Tag Archives: forgiveness

197 Scarlet and White (Scripture 13)

scarlet and white

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NIV

photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

 

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58: Hormonal

58 hormones pixabay eye-374922_1280

and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded.” Genesis 39:7 NLT

 

Human beings have so many struggles, don’t we, even with our own bodies, our own minds, the very things that you would think we would be able to control and understand. But even the parts that make up our whole are often temperamental and beyond our regulation. We go so far as to ascribe independent control to the bits of ourselves that don’t behave. “Oh, it’s got a mind of its own,” we say of gammy legs, of gorging stomachs, of wayward eyes, or of other parts that seem to override our best intentions. The Bible is full of men who couldn’t seem to control their passions, sexual or otherwise, and a great deal of harm was done because of it. Our hormones, it would seem, are the hardest parts of ourselves to keep in order after our tongues.

There are precious few incidences where women are overcome by their lustful urges in the Bible. Which makes it all the more strange that we are so often accused of being slaves to our hormones. It seems men have a lot more trouble keeping their testosterone under control. But here is one such rarity, Potiphar’s wife, who longs to sleep with Joseph, who in turn refuses the advances of his master’s wife, and ends up slandered and imprisoned for his integrity.

We are all tidal creatures up to a point, and we all get overtaken by our urges from time to time if we are honest, even it if is an uncontrollable urge to binge on chocolate or to snap at our loved ones. And some of this we can put down to hormones, and excuse one another our weaknesses, which after all, are common to humanity. But perhaps sexual urges are more important to control, as infidelities wreck and even cost lives. Demanding that others satisfy those urges, as Mrs Potiphar does here, is a complete negation of Joseph’s humanity. She clearly viewed him as a slave and nothing more, despite his being master of the household. We must excuse one another our minor and occasional lapses, but also become friends with the self-discipline that will save us and others from being used and abused.

I often hear people say of those who left spouses or wrecked homes, “Oh well, you can’t help who you fall in love with!” I disagree, in fact, because one can control where one is focussed. As we see in today’s verse, lust begins (as we saw with David and Bathsheba) with looking. If we train ourselves not to look, or rather, not to look with lustful hearts, then we won’t succumb to temptation. Lust and love are very different of course, but where faithfulness is concerned the remedy is the same, self-control, and keeping our attention where it should be. If we feel ourselves in danger, we must take steps to avoid the person concerned, and not allow ourselves to be ruled solely by fleshly passions which will often tear lives and hearts apart and marriages asunder. Eyes and hearts kept on God and his ways will keep us from grievously wounding him or others.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

20: Crying Blood

20 blood Chelle MF

“The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” Genesis 4:10 NIV

Abel’s innocent blood spilled by his brother Cain, so calls to God’s heart that it is as if it cries out to him from the ground. I believe this holy crying out happens every time an innocent life is taken, indeed every time any innocent is wronged. The wounds we suffer cry out to God, like echoes of sorrow, from small sighs on the wind from the tiniest hurts, to raging tornadoes from travesties of justice. The Lord hears them all, just as he hears our prayers. And despite what we may think at times, he also remembers them and acts upon them, and they have consequences for the perpetrator as well as for the victim; just as Cain has to suffer the curse of the ground, becoming a “restless wanderer.”

Guilt is also a restless wanderer, that follows us around for the rest of our lives, and there is only one cure, which is the blood price paid by Jesus on the cross. This truly sets us all free, for it redeems the sinner and heals the one sinned against, allowing them to forgive.

I find it interesting that the Lord says, “Listen!” and I think this tells us that we too ought to be able to hear those cries from the injustices done all around us, if we are willing to stop for a moment and be open to the sounds that rise from our lives, from the very earth on which we stand. This might be what we are doing when we ourselves come to the Lord in the prayer of examen or in confession, open to seeing and hearing our shadow selves, laying down our sin and hurt before him, both to forgive and be forgiven, via the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, love covering a multitude of sins.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Morguefile.com

Day 116: Pebbles on the Shore

pebbles

Here on the sinking soft sand, place the pebbles of your problems, the stones that mark your failures, your inadequacies. Are they so very many? Let them sit a while in the golden grains, in preparation for what is to come. Lean back and watch the gentle wave ripple in and over these confessions, washing them clean.

What was dry and rough is now smooth and sparkling in a new dawning sunlight. There is nothing to be ashamed of here, only transformation, an offering given up in honest examen and left for me to tend to. Freshness abides. Stones sing Amazing Grace in the ebb and flow of living water.

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2015