. Did we all make mistakes? Of course, still do, but who doesn’t? I see and know so many who have been through way worse than I have and I know I’m lucky. Lately I have had random meetings with people who’ve shared some of their tough times and how Christ helped them through it. I’ve been forgiven by God and given chance after chance. Now that I finally understand that forgiveness is for me too it’s becoming easier day by day to forgive the people who unknowingly hurt me in the past. I’m so glad to be called a son of God and have the ability to share with people from time to time how great my Heavenly Father is! There is no one else like Him!

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