What Am I To You

8 Jul

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”  Do you ever feel like you are responsible for things over which you have had little control?  Forgiveness is the answer for perceived guilt.  It is not a matter of how guilty is an orphan relinquished by parents; they are not guilty at all.  But rather, it is how guilty will that orphan feel for the rest of his/her life because he/she was surrendered by parents.  Perceived guilt.  It becomes one of Satan’s chief tools for undermining the emotional health of the fatherless and also us, their defenders.  The questions that chafe at orphan minds, just below the conscious awareness are, “What was wrong with me…what did I do wrong.”  These questions drive the victims down one of two roads:  inferiority or unrelenting overachievement as compensation.  Defenders of the fatherless can have an equal battle.  Their perceived guilt comes from questions like, “Couldn’t I do more…Does it make a difference…Won’t this make up for another shortfall in my life?”  What am I to you, God…is intimately related to the perception…What was I to you, Mom and Dad?

First, orphan defenders: Moving past guilt as a motivator or as a handicap can only be accomplished by replacing it with love.  When we move forward in defending the fatherless motivated only by a sense of passion for the fatherless, the Holy Spirit recognizes the purity of that passion.  The need to serve rather than the need to be recognized for service should come from an absence of malice toward self.  Defenders of the fatherless praying, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” must first recognize the depth of their sin in any hidden motives and perceived guilt.  We lay them before the cross of Christ before picking up the cross of the fatherless for the wrong reason.  When we humbly grasp hold of the fullest measure of grace given in the unconditional love found in God’s forgiveness, we can carry the cross of the fatherless and recognize it is not our own perceived guilt in disguise.  That is the passion.  We are prepared to share God’s unconditional love with those fatherless on their own journey and not just alter our own course.  Jesus rebuked those wanting to be the blind leading the blind into the ditch.  For defenders of the fatherless, it is faith based on God’s kind of unconditional love that makes it possible for us to seek forgiveness and forgive ourselves so we are equipped to defend others.

Now, orphans.  The fatherless can also move past perceived guilt as a motivator or handicap.  The fatherless will need to negotiate a tricky path of casting off self-incrimination and blame.  “Forgive us our debts AS we forgive our debtors” defines the forgiveness that Jesus was teaching. “To get forgiveness from God I will need to do this.  But I am angry about being abandoned!”  Often that anger is turned inwardly.  There is something tangible present within themselves toward which to direct these negative emotions.  It is far easier to blame themselves rather than absent parents because bitterness clouds the perceptions of those we would subconsciously like to blame.  The orphan’s genetic parents are in the unknown mist so they, themselves must be to blame.   Maybe the tricky part is that God wants us to “forgive our debtors” for our own benefit more than for the chance to receive His forgiveness.  He knows that we hurt only ourselves when we choose not to forgive.  Without realizing it, our biggest “debtor” needing forgiveness can be ourselves.  He knows that when we forgive others we will find it easier to forgive ourselves.  Conversely forgiving ourselves helps in the process of forgiving others.  God is often more willing to forgive us than we are willing to forgive ourselves.

The fatherless all come to the point of dealing with the issue of forgiving their debtors, and those debtors sometimes are the birth parents they will never know.  The issue in that kind of forgiveness is the same for us all.  When we feel wronged and someone takes accountability and says that they are sorry for the wrong they have done to us, it is a huge factor in our ability to forgive them.  When nothing is said forgiveness is very hard.  Bitterness builds.  Many of the fatherless are required to offer forgiveness on those terms.  They will never hear, “I am sorry”, and that on top of never hearing, “I love you” from those same people.  Some come to grasp the possibility of an unspoken sacrificial love from birth parents making a monumentally difficult choice.  Others don’t.

Sacrificial love as a possibility and as a reality does pave the way for forgiveness.  Adoptive parents display it when they defend the fatherless by opening their hearts and homes.  God shows it every time He adopts one of us Fatherless into His home, His Kingdom.  Sacrificial love paved the way for the forgiveness of our debts.  We have the opportunity to lay aside the burden of our sin and perceived sin.  If any of our hearts condemn us with struggles of perceived guilt, remember, God has adopted us…we are not abandoned.  He truly has shared hope with our hearts.  What am I to you, God is intimately tied to what am I to myself.

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