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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Lenten Healing: 40 Graces for Forgiveness (Day 24: Self-Strength)

When I was younger I made a vow that I would never need anyone. I would always take care of myself.
That was an unholy vow—one that does not align with God’s will—and I had to renounce it some years ago in order to let God realign my life and start putting me back in right relationship with others. The error in my oath was not necessarily that I committed to not putting my faith in other people, but that I put it all in myself. God was nowhere in sight.
Jesus can calm a storm with his hand, drive out a legion of demons with a word, and offer salvation to the entire population of humanity by his single act of sacrifice.
I turn the wrong way while under the visual and verbal instruction of a GPS, I frequently call my children by the wrong names, and I cut myself slicing carrots.
Jesus was meek, which as we’ve seen means not that he lacked power, but that he didn’t use his power to dominate or intimidate others. By trying to manage life under my own power I actually fail to appropriate that of Jesus. I damage my relationships with others as well, both by refusing to need them and by regarding their needs with a certain level of disdain.
I made that vow of self-strength because I didn’t want to be hurt by asking something from someone and having it refused me, or given grudgingly.
I renounced the vow, but never forgave with respect to the reasons why I made it.
It’s time.

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The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. – Psalm 33:16-17

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I’m sorry for wrongly putting my faith in people, then for wrongly refusing to reach out to people, and for wrongly setting myself up as mistress of my own destiny and defense. I’m sorry for closing myself off instead of turning to you when legitimate needs I had went unmet. Lord, I need to forgive the wrongs that took place, almost certainly in full ignorance of what was happening. Forgive me the times I’ve failed others, most of which I probably don’t even know about. I’m still learning how not to be proud of my own strength. It’s really so infinitesimal compared to yours, you probably laugh when I flex my meager muscles. Keep reminding me who’s really the warrior and the king and the conqueror.

40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey is now available in print. $6.49 at

With questions for personal meditation and space for journaling, this 40-day devotional series offers a deeper look at Christ's command that we forgive. For a personal pilgrimage, or as a resource for group Bible study,40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey invites seekers of forgiveness and healing to the path on which God longs to meet us all. $6.49 at Find out more about 40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey.

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