Category Archives: confession

Forgive Us

1 John 2:12 – “I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.”

 

The disciple John, the one beloved to the Christ, is writing to the church.  To encourage believers to love.  In the same way Jesus loved them.  Which includes forgiveness.

 

Matthew 6:12 – “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.”

 

Forgive us our selfish choices, so we can forgive those who have been selfish toward us.

 

Forgive us our thoughtless words, so we can forgive those who have spoken thoughtlessly to us.

 

Forgive us our mistakes, so we can forgive those who have made mistakes against us.

 

Forgive us for our wrong choices, so we can forgive those who have wronged us.

 

Forgive us for our knee-jerk quick reactions, so we can forgive those who have not overreacted toward us.

 

Forgive us for our fits of anger, so we can forgive those who have been angry with us.

 

But it goes so much deeper than this.

God, forgive us.

For every time we have failed to live up to Your image (Genesis 1:27).

Forgive Us

Forgive us for not living up to our godly potential (walking in our godly gifts), so we can be free to help others know You and love You (Matthew 28:19-20).

 

Forgive us for not being the poetry You created us to be (Ephesians 2:10), so we can be a living expression of Your love and grace.

 

Forgive us for being stingy with our love and compassion, so we can be better at being Your light (Matthew 5:16) and measuring out great amounts of Your love (Luke 6:38).

 

Forgive us for not being quicker to forgive or not forgiving completely, so that we may help others find the peace and security they seek (Matthew 6:14) and we can help release people from their bondage.

 

Forgive us for not stepping out of our comfort zones to touch and impact people, so that we find boldness to reach out to people and go the extra mile with them (Matthew 5:41) whenever we are called, despite how uncomfortable it makes us.

 

Forgive us for not trusting You more and for choosing to focus on our problems instead of Your solutions, so we may have big faith that moves mountains and sees the impossible happen (Matthew 21:21).

 

Forgive us for every moment we should have depended on you but didn’t, so we can rise above ourselves and live completely dependent on you (Matthew 5:3).

 

Forgive us for every time we refused Your grace or denied Your love, so we can learn how to trust You completely without reservation, hesitation, or doubt (James 1:6-8).

 

Forgive us for being controlled by our old habits and wrong thoughts, so we can be transformed completed into Your image (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Forgive us for not allowing You to help us with our concerns, so we can learn to receive Your care and then help others walk through their trials (2 Corinthians 1:4).

 

Forgive us for our lack of humility that keeps us from following You, so that we can learn to fully submit to You with an open heart (James 4:6-7) and willing feet (James 1:22).

 

Forgive us for those moments of silence when we should have been speaking Your truth, so we can learn to speak up with “My tongue … the pen of a ready writer” (Psalm 45:1).

 

Forgive us for every time we gave up and refused to continue, so we can learn to “mount up with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31) to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

 

Forgive us for every time we offered You are good works instead of a faithful heart, so we can learn that our heart is most important to You (Psalm 51:17).

 

Thank You, loving Father, for Your extreme compassion and expanding grace that cover us through all our human moments.  Thank You that, despite all we do, we can always “come boldly to the throne of grace” to find forgiveness and “obtain mercy” (Hebrews 4:16).  Thank You for helping us to accept where we are but not be limited or stuck there forever.  Thank You for helping us grow beyond our present season and our recent choices into a blessed and prosperous future.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin, 6/6/16.

Grace on You

I love those moments when I open my mouth and God’s words come out.  It always surprises me.  Yet it always speaks to me too.

 

I was speaking with a friend this morning on my ride into work.  We were talking about how difficult it can be to have a healthy relationship with people we are related to.  How easy it is to be and feel attacked by someone who is supposed to care about us.

 

And in the process of that conversation, God dropped a couple of truth bombs on us.

 

Our lives are layers of choices.

Grace on you - burdens

We carry around all the consequences and all the emotions of our past, dragging them with us into every relationship, every conversation, and every circumstance.  And then we run into someone who, usually inadvertently, causes these emotions to rise up and take control of us.  And we wallow in the emotions and respond out of them, reacting harshly and rudely and rashly.

 

And in doing so, we tend to say “shame on you” to people.  Shame on you for treating me that way.  Shame on you for making me feel that way.  Shame on you for not seeing where you are wrong.  Shame on you for hurting me.  Shame on you for thinking that way.  Shame on you for not saying you’re sorry.  Shame on you for not loving me more.  Shame on you for not being a better person.

Grace on you - shame

But what does this reaction do?  Nothing positive.  Nothing loving.  Nothing hopeful.  Responding with a “shame on you” attitude adds another layer of shame on top of the already existing layers of shame, regret, guilt, humiliation, anger, frustration, and depression.  It adds a new layer of pain to increase the depth of darkness in someone’s life.  It adds a deeper layer of hopelessness to a restless and troubled heart.

 

And it possibly draws someone away from God and the hope of healing He offers.

 

OUCH!

 

Matthew 5: 14-16 says we need to be light.  We need to be the beacon of God’s love to all people, especially the most difficult.  Because when people see His light radiating in you, through you, and out of you, they will be drawn to Him.

 

But “shame on you” is not light.  It contains no light.  It comes from the dark places of a hurting heart and only serves to add more hurt to what already exists.  It won’t penetrate, break, or destroy the darkness.  It won’t bring any healing.  It won’t create any hope.  It only adds fuel to a raging fire of self-destruction and self-loathing.

 

So how can we spread light instead of adding to darkness?  Grace.  We follow God’s lead of saying “grace on you” to people.  Not shame.  GRACE.

Grace on you - grace

Because grace brings light to and penetrates the dark places.  Because light begins to heal the shame-filled place.  Because light adds hope to a self-destructive life.

 

People need grace.  It is the only hope in this lost and confused world.  It is the only light in these dark and dreary times.  It is the only anchor that uplifts and pulls up instead of weighing down.

 

Because grace is the gift of a loving Creator, who is called “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10).  It is the love that knows us and calls us by name, no matter how lost we are (Exodus 33:17).  It is the love that makes us acceptable to God, no matter what current state we are in (Ephesians 1:6).  It is the love that brings full forgiveness for every choice, every sin, and every mistake (Ephesians 1:7).  It is the love that is abundant and unlimited in every moment, every situation, and every emotion (Ephesians 2:7, 1 Timothy 1:14, James 4:6).  It is the love that is available to anyone anywhere at anytime – when we have a humble and yielding heart (Proverbs 3:34).

 

So with all this truth about grace, why would we choose to say “shame on you” to anyone?  Why would we want to curse someone, possibly toward their destruction, when we could instead bless them?

 

God is saying the better choice is to say “grace on you”.  As often as you can.  To speak hope, life, encouragement, uplifting, love, and peace to people, on people, and in people.  To be the beacon of His love that chooses to bring out and see the good in people.  No matter how they treat you.  No matter how they speak to you.  No matter how they approach you.

 

Maybe today can be the day we stop saying “shame on you” – and start saying “grace on you”.  Maybe today we can start to pray 1 Corinthians 1:3* (Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ) on all the people in our lives and then add a layer of mercy to it (1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, 2 John 1:3).  Maybe today we will choose to be more gracious and forgiving with our words and reactions, as Colossians 4:6 commands (Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one).

 

Today I pray for all the people in my life, whether in fellowship with Jesus or not – “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (2 Thessalonians 3:18^).  I pray you feel His love, know His forgiveness, and live in His grace.  I pray you choose to be a beacon of light and radiate His grace.  I pray you decide to banish shame – on yourself and on others.  I pray you choose instead to and bathe in grace – to embrace grace, share grace, and give grace.

 

No more shame.  Only grace.  For yourself and for others.  Will you start today?

 

Marie Fremin.  4/29-4/30/16

 

NOTES:

  • Thanks to Robin Jones Gunn for these phrases.  She uses them in her “Sisterchicks in Gondolas“ book, and they really resonate within me.
  • * Also Romans 1:7, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, Philemon 1:3, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Peter 1:2, Revelation 1:4
  • ^ Also Romans 16:20, Romans 16:24, 1 Corinthians 16:23, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Galatians 6:18, Ephesians 6:24, Philippians 4:23, Colossians 4:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:28, 1 Timothy 6:21, 2 Timothy 4:22, Titus 3:15, Philemon 1:25, Hebrews 13:25, Revelation 22:21

 

 

Goodbye Letter to my CoWorker

S—–,

I wanted to take this opportunity to share sincerely and with heartfelt honesty the things that are on my heart.

 

I wish you well. Wherever you go, whatever you do, no matter what happens, I hope and pray you will be happy and successful. That you will have a positive and lasting impact on those around you. That you will have joy in all your family moments.

 

I know our relationship has been rocky and difficult. It has been hard to find peace and acceptance. For my part, I apologize for not being a better ambassador for Christ. I feel I failed much more often than I succeeded in showing you the love of Christ. And that is entirely my fault. I chose to let myself be guided by my emotions instead of God’s love. In doing so, I reacted and overreacted in ways that hindered God’s love and peace from shining through. I allowed myself to respond inappropriately to choices you made. I chose anger instead of acceptance and being right over reconciliation. It didn’t matter if I was right or got frustrated at a lack of communication. The right thing is always love, and I failed to show you God’s love – a lot. For this, I am truly sorry.

 

Life is full of junk. We all face it, and it always sucks. One thing I know is this: the junk will either make us better or destroy us. Either way, it defines us and determines our outcome. I know that 2015 has been very challenging for you, and I pray that you may be able to see God’s love and grace through the junk.

 

Because here’s the simple truth: God loves you. He created and designed you to be uniquely you. He has a great plan for your life. He has big plans and big blessings for you. Yes, for you. He loves you more than you can imagine or comprehend.

 

And His love is bigger and so much better than any of your junk. He wants to take your junk – and all the pain, heartache, anger, frustration, and shame associated with it – and give you peace, joy, and grace instead. He wants to love all your hurting and broken places into wholeness, health, and happiness.

 

And again I apologize for not being a better steward of this message to you. I should have chosen grace instead of grudges and surrender instead of stubbornness when thinking about and responding to things. I should have chosen humility instead of hard feelings. No matter if I agreed or not and no matter if I was right or not. Because God says His followers should always do the right thing – and when we do, our fickle feelings will fall into the right place (the place called grace).

 

So as you go into your next adventure, I pray you go with expectations of great things. I pray you do and accomplish big and impossible things. I pray you have success beyond your biggest fantasy.

 

And most importantly, I pray you find and have peace. Peace to accept people where they are yet lovingly encourage them to grow. Peace to let little things and differences go. Peace to praise as often as possible. In other words, peace to draw people to you and want to learn what you have to teach.

 

I also pray you will be able to see and appreciate all of God’s blessings in your life. For you are blessed, and God will continue to bless you. Learn to see each blessing – big and small – and know He loves you.

 

He loves you unconditionally, without limits. And His love wants to take all the junk and replace it with His goodness. Isaiah 61:1-3 – “… [God] has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness …”

 

And may you be blessed beyond your wildest imagination. I pray that the prayer of Aaron in Numbers 6:24-26 be woven into the fabric of your life:

24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’

Goodbye Letter to Shannon 11-15

Marie Fremin, 11/8/15 and 11/22/15

 

Your Story Matters

Your Story Matters

Do you realize your story matters? That your story is important?

You may not believe me, but it’s true. God will use your story – your past, your experiences, your pain, your victories, your lessons learned – for His glory and your gain. God will redeem all your hurt and broken places – by showing you His divine placement (guidance) and how far you’ve already come.

When you tell your story, you get the opportunity to (finally) see how God guided, protected, and loved you. You come to realize that your way wasn’t the better choice. You can (more clearly) see how God purposed everything to make you better and stronger – and to position you for the next step/level/revelation/relationship.

And you can understand 2 Corinthians 1:4, which tells us God will redeem your pain to help others. Your victory, success, and survival can speak life, hope, and faith to someone walking through the same battle/valley/circumstance/difficulty. Your story can help people realize that there is an end to their struggle – and they can get through with joy, gladness, and blessing.

People need the wisdom of your experience. People need the hope of God’s goodness. People need the joy of victory. People need the grace of endurance. People need to see success is possible and God is faithful. People need to know there will be an end to whatever they are going through – and with God it can (will) be a good end. That no matter what happens God can bring joy, blessing, and life. That God’s grace is truly amazing.

And you need to tell your story so you remember how far you’ve come. How much you’ve been blessed. How much you have learned. How much God really does love you.

Because when you tell your story, you are telling of God’s grace and goodness. You are reminding yourself of God’s faithfulness. You are painting a picture of God’s love – seeing His masterpiece of you evolve as He unites all the broken pieces, bad choices, and painful memories with His paintbrush of grace.

You are reminding yourself – and telling others – how nothing is too big, too deep, too dark, too shameful, too painful, or too powerful for God to overcome and redeem. That nothing is bigger and more powerful than God’s love. That God will use every piece of your story for His glory and your good – if you’ll let Him.

God has someone waiting for you to tell your story. So you can help them walk through their pain to His grace. So you can encourage someone to keep believing and not lose hope. So you can be the light at the end of the darkness for them.

Your story will have impact. You story will be meaningful. Your story is important.

So tell it – fully and truthfully.

And watch God do wonders. He will always amaze you (with His love) when you let Him.

No fear. No excuses. No holds barred.

Tell your story. Go for it!

Marie Fremin, 10/18/15

Call a Spade a Spade

I keep running into this same problem at work, and I honestly don’t know how to deal with it.

It goes right along the river where people don’t take responsibilities for their actions, don’t acknowledge their behavior and its effects on others, and don’t allow themselves to walk in self-control and self-denial.

It’s sugar-coating our wrong doings, thoughts, and actions.  It’s layering them over and under with excuses and exceptions and reasons why it’s OK.  It’s trying to soft-peddle and undersell our wrongdoing.

It’s making ourselves feel right by making others feel small, insignificant, and unimportant. It’s calling ourselves queens (or kings) and the rest of the world peasants. It’s declaring ourselves most important by belittling others. It’s feeling superior by purposefully pointing out everyone’s inferiority.

All to make ourselves feel better. All to justify our behavior. All to excuse the inexcusable things we do.

What a big problem! I believe there is a simple solution, or at least a place to start.

We have to call a spade a spade.  According to Wikipedia, “To ‘call a spade a spade’ is a figure of speech which explicitly calls out something as it is, by its right name. The implication is not to lie about what something is and instead to speak honestly and directly about a topic, specifically topics that others may avoid speaking about due to their sensitivity or the unpleasant or embarrassing nature of the subject.”

Call a Spade a Spade

What does this mean?

We have to be honest about our mistakes.

We have to be forthcoming about our wrongdoings.

We have to be transparent in our weaknesses.

We have to be up front about our sin.

Because we don’t help ourselves at all when we won’t call our sin what it is. And the beginning of being better, healing, and progress is being honest by calling our sin what it is – sin.

But boy does it hurt!

So what’s my problem at work?  I talked to a customer yesterday about the invoice he received in the mail and made notes of that conversation.  One of the issues was that we did not have an email address on the account to email that invoice, and so I noted that I “let him know we mailed a copy for his records because we failed to obtain an email address at the time of the call”.  It was a failure.  Plain and simple.  We didn’t ask.  Was it an epic failure?  No, by no means.  But was is it a failure?  Yes.  A mistake, a simple mistake.  Yet there were consequences.  The consequences included us spending money on a stamp to mail the invoice and time on the phone explaining why the customer received a paper invoice.

Was my wording meant to point a finger or assign blame?  Not intentionally.  Yet you would have thought I had threatened to shoot someone today with the up-in-arms response I received and the chastisement to “soften” my language.

Yes, maybe I could have phrased it a little better.  But in that moment that is what I was thinking, so that is what I wrote.  From all the evidence I saw during that phone conversation, the conclusion was obvious: we failed.  Minorly, not majorly.  Nothing newsworthy.  But we still failed. Because we didn’t put our details in order.

And why was one person upset over such a minor note?  Because she obviously made the mistake.  She did not come out and admit that she made the mistake, but she made it very clear that she felt the backlash of the slap of that word “failed”.  She took it very personally. When there was nothing personal about it all.

But now she made it personal. Because she slapped back. Because she didn’t stop and ask any questions. Because she assumed intent and responded in form. It didn’t help the situation. And it definitely didn’t help her cause, because she created more offense in responding out of her offense.

So I wonder, as I usually do – how are we ever going to grow and mature as a company and an office if we can’t say we failed?  How are we supposed to be better all-around if we refuse to own our mistakes?

So I’m pondering all this today and wondering what it all means.  And I honestly don’t know.  I’m mad and frustrated.  Because I want to desperately to lash out in response (hello, human side that proves how far from perfect I am) and defend myself.  But I don’t.  Because will it help the situation?  Will it make anything better?  Will it even be heard?  Probably not (and that part makes me very sad).  It will just be me, making a vain and futile attempt to “defend” myself against my accusers.

And then the palm of the hand hits the forehead with a gentle “thwap”.  Did Jesus feel the need to defend Himself?  No.  In the face of Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate and all His accusers, He remained silent (Matthew 26:63 – But Jesus remained silent; Matthew 27:14 – But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge).  He did not defend Himself or make excuses or try to explain Himself.  He did not try to talk anyone out of the abuse and brutality heaped upon Him that afternoon.  It didn’t matter to Him if the crowd was on His side, because He had a mission to finish.  He had a destiny to fulfill.  He had a world to save.

And yet again as I ponder life God makes a point.  A valid, straight to the heart point.  Hello conviction.  My name is Marie, and we’ll be walking together for a bit while I work this out.  I’m very grateful that you are conviction, since you will guide me toward Him and the path of righteousness.  Your nemesis, condemnation, is an unholy friend that only leads to misery and shame and blame.

Yes, it is hard, sometimes even painful, to say we were wrong.  But it is so healthy and so freeing.  No more weight of shame or guilt.  No more self-criticism and self-reproach.

I make a point to admit my wrongs with my electricians.  When I forget to call them back, I answer the phone with a more bashful tone and immediately say “I suck.  I’m sorry.”  Which I think immediately releases them from being (or staying) mad at me.  We actually get to laugh about it and talk about our lack of perfection all around.  It’s great.  It creates a better relationship.  It makes me more approachable.  It takes some pressure off of them.

But I struggle with the same thing with other people.  Especially people who are judgmental and hypersensitive and never admit their wrongdoings.  People who accuse quickly and apologize rarely.  People who use broad, general expressions (always, never) to describe behavior and characterize personality.

And today was another great reminder of how far I still have to go. How much I need to let things go. And that I still struggle with calling my sin what it is – sin.

Because I don’t want to be that girl who holds grudges, ascribes blame freely and without guilt, and cannot get along with difficult people. I want to be better. I want to be loving. I want to be humble.

Please, Lord, help me to be less of judgmental type of person and more of the silent Savior, who loved His accusers and even asked You to forgive them as He hung dying on the cross.  Help me, Lord, to be quick to forgive and slow to respond.  Help me, Lord, to untie my tongue when it stubbornly refuses to say “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong”.  Father, I absolutely can not do this without You, Lord, because my flesh is weak and my emotions want to take control. I am believing that every experience is a lesson in learning to love and an opportunity to be Your hands.  I am also believing that You will redeem all my experiences for my good and Your glory. Thank You for Your grace which is new each day and Your faith in me that I can do better. In Jesus’ Almighty Name I pray and believe, AMEN!

Marie Fremin, 7/1/15