Something has to Die

But in order for forgiveness to happen something has to die…

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21 ESV

I watched a Brene Brown video recently explaining how forgiveness works.  Brene studied forgiveness for ten years in an effort to better understand the process,  and determined that in order for forgiveness to truly happen that something has to die. 

I let her words sink in when I heard them, and prayed for God to give me the wisdom to recognize those things in my own life that need to die.  I realized that in time’s past, I have been quick to agree with God about the need to forgive others,  only saying the words I forgive in an effort to avoid the pain of grieving all that was lost.

Jesus knew exactly what had to die in order for us to be forgiven. Forgiveness would require Him giving up His own life in order to save ours. 

I understand from the example that Jesus gave us that forgiveness is not just a few words spoken. Forgiveness requires the sacrifice of something very precious to us.

Lately,  I have been bombarded with memories of the days before others knew about the abusive relationship I’d been involved in with the former pastor.   Days when I had a job I enjoyed and a faith community I felt a part of.

Today, as I looked at my former church’s social media page,  I discovered that they had recently changed the website I had previously designed.  They have also hired a new administrative assistant.  Every trace of me was gone, and it felt like a little something inside of me died. The old familiar pain of all that was lost rose to the surface again, along with all the if onlys and disappointments.

Watching my mother in law die from cancer last year was a slow and painful process.  Her body did not surrender to death easily; it fought to the bitter end.  Even when she begged God to let her die, her body still hung on until the process was completed.

Lately,  I have been experiencing the loss of many expectations I once had about my life and other people in it.  I have tried so hard to hold on to things, not wanting to give them up.

But in order for forgiveness to happen something has to die…

My longing for a man to be a hero who would rescue me from myself…

My hope that I would always be a part of a growing ministry in that church…

My unrealistic expectation that others would do the right thing if they just knew the truth…

My yearning for others to understand my pain and be there in ways I hoped they would…

My need to prove to them that spiritual abuse had occurred…

My confidence in a good reputation…

My trust in my own ability to do good…

All of these things have been dying a long, slow death in me. 

Today I lay them at the feet of Jesus once again in an attempt to surrender them to Him. My human will clings tightly, not wanting to give up the things I’ve fought so hard to keep. But I know that they have to die. 

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:24 ESV

One by one my hopes and dreams have fallen to the ground. I cannot place my trust in others.  I cannot rely on myself. We all fall short of the glory of God. All of our righteousness is like filthy rags. Our hearts are desperately wicked. And we all need forgiveness. 

The grain of wheat falls into the earth. If it does not die, it will lie there all alone.

I do not want to be alone anymore clinging to my own expectations; I want to live.  Embracing the reality that all of these things have to die in me is painful.  Forgiving myself and others is so very hard. But with every crushed expectation that dies, new hope can spring forth; an unseen hope that will never die. And on the other side of death is acceptance that we are all the same. We are all doing the best that we can, even though our best without Him falls miserably short.  Some of us will recognize that our own dreams have to die in order for His to grow. Some of us will continue to hold onto our own  and die all alone. 

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
John 12:25 ESV

Dear Jesus, help it all to die so that resurrection will come…

7 thoughts on “Something has to Die

  1. Thank you for writing this. I can relate to how everyone seems to move on and not acknowledge your pain. So very hard! As I step out of the very abusive (sin focused) faith community I was in,I am realizing how it fed not only my arrogance but also my despair.
    Forgiving myself had to come first and that actuallystarted by re-learning how valued I am by God. He does not see me as a wicked sinner, but a cherished child that he fearfully and wonderfully made. Then I had to start talking to myself with compassion….like Jesus would have.
    Writing also has helped me sort through some serious events and healing is taking place but the journey is still in process.

    God Bless you,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like we have been on similar journeys with the Lord. I am sorry that you have had an abusive church situation, too. You are right, it is so very hard. It is also very difficult to believe how much God values me especially after experiencing abuse. Since everything fell apart for me, I recognize God has allowed the bad foundation so much of my faith was built on to crumble so it could be rebuilt. It has been a severe mercy so I could see the real truth…that yes, His name is compassion! Thank you for commenting. I really appreciate it! Writing has definitely been my sanity as well in this process! Blessings to you and yours,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lets stay in touch Liz! We need to stand shoulder to shoulder and continue to speak up so others know they are not alone and that they are not crazy. Stepping into the blogging world…along with PTSD therapy, group therapy, and actually people like Rob Bell (named a heretic by my church) have saved my life. Literally.

    I am excited to follow your writing as you blaze trails. Your voice is powerful and necessary and healing ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! Would love to stay in touch with you. Feel free to email me at I’ve heard the negatives about Rob Bell, but I’ve also heard how God has used him to encourage. God can use any means He wants to get his message through. The older I get the more I realize that sometimes people who have all the “right” doctrine can mess you up just as much as ones with the “wrong.” Maybe even more. Our voices are definitely important, and I’d love to hear more of your story.

      Liked by 1 person

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