Hurt People Hurt People

There is an old expression that has long stuck in my mind: “Hurt people, hurt people.”  In other words, those who are hurting often lash out in some way and hurt others around them; and those who lash out are often themselves hurting on the inside.  Sometimes the offending individual is self-aware, but often the hurt person who is hurting others is neither conscious of their own pain nor of how they are effecting others. It is a viscious cycle.

In this video, Derwin Gray, pastor of Transformation Church in the Charlotte area, and former Indianapolis Colt & Carolina Panther Defensive Back, touches on this very issue. The gospel addresses this issue, freeing the one who has been hurt from hurting others, and freeing those who are being hurt to understand and forgive.

Why I Won’t Forgive Lance Armstrong


I have no inclination to forgive Lance Armstrong.  I feel no need to.  Armstrong, the infamous cyclist who has now been stripped of several Tour de France victories, an Olympic medal, and has had a host of other indignities hoisted upon his head, has finally confessed to doping in order to enhance his performance.  And his confession has seemed to turn multitudes to dismay.

Many had considered him a hero.  His story was compelling. A cancer survivor, he came back stronger than ever after his treatment to dominate the world cycling circuit, most notably in his unprecedented – and unlikely to ever be repeated – 7 consecutive victories in the Tour de France.  He then translated his fame and his story into the tremendously successful cancer research foundation, LiveStrong, which has raised and given millions-upon-millions of dollars toward the treatment and eradication of cancer.   To find out that Armstrong’s success was synthetic has led many to feel betrayed.

But not me.

It is not that I have any admiration for Armstrong.  I have had little interest in him for some time.  Armstrong is a seriously flawed guy, whose most serious character flaws had little to do with his doping.  Behind the scenes he was a despicable person who destroyed dozens of lives through threats and lawsuits in order to preserve his persona – his lie.   This is far worse than cheating in a sporting event – especially in a sport where nearly all the other participants were cheating just as much.

Why do I feel no need to forgive Lance Armstrong?  Simple. Because I never expected anything from him in the first place.  His failures and his fall have cost me nothing.

In the Bible the concept of forgiveness is often likened to that of swallowing a debt.  Whenever someone wrongs us – or we wrong another – whether by actual stealing, or tarnishing a reputation, or some other offense, something is taken from the victim by the perpetrator.  And a debt incurs.  (See Parable of Unmerciful Servant, for instance.)  What is taken may be wealth, or it may simply be peace of mind.  But with any actual offense something, tangible or not, is actually taken.

Jesus’ instruction to his followers who have been wronged is to extend forgiveness to the offender, just as forgiveness has been extended to us for our offenses.  Our offenses may be against other people, but they are also always against the Lord.  If nothing else, by our offense we belittle the Lord.  Or put another way, consistent with the above premise, we rob Jesus of the glory he is due.  We essentially say he is not enough; that we need something in addition to or instead of God and what he promises and provides.   Yet, in the face of such insult Jesus reminds us that we have been forgiven.  He has swallowed the debt we owe, paying for it with his own blood on the cross.  Further, by telling us that we ought to forgive as we have been forgiven, Jesus is not merely telling us to follow his model, he reminds us that we have been forgiven and we can rest in his promise to supply whatever we need.  In other words, whatever has been taken from us he has, and will, more than make up for.  Our loss now restored, we have no need to extract a penalty on those who have wronged us.

So with this understanding, one may wonder why I say I have no inclination, no intention, to forgive Lance Armstrong.  The answer is simple. In this instance, Lance Armstrong took nothing from me.  I have had no vested interest in him. While I found his successes impressive, and his cancer research foundation commendable, not one aspect of my life has depended upon him. So now to find out that he is a deeply flawed man, just as I am, does me no damage whatsoever. So what is there for me to forgive?

I wonder how many people, who are rightly appalled by Armstrong’s heinous behavior, have actually been effected by his fall-from-grace.  It seems to me that those who are seemingly chagrined should ask themselves what Armstrong has taken from them.  For some, the answer is a lot. But for most, if the answer is as simple as they lost their hero, then perhaps they ought to consider why they attached so much of  themselves in a mere man in the first place.

The only man worthy of hero status is Jesus.  To offer such adulation to anyone else is to rob Jesus of  the glory he alone deserves.  Yet this offense of our toward him is an offense he willingly swallows, if we will only confess and repent.

Lingering Guilt & Insulting God’s Integrity

What do you do with the person who says: “I’ve asked God to forgive me, but I still feel guilty?”

A noted writer (R.C. Sproul, I think) was asked [this] once.  [His reply:] “Well,  if You still feel guilty, then pray to God again, but this time don’t ask Him to forgive you for the sin that is haunting you. Rather ask Him to forgive you for insulting His integrity by refusing to accept His forgiveness. Who are you to refuse to forgive yourself when God has forgiven you…it is often a very difficult thing to accept the grace of God. Our human arrogance makes us want to atone for our own sins to make it up to God with works of super-righteousness”.

~ Steve Brown

Our Universal Need

“Just so you know, the need for repentance, redemption, and forgiveness is universal. I don’t care if you are a liberal or a conservative, a religious fanatic or a militant atheist, a ‘spiritual’/’religious’ person or someone who runs from all that. It doesn’t matter to me if you listen to Billy Graham or follow Camus – you are in need.  No one in the human race is exempt.  Its in our DNA…

When we finally acknowledge our need for forgiveness and come to God in repentance, we find true power; for we now have nothing to hide or protect, we don’t care what people say or think about us, we are willing to speak truth gently, and we are enabled to speak with tremendous, supernatural power.”

~ Steve Brown, from Three Free Sins

NOTE: Watch a preview video and listen to Tullian Tchividjian interview Steve Brown about Thee Free Sins: here

5 Truths About Forgiveness

Mark Twain describes forgiveness this way:

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it.

What beautifully apropos imagery.

In a recent post I listed 5 Myths About Forgiveness, taken from an article by Sam Storms.  What I didn’t do in that post is describe what forgiveness is.  So in this post we give consideration to that question, again borrowing from Storms.

Here are 5 Truths About Forgiveness:

  1. God in Christ forgave us by absorbing in himself the destructive and painful consequences of our sin against him
  2. God forgave us in Christ by canceling the debt we owed him. That is to say, we are no longer held liable for our sins or in any way made to pay for them.
  3. Forgiving others as God has forgiven us means we resolve to revoke revenge.
  4. Forgiving others as God has forgiven us means that we determine to do good to them rather than evil. (Romans 12.17-21)
  5. God forgave us in Christ by reconciling us to himself, by restoring the relationship that our sin had shattered.

While these truths are still not a definition they do work together to give us understanding, perhaps even better than a mere definition might.  Forgiveness is embodied and demonstrated in the person of Jesus Christ.  He is, in Twain’s words, the Violet that was crushed for us.


This list is an excerpt from a post by Sam Storms that originally appeared on the Enjoying God Ministries blog.  To whole article is available in .pdf thanks to the folks at Acts 29 Network. Click: Forgiveness

5 Myths About Forgiveness

In the movie Just Friends pop singer Samantha James (Anna Faris) lyrically muses:

“Forgiveness is more than saying ‘Sorry'” 

Earlier this week I had a conversation with a friend who had been accused by a woman from his church of being “unforgiving” because he was hesitant to re-hire a man who had been fired for cause just a couple years previous.  My friend, who is a very gentle and gracious man, was mostly venting frustration from the sting of this accusation. But he was also honestly trying to resolve the conflict within himself; trying to discern if his hesitancy was truly a reflection of a heart lacking in forgiveness. 

I suspect many self-searching people wrestle with question at one time or another.

The character Samantha James may be on to someting. But what? What is forgiveness? Maybe at least as important, what is forgivenss NOT?

Sam Storms helps us out with that latter question by listing 5 Myths about forgiveness:

  1. Contrary to what many have been led to believe, forgiveness is not forgetting.
  2. Forgiving someone does not mean you no longer feel the pain of their offense.
  3. Forgiving someone who has sinned against you doesn’t mean you cease longing for justice.
  4. Forgiveness does not mean you are to make it easy for the offender to hurt you again.
  5. Forgiveness is rarely a one-time, climactic event. It is most often a life-long process.

This list is an excerpt from a post that originally appeared on the Enjoying God Ministries blog.  To whole article is available in .pdf thanks to the folks at Acts 29 Network. Click: Forgiveness 

In a later post we will consider what Storms says forgiveness is.

Praying for Forgiveness

In the title song of Toby Keith‘s  movie and soundtrack, Broken Bridges, the first line of the chorus is:

Here I am, prayin’ for forgiveness… 

If you’ve seen the movie on CMT it makes sense. It is a story of a guy facing up to his past mistakes and the people he has hurt.  It is a process of reconciling broken relationships.

But this line also begs a question: Why “pray” for forgiveness?

Puritan Pastor Richard Sibbes considered this issue. Sibbes posed the question, then proposed a profound and practical response:

Q. Why do we pray for forgiveness?

A. We pray for clear evidence of what we have.

I don’t know if you have ever wondered about this, but Sibbes’ question is a good one.  If, as we profess, Jesus’ death and resurrection secured forgiveness of sin past, present, and future for all who Believe, then what is the point in asking for it if forgiveness is already granted.  Is this merely a politeness – somewhat like saying “Excuse me” after a burp?

What Sibbes answers makes great sense. The issue is not what we do or do not have. The issue is what we experience.  We do not need to pray to get forgiveness.  Those who are trusting Christ already have it.  What we need is the renewed experience, the realization, of that forgiveness already granted.

Our perspective is limited. Our feeling of assurance is often fleeting.  Like a child momentarily separated from his parents may feel lost, abandoned, and even alienated, the Christian may experience a twinge of anxiety when we realize all over again that, though we have been justified, we are still sinners.  (To not have this “uh-oh” feeling would make me wonder if someone has a conscience.)  

We know the child is not abandoned just because the parents are out of his/her line of sight. And the believer should know that God is faithful to his promise without condition. As   we are told in 2 Timothy:

[Even] if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

What is in view inthis verse is not the person who is not a Believer, but the Christian who is not appropriating faith at a particular moment. In such moments we are functionally like the child who fears the parents are “lost” or gone.  And unless we seriously deceive ourselves, we must admit that we all have these moments – many of them. This is especially true at moments when we are aware of and grieved by our sin and disobedience.

What Sibbes points out at those moments – moments when we reflexively cry out for forgiveness – what we are really asking for is not so much for forgiveness, but a new dose of evidence of our forgiveness that we cling to for comfort and to dry our tears. 

Let me finish with this: All the evidence we need is found at the Cross.  The evidence is the same today as it was yesterday; and it will be the same tomorrow as it is today.

Romans 5.8 reminds us:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

And John practically applies this to us in 1 John 1:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Blessed Are the Peacemakers


Jeff Purswell writes:

Who dreamed that their church participation was so significant? Giving the world a glimpse of the consummated kingdom of God!

Does such a grand vision govern our attitude toward our local churches?  If it does, our participation will no doubt reflect it.  We will love, serve, sacrifice, forgive, forbear, employ our gifts, mortify our pride – all that we might together “display in this present evil age the life and fellowship of the Age to come.” 

Churches that display such a life, however imperfectly, are God’s most potent intstruments in his cosmic program to reclaim and restore his creation.

At first glance this may not seem to be all that interesting of a paragraph.  But it is far more than a poetic ode to the Church and what the Church ought to be.

I think it safe to say that most of us desire peace in our churches.  We want to get along with everyone. We want everyone to think well of us.  That is, afterall, what the church is supposed to be like.  Unfortunately, it is not the reality experienced all the time in any church.

When we find ourselves in the middle of tensions or conflict, or even if we are simply on the perifery observing it between friends and fellow church members, it can cause an agonizing feeling.  We know this is not the way things ought to be. We think, “God cannot be glorified in this.”

While God is not glorified by church conflict, notice two of the words in the above paragraph: forgive and forbear.  These are important words to think about.  While both are noble words, they would not exist apart from some sort of tension or conflict.

What Jeff seems to be suggesting is that while peace & unity are marks of Christ’s Church, the real life struggles of living, breathing, sin-infected people that make up the membership of the church almost guarantees that from time to time we will rub one another the wrong way.  Yet if we are a people, marked by the gospel, committed to reconciliation through the practices of forbearing and forgiving one another, even the presence of conflict within a congregation provides opportunity to glorify God.

The Mark of the Christian (part 6)

  by Francis Schaeffer


Love In Practice


Let me give two beautiful examples of such observable love. One happened among the Brethren groups in Germany immediately after the last war.


In order to control the church, Hitler commanded the union of all religious groups in Germany, drawing them together by law. The Brethren divided over this issue. Half accepted Hitler’s dictum and half refused. The ones who submitted, of course, had a much easier time, but gradually in this organizational oneness with the liberal groups their own doctrinal sharpness and spiritual life withered. On the other hand, the group that stayed out remained spiritually virile, but there was hardly a family in which someone did not die in a German concentration camp.


Now can you imagine the emotional tension? The war is over, and these Christian brothers face each other again. They had the same doctrine and they had worked together for more than a generation. Now what is going to happen? One man remembers that his father died in a concentration camp and knows that these people over here remained safe. But people on the other side have deep personal feelings as well.


Then gradually these brothers came to know that this situation just would not do. A time was appointed when the elders of the two groups could meet together in a certain quiet place. I asked the man who told me this, “What did you do?” And he said, “Well, I’ll tell you what we did. We came together, and we set aside several days in which each man would search his own heart.” Here was a real difference; the emotions were deeply, deeply stirred. “My father has gone to the concentration camp; my mother was dragged away.” These things are not just little pebbles on the beach; they reach into the deep well-springs of human emotions. But these people understood the command of Christ at this place, and for several days every man did nothing except search his own heart concerning his own failures and the commands of Christ. Then they met together.


I asked the man, “What happened then?”


And he said, “We just were one.”


To my mind, this is exactly what Jesus speaks about. The Father has sent the Son!


Divided But One


The principle we are talking about is universal, applicable in all times and places. Let me, then, give you a second illustration — a different practice of the same principle.


I have been waiting for years for a time when two groups of born-again Christians, who for good reasons find it impossible to work together, separate without saying bitter things against each other. I have long longed for two groups who would continue to show a love to the watching world when they came to the place where organizational unity seemed no longer possible between them.


Theoretically, of course, every local church ought to be able to minister to the whole spectrum of society. But in practice we must acknowledge that in certain places it becomes very difficult. The needs of different segments of society are different.


Recently a problem of this nature arose in a church in a large city in the Midwest in the United States. A number of people attuned to the modern age were going to a certain church, but the pastor gradually concluded that he was not able to preach and minister to the two groups. Some men can, but he personally did not find it possible to minister to the whole spectrum of his congregation — the long-haired ones and the far-out people they brought, and, at the same time, the people of the surrounding neighborhood.


The example of observable love I am going to present now must not be taken as an “of course” situation in our day. In our generation the lack of love can easily cut both ways: A middle-class people can all too easily be snobbish and unloving against the long-haired Christians, and the long-haired Christians can be equally snobbish and unloving against the short-haired Christians.


After trying for a long time to work together, the elders met and decided that they would make two churches. They made it very plain that they were not dividing because their doctrine was different; they were dividing as a matter of practicability. One member of the old session went to the new group. They worked under the whole session to make an orderly transition. Now they have two churches and they are consciously practicing love toward each other.


Here is a lack of organizational unity that is a true love and unity which the world may observe. The Father has sent the Son!


I want to say with all my heart that as we struggle with the proper preaching of the gospel in the midst of the 20th century, the importance of observable love must come into our message. We must not forget the final apologetic. The world has a right to look upon us as we, as true Christians, come to practical differences and it should be able to observe that we do love each other. Our love must have a form that the world may observe; it must be seeable.


The One True Mark


Let us look again at the biblical texts which so clearly indicate the mark of the Christian:


A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)


That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:21)


What then shall we conclude but that as the Samaritan loved the wounded man, we as Christians are called upon to love all men as neighbors, loving them as ourselves. Second, that we are to love all true Christian brothers in a way that the world may observe. This means showing love to our brother in the midst of our differences — great or small — loving our brothers when it costs us something, loving them even under times of tremendous emotional tension, loving them in a way the world can see. In short, we are to practice and exhibit the holiness of God and the love of God, for without this we grieve the Holy Spirit.


Love — and the unity it attests to — is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father.


The Mark of the Christian (part 4)

  by Francis Schaeffer


True Oneness


In John 13 and 17, Jesus talks about a real seeable oneness, a practicing oneness, a practical oneness across all lines, among all true Christians.


The Christian really has a double task. He has to practice both God’s holiness and God’s love. The Christian is to exhibit that God exists as the infinite-personal God; and then he is to exhibit simultaneously God’s character of holiness and love. Not his holiness without his love: that is only harshness. Not his love without his holiness: that is only compromise. Anything that an individual Christian or Christian group does that fails to show the simultaneous balance of the holiness of God and the love of God presents to a watching world not a demonstration of the God who exists but a caricature of the God who exists.


According to the Scripture and the teaching of Christ, the love that is shown is to be exceedingly strong. It is not just something you mention in words once in a while.


Visible Love


What, then, does this love mean? How can it be made visible?


First, it means a very simple thing: It means that when I have made a mistake and when I have failed to love my Christian brother, I go to him and say, “I’m sorry.” That is first.


It may seem a letdown – that the first thing we speak of should be so simple! But if you think it is easy, you have never tried to practice it.


In our own groups, in our own close Christian communities, even in our families, when we have shown lack of love toward another, we as Christians do not just automatically go and say we are sorry. On even the very simplest level it is never very easy.


It may sound simplistic to start with saying we are sorry and asking forgiveness, but it is not. This is the way of renewed fellowship, whether it is between a husband and wife, a parent and child, within a Christian community, or between groups. When we have shown a lack of love toward the other, we are called by God to go and say, “I’m sorry . . . I really am sorry.”


If I am not willing to say, “I’m sorry,” when I have wronged somebody else – especially when I have not loved him – I have not even started to think about the meaning of a Christian oneness which the world can see. The world has a right to question whether I am a Christian. And more than that, let me say it again, if I am not willing to do this very simple thing, the world has a right to question whether Jesus was sent from God and whether Christianity is true.


How well have we consciously practiced this? How often, in the power of the Holy Spirit, have we gone to Christians in our own group and said, “I’m sorry”? How much time have we spent reestablishing contact with those in other groups, saying to them, “I’m sorry for what I’ve done, what I’ve said, or what I’ve written”? How frequently has one group gone to another group with whom it differed and has said, “We’re sorry”? It is so important that it is, for all practical purposes, a part of the preaching of the gospel itself. The observable practice of truth and the observable practice of love go hand in hand with the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.


I have observed one thing among true Christians in their differences in many countries: What divides and severs true Christian groups and Christians – what leaves a bitterness that can last for 20, 30 or 40 years (or for 50 or 60 years in a son’s memory) – is not the issue of doctrine or belief which caused the differences in the first place. Invariably it is lack of love – and the bitter things that are said by true Christians in the midst of differences. These stick in the mind like glue. And after time passes and the differences between the Christians or the groups appear less than they did, there are still those bitter, bitter things we said in the midst of what we thought was a good and sufficient objective discussion. It is these things – these unloving attitudes and words – that cause the stench that the world can smell in the church of Jesus Christ among those who are really true Christians.


If, when we feel we must disagree as true Christians, we could simply guard our tongues and speak in love, in five or ten years the bitterness could be gone. Instead of that, we leave scars – a curse for generations. Not just a curse in the church, but a curse in the world. Newspaper headlines bear it in our Christian press, and it boils over into the secular press at times – Christians saying such bitter things about other Christians.


The world looks, shrugs its shoulders and turns away. It has not seen even the beginning of a living church in the midst of a dying culture. It has not seen the beginning of what Jesus indicates is the final apologetic – observable oneness among true Christians who are truly brothers in Christ. Our sharp tongues, the lack of love between us – not the necessary statements of differences that may exist between true Christians – these are what properly trouble the world.


How different this is from the straightforward and direct command of Jesus Christ – to show an observable oneness which may be seen by a watching world!




But there is more to observable love than saying we are sorry.  There must also be open forgiveness. And though it’s hard to say, “I’m sorry,” it’s even harder to forgive. The Bible, however, makes plain that the world must observe a forgiving spirit in the midst of God’s people.


In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus himself teaches us to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Now this prayer, we must say quickly, is not for salvation. It has nothing to do with being born again, for we are born again on the basis of the finished work of Christ plus nothing. But it does have to do with a Christian’s existential, moment-by-moment experiential relationship to God. We need a once-for-all forgiveness at justification, and we need a moment-by-moment forgiveness for our sins on the basis of Christ’s work in order to be in open fellowship with God. What the Lord has taught us to pray in the Lord’s prayer should make a Christian very sober every day of his life: We are asking the Lord to open to us the experiential realities of fellowship with himself as we forgive others.


Some Christians say that the Lord’s prayer is not for this present era, but most of us would say it is. And yet at the same time we hardly think once in a year about our lack of a forgiving heart in relationship to God’s forgiving us. Many Christians rarely or never seem to connect their own lack of reality of fellowship with God with their lack of forgiveness to men, even though they may say the Lord’s prayer in a formal way over and over in their weekly Sunday worship services.


We must all continually acknowledge that we do not practice the forgiving heart as we should. And yet the prayer is “Forgive us our debts, our trespasses, as we forgive our debtors.” We are to have a forgiving spirit even before the other person expresses regret for his wrong. The Lord’s prayer does not suggest that when the other man is sorry, then we are to show a oneness by having a forgiving spirit. Rather, we are called upon to have a forgiving spirit without the other man having made the first step. We may still say that he is wrong, but in the midst of saying that he is wrong, we must be forgiving.


We are to have this forgiving spirit not only toward Christians but toward all men. But surely if it is toward all men, it is important toward Christians.


Such a forgiving spirit registers an attitude of love toward others. But, even though one can call this an attitude, true forgiveness is observable. Believe me, you can look on a man’s face and know where he is as far as forgiveness is concerned. And the world is called on to look upon us and see whether we have love across the groups, love across party lines. Do they observe that we say, “I’m sorry,” and do they observe a forgiving heart? Let me repeat: Our love will not be perfect, but it must be substantial enough for the world to be able to observe or it does not fit into the structure of the verses in John 13 and 17. And if the world does not observe this among true Christians, the world has a right to make the two awful judgments which these verses indicate: That we are not Christians and that Christ was not sent by the Father.


Sin Boldly

lutherwoodcut.jpgI’m going to start a new category: Graffiti. This categtory will offer some great quotes.   

I don’t know many that would top the following from Luther:  

“If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly,  but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world.

As long as we are here [in this world]  we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness,  but, as Peter says,  we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world.  No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner.”

 -Martin Luther, in a letter to Phillip Melancthon 

10 Questions: Are You More Willing to Forgive Others?

Ephesians 4:32 exhorts us to forgive each other “just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Forgiveness is one of the hardest and most unnatural things we could be asked to do. But the more we become like Jesus, who forgave even those who nailed Him to the cross, the more we will be willing to forgive.

Last week I spoke with a hulk of a man wedged in the soul-vise of bitterness. He adamantly insisted that a mutual friend was not a Christian because of something our friend had done to him. When another man became involved in the same incident, he’d even prayed for God to change the man’s mind about it or to kill him. If he doesn’t choose to forgive, his bitterness will crush every tender shoot of growth that sprouts in his heart.

Are you still bitter at someone you were bitter toward six months ago? If so, then regardless of all your Christian activities, you have deceived yourself about having made any real spiritual progress during that time.

Have you forgiven any longtime hurts during the past year? If so, then you have made a measurable advance in Christian maturity.

– This post is 9 of 10 excerpted from 10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health by Donald Whitney.