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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Week 5 - Accepting God's Grace and Forgiveness


What you believe determines how you behave and how you behave determines how you feel. Your true beliefs then are reflected by your feelings. Quite honestly, my feelings haven't always been in line with my beliefs. Each of us in the group acknowledged that we believe that God forgives sin. It's a fundamental belief of Christianity. However, truly believing that God forgives sin means that your behavior is to repent, ask forgiveness of that sin and consequently feel free and cleansed of your sin. In the bondage of an eating disorder, we each expressed feelings that it was hard to feel forgiven or "free." In which case, our beliefs were not truly that God forgives our sin, but that God forgives other peoples sin.

We must choose to believe that what God says is true. His word remains TRUE whether we believe it or not. His word remains TRUE whether we act like it or not. (Romans 6:6-9)

In certain circumstances, our feelings and beliefs may not line up. In those instances, we have a choice to make. We can either allow our feelings to dictate our beliefs, or we can choose to behave in a way that will change our feelings. When we make the choice to trust in God's word and behave contrary to what we are feeling, God will honor our choice. When we choose God, he lavishes His love on us and will change our hearts to be in line with His truth.

Forgiveness must be displayed in two ways; by forgiving others and forgiving ourselves. People with eating disorders are generally perfectonistic and addictive in personality. For this type of person, forgiveness of themselves does not come easy. We each acknowledged that we are much more willing to forgive others than ourselves. Along with unforgiveness comes shame and guilt that we have failed God, others, or ourselves.

We took some time to journal about what source of unforgiveness or guilt we are still feeling today. Upon some reflection, we tore these pages out of our journal and went outside. In a small galvanized bucket, we put our papers up in flames. Forgiveness is certainly a process. While we acknowledged the work that it takes to experience forgiveness, we took this first step together in giving God some of our hurts and struggles. Our prayer at this time went something like this...

"God, You already know everything that is written here. Thank you for walking this earth and for understanding all of these struggles and pains. Thank you that you love us so incredibly much, that you have already died for these things. You died so that we could experience freedom from sin and unforgiveness. Thank you for your promises that you will never leave or forsake us and that you will never recall our sins or hold them against us. You have said that nothing can separate us from your love. Your love for us is so great that you will never let go of us. Please walk with us on the journey to let go of these things and to trust you. Guide us as we continue on the process of forgiveness and truly accepting forgiveness of ourselves.
Thank you that through Christ's death and resurrection we can experience true freedom."

We listened to this song by Casting Crowns and reflected on what it means to be free in Christ. God gives us the choice to lift our chains and give Him the ultimate power over our lives. Jesus holds all the power on Heaven and Earth and WE ARE FREE in Him.

"Our old self was crucified with him so that sin is done away with, that we are no longer slaves to sin, because anyone who has died is free from sin. Sin is no longer your master, because you are not under law, but under Grace."
Romans 6:6-7, 14