Forgive and Love| By Zuzana Niedelova

When I was a child, I learned that broken things are sharp; and what is sharp can hurt me. But then when I was growing up, I learned that people are broken too. And if they are broken, they are sharp and can just as easily hurt me.

I have no doubt that you have been hurt in your life; maybe someone hurt you today or maybe years ago. No matter when it took place, how deep the wound is or how much you are trying to protect it, I want you to know that you were not created for the pain.

God did not make you to be treated without care, respect and love. He made you more precious than rubies, to be loved, cherished, respected and looked up to.

I long for you to know this truth deeply in your heart because these are not just plain words of comfort. They are your truest identity which has been placed in you before the creation of the world.

However, people can make you feel different sometimes and although it doesn’t always seem that way, he knows your pain. He knows exactly how you feel and he knows how to love you well.

God, who is your creator, will provide for all your needs and desires if you delight in him first.  People can’t offer what you have been created for in the measure that is sufficient, but your Father can restore every wound and every broken piece of your being because he knows how much you are worth.

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

Although, knowing this truth is important, it is not enough. There are still people to be dealt with – those who hurt you, the broken, the sharp. Some of them really did not mean to hurt you. They are doing their best in getting through life with all the baggage they have been handed. Forgive them and let them know to be more careful next time. Show them you care for them, that they are valued and worthy of love. Show them what you have been shown by your Father.

And then there are those who hurt you on purpose. Forgive them too. It was not right and there isn’t a good excuse for their acts, but there is a good explanation; they themselves have been hurt so deeply and their needs haven’t been met so many times that they became broken, sharp and are trying to mend their own brokenness in the wrong places. Don’t be too hard on them; you don’t know what they have been through. Whether you can see it or not, they need your love and forgiveness so much more than you think they deserve. They need it because they didn’t get enough of it; that’s what broke them and made them so sharp after all.

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Luke 5:31 (NIV)

I know it’s hard to forgive things that seem to be unpardonable, but you are not the judge, you are God’s vessel and reflection – he sustains you and only then you can go and bring life to others.

Therefore, be God’s hands and feet here on Earth. Find strength and comfort in Him and then go and comfort those in need, the broken and even those who hurt you. That’s what you have been created for; to reflect his identity and so when he shows you love, respect, care, when he comforts you and lifts you up, go and do so to others. Yes, even those who hurt you because trust me; they need your love and forgiveness more than you need your hurt and bitterness. And by doing so, you’ll fulfill the very purpose you’ve been created for – to reveal His character He put into you to the world. 

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them” Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

Not Dressed to Impress| By Tori Savoy

Do you ever notice that anytime you step out in public looking disheveled, you will run into every single person you know? It seems to almost be a proven fact – at least that is what I am going with.

During one of my frequent trips to Target, I thought I saw an old friend in the parking lot as I began to walk inside. 

Before I could make out whether or not it was her, I quickly diverted eye contact by pulling out my phone so that I would not be noticed. My hair was dirty and a little wild. My face did not have a lick of makeup. And of course, I was several pounds heavier than the last time I had seen this person.

On top of my appearance, I was having a rough day that had me in not the best attitude. I was not in a place to “perform” and could not avoid coming across as the awkward person I am deep down. 

Instant regret hit me once I made it inside the store. I am unsure if it was even her walking through the parking lot, but I possibly missed out on seeing a friend I would have loved to catch up with because I was so worried about how I was not looking or feeling my best. 

How many times have I missed wonderful encounters with God because I was not “dressed to impress”? 

When I am on a spiritual high and feel as if I fit the makeup of an “ideal Christian”, I will talk to God in a confident way.

On the other hand, when I do not have things together the way I think I should, I tend to talk to Him less. If my attitudes and actions are not exactly perfect, I want to pull out my phone and ignore God. 

“Maybe I will talk with Him tomorrow when I am feeling more spiritually sound,” I basically convince myself.

However, He just wants me to come to Him as I am. We do not have to perform in front of God or put on the appearance of perfection to come before His presence. He wants the raw, naked side of our soul. 

I have probably had so many missed opportunities in His presence because of my tendency to perform and dress up for Him. 

Sure, I have a duty as a Christian to live a holy life, but I do need to be polished before entering His presence. My prayers do not need to be embellished with intelligent words. I do not need to mask my true feelings. I do not need to accomplish a certain number of good deeds before I am worthy of speaking to HIm.  I just need to come as I am so that He can meet me there. 

“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” John 6:37 (NIV)

Don’t miss out on all the new things God wants to share with you just because you do not feel put together enough. There is no shame in the presence of our Father. Our brokenness is where His power and presence will shine through the brightest.

“God doesn’t want something from us, He simply wants us.” -C.S. Lewis