8 In living

sunday sessions: asking for forgiveness

I’m going to try something new with you if that’s alright. I’m calling it Sunday Sessions, and it’s a series of posts I’m going to try to put up here every Sunday. The topics and format will vary, but the common theme is simple: anything and everything that has to do with our souls, with faith, or with our deeper yearning to live a life of purpose. It might be notes from a great sermon or talk I’ve heard (like this one), it might be a song with lyrics, or it might just be a rambling on a personal lesson I’m learning.

What do you think? Are you into it? I sure hope so, because it starts today…

Over the past six weeks I’ve been part of a women’s bible study at my church, where we’ve studied the Book of James through the Beth Moore study, “James: Mercy Triumphs.” It’s been a powerful time of learning, reflecting and connecting with the other young women in my community.

On Tuesday, we had our last meeting until January (when we start a new study) and our leader Spring asked us to spend some time this week reflecting on what “stuck” from our time studying James. At first, my mind drew a blank. But then I woke up the next morning and I knew exactly what it was—something I read and immediately knew I needed to act upon, something that convicted my heart of a wrongdoing that needed fixing. It was a single sentence, found in James 4:17…

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Notice, it doesn’t say “it is sin,” period, but rather, “it is sin for them.” We are only accountable to what we understand and know, so when our heart is tugged upon to do good or make something right and we don’t do anything in response, that’s wrongdoing on our part and we’re accountable for it.

The moment I read that verse, a person came to mind who I knew I needed to ask for forgiveness from. For too long I had let myself ignore the reality that our once thriving, sister-like relationship had crumbled so much that we were barely acquaintances. For too long I let myself believe that it was just part of life, that it just happened for no reason, that I had no part in letting it fail. But friends, I’m being vulnerable here: I was so wrong.

Our pride takes a huge hit when we understand the weight of the way we’ve hurt someone or screwed something up in life—but it’s a good realization to have. There is beauty in being humbled by our sin and our faults. It doesn’t feel good at first, but accepting the missteps we’ve taken and hurt we’ve caused can lift weight off of our shoulders that we didn’t even know we were carrying.

On Thursday I took a huge leap of faith and emailed my friend. It was scary, and I knew there was a chance that she would reject me (and have good reasons to), but by the grace of God, she responded with forgiveness. We have some things to work out, for sure, but what’s important is that we’re moving forward. The most beautiful thing in this world is love, and our refusal to give it to someone because of our pride is, well, nothing to be proud of. I’m humbled and grateful to have her forgiveness, and excited for the new season of friendship to come in this time of restoration.

When have you needed to ask someone for forgiveness? How did it turn out?

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Bethany
    November 19, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Goodness God has been working on me in so many ways the last month and definitely in that area. I’ve had to do it twice in two weeks – one was for a girl I knew in church with whom we had a good relationship but I found myself harboring mean thoughts – so I had to ask for forgiveness. The other girl was a similar situation to yours, an old friend with whom our relationship had petered out – I knew it was because I was still angry at her for silly things from a long time ago – confessing again and asking for forgiveness in forgetting that love forgives. Hard to do but totally worth it – it feels like a weight was lifted. It’s been hard but oh so necessary sometimes. I have a lot of weight to discard and this is part of it.

    Amazing how He continues to show me how I made the right decision in letting go of hurt that only brought me down. Working on long-festering issues, both external and internal, is tough but worth it.

    Keep on what you’re doing!

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      November 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks Bethany! I love what you just said about “letting go of hurt that only brought me down,” as that’s all that bitterness and anger does in our life. Asking for forgiveness is a freeing thing, as difficult as it is. Glad you’re on this journey with me, too!

  • Reply
    Laura
    November 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I love this idea Natalie! It’s good to read something thoughtful and reflective before a new week begins.
    Glad to hear things are working out well with your friend. Good luck :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      November 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks Laura! I’m glad it was encouraging for you as you begin your week :)

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    November 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Natalie, this is absolutely beautiful. I love your vulnerability and am so looking forward to more Sunday Sessions!

  • Reply
    John
    November 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    You have set the bar pretty high for Sunday Sessions with this first post. I’ve never heard of this definition of sin but I like it. This makes us each much more accountable. Thank you for sharing.

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