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Embracing Messy, Beautiful Forgiveness (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
November 17, 2020 5:00 am

Embracing Messy, Beautiful Forgiveness (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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November 17, 2020 5:00 am

Lysa TerKeurst shares powerful and profound lessons she's learned about forgiveness in a discussion based on her book "Forgiving What You Can't Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace With Painful Memories, and Create a Life That's Beautiful Again." (Part 1 of 2)

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Finding trust and faith building payment for your kids is easy with the adventures in Odyssey club. It's an online community with almost every episode ever Focus on the Family clubhouse magazine subscription AI o' Many say the decision and I agree that for me while reading simple and tender years and years.

I such beautiful words spoken in 1/25 anniversary bowel renewal ceremony between Lisa Turk hurst and her husband, Art, and today we hear the story of that desperate pursuit that she mentioned that clip as it involves forgiveness and restoration.

I'm John Fuller. This is Focus on the Family your hostess focus president and author Jim Daly John there is so much and what were going to talk about. I'm really excited to get into it not easy stuff but really good stuff.

CS Lewis once said, everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive. And isn't that true.

We want a happy ending. The beautiful Val renewal ceremony, but we don't want to do the difficult messy work of forgiving the person who's heard of so deeply, but forgiveness is essential in Christianity, we see that theme all throughout the Bible.

Ephesians 4 says, be kind to one another, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. Since no one gets through life without experiencing pain. I'm sure there's someone you can think of right now you're struggling to forgive, let me ask you to lift that person up in prayer as you listen to this broadcast.

Ask God to help you embrace the forgiveness that will set you free. You have that open posture toward God and what he might want to do here is we talked to Lisa Turk hurst very popular speaker and author and the president of Proverbs 31 ministries she's married Art. They have five adult children and three grandchildren and today were to be zeroing in on Lisa's book, forgiving what you can't forget the subtitle is Discover how to move on. Make peace with painful memories and create a life that's beautiful again Lisa great to have you back in focus. Thank you all for dark sorry it's remote. It's always fun to be together but grateful that you're able to do this virtually so thanks again and yeah a few years ago, your experience, what was probably the most difficult season of your life for someone who may not know what happened.

Once you give us just the rough top level view of what you've been through hell and I have been married for decades, and we pray five children. We have some beautiful in-laws that people that are can't get married and have three grandchildren look like a grandmother, and I mean that as a compliment but made you an art should be grandparent. You look too young thinking and thinking I will read that in my heart but continue. Sorry we plan to marry. Just a wonderful, full life and wet. I feel like it's a really beautiful legacy about 4 1/2 years, the castle, all that really implanted it.

When I found out that are been struggling with some addictions that I was not a bad and hot in cement fidelity and is being unfaithful and to say that I was shocked and extreme understatement. I honestly felt a little maybe naïvely insulated from and protected from that because we did a good Christian checklist that you're supposed to do and I felt like the equation would be that enough we prayed together and went to church together and devotions with our family and went to the marriage conferences and and did all the right means we checked all the boxes that like that sort of protect our marriage from this kind of devastation by unfortunately we found ourselves knee-deep and it and it was not quick story and restoration as a matter fact I think I was the last person standing at the end where every expert, every pastor, every friend and even our kids all just said mom give you what I appreciate about your book, forgiving what you can't forget first of all, it's an amazing title just hit you exactly where you're hurting, but it it's not so much about the events and what happened at the time. It's the process of forgiveness and what you've gone through and so let's pick that up from there. In the course.

There are women and men who have had to weather infidelity in a variety different ways people listening right now. They may have just heard they may hear next week. That kind of news and then there's those that are listening that it occurred a year ago four years ago 10 years ago and they're still battling in that same way, so I is you speak to the audience. It's all there, and I again so appreciate your vulnerability, your honesty to help people and I think as we get into the story. That's the goal here. I know that your heart is to share what you've learned in the pain and the recovery that you've learned from Christ. So it's in that spirit that we get into it and as you begin to heal and recover in that process. You say you thought you had forgiven your husband and others who hurt you when did you realize that that forgiveness wasn't real, and how did you know this is starting to scare me a little bit about people I forgiven that I really forgive them. So yeah well I think really when I say it wasn't real. What I really mean is that the forgiveness that I've never had a marked moment back in two where I really stood before God and had that marked moment of forgiveness and I had a misunderstanding that forgiveness and reconciliation.

I always thought they needed to come together because reconciliation wasn't possible. I felt like forgiveness wasn't possible, but even deeper than that. I think my resistance stems from the fact that I felt like I gave that that was me saying what happened, didn't really matter, or it hadn't cost me so much emotionally.

And it hundred percent that matter and I didn't want to betray myself by saying that what happened was okay because I did not feel like it was okay, yeah that is such a bundle of emotions I can imagine some people maybe like I described a moment ago. The person that this is something similar is happened to where their spouses been unfaithful. They think well bitterness is a normal response mean this is something that we have to go through and you know they may be, having forgiven and they may not even realize they still have that root of bitterness in them. So what would you say to that person who still suffering and is still kinda wrapped around bitterness. Well first of all, point out the blessing of what bitterness reveals.

Now that may seem like some strange phraseology because most of the time our whole Christian Microtel bitterness is bad and to be patient with me and I get here. Bitterness is not where we want to park our heart by let me point out something bitterness doesn't often visit hardhearted or coldhearted people. Bitterness often made into someone's heart is quite tenderhearted if that person betrayed her arms open wide and they dared to love hurt. The and so they've experienced tremendous loss in tremendous pain and bitterness often moves into the spaces where we can experience this loss and at first it kind of protecting us physically hold onto resentment were holding onto. Proof of how the other person hurt us.

Which reminds us to create some emotional distance – that first almost feels like this is the only acceptable version of boundaries that we can take her even the acceptable version of retaliation that we can take it. I'll show you. Let me just emotional distance so I never went to point my finger wagging my finger at someone struggling with bitterness to catch.

I stated this is not an indication that you have a cold heart. It's an indication that you have a heart-to-heart. So let's start with the pain is such a good point and I appreciate the fact that you're addressing it in that way because this is a phase of in that initial wound.

It's what you gotta go through but I love what you said not to park your heart there in a course, God's not going to want you to stay in that spot. He's gonna want you to move along through bitterness, etc. you had a story or book that I thought really illustrated this well I think you're out with some girlfriends at the beach or something like other what took place.

Yeah, that was when I was in college and you know a bunch of my friends said decided we were going to get to each and something happened on the drive and I got my feelings hurt and myself. When we got there I thought well on to teach everyone a lesson to stay in the car. I'm not getting the beach on to stay here on that approval point that they shouldn't have said, with a set and instead of addressing the hurt I just sat in the hurt and I allowed her to turn into simmering resentments you know and heal her that sits unattended to longing the human heart has such a propensity to turn into versions of hate and so I sat in that parking lot thinking I was teaching everyone this day Lesson the patient treated me that way, when in reality they all went off to the beach. They enjoyed a beautiful day. They enjoyed a picnic lunch I sat in the hot parking lot walking around stealing in my anger and my resentment in my bitterness. I didn't eat lunch.

I didn't enjoy the beach and at the end of the day when we were driving home I realized the only one who that day cost a lot with me and I've never forgotten that day like I didn't teach them anything in my resentment toward them only hurt me for your listening to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guest today is Lisa triggers this new book forgetting what you can't forget is really incredible encourage you to stop by your website to get a copy and the link is in the episode notes Lisa let me go to the reasons that you don't forgive. I found it interesting that control is one of the reasons you listed. I wouldn't necessarily connect all of why did Rogers make us feel like were in control well because it makes us feel like we have something that we continue to teach the other person a lesson we feel like they should learn how and it's painful to think about someone hurting us and never learning the lesson that they need to learn or that we think they need to learn and said there's a sense of control. Like if I hold a resentment against them and I'm preventing them from being able to hurt me the same way even more than that.

Maybe I'm kind of teaching in the lesson they need to learn.

They want her other people, but make sense of control because no one ever really learned lessons from someone else's resentment. That's why I believe God says that we need to place all of that in God's hands. We need to let vengeance be the Lord, the Lord says that he will avenge the wrongdoings done against us. And so I just have to remember, God does his best work in the unseen learned best on the other side of this crazy situation. I've been through with our you know I used when when art was in a really bad place.

He was making choices that were so devastating to me. I ain't that he was just having the time of his life, but when I talked to him about those dark days now it seems he seemed like he was so happy he was saying. Lisa, there is no happiness in living a life of sin that he absent effect at death grip on your heart.

He said, so I had to make it look like it was awesome on the outside but make no mistake, I was suffering on the inside and said I know that it's like I think why God tells us to pray for our enemies is because we don't know how much their suffering when they're making these choices that are outside of God's will, we don't have to see it, but we can know that it exists. Yeah, it's given them in your juice you're moving into those areas of our heart that we don't think about that. It's almost reactionary.

It's like you know when the doctor hit you in the near near your leg jumps. It's you know this is really good to think about it, it does lead me Lisa to ask. And this is were I would maybe struggle because I think I've forgiven the person I'm moving on and it didn't really seem like it cost me much. Why is that dangerous if you're just doing the Christian platitude yet. The person hurt me but you know what I'm doing fine things good. I move in on why should you roll a little deeper yeah because forgiveness is always a decision and a process and you don't want to short-circuit any part of this. You make the decision to pick after the facts of what happened, then you have to walk through the healing process to forget the impact that trauma has on us because there is an impact, even Jesus when he taught us to pray the Lord's prayer.

He called the windy of another person a debt because there is an emotional cost to us every time were hurt when it's a good reminder to slow down, not go too quickly through the process and I think that's good that you mentioned.

Your counselor sounds like an amazing professional. He took you through some powerful exercises. I think it had to deal with a note card or note cards and read felt what was that about, absolutely. So you know we talked a little bit earlier about how important it is to not just think like okay I forget that person that to really have a marked moment of forgiveness. So, I remember I showed up at his office one day and I looked terrible.

It was during a particularly crazy, chaotic, hurtful season where art networking and speaking in a we were separated for over 2 1/2 years that this was not a short journey through pain and suffering processes a very long journey and and so I showed up at the office and he looked at me said Lisa do you want to heal and I said yes I want to heal and he said today's a great day to start working on forgiveness and I thought to myself. Are you crazy like I can't possibly forgive because I haven't had the epic moment where art stands in front of me and says he's sorry.

I don't even know that he sorry for what he did, or that he thinks what he did was as wrong as it lesson seven now I can't forgive, and my cancer said okay Lisa, let's just start with your paints and handed me a straight by five cards. They set right down one thing on each card-hurt in the situation in acetic acid can do that.

So I wrote card after card after card and there was probably 30 to 40 card that suddenly were just lined up in my counselor's office and when I turned back and looked at him and I pointed to these cards as a DC pain. I've been caring and he did the best thing in the world for me. He said I believe you and what's been done to you. Lisa is so hard and it should not have happened. And so my counselor told me go card by card by card and just say I acknowledge this pain that this person caused in my life and I am making the choice to forgive them and what ever my feelings will not yet allow for the blood of Jesus will surely cover and then my cancer handed me pieces of bread fell and I just laid him down on every single car and so as God's forgiveness flows to me.

I must just lean in and cooperate with it and let God's forgiveness flow through me to other people so that it's so much more about what God is already done, not based on my feelings but Lisa gets so relate to the accounting of Rome's right to keep the list. I can only imagine. And you know this person, whoever that might be. That's the 14th thing they've done to me and you even have a catalog you know the number and you know some people are just wired in that direction. And the Lord clearly is something don't keep a record of wrongs right doesn't want you to be in that mindset. And that's what you're really addressing which is so healthy, but it did requires us to get out of our flesh and that's what's so hard, Lisa. You people don't know your background altogether.

Some measure the people that fall you and you have a large following of people through Proverbs 31 ministries but your ability or inability to trust men started at a young age to fill in that blank. If I may mean you had. I think it was a neighbor who was abusive when you were young girl and then of course your dad abandoned the family. That right there is such a heart-wrenching story you to this day have not heard from your father's that accurate yes. So I have not heard my father's voice since I was in my early 20s and now I'm 51 years old.

So were going on almost 30 years since I even heard his voice and that is painful and it is hard and you know the story, I could easily tell myself is I'm not worthy and not worth lobbying in a loving me. I'm not work someone staying form NLN and yet that would be a false perception that I have about myself because it doesn't at all line up with his God says God says I am worthy.

And what happened to my relationship with my dad was a choice that my dad made based on his brokenness not based on something that was wrong with me that such a good example Jim and how many of us carry those faulty perceptions and beliefs about ourselves and about others and about God because of unhealed hurt and trauma in our past. You know, Jim, in part, and maybe we can do a little analysis on this with me, even as a young boy you know we have similar but not too similar in terms of our backgrounds of abandonment by a parent, etc. but for me I always seem to have a sense Lisa that it was on them. But somehow the Lord protected my heart. I didn't own my dad's mistakes. I didn't own the fact that my mom died when I was young I just thought it was circumstantial and I can only say I felt that that now I could say that was God's grace in my heart, but it is an amazing thing I've never felt like that was my fault. I always was able to put it on them, but it does make me challenge myself say okay have I truly forgiven those things. So it's a bit of a quandary for me because I think I'm strong and that but it makes me read trace my steps to say okay but truly forgiven my dad for abandoning the family and you know I gotta think about it because I don't want to have a false perspective about that and just do the Christian thing. Yeah, I'm fine, I'm good, but I do feel like I was healthy enough to say that was his thing. I don't know what he was dealing with. I don't feel like it was my fault. Does that make sense, absolutely. And so you know, like I gave three categories, like what is the say about ourselves. What is it say about other people. What is the say about God so it wasn't a hardship in your perception about yourself. It may have been a hardship that was created by why would God allow that to happen like it would be easy to miss certain parts of your life for you to say why would a good God have allowed this chaos to happen with my parents.

You know with my mom dying my dad abandoned the family like why God saw that one be prevented. Isn't God fully capable and so it was important for me to dig into that because that is where so many people walk away from either having faith in God or they just don't trust him and you know right here we go to say so we don't end with an open wound. How did you forgive those abusers. How did you walk that back. It's okay even though they cause me this pain, to forgive them what was the process well for me.

I had to recognize the only way that those people who hurt me so deeply could have ever possibly done that is if they themselves had experienced some kind of horrific abuse or wounding or devastation at some point in their life because hurt comes from an experience with hurt, and so I couldn't have compassion on that man that brutalized me, but I could have compassion on him as a probably young boy getting brutalized himself, and when I realized where that hurt came from.

It didn't come from his desire to hurt me.

It came from him acting out his own unhealed pain, so I had a hard time having compassion on the person hurt me, but I can have compassion on the pain that he surely experienced in order to have them ready to head that youwrite to John 1010. We often mention this. John the Scripture says the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. But I've come that you might have life and life to the full and that's at the core what you're talking about that we as humanity Lisa we have these wounds and we grow up and we don't know how to manage them and then you can turn around and begin the wound others around you and it's powerful. And of course you're talking about it in several different contexts, but probably most deeply in your own marriage and what's happened there and we want to come back next time and continue the discussion and talk about that healing power of forgiveness and what you and Art have been able to achieve in that way and I really want to turn to the listener lease and just again reach out to them if they're experiencing that kind of broken trust in their relationship in their marriage that we have a place called hope restored, which if you're in the place where your marriage is the last not of that rope in your thinking about divorce, even call us. Let us talk to you about the potential of working together to save your marriage and do many of the things that Lisa is talking about, which is to equip you to deal with your marital relationship in a new and fresh way to give you the tools to see things differently and that's what you're really talking about leases, how to find the depth of forgiveness that brings hope and brings a change in the relationship.

Even though you may not forget the wounds and the I would love to continue that way can we do that, Lisa absolutely okay let's do that. In the meantime, do contact us about information regarding hope restored and if your issues are broader and beyond marriage. We do want to encourage you that we have caring Christian counselors on staff. We can set up a time for you to have a consultation with them. I've use their services and spoke to them about some difficulties we were experiencing. You can do the same. It's a free service supported by our donors and our numbers 880 family 800-232-6459 and of the link is in the episode notes just let me also mention Lisa's great book for giving what you can't forget this is one of those must reads it's going to equip you in your walk to do a much better job in your relationships, not just with your spouse, but in a complete 360° circle your kids everybody and you know if you can join us be a part of the ministry of focus financially for any amount. Just send a gift and will send you a copy of Lisa's book as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry and again if you can afford that.

That's fine. I'm in a trust that there will be others that will cover the cost.

If you need this resource.

This tool so that it will help you in your relationships, get a hold of this will send it out to free of cost and get our numbers 800 K in the word family and the link is in the episode and on behalf of Jim Daly, and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today on John Fuller inviting you back. As we continue the conversation with Lisa Turk first and once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

I was convinced that nothing can change what was going on in our marriage and I want to try anymore but my commitment to God, help me try one more time. We went to a hope restored marriage intensive and it was life-changing. The counselors created the safest environment we could imagine so that let us really talk one a much different course now I believe we received a miracle that week received your free consultation and hope

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