I based my session choice on two things. I chose based on topic but also on the speaker. During the panel discussion, there were several different personalities represented but on the far left, there was a lady name Karen Alexander Doyel. Karen was older than the other ladies on the panel but seemed to have so much wisdom. Her husband was a beloved Senior Pastor that died and left her a widow. She loved being a Pastor's wife and now tries to encourage women all over our country. I'm so glad I chose her session because God taught me so much!! I only took 6 pages of notes in 1 hour and 15 minutes!!
The title was FORGIVENESS IN MINISTRY. Here are a few of the highlights. I wish ALL Christians could go to this 75 minute session. It was fabulous!!!
- Forgiveness is an act of perfection.
- When we don't forgive, we become less loving and less effective
- You must Love your enemies. Self defense isn't necessary!! (ouch!) Even though your situation doesn't seem fair, there is no need to explain it. You must forgive regardless of your situation.
- God cares about you. Believe God is in control. Don't be surprised that you face trials. Jesus told us WE WOULD FACE TRIALS.
- Take up your cross daily!
- Your feelings can't be hurt because dead people don't have feelings. If we have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) then we are dead and no longer should focus on our feelings and hurts.
- Forgiving people isn't easy and we can only follow the example of Jesus.
- Rather than being hurt and angry, ask yourself "What did I do in this situation?" Then, be still and let God show you if you have any done any wrong.
- When the prodigal son returned, he was freely accepted and did not have to explain nor did he try to justify his actions.
- Forgiveness is not optional. We were commanded in Mark 11:25.
- Talk publicly about forgiveness in your homes so your children grow up surrounded by forgiving people. This will teach them to easily forgive.
- Forgive even when you know they will hurt you again.
- Don't allow your children to become bitter about ministry and church people because you openly talk about your hurts with them.
- We are commanded to forgive. When someone asks our forgiveness, we have to say yes. Even though we are wounded.
- What if Jesus chose not to forgive you?
- I have to be an example of love and forgiveness. Jesus is asking me if I love Him? If I believe Him? And, if I trust Him?
- Ask your kids every day two questions. What was the best part of your day? This teaches them to recognize happiness and positive things. Then, ask them What was the saddest part of your day? When they begin to explain hurt feelings, it will give you an open door to help them understand forgiveness at an early age. Because, truthfully, every day holds something that brings us sadness and something that brings us joy. We must learn to be thankful and forgiving.
- Jesus never defended Himself. Why do we feel like we should?
- God will never ask you to do anything He can't do THROUGH you!
- Pray for people who hurt you! This was a huge AHA moment for me. Karen said we hear that and think about this type of prayer. "God, be with _____. Help them to have a better attitude and not be so mean! Help _____ to understand how she hurts people. Help her to realize the damage she does. Blah, blah, blah, blah...AMEN. WHAT IF we began praying blessings on that person? WHOA!!! Talk about a radical difference. Think right now of the person in this world that has hurt you the most. Stop and ask God to bless that person with peace, finances, health and wealth. WOW! Hard, huh? But, the truth is when you start to pray blessings on them, eventually you will begin to see your heart soften towards them and you will eventually wait and hope to see God answer your prayers for them. God will slowly change your heart towards them. TOUGH but so, so worth it!!!
- Unforgiveness is about SELF! Do you care more about how God looks or how you look? You no longer matter!!! It is ALL ABOUT HIM!
- One of the hardest people to forgive is another staff member or staff family. Especially when you are working so hard for the kingdom and you see them not care or do their job halfway or take advantage of people and the resources of the church. Some of the laziest people in the world work on church staffs!! There is no room for pride, ego, whining, self-pity, excuses, lack of work ethic, dissension or a bad attitude on a church staff. When you see your spouse working so hard another staff member displays those traits and the church buys their sob story, it is hard. But, no one ever said the Christian life was easy. SUCK IT UP, pray blessings on that staff member and ask God to continue to use you and your spouse for his GLORY. You aren't called to make a group of church members happy, you are called to serve God and live for his glory and renown!!!
- DO NOT waste this season of your life being bitter!
This session ended the Thursday night conference. I checked into my hotel, called Dan and made him listen to everything that was all jumbled in my head. It was a late night, but a very good night. Stay tuned for all that happened on Friday morning.