Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Those Troublesome Apologies

Over the past couple weeks we witnessed a well-known celebrity make terrible attempts to “apologise” for something she had written towards a another woman on social media. This celebrity had become comfortable over the past few decades with making degrading comments that were sexist (towards men and women), racist, anti-Jewish, anti-Islamic, and anti-Christian. She also had a habit of posting fake news about political issues she didn’t support and trash talking about Americans who were working hard to survive in a currently hostile America. No one was guaranteed to be spared from her malignant comments in the media. Eventually someone with the power to make this woman pay expensive and creative consequences for her actions did so.

I’ll refer to this celebrity as Mean Marri. When Mean Marri realized her consequences were real and costly she did what so many do when they can’t accept that they have done something truly wrong to another person. Marri gave a weak and insincere apology and when she saw that it wasn’t working she became angrier and defense. She then moved on to making up ridiculous and impossible reasons for why she had written such a mean post about another woman.

Reading over Marri’s supporters comments about the incident, I realised there are people who don’t know what is involved in an apology. I found Marri’s post to be stomach turning and her response to the backlash left myself and others further upset with her. If your apology is not sincere or you don’t believe you have something to apologise for, then please, in the name of integrity, don’t apologise. A fake meaningless apology only adds fuel to the fire and is insultive to the person(s) you are “apologising” to. It means you think the offended is foolish enough to believe you.

God has not called us to make false apologies. We are always welcomed to come before him with the truth about our wrongs, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:3); he already knows in advance what we have done. Once we have come before God we can approach another with a sincere apology and desire to repair what has been broken. This can be done only if contact will not cause emotional or physical harm or be a threat to people’s safety.

Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” James 5:16

The beauty of the relationship between an apology and forgiveness is the emotional healing that takes place either individually or between all parities involved. God is a healer, he offers us grace and forgiveness so that we in turn can apologise to those we have hurt and those who have been hurt can forgive us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Apologises aren’t there for the purpose of saving one’s reputation, peacemaking, keeping one’s job, avoiding a lawsuit, gaining a personal advantage, or for any selfish motives. Apologies are spiritual, and they are there to humble us, help us grow, bring about self-awareness, and draw us closer to God and people.

If you have wronged another person or have been accused of wronging someone and are having a difficult time apologising, bring the situation to God. He will reveal to you what you have done wrong and if you are open to his spiritual correction you can work towards rectifying the situation in a healthy manner.

Not everyone knows what is involved in an apology and why apologies are important in a civil society. Here are some links below to articles and videos that can help you with offering or accepting an apology (Click the titles):

How To Apologize: Asking for Forgiveness Gracefully

How To Apologize: The 7 Steps of a Sincere Apology

How To Apologize: 5 Elements of a Successful I’m Sorry



The Shack and Lenten Lessons


The movie The Shack has been getting social media attention for both positive and negative reasons. There are those who see The Shack as a great movie about our relationship with God; and in the other camp are those who see the movie as blasphemous and theologically dangerous.

I recently watched The Shack and spent most of the time fighting back tears. The movie is based on the book of the same title written by Canadian author William P. Young. His book was controversial among a small number of Christians and now the movie is receiving similar reactions.

Personally, I don’t consider the book or the movie to be heretical; but it certainly is theological.  In its simplest form, The Shack gives us a visual of the complexities involved in a person’s relationship with God, Jesus, and the Spirit. We will never fully understand how the relationships between us as humans and God as divine fully operates. We were not designed to understand something so complex; something that takes place between a human and a non-human; here on earth and in another world that we have never seen (and may never see).

In my lifetime I’ve had too much experience dealing with Christians who always have the exact answers, those who can’t accept that parts of God’s being and actions will forever be a mystery to us. God never promised that we would understand everything, He only asked that we trust Him with what He has revealed to humans.

It’s the habit of humans to fill in the blanks where God has intentionally chosen to leave unknown. It’s as if one can’t stand not know something. We as a human race feel cheated by God and to deal with this we come up with answers and don’t allow them to be challenged for fear that our answers might be wrong. There are people more comfortable with a lie that doesn’t challenge them rather than a truth that challenges them.

I believe The Shack helps explain to Christians the complexity of dealing with the unseen and the unknown. Being a Christian doesn’t shield us from pain, it only helps protect us from allowing our pain to become bitterness, revengeful, hard hearted, and emotionally self-destructive. How we react to life’s circumstances has nothing to do with who God is, it is 100% about us as individuals and the choices we make.

The Shack is making some people uncomfortable because it is not human nature for us to be forgiving, loving, and kind to those who don’t make us feel all warm and fuzzy. The gospel teachings of Christ are difficult when you put them into action. Living out the gospel is a continuous cycle of learning and growth. During this lifelong process God is busy loving us, offering His grace, giving us mercy, and developing us into the persons He has designed us to be.

If you haven’t seen or read The Shack, I encourage you to prepare yourself beforehand by reading Jesus’ teachings and various parts of the Hebrew scriptures where God talks about His love for us and the forgiveness that comes along with it. This is important because God taught us His commandments about love and forgiveness, and Jesus lived it as an example for us to follow.

If you are uncomfortable with what God has taught us about love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and justice and how Jesus lived it; you will be uncomfortable with the theological concepts found in The Shack.

The Greatest Commandment Given

28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33 and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mark 8: 28-34).


Reflection and Questions:

-What parts of The Shack resonated with you theologically?

-Do you believe it is possible to feel God’s presence in the midst of pain and suffering?

-Do you identify with the main character’s struggle to accept that God forgives people who have done really bad things to others?

-Were there any scenes or parts of the book where you think the author gave an inaccurate portrayal of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit (breath)?

-Have you learned something new about the nature of God from either the book or the movie?

-Do you believe it is possible to be set free from generational sin (such as the example provided by the movie)? If yes, what are some ways one can be set free?




Hate is Easier Than Love 


Ephesians 4_26

During the month of June, 2016, my Facebook news feed was filled with posts about choosing love over hate. Not unlike any other month, there was a lot of hate being spread around the world. Hate in the form of injustice, sexism towards males and females, religious fears, political extremism, and talk about gun control were the most popular.

As an INFJ personality, I have this annoying habit of seeing both the good and bad, negative and positive, and can find hope and hopelessness in any situation. This habit annoys both myself and others that I know. Seeing both sides to a situation can some times cause people to accuse you (me) of being sympathetic towards those who commit acts that society, accurately, in my opinion, believes to be wrong.

I hear of and read news stories about people who commit horrific acts and my heart breaks. After the surprise or shock wears off I tend to start asking questions about the offender: Where did he/she grow up? What was their life like? What experiences, situations, and beliefs influenced this person’s actions?

I currently work with a population that has committed some atrocious acts of violence against their victims. My job does not allow for acts of judgment, non-legalized justice (frontier justice, vigilante justice, street justice), or discrimination based on a person’s criminal history. This means that me and my co-workers and those who work in this industry are in a position where we are called to see both sides to a situation. It doesn’t mean that we defend the violent actions of people who cause harm to others, what it means is that we have to be aware of the social, psychological, spiritual, and emotional roots of why people commit horrific acts against others. I’m not going to pretend that this is easy; it can be a challenge at times to be supportive towards a person who habitually inflicts harm on others.

The only way that I have been able to remain supportive and serve others is to cultivate grace.


My One Word for 2016 is “Grace”. This word is difficult for me to fully understand and practice; but with each passing day I have grown bit by bit in understanding why God, Jesus, and St. Paul stressed the importance of this amazing action. Grace is what helps me and others understand why people do the things they do, both positive and negative. Grace is what prevents me and others from seeking non-legalized justice. Grace is what prevents myself and others from being reactive in the form of spitefulness, revenge, gossip, bullying, and all the other popular methods of “getting back” at someone. Grace also means not allowing yourself to be a victim when “it ain’t about you!”.

When I am continuously bombarded with news about acts of hatred committed against innocent people; I don’t want to become filled with unrighteous anger. I want to remember the powerful words written in the bible that caution us about filling our hearts with anger by giving the devil, the enemy, a foothold. As believers we are cautioned to not be angry, while simultaneously not allowing acts of injustice to be carried out against the vulnerable, the innocent, and the marginalized. This is another commandment that is difficult to practice.

God wants to protect us from the never successful game of “tit for tat and tip for tap”. He wants us to fight our natural urge for retaliation and replace it with this difficult act called grace. We can’t claim to be choosing love over hate if refuse to understand the roots of hatred. In order to replace love with hate we are called to take time to understand what causes individuals to become so angry within themselves that they’d take the lives of others. We also need to protect ourselves from allowing the injury of others to feed hatred in our own hearts.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Miroslav Volf
“But those who forgive need not abandon all disciplinary measures against offenders. …A violent offender may need to be restrained if there is any danger he may harm others. Discipline for the sake of a wrongdoer’s reform and the protection of the public is compatible with forgiveness. Discipline even for the sake of upholding the moral good assaulted by the offense is compatible with forgiveness. Retribution is not. Those who forgive will have a system of discipline, but retribution will not be part of it.”


The Blessing of ADHD: Turn it around!


One Word: Blessing

The Blessings That Comes With Having ADHD

For those who have ADHD you might be wondering what exactly could be a blessing of having ADHD? There doesn’t seem to be any blessing in the list of traits describing ADHD: constantly late, disorganized, forgetful, impatience, trouble concentrating, easily distracted, zoning out and a host of other negatives symptoms that make it difficult to navigate the world of work and personal relationships.

None of the traits of ADHD resemble the Fruits of the Spirit, Corinthians 13, or any of the other teachings by St. Paul on how to be a good Christian. Knowing this, how does one find blessings in having ADHD?

I have ADHD and I have it bad! At various times in my life this disorder has turned me into a hot mess! I haven’t mastered this disorder, and it is an ongoing process to make effective changes, but I strongly believe that if I stay positive and focus on the blessings, then I will be able to succeed in life. I believe this applies to others with ADHD as well. I’ll share with you a few of the negative traits of ADHD that can be reframed when we make the choice to engage in the process of turning these negatives into positives and bring healing into our lives.

If we believe that Jesus was able to: make a blind man see, mentally free a demon possessed person, stop the flow of a hemorrhaging woman, and bring a deceased loved one back to life; then I believe that God is able to help those of us with ADHD bring healing to our lives while we manage the symptoms of this disorder.

adhd no shame



Turn It Around With These Blessings:

-Know that God loves you and you are worthy of this because He has said so. Give Him praise everyday for His love.

-Don’t be afraid or a shamed to let others know that you have Adult ADHD. It’s not some sort of non-treatable contagious disease that people need to fear.

adhd mood permission


Turn It Around With These Blessings:

-Become aware of your emotions and how you are feeling. Check- in with yourself throughout the day so you can recognise when you are steering towards disorganization and other frustrations.

– Be vulnerable and brave enough to apologise to others when your ADHD traits have caused you to hurt others. Be gentle towards yourself and practice self-forgiveness; release unhealthy guilt.

adhd relationship


Turn It Around With These Blessings:

-Spend your time with people who understand the challenges of ADHD. If there are people who are judgemental towards your disorder, unforgiving, or harsh with you; remove them from your life or decrease the amount of time you spend with them.

-Be conscious of the traits that are causing fractures within your family. Be willing to admit where you are struggling and work together with family members to deal with troublesome issues.

adhd at work


Turn It Around With These Blessings:

-Find employment that can accommodate your symptoms.  The goal is to recognise what would make the workplace more suitable for you without it compromising your ability to fulfill your duties.

-Discover your gifts. God has gifted you alongside having this deficit. ADHD is not an absence of gifts, skills, abilities and talents. The challenge is to discover these and make them work for you and your employer without the ADHD traits getting in the way.

ADHD Passion-and-Purpose


Turn It Around With These Blessings:

-Use your ADHD fueled passion to make somewhere in this world a better place to be. Use it to bring happiness, justice, efficiency and joy to the lives of others and yourself.

-Learn to accept that passion filled persons with ADHD are visionaries who see the world in pictures. Be gentle and understanding towards those who can’t see past two feet in front of them. They aren’t visionaries and that is alright; it’s your job and gift to be the visionary. Leave it to them to the manage the details.


Prayer for those with ADHD who just need to stop, pause and pray! 

prayer pause