Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Night with Friends: Forgiveness by Rev. Mike Marecle, D. Min

Our guest blogger tonight is my dear friend Rev. Mike Marecle. He has taught me a great deal about forgiveness and he and his dear wife have been wonderful friends of mine for too many years to count. 
It was April 17, 1987, and I remember the sun shining that morning. For the people who worked at the First Baptist Church in Columbia, Tennessee, I suppose it was just another Thursday. Inside my heart and mind, however, there was nothing but stormy weather. I was desperately seeking peace in my life. I had called the church earlier in the week to set up an appointment with the pastor. I was confused, nervous and I didnt trust people, especially anyone with more education than I had. But somehow I knew this preacher had peace in his life. I had heard him talk about it the previous Sunday when I had attended that service to see if peace was available to me.
After we were seated in his office, I told the preacher, I need peace in my life and I dont care what it takes. I will do anything.He asked a few questions to get to know me better. I explained that I prayed the prayer, had been baptized and joined a church when I was young. Nothing really changed in my life at that time, so I just pretended to be a Christian. I thought that was what everybody else was doing. I continued pretending until I finished high school. Then, in anger I walked away from church. For some reason, I knew I could tell him something I had believed for a long time, but had never said out loud. I dont think God wants a relationship with me. I have messed up every relationship a man can mess up. I am a relationship failure.
The preacher leaned forward and said, I can help you find peace.What a relief! Then he quoted Romans 5:8. God demonstrated His love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.Then the preacher put it in terms I could understand. Either God wants a relationship with you or He is a liar, Mike.I replied, I dont know God, but I know He is not a liar.Continuing, he explained that when God created us, He didnt create us with the ability to run our own life. Jeremiah was praying and said, I know, oh Lord, that a mans life is not his own; it is not within man to direct his own steps.(Jeremiah 10:23) I had been trying to run my life for 32 1⁄2 years. It may have looked good on the outside, because we lived in a new house, had great jobs, had new vehicles and I had the nicest Harley Davidson motorcycle in town. On the inside, I was a mess. I was so tired of being angry and running from life. I didnt like being angry, but I didnt know how to not be angry.
I dont know what the preacher prayed that day. I do remember some of what I prayed. God, you have run the world all these years without any trouble. Ive tried to run my life my whole life. Since Ive tried everything else I know to do, if youll have it, Sir, Im just going to give it to you. I ask you to forgive me and I surrender control to you.
I wrote this book to share with you how the Lord gave me peace and purpose in my life through the practice of forgiveness. Having counseled with thousands of people in tens of thousands of hours at Hope Family Ministries, Ive seen a recurring problem: a lack of peace caused by the inability, and refusal, to forgive. Ive been blessed to witness radical improvement in the lives of those who were willing to learn and apply these principles and skills.
Forgive: The Journey Toward Peace, by Rev. Mike Marecle, D.Min Pastoral Counseling, Is now available through