Some thoughts I’ve had recently regarding forgiveness, and then just a fun little update about what I’ve been up to.
“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, we’ve all heard it. You hear this cute little platitude almost everywhere you look, I even remember coming across it in a couple of books aimed at younger readers (8-11). When I started really thinking about this phrase I realized how unfair and abusive it is. By going out and doing something you know you would not be/are not allowed to do and expecting forgiveness, you are abusing the relationship you have with the person who is being deceived. Treating a relationship in such a calloused manner seems to show a lack of character on the part of the person who is being deceitful. How much do you really care about someone if you are willing to deceive/disobey them and then just expect them to forgive you? If someone went behind your back and did something that hurt you, would you want to forgive them if they threw out an attitude that reflects this phrase?
And yet…don’t we do that? All the time? With Jesus? Whenever we sin there’s a little part of us that thinks, “Oh well, God will forgive me…” Obviously this isn’t the case every time we sin, but I think we do this more often than we realize. How careful would you be about avoiding situations that you know cause you to lose your temper and say things you shouldn’t if you didn’t think God would forgive you? I think we’d all be a lot more careful about the things we said/did/watched if we believed there was a chance God wouldn’t forgive us.
Just something I’ve been thinking about.
On a lighter note, Saturday provided a wonderful opportunity for me to bond with a few of my room mates. On Thursday of last week we had decided we wanted to go on a picnic at some point, then decided Saturday would be nice. So on Friday we went into Carnforth to pick up some picnic “essentials”. The end result was on Saturday Kate, Whitney, Naomi, and I ended up in the student kitchen to put together our picnic. We spread out a blanket with all of our picnic supplies just outside one of the sheep fields in a little patch of sunlight. We sat and talked for about an hour and a half while enjoying pears, apples, and bananas drizzled in chocolate. We had also picked up some cream crackers (sort of like giant saltines but without salt) with hummus and cheese. For “dessert” we enjoyed Oreos with peanut butter spread on top and drizzled with chocolate. We all felt pretty proud that we had turned out such tasty food, especially since the “kitchen” doesn’t even have an oven or stove!
It was a really nice opportunity to just slow down for a bit, get outside and enjoy each other’s company. Plus, eat some delicious food. Credit goes to mom: for providing the chocolate chips that made our picnic a success, and Tescoe: for pretty much everything else at our picnic.
I might try something new with the blog from now on. Maybe give a more random update about midweek (movie review, food review, random thoughts) and then a life update on Capernwray on Saturdays. We’ll see how it goes.
This update comes at an all-around random time, but this is a result of the prayer day we had on Thursday. Starting Sunday night there was a recommended technology fast: no ipods, no internet, no movies. The idea was that by “unplugging” from these things it would help us tune in to what God was going to say to us. Our room decided that we would still listen to worship music in the room and we could use the internet for an assignment that was due on Wednesday.
I really think that “unplugging” helped me a lot. The last prayer day we had was in October and there was a recommended technology fast then too, but I didn’t really do it. I “tried” to avoid Facebook…but you know how that goes. I really felt like it made a huge difference this time.
At this point I realise you’re all getting frustrated with me, “Alaina, what does ‘prayer day’ mean?” Yes, I supposed I should explain 🙂 The prayer day started with a group session of worship in the conference hall where we normally have lectures. Then we had an hour for solitary prayer. Coffee break for half an hour, then we split into groups to pray for different countries. There were three sessions where you could go to different rooms to pray for different countries. Then we had lunch at one, and at two we met back in the conference hall. We got some ideas about how we could spend the afternoon with God and then split up again. It was supposed to just be a quiet afternoon, you could either spend more time praying or just be quiet to respect other people who might still be praying. I ended up sitting outside for a little over an hour praying, then I went for a quick run and then a walk with Kate. We talked about the things we learned during prayer day.
We both mentioned that we felt God had shown us how we had grown during our time at Bible school. Lately we had both been feeling a bit frustrated because we didn’t feel like we were seeing any growth in ourselves. Specifically, I mentioned that at one point I had been praying, “God, what did I do wrong the first term that held me back from growing more?” and I felt like God told me I was asking the wrong question, I should be asking what I had done right the first term. I began thinking about it and realized how much I have grown in the past five months. That was really helpful and I think it really cemented how I think of myself.
This turned out to be a really long post! Thanks for sticking with me and continuing to read. I’ll probably put another post up this weekend regarding 10 day outreach and Kenya!