Death Sentence

Prison-Cell-Stillwater-SOURCE-Public-Domain

Have you ever given yourself a death sentence or felt as though someone else has?

Has there ever been a time when you have done something, been ashamed, committed a wrong, and thrown yourself into your own prison?

Have you committed yourself or someone else to this death sentence?

Whether you have wronged someone or been wronged yourself, one of you might have, unknowingly been committed to a death sentence. You or someone else have done something that has caused such great pain that your lives will never be the same.

For the one who caused the pain, they feel forever sentenced to their wrong doing. It is as though anything they did before or will do, that might have been “good”, will be forever erased because they will constantly be known by their stripes. They will always be seen behind the prison bars and sentenced to a life of “death” to who they once were and forever chained and known by their “sins”. They daily encounter remarks or actions that are like lashes, continually beating them down, reminding them that they will never make an escape from the cell that they are in.

For the one who received the pain, they forever sentence themselves to the other person’s wrong doing. They put themselves behind the bars of their own fear, hurt, insecurity, and self doubt. They refuse to free themselves from pain that has placed them there. They hold so tight to the sentence that has been given to them that they can not see a way out. They feel so alone, weak, and hurt that they become enveloped by the cell that has been placed around them.

Before we begin to drag ourselves, or lead others, to the execution chamber, we need to know, or be reminded, that someone has already paid the sentence. Our “death” has been taken care of and our freedom has been paid for in full. No matter how far you have fallen, how greatly you have been wronged, how deeply you have hurt, Jesus Christ has gone to the execution chamber in your place and your sentence has been wiped from your records.

Jesus Christ died on the cross in order to pay the costly price for those hefty wrongs we have committed. He has shown us grace, love, and mercy by dying for us. Once we have accepted that, knowing it is nothing we have done but it is everything He has done, our sentence has been wiped clean.

So if He has taken our death sentence why are we still held up in that prison cell? The bars have been opened and we are still sitting in the cold, empty cell, alone in our imprisonment. The guards are gone and yet we refuse to leave, move, or accept our freedom. Why? We are our worst enemies. We are our prisons. We are our Wardens.

Stop looking down! Look up! Jesus is there, waiting to free us. Take His hand and escape from that prison cell. You have been set free! You no longer have a death sentence, you now have pure and beautiful freedom that only Christ can give.

Enjoy the warmth of the Son, you have been set free!

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Finding identity

hello my name is

Hello my name is:

-Liar

-Cheater

-Thief

-Addict

-Murderer

-Adulterer

-Abuser

-Gluttonous

-Selfish

-Miser

We remember the book by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter,  where an adulterer, Hester Prynne, is forced to wear the letter A on her chest for everyone to see her sin?! Do we remember today, yesterday, or last year, the name tag, that we ourselves or someone we know, placed on our chest? What name have you been going by lately? What name have your friends, family, or even acquaintances, whispered to each other that you should be known as? Are you the liar, cheat, thief, or miser that everyone has been talking about? Everywhere you go, do you feel like your Scarlet letter A has been pinned for all to see? The artist Matthew West has been singing a song that addresses exactly that feeling and it is called “Hello My Name is”.

Hello, my name is regret
I’m pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life
I’m the whisper inside
That won’t let you forget

I feel like my own body is so covered with “hello my name is regret”, that you no longer can see the creation of who God made me to be. I am a beautiful being, made in His image, covered by grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love and yet I don’t see those beautiful things, I see the ugliness, the shame. Who puts those tags on me? Some I have placed on myself and some I have let others place. The key to all of this is, I have placed them and I have LET others place them which means I am in control of what name tags are on me. Why am I in control of that when I feel so out of control? I am in control because God is in control. I have a Savior who has cleansed me and made me new and gives me the freedom to take off those tags and put on His tag, “hello my name is the Daughter of the King of Kings”, I just need to claim it and accept that is how He sees me. In West’s lyrics, he states so beautifully that name tag we can claim.

These are the voices, these are the lies
And I have believed them, for the very last time

Chorus:
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, and I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King

I need to stop listening, believing, and succumbing to the identity that others have labeled me with. We all need to listen to our Creator ,who loves us and has rescued us, and says we are beautiful, forgiven, loved and chosen. Take off those tags and put the one and only one on that matters.

Hello my name is FORGIVEN, CHOSEN, and SAVED BY GRACE. It is so very nice to meet you!

-Read more of Matthew West – Hello, My Name Is Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Forgiveness

Forgiveness, what does that mean?

What does forgiveness look like?

Who truly forgives?

When I think about forgiveness, I have to ask myself, “Do I forgive?” I mean of course I say the words but do my actions follow through with what I have said?! As much as the person that has wronged me needs to make sure their actions/words are pure, I need to make sure that mine are as well.

Forgiveness doesn’t change the circumstance and doesn’t erase the pain and choices that have come with the actions. Forgiveness frees me, and the person that has wronged me, from the chains that have come with the circumstance.

What does forgiveness look like? Forgiveness looks like Jesus. Jesus died for me/you on that cross and forgave me/you of our sins and that is what true forgiveness looks like. Now, am I Jesus?! Of course not! I am a human, filled with sin, who fails constantly at life but am trying to learn from Him daily so my forgiveness will not look perfect.

So how do I do this forgiveness thing? Some things that I have learned forgiveness not to look like is where I can start.
-Forgiveness does not rear up in anger whenever it feels like it.
-Forgiveness does not give the silent treatment.
-Forgiveness does not keep a mental record of wrongs to bring up for another time.
-Forgiveness does not make verbal or physical jabs.
-Forgiveness does not keep emphasizing the weight of the situation over and over again.
-Forgiveness does not slander the other in public.

So how do we do this forgiveness thing? Some things that I have learned forgiveness to look like are where I can end.
-Forgiveness means to pray for those that have hurt you.
-Forgiveness means to help the other with whatever struggle they might have wronged you in.
-Forgiveness means to encourage them.
-Forgiveness means to protect the situation from future harm. Not by building walls but by believing that God, who began a good work in you and in them, will be faithful to complete it. Trust Him while creating boundaries but not walls.
-Forgiveness means to love them as God has first loved us.

Forgiveness- spread the wealth!

Matthew West – Forgiveness (Official Lyric Video) from matthew-west on GodTube.