Forgiveness–An Act of Obedience

Forgiveness–An Act of Obedience

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 /

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 /


Almost three years ago, after reading Thin Within, I completed the first Thin Within workbook. This workbook (I have always thought of it as a devotional) changed my spiritual life. Believe it or not, the workbook truly brought me to Christ. It was not until I completed the workbook that I really understood sin, the cross, my identity in Christ and the grace of the Lord (among many other things). And I experienced His healing powers in a very concrete way – by learning to forgive. (Now, I have been experiencing more and more of His healing powers over the past year, but that’s another story for another day).

The workbook’s week on forgiveness was instrumental in bringing me closer to the Lord. Without going into all of the details, I had a very strained relationship with one member of my family. It was a hurtful and painful relationship that caused me much anger. When I looked at my life at that time, I would have said that everything in my life – a loving husband, wonderful children, a healthy family, etc – was pretty great. But when I thought about this one relationship, I just didn’t deal well with the anger. Whenever I had to sit through a sermon or talk on forgiveness, I thought “yeah, but they don’t understand how badly I was treated. And I did nothing wrong! I don’t want to hear this and I’m not going to listen”. Yep, I was like a toddler having a temper tantrum!

I dreaded the week on forgiveness in the workbook. As I approached the week, I considered skipping it. But, I decided that I would start it and see what happened. Then, as I read the forgiveness lessons and studied the scripture, I learned about the grace and mercy that God showers on me when He forgives me. Praise Him!

And then I realized… that I am called to forgive others. Oh, no! But, the Lord began to change my heart as I desired to truly follow Him. I chose to study and commit to that week’s lesson. I then learned that forgiveness is an act of obedience. And I so wanted to be obedient to the Lord. I wanted to know Him. I wanted His healing. I wanted freedom from the diet mentality. I knew that I had to commit to obedience in this area. So, I committed to praying every day to forgive this particular person and I read the related scriptures over and over. I would picture all of my hurt, anger and pain tied up in a large piece of fabric and placed at the foot of the cross. After several months, I woke up one morning and the burden had been lifted! I knew for a fact then that God is faithful and that I can believe His Word. There is no way that, in my human power, I would have found the ability to forgive.

Here is the beauty of God’s way. When we are obedient to Him, we receive freedom. It sounds counterintuitive that obeying “someone else’s” way will free us, right? We want to be free to do it our own way. But, when I handled the anger and disappointment my own way, I lived in bondage to my emotions. When I handed my heart hurts to God, the chains around my heart broke in two.

It took me a lot longer to admit that eating within the God given boundary of 0-5 is also an act of obedience. I had to commit to more heart work and surrender in order to realize that truth. But, as I said earlier, that is another story for another day.

How About You?

Do you feel that you are not worthy of God’s forgiveness? Do you feel that someone in particular is not worthy of your forgiveness? Read what Jesus says about forgiveness. Talk to God about your feelings. Bring your embarrassment, pain, hurt, anger or bitterness to the foot of the cross. Ask for forgiveness. Ask for the ability to forgive. He and He alone is able to set you free!

*The fervent and deliberate daily prayers to forgive were combined with counseling with a Christian therapist. The therapy sessions were more about deciding whether I wanted to continue a relationship with this person or not. Forgiveness really was a separate matter all together. But I do want to disclose this fact because short-term counseling was helpful for me and someone reading this may want to consider it.

Forgiveness – Lesson 10 TW Class 2014

Forgiveness – Lesson 10 TW Class 2014

Not That, but This...
The LORD within her is righteous; he does no wrong.
Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail…
~ Zephaniah 3:5
I have shared for years that forgiveness was pivotal for me on my Thin Within journey. And it continues to be. I had one very wise accountability partner who,  when my eating was out of whack, asked me who I need to forgive.
After seven years of knowing about the hunger/satisfied approach to eating for weight loss and rarely, if ever, being consistent to do it, the thing that made the difference in my being able and willing to be more consistent was, simply, forgiveness. Being vulnerable with God in this important area kick-started my journey and took me from being merely a hearer of the truth to starting to DO the truth. Maybe the same can be true for you.
I have to admit, though, my way of sharing about this is easily misunderstood, easily misconstrued. So pardon me if I include disclaimers here *and* in the video. NOTE: I am not teaching THEOLOGY. I am, instead, sharing my experience. But my experience might be helpful to others of you and so I share it. As with everything I (or anyone) teach, please take all of it to the Lord and compare it to the Word of God. Where what I share seems to be at odds with the Word of God, always ALWAYS esteem the Word of God more highly than what I share. This has ALWAYS been important to me and it most assuredly is today as I share about this challenging topic. My experience or yours or anyone’s should never be the basis for TRUTH.
I can honestly say that what I will share here has been pivotal in enabling me to get rid of the largest road block hindering my obedience.
If you wonder what could be blocking your obedience, prayerfully consider if something I share here could be helpful to you.
Again, ALWAYS AND ONLY go to the Word of God and the Lord for understanding what is TRUE about God, life and you.
If you have a check in your spirit as you listen to this video, I suggest you STOP THE VIDEO and move on to the rest of the assignment. DO NOT IGNORE the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Any time you expose yourself to something I say, I hope you will do this. Check in the spirit? Then stop the video. End the audio. Close out of the blog post. Only continue if you sense God’s leadership to do so.
A final request, please understand…I share my experience with great vulnerability and at great risk. I didn’t weep while I was creating the footage for this video, but I wept all the way through the editing process as God reminded me of the pain of that place. Please tread with grace if you feel the urge to “correct” me. First ask the Lord, please, if there might be a log in your own eye before you insist on trying to pluck a splinter out of mine, ok? Sometimes when we don’t like the truth that God may want to bring home in our own lives…a truth that requires us to change…we want to shoot the messenger. But consider this…God used a donkey to speak his truth to Balaam. Before you beat this donkey :-), ask HIM if there is some tiny shred of truth that you should respond to, ok?

This Week’s Video:

 Video Questions:

1.) I knew about eating according to the boundaries of hunger and satisfaction in 1999. But it wasn’t until 2006 that I had a break-through that enabled me to be able to start walking in obedience in my eating. God laid on my heart why I had trouble with being obedient. What was it he shared with me? (You will find it at about 02:17)

2.) What did it feel like I needed to do with that realization.

3.) About 03:20 I share a lie that I believed…that affected my journey to that point. What is that lie? “You, God, have _________ me __________.”

4.) What can happen when our feelings are given too much sway and begin to “define” fact for us?

5.) (04:27) “I was living as if God had _____________ too __________ of me.” Have you ever felt that way? About what? Do you today?

6.) Is there anything that has so disappointed you about God that it might be affecting your willingness to surrender your food to him? God does no wrong…he hasn’t done you wrong! But is there any way that this *feels* like it is similar to needing to forgive someone who has done you wrong? If not, what can you do with this sense that God has required too much of you? How might dealing with it (somehow) help you to honor him, to delight in him?

7.) I mention 4 kinds of forgiveness (of 5) that have been included in my journey. What are the 4 types of forgiveness that I mention (keeping in mind that #4 is not literally forgiveness)? Do you have any idea what my 5th kind of forgiveness is (not mentioned in the video)? 🙂 Post here at the blog what you think it might be!

8.) At about 07:27 I ask you some questions. Stop the video and take time to ask the Lord what the TRUTH is for you.

9.) Everyone acts based on what they believe. If we believe that God has done us wrong, we will act on that belief. We have to go to the root of it…how can you do that today?

10.) In the closing minutes,  I ask you to bring God your feelings and process them with him. Will you? If not, why not?

Renewing the Mind – Pressing On

What might you need to renew your mind about? Select one of these to speak truth to your soul about. Can you reference Scriptures to help you with this? What is true about night-time eating? What is true about eating when you feel wounded? What is true about this journey right now wherever you currently find yourself–IS God doing a “new thing” in you? Remember, renewing the mind with TRUTH is the point. BIG T truth…What GOD says is true. We want to think God’s thoughts after him. His Word sanctifies us.

Pick One (book or workbook):

Trade Book Assignment – To Be Completed by March 17th

  • Here is the Thin Within Study Guide Week 10 . Feel free to discuss it at our Facebook group or here! THIS WEEK, we will have a drawing for Rebecca Bryan’s music! This is great music for renewing your mind. If you post a comment this week your name will be put in a drawing to win a downloadable version of Becky’s CD. Comment on this blog post (or any other this week) to be entered in the drawing. You can enter more than once, too. 🙂

Workbook Assignment – To Be Completed by March 17th.

1. Read, highlight, mark 🙂 Lesson 10, Forgiveness, on pages D18 – D24 or listen to the “audio book” version of it at Sound Cloud.  Discuss it here in the comments section below this post or at our Class Facebook Group.
2. Complete the exercises for Lesson 10 on pages D26 – D32. Next Monday before the webinar, respond to the Review questions on page D33 or even better–do so at our Facebook discussion group!
3. Have you been creating a God List? Have you been Praise-Festing? Gratitude is yet another way we get our eyes off of ourselves and place them firmly on God. If we want this experience to be different than our dieting days (or previous goes through the Thin Within material, perhaps) we want to change our thinking and change our focus. Exalting God intentionally through praise and gratitude may be one way of doing this.
4. Use the entries for Day 64 through Day 70 in the Temple Tool Kit. Have you been using any of the tools? How is this going? What is God showing you through the use of the tools?
5. Memorize Colossians 3:12-13. Personalize it and add it to your truth cards.
6. Join us on March 17th for our live webinar at 4:30 Pacific Time. We will be wrapping up lesson 10 on Forgiveness.

How About You?

In these last few weeks of our study, you might experience the most profound changes to date. Invite God to help your heart to be wide open to whatever he may want to do be prepared to have new eyes to see. Forgiveness work is HARD WORK. But it is well worth it. Whether it is forgiveness of others, seeking their forgiveness for ways we have wronged them, asking God for forgiveness for our sin, forgiving ourselves or what I have called “forgiving” God. It is all hard work. But it is well worth it. As we put off bitterness and resentment, we are able then to put on kindness, compassion, and love.

Lesson 9’s (Boundaries) webinar recording is available here
Here are slides (in pdf form) from Lesson 9’s webinar: 09-Boundaries

Forgiveness in Process

I have written a lot at this blog about forgiveness over the years. (Just type “forgive” into the search box in the margin and you will see pages of material mentioning this!)

In, summary, God showed me in 2007 that my refusal to forgive was affecting me emotionally and that, in turn, was causing me to look for solace in food. When I went through a challenging process of forgiving anything and everything, anyone and everyone, I could think of, I began being able to really apply the principles of Thin Within and I released the 100 pounds of extra weight I carried on my body. Forgiveness unlocked my *willingness* to surrender food to the Lord.

It is time to take a truth inventory again, to take stock because my eating is out of kilter. Though I am active enough to keep up with myself…it won’t be long before that just isn’t the case. But the point is, there is a *heart* condition that I know the Lord wants to address.

My perfect King has seen fit to ordain a lot of fresh, ONgoing stuff for me to forgive. So, since I am trying to lead an online class of wonderful people through the Thin Within workbook, and since we are on the forgiveness lesson, I get to have a fresh look at my own need to forgive.

While I am not surprised by what I am discovering, I am dismayed. It seems never-ending. A year ago June, my world was shaken to the core by someone very dear to me. Someone who had always been solid, dependable, and a foundation stone in my life. The changes threw me into a tail-spin and I am only beginning to recover. Meanwhile, all the same old issues have continued to go on…

And I find myself just wanting to rest! Even better if it can be with a half gallon of ice cream! Old habits do die so very hard indeed!

Anyhow, if any of you find yourself in a similar place, I just wanted you to know, I can relate. Doing “forgiveness work” is the hardest work on the planet, I am convinced. :-/

Forgiveness Again

Forgiveness is a powerful thing that has a tremendous influence on whether I will walk in victory in the area of food and eating.

When I don’t keep short accounts by readily extending forgiveness to anyone who I perceive as having wronged me, I find that I am on edge, irritable and ready to eat at any given moment for any given reason! Maybe I am just nuts (probably), but for some reason, when I haven’t forgiven even something as simple as a rude clerk at the grocery store, it sets me up for a fall relative to my godly food/eating boundaries. Perhaps it is because I learned to numb pain with food while still very young.

Many of us are in situations in which we have to choose to forgive even while the offender might yet continue to offend. For instance, if our parents are still alive and we have an ongoing relationship with them, we may have to face a disapproving spirit, knowing full well that they may never BE repentant, or truly change. They aren’t sorry and may not even know they judge us so harshly. We get to choose to forgive even those who will continue to wound us, even those who are not repentant…

This is a challenge for me.

Yet my example is Christ. Jesus prayed to the Father: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” in Luke 23:34. He was willing to extend forgiveness to those who were being brutal to him, even while they chose to continue their sin. In fact, Romans 5:8 says that God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly. Christ chose to die for the very ones who wronged him. Not only did he forgive them and plead with the Father to forgive them, but he died so that this could happen.

In other words, there was no waiting for them to be repentant first. Christ forgave even as the wrong doers continued to do the wrong.

And he died by their hand even after he forgave them.

I am called to forgive–even those who will continue to wrong me. I don’t wait for everything to be perfect before I forgive. If I am to follow Christ’s example, I will forgive now. The offender may not know the difference or care, but it will radically affect me. It doesn’t let them off the hook (Jesus’ murderers had to answer for what they did), but it causes me to be freed from their control. *I* am the one who needs to forgive for *my* sake!

How about you? Can you relate? When you have built up accounts–haven’t forgiven as readily as you should–do you find that it affects your behavior–your eating? Who do you need to forgive today?

Thank you – Prayers and Forgiveness

Many of you have emailed me or posted here (and on Facebook) that you are praying for our family. Thank you so much. God is answering. Today, I have experienced some hope. I know that the road ahead is likely yet to be long and filled with many challenges, but today has offered the first bit of tangible hope that I have seen. Thank you for your prayers.

God is showing me so much about myself. It is utterly painful. I wonder if maybe…well…if I hadn’t been numbing myself for so many years with food or this or that or the other thing, if I wouldn’t have heard him sooner…the convicting whisper of his Spirit.

I guess it doesn’t matter. He is doing an overhaul in me now. It is so very hard, but I trust it is what is best.

Thank you so much for praying.