Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dear Sister

I wrote this to a friend; the more I thought about it... the more I realized it was not just an intensely personal email/letter, but rather one that is easily shared for any eyes. Though I did not disclose her name and who it was for. (: It is one of my joys to write to others. I feel as if this "Dear Sister" could really be written to any of my sisters in Christ; thus it is shared here.

Dear Sister,

I felt compelled to share some of the things the Lord has revealed, taught me, and allowed me to learn recently. (:

Often times we can be so “offended” by others, hurt by others, angered by others, and essentially harbor unforgiveness. Which seems only logical considering all men are sinners, no one does anything good by his own will; but does this validate and mean sin may abound?-of course not, and I know you know this! We are reactionary in response to their first action. It only perpetuates sin! But we were not commanded to live in this way; we were not redeemed that sin may abound so that grace may abound-grace abounds in such a way to keep us from sin, for sin is that which keeps us from God. Through His sanctifying work within us we are transformed by the renewing of our mind to be made more into the image of Christ; this means walking in His freedom and not conforming to the ways of the world (how they respond to others sinfully) and instead be like our Lord.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

I know you know this verse, it is one of the most well-known verses in all of Christendom! But might we take a moment to revel in the beauty of it? The chief characteristic of God is love; the chief characteristic of love is giving. (Which we can plainly comprehend through the afore mentioned verse!) He gave His Son for you and I, and every other believer. But in that, He forgave us. The first facet of understanding giving is forgiving; then we may better understand this facet of His love. Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” When we do not let the grace of God and His sanctifying work within us abound… we may be entangled in the root of bitterness that springs up! But more than this we don’t even have the right to unforgiveness in light of the atoning work on Calvary! He forgave us. He forgave us! If He, the perfect sinless Son of God, who was submissive to the will of God His Father can forgive when we were totally and utterly opposed to Him, completely sinful, wholly offensive, chained to the wickedness of our depraved heart, then it is incumbent upon us to be so indebted in gratitude to never harbor a resentful, bitter, unforgiving spirit. For, He forgave us when we could never deserve it. On this note, as well, we do not even have the right to pull our own sin up from the past, because Christ’s blood was sufficient for erasing them, atoning for them, washing them away making us white as snow, and blotting them out entirely; our sins cease to exist for He imputed His righteousness on us that we may now be His children who are righteous. And we must remember if we do not forgive, we cannot give anything; Matthew 5:23.

Often times the flesh rises up and we are so wholly offended by another, we forget that we have no right to even be offended. And it is so incredibly challenging to live by this standard, especially in regards to our own family. They are the ones who see us at our weakest, they know how to push our buttons (intentionally or not), they know us better than anyone else. But if we cannot learn how to surrender our will to the Father’s in walking in humility, forgiveness, and His ways toward our family, how can we ever expect to love others? Do they deserve you forgiving them? Absolutely not. But did you ever deserve Christ’s sacrifice that has given you eternal hope? Absolutely not. God is sovereign and sees all, He is at work within others; we must simply live according to His word and look not at others, but allow Christ to root out our very own sin (for there is enough in us for Him to deal with us for a lifetime; but instead of letting that dishearten us, may it be a source of absolute wonder that He deals so patiently and faithfully with us!)

So in the end, though there are those around us that drive us seemingly mad, we need look no where else but the face of our Lord; He is the standard, He is sufficient, He is the only source in all our dealings-His scripture is wholly capable of showing us His standard, His sufficiency, and the very source of how to deal with everyday life. We are to be servants, especially so since we are women, the crowning glory of creation! I think that is quite beautiful, don’t you? We have been designed for such a role where servant-heartedness may abound in sacrificially and humbly pouring our lives out for those we love; we have the duty to exemplify this attribute of our Lord in such a unique way. My, how it ravishes my heart to think how He loves us, created us, chose us, redeemed us, and continues His sanctifying work in us each and every day!

Sweet sister, I do love you so! May our friendship ever increase in iron sharpening, admonishment, encouragement, and sweet fellowship! We are not perfect, but that does not mean we do not live in holiness; we are to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness; we are to be lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. And to be a light is to be diametrically opposed to darkness… often times this is so difficult, we want purity but we are so immersed in an impure godless culture that it seeps in when we don’t realize it; we are to be different from everyone else, and so what if they mock us or do not understand, scripture promises us persecution will come (and here in our westernized Americanized culture… the persecution really is quite “light”); we are to be different so we might preserve God’s ways. Like Paul we ought not be ashamed of the Gospel, for this is the very reason we have hope! Take heart and know that the Lord blesses those who keep His commandments. As we learn and grow, let us not be so prideful to even relinquish those “good” things we are so comfortable with and instead press on toward the goal and bless the Lord when He removes the meaningless and sin in us. I know that is one the biggest things He has taught me… I cannot be so proud that He cannot work holiness in me because I have a form of godliness (but am more than likely denying its power due to my own pride). I have so much I have yet to learn, but by His grace, I will relinquish more self to have more of Him.

(: Always praying for you dear friend!

In Christ,



Pamela Matthews said...

"Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2

Leah, a good word of encouragement for everyone, full of wisdom and grace...

(I am reminded of a verse that has ALWAYS represented you (even as a little child): "...but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:4)

I love you -


Leah said...

Mom, thank you for that verse!

That blesses me so much! That has always been one of my favorite verses regarding biblical femininity... something I have prayed over and desired within my own life (so really, that is a HUGE blessing that you said that!)

Love you!