Weekly Thought – July 19, 2022
Fred spoke frequently to singles’ church groups. Often participants would seek his advice, seeing him as a “father figure.” Forgiveness is often a foundational part of the conversations. This week’s message is an illustration gleaned from one of these weekends.
The Joy of Forgiveness
After a session with a singles’ group a young woman approached me with a distraught countenance. She began telling me of moving to her current town, taking a new job, and making a poor decision. I always ask if I can help, but I never begin asking direct questions of hurting people.
She told me of an affair with a married man. Then she asked me questions: “Fred, do you think God will take revenge on me? Do you think he will keep me from getting married? Do you think I will ever be clean again?” I told her of God’s forgiveness.
I then asked her “Are you willing to accept that this is your problem and no one else?” She admitted it was. Then I continued, “Can you admit this is sin and not a mistake?” Mistakes can be humanly corrected but sin requires repentance and God’s forgiveness. Then I asked, “Do you want to be giving up the benefits of this sin? Do you want to be clear of this?”
She looked down then said, “Yes, but I don’t know if I can or not.”
My response surprised her. “Until you say ‘yes, right now.’ Nothing is going to change.” You are going to hurt whether you give him up or not. If you do, I think you can probably count on about two years of hurting. Don’t buy into the false teaching that promises you will be happy, jumping around, and skipping for joy because you gave him up. You will hurt, but you will hurt with hope.
If you don’t give him up, you will keep on hurting, but without hope. There is a big difference.”
I never heard from her again, but she did write down the words: “Hurt with hope, or hurt without hope.”
The joy of forgiveness which follows repentance and turning from sin is a gift available to all believers. I hope she found the way of hope.
A few years later after speaking in another state a couple came up to speak. The woman said, “Fred, I was in an audience when you told this story. I was in her situation, and I chose to hurt with hope. I walked away and my husband and I are now happily restored. The ripples of God’s grace continue going out.”
This week carefully consider: 1) How do Fred’s words speak to me? 2) What can I learn about listening to hurting people? 3) Who comes to mind who needs these words of “hurting with hope?”
Words of Wisdom: “Hurt with hope or hurt without hope.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The sacrifice God desires is a humble spirit— O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject.” (Psalm 51:17 NET Bible)