Category Archives: forgiving

Love My Enemies? Really?!

Believe it or not the subject of “Love your enemies” is just as much therapeutic for me as it will be for you.  Before I have ever started blogging, I have always enjoyed writing. Sometimes I would write to God about my concerns, worries, fears and even anger toward others. I have also been very good at writing people, especially if someone has hurt me, my family or church.  There have been many times in my life where I have been able to relate to Peter the disciple of Jesus. For those of you who have never heard the true story, Peter took his sword and cut off a mans ear because they were coming to take Jesus away! Folks, this was a man of God, a follower of Jesus and he was so angry and protective that he lost it! When this incident took place Jesus said to Peter, “You do not know what spirit you are of…” and proceeded to heal the mans ear.

As human beings the first thing we want to do is retaliate! Some of us are ready to rip others up one side and down the other, especially when they’re cruel, unkind and sometimes just downright ignorant.  You can probably tell by my  blog that I am dealing with an issue myself right now.  No it’s not my family,  in fact it doesn’t matter who or what it is, what matters is HOW do we do it? “How do we do what?”  How do we LOVE our enemies or those that have wronged us or offended us? Allow me to tell you how I do it:  Just today, I asked the Lord for help. I asked Him to help me love the way He loves.  Jesus himself said it’s possible, “Love one another as I have loved you.”  One particular scripture that the Lord has been speaking to me throughout the day is “Love your enemies…” as I looked it up in the Bible, I found the words of Jesus saying, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say LOVE  YOUR ENEMIES! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way (when you do this) you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven…” John 5:43-45 nlt.  Notice he provides a way out of common temptation to react. Jesus is saying that there is a better way to deal with our issues with others:  He says for us to “pray” for them.  This act immediately turns our attention from lashing back at them to “showing mercy.”  Did you know the Bible says that when we “judge” others that we will be “judged” with the same judgement we are judging others? It’s true. In another passage Jesus says, “…when you stand praying forgive, for if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your sins…” Mark 11:25-26.

Friends, we are all faced with difficult and painful situations in life. And the sad thing is, many times they occur by the same people. I have good news! Jesus has a helpful answer for this as well, “Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Mathew 18:21-22

I am a human being just like you. I have feelings like you. I get hurt just like you.  Did you know that Jesus was presented with the same circumstances as you and me? The word of God says that He was tempted in every way that we are, “yet without sin!”  Instead of retaliation, anger, unforgiveness and bitterness, Jesus chose to show mercy. He practiced what he preached! Remember the scripture I shared at the beginning when Jesus said to “pray” for those that persecute us? He lived what He taught. While he was hanging on the cross he prayed to the Father in heaven and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do…” Luke 23:34

Even in the toughest and most painful times in my life I am always reminded of how much he loves me. How much he has forgiven me and how important it is for me to “forgive” those that have knowingly or unknowingly hurt me.  I have found that this is the only way to relieve the pain and restore peace.  But it’s a choice. I can choose to hang on to the hurt or I can love my enemies by praying for them and forgiving them. I choose the latter.

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He’s Alive and Well

For thousands of years the story of Jesus death and resurrection have been told in churches, meeting places and homes all over the world.  Jesus himself began to speak of his death even before they laid a hand on him. “Listen” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again” the gospel of Mark chapter 10, verses 33 & 34.

Celebrating Easter is more than the traditional  chocolate bunnies and colored Easter eggs, it’s remembering Jesus laying down his life for all mankind and God raising him from the dead. Why? Jesus Christ the Risen One was sent to us because of God’s amazing love.  Jesus endured the beatings for you and me. He allowed them to hang him on the cross to pay for our sins.

In the old testament Adam and Eve chose to not follow God’s instructions and when they disobeyed what the Father told them sin came into the earth.  Prophets in the old testament spoke of the coming Messiah who would take away the sin of the world.  “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2Corinthians 5:21  Because of the wonderful mercy and love of God, he sent his one and only Son to die for you and me, and when God raised Jesus Christ to life again, he made it possible for us to be put back in good standing with God our heavenly Father again.  All God asks of us is to believe. Believe that he sent Jesus to us, that he went to the cross for us, died and believe that God raised him from the dead.

Jesus Christ is alive and well today. He sits at God’s right hand in Heaven and because of the power of the resurrection, he lives in his people, his followers, Christians today. How? “The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” Romans 8:11

As you celebrate Easter this year remember God’s amazing love for you and all of mankind. Realize and accept the truth that we need our sins forgiven. Understand that with our own strength or works we cannot make that happen, forgiveness only comes through believing in Jesus Christ and that he died for us.  Open your heart to Jesus and follow Him. Once you make this decision, your life will have meaning.  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced…Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” Romans 10:8-13

Happy Easter!

Pastor Nina Tidwell
Ponce Church, Ponce Inlet, Florida

Everyone Welcome! We’re Surfside and we’re Casual!
Sundays 10AM
4670 S. Peninsula in Ponce Inlet


Mending Families

Lately I have been thinking about families and how so many relationships within each family unit are hurting.  Although it is included, I am not just singling out couples such as husbands and wives I am also referring to our relationships with our mothers, fathers, in-laws, our brothers and sisters and in some cases even our own children. I recently shared with a friend how God helped me to forgive my own parents.  Because I was tired of carrying my own personal baggage overflowing with hurt emotions the Lord was able to help me finally rid myself of the pain through the amazing power of “mercy” and “forgiveness.”  I know that those two words seem almost impossible to consider, but I guarantee that if you continue reading, the Lord will help you to enter a new phase in your life free from your own baggage and replace it with real happiness, joy and peace.

Because it seemed so difficult to conceive the idea of forgiveness I asked the Lord to show me how.  One of the main scriptures that he used to help me understand why people do what they do was the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior.  Imagine for a moment  Jesus,  hanging on the cross inflicted with such immense pain  brought on by beatings and nails driven into his hands. Not to mention those closest to him who chose to run and hide from and even deny him and how through it all  Jesus  was able to pray this prayer, while hanging on the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  I know, our first immediate response is “of course they know what they’re doing, how dare they” but surprisingly enough he helped me to see that they really did not know how much pain they were inflicting.  In my case, once I realized and accepted this amazing truth, He was able to help bring me to a place where I no longer suffered pain by the words and actions of others.  Later through study and research I have found that “Hurt people hurt others.”

Before my mother died, she was trying to deal with her own pain: The devastation of my father leaving. (read my post “Girl Meets God”) I remember one day because she was hurting so much inside that she tried to get me to hurt my father during a phone conversation. I was between the ages of 10 and 11 years old. I remember she handed me the phone and tried to force me to say “I don’t love you anymore” to my father. I remember crying, I could not do it. As I look back I see and understand now that my mother was suffering. She was living in her own torment of pain, brought on by anger, bitterness and unforgiveness toward my father.

Every family is different. We may all have different issues that we are dealing with but one thing we all have in common is we all have been given the opportunity to be free from the pain caused by others.

Another truth that the Lord was able to show me as a young Christian is found in Mark chapter 11:25, “And when you stand praying forgive, for if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you your sins.” This scripture helped me to see that I needed the Lords mercy for things I had done in my past and for the last 30+ years as a follower of Jesus,  this  truth has helped to keep me in check when it comes to loving and forgiving others. God is a gentleman. He will NEVER force his will on us. He has given us the freedom to choose. One scripture says, “I have set before you LIFE and DEATH: CHOOSE LIFE”.

This kind of Love toward others has helped me to be free! Free from the hurt and pain brought on my others, all because of two very powerful words put into motion: Forgiveness and Mercy. This freedom is only available to the one who is willing to forgive and let go.  Our key to becoming free is Love:  Jesus said “Love one another as I have loved you.”

ATTENTION: If you or someone you know is in real physical danger contact the Violence Hotline: 1-800-799- SAFE (7233) for help.  You can also contact your local police department and authorities to help get you and your children to safety. Note: Although my story is not about physical abuse, there are many families who are facing dangerous situations and so I felt is was important to share this information to help individuals and families that are in need of such services.


A-Stones-Throw-Away

And there she was, a beautiful woman crouched  down covering her head in fear knowing her death was just a stones-throw-away! Then, all of a sudden, a kind and gentle man approached her and said to the crowd surrounding her, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down and began to write in the sand…when the accusers heard what he had said, they slipped away one by one, then the man stood up and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No Lord,” she said, and Jesus said to her  “Neither do I go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11 (New Living Translation)

After the 2011 Super Bowl began I sat down to check my facebook newsfeed and as I scrolled down I could not believe one of the posts I read regarding Christina Aguilera and her National Anthem performance. It was not so much what was said, but it was “who” said it (a fellow Christian): Filled with judgement and condemnation.  I thought to myself, “Aren’t we Christians?! What kind of example are we setting to those surrounding us? Especially the ones we’re called to win to Christ.”  Then I began to think about Jesus and how gentle and merciful he was (and is) during his life here on this earth before his death and resurrection. He set so many examples for the Christian to follow and yet sometimes, because of our words and our actions, I feel many of us have forgotten who we represent! It seems as though we have allowed ourselves to be tricked into following religion instead of Jesus.  When we as Christians read this story of the woman caught in adultery we say, “Yes, that’s right, we are to show love and be merciful” But then when REAL life presents itself  it seems that many times  we’re left standing with rocks in one hand and a pitch fork in the other.

To the Christian: If you are a true follower of Jesus, check your heart and your motives. Ask yourself this very simple and world renown question: “What would Jesus Do?” Take a close look again at our Saviors life…how did He live and treat others? And then make the necessary adjustments and act accordingly.

To the person who is on the fence regarding Christianity:  I know it may sound strange, but don’t make your decision based on the people around you.  As Christians we are flawed! Jesus said that there is “Treasure in Earthen Vessels” meaning, as people, we are going to make lot’s of mistakes and that your BEST example is Jesus Himself.  He came to forgive and show God’s mercy in action. He was a man with no sin, but yet he became sin for us…he paid a penalty that none of us deserve and why? Because, “God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever chooses to believe in Him (Jesus) would not perish, but have life everlasting” John 3:16  He loves and forgives you, and all He asks of you is to believe and love others in return.