Bucket item 2: Live everyday believing that I am created in God's image and because of it I have important work to do in His Kingdom.
Bucket item: Live my life saying "yes" to only those things that God has for me.
Remember yesterday I said I had two thoughts marinating that I was considering for my bucket list? Well, today in one of my breakout sessions it was clear that the second thought needed to be brought out and put in the bucket. It is one that causes me more pain than the others but nevertheless is critical to my maturing as a follower of Jesus Christ. Forgiving one's enemies.
My list of "enemies" is fairly short but their impact on my life has been and in some cases continues to be intense. There are those who say they haven't ever had an enemy - you are blessed. Then there are those who don't like to think in terms of people being "enemies" and they blithely move through their lives ignoring or excusing behavior that is destructive to the Body of Christ or to specific individuals..
Dare I say that "enemies" exist otherwise we wouldn't be instructed to love them!
I discovered a prayer today from an organization called Hope for the Heart and it was helpful as I relunctantly pulled out the forgiveness/love your enemies trait and placed it in my "bucket." This is the prayer I want to be able to pray without hesitation as I face present and future enemies.
Lord Jesus, thank You for caring about how much my heart has been hurt. You know the pain I have felt because of (list every hurt or offense). Right now I release all the pain into Your hands. Thank You, Lord for dying on the cross for me and extending Your forgiveness to me. As an act of my will, I choose to forgive (name the person). Right now, I move (name the person) off of my emotional hook to Your hook. I refuse all thoughts of revenge. I trust that in Your time and in Your way You will deal with (name the person) as You see fit. And Lord, thank You for giving me Your power to forgive so that I can be set free. In your holy name I pray. Amen.
Sometimes a written prayer makes things simpler. This is a good prayer and I prayed it today, naming my enemy. And while I have prayed for my enemy in the past, today there was a greater release. Taking the hurts, the lies, the slander, the mistreatment off my emotional hook, hanging it on Jesus' wall I walked away.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Bucket Item: Make my first response to an enemy be one of forgiveness.