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 Post subject: Remember the Good
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 11:29 pm 
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Once -- I do not remember when -- I signed up to receive daily devotionals called "Holy Land Moments with Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein."

Yesterday I was mulling over some past hurts and not feeling very good about how easily they (and the hurt) came back to my mind all these years later.

Today I randomly clicked on the devotional below; I don't read them regularly and it arrived in my inbox some days ago... It came at a good time.


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Remember the Good

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”—Hosea 2:14–15

The book of Hosea begins with arguably one of the strangest commandments ever given to man. God commands the prophet Hosea to find an unfaithful woman, marry her, and begin a family. Hosea and his wife become an allegory for God’s love of unfaithful Israel.

... In the book of Jeremiah, God says: “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness” (2:2). Here in Hosea, this week’s Haftorah, God planned to lead the Israelites to the desert where “she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”

... God remembers the virtues of the past, and it is through that lens that He views the present and plans for the future.

When it comes to our relationships with each other we also remember the past. But what is it that we remember? Most people remember the bad things done to them much more than the favors they received. And even when we do remember a person’s kindness to us, as soon as that same person wrongs us in any way, the memory of that kindness is quickly forgotten.

The Sages urge us to see our relationships through a very different prism. They caution us to remember the good things that a person does and never let their mistakes cancel out their merits. Just as God remembers the best that we were and believes in the best that we can be, we also need to remember the best things about any given person. We can never let the bad in them cloud our vision of their goodness.

Try this next time someone in our life wrongs us: Remember. Remember the times we shared and the good things that they did. Remember the kindness they showed us and every favor ever done for us...

Please read the entire devotional here: http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotion ... r-the-good


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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 11:36 pm 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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Wow. That came at just the right time for me, too.

Thanks for sharing, SirD.

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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 11:55 pm 
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Thank you for that post, Sir D.

I think a very important point is that our good and bad traits balance but don't cancel each other.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 12:19 am 
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Yes, and let me add my word of thanks.

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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 12:37 am 
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Frelga wrote:
Thank you for that post, Sir D.

I think a very important point is that our good and bad traits balance but don't cancel each other.


That's an interesting point.

[rambling thoughts]I'm thinking of a person. The things they did over a decade ago altered my life in a way that causes pain and a sense of loss even now. After forgiving them, I began treating them with understanding. Compared to the way they treated me then (and have continued to treat me over the years), I have been good to them.

However, rather than treating them well out of love, my focus instead is on how gracious I am being, in spite of everything. Sometimes I think my graciousness toward them is motivated by love, but probably it is more about trying to make myself feel better about myself. Grace motivated by anything other than love for its object probably cancels any good it otherwise might have achieved.[/rambling thoughts]


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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 12:41 am 
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SirDennis wrote:
Grace motivated by anything other than love for its object probably cancels any good it otherwise might have achieved.[/rambling thoughts]


No, I don't think that is right. I think that making the effort has value in and of itself, even if you recognize that the motivation is not completely pure. Indeed, that recognition itself has value above deceiving yourself into believing that you are acting from pure motivation, when in fact you are not.

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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 12:54 am 
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Thank you Voronwë. :hug:


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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 4:41 am 
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I agree. Love, forgiveness and acts of grace are choices that we make. Sometimes we choose them when it's not what we feel yet. But the choosing tends to make the feeling follow.

It's like taking a step out the door even though you don't really want to take a walk. After that one step, another naturally follows and eventually your heart catches up with your will.

(Not that I've been good at that lately, but I remember what it was like.)

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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 7:16 am 
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Well, I come from a deed over creed tradition, as you know, so I'd say that doing the right thing is the right thing to do, no matter the reasons. ;) It is by doing the right thing, even for a wrong reason, that we become the kind of person who does the right thing for the right reason.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 1:41 pm 
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I come from a tradition of God caring more about what's in your heart. Good deeds often hide a heart that is far from God and far from holiness. (Conversely, something that may seem wrong to people, if done with the right motives, may not be viewed as wrong by God.) However, I don't disagree with anything that's been written here. Doing the right thing is important even when you don't feel like it. Like Wampus said, the feelings often follow. Love and forgiveness are, indeed, choices sometimes.

SirD, if you find a way to make your motives completely pure, let me know. I don't think that's entirely possible here on earth. From a Christian perspective, I realize my heart is really just corrupt and impure (Mark 7:1-23). The good I have in me is a gift from God. I don't dwell on this to wallow in self-loathing, though. I think about this to keep myself as humble as possible and to remember the gratitude I have to God for giving me love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

And then I trust the rest to God's mercy and grace.

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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 3:38 pm 
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Frelga, yes I believe there is value in choosing what is right, perhaps especially when it is at odds with how we may be feeling, with how we would rather respond.

Lali, regarding the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22-23) that you mention, if find the joy one tricky in the face of certain memories and their effects, hence this thread. No beating around the bush with you. ;)


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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 3:55 pm 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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Oh, trust me, I get it.

Choosing to focus on the good in a person who hurt you will help with the joy, I think. I seem to have more joy when God changes my focus to the good in the person or in my life. There is quite a bit of truth to the adage going around about forgiving someone not for his/her sake but for your own. Yes, the Bible says we're obligated to do so, but sometimes it takes being very practical about it to make it attainable.

But, in the end, if I'm trying to do all of this warm fuzzy stuff on my own I will end up failing (and frustrated). I really need God to give me the joy or the peace or the self-control (or whatever it is I need).

I'm saying this from a place of struggle, so you know--actually, several places of struggle. Two are friends who hurt me deeply; another is an issue that I'm trying to exercise boundaries and restraint in and struggling.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:05 am 
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How goes the struggle?

Grace. I thank God for the grace He has given me...


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:17 am 
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Me too!

Actually, it's okay right now, but that's because God keeps bringing me to a place where only He can deliver me out of the struggle.

It's funny that you brought this back up today. Our sermon this morning was about forgiveness. Right after the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6, verses 14 and 15 say, "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

I've heard that before, and it's sobering; the other part of the sermon that I thought was very good and practical was the list of what forgiveness is and what it isn't.

It is:

    resisting revenge
    not returning evil for evil
    wishing them well
    grieving at their calamities
    praying for their welfare
    seeking reconciliation so far as it depends on you
    coming to their aid in distress

It is not:

    absence of anger at sin
    absence of serious consequences for sin


And it doesn't look the same for an unrepentant person as it does for a repentant person. (IOW, forgiveness will be somewhat incomplete when the person who wronged you doesn't ask for forgiveness. You can only take it so far.)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:42 am 
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Something's in the air I guess. Just this evening I did a chapel service on the topic of Grace.

It is interesting that while grace is a free gift (often unmerited) it does not end there. According to Titus 2:12-14 [Grace] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Yet this does not mean that it is all on us. As we read in 2 Cor 12:9 "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

It's a pretty sweet and gracious arrangement as far as I can tell... grace makes it possible for me (for us) to forgive, precisely when we are least able to do so in our own strength.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:35 am 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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Ah, that's exactly it, SirD! :love: Brilliant!

It's the same with our sin struggles as well. I can't resist the temptation on my own willpower. (I used to try, and, sometimes, I'd do okay, at least for awhile anyway.) But I'm reaching this place where I'm realizing I'm utterly dependent on Christ for rescue from them.

(I don't know. It seems as if I should've realized this before, but I think I've always placed this emphasis on what I can and should do. I'm just realizing that I'm really just not able on my own.)

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:21 am 
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Do you think it is fair to say that grace enables us to "remember the good?" In other words, would you agree that rapt in the mystery of grace is something, a gift, that is exceedingly practical?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:32 am 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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I absolutely do. I think God gives us practical things like this all of the time, if we're open to receiving them.

Just the other night, my mind was drifting to places it shouldn't, and I don't want to dwell on those thoughts. So I start wrestling with them and just saying, "God, you have to help me here. I can't do this on my own." But I started back into the thoughts again and, out of nowhere, a new thought flashed in my mind. That was all it took to set me straight! He replaced the images I had going with a good image and all was well and right.

I think that's pretty practical.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:05 pm 
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Lali wrote:
And it doesn't look the same for an unrepentant person as it does for a repentant person. (IOW, forgiveness will be somewhat incomplete when the person who wronged you doesn't ask for forgiveness. You can only take it so far.)


I am not sure I agree with this...but will have to think on it before making a longer post.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:36 pm 
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The incompleteness is not on your end; it's on their end.

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