Editor’s Note: It’s a joy to introduce you to Mindy Herring in today’s Friday Feature. We asked her a series of tough questions related to our Malachi study, and she shared a beautiful reflection that we know will encourage you with words of truth from God’s Word.
God feels disobedience to Him and His Word as betrayal and yet is willing to forgive us each and every time. How have you experienced the incredible power of God’s forgiveness in your own life?
I have been blessed to be surrounded by several God-fearing saints throughout my life, so my worldview, for as long as I can remember, included biblical truth. Since I was very small, I knew the truth of Romans 3:23, which says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I know that I am a sinner, who can never repay or ask forgiveness enough, for all that I have said and done against God, and I am overwhelmed by His love and forgiveness. It never ceases to amaze me how intensely He loves me despite how awfully I approach Him or treat Him.
One way that I have experienced forgiveness is when I offend another person and they bring it to my attention and forgive me for the hurt I caused. This is truly living out Colossians 3:13, which says, “…bearing with one other and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Mindy Herring: I love Jesus, studying the Bible, and spending time with others who also love Jesus! I have three pre-teen and teenage sons, Blake, Josiah, and Caleb. I have been married to my husband Mike for almost 18 years.
Malachi 2:10-16 talks a lot about God’s people “dealing treacherously” with God and others. Another way of saying this is that they were betraying them. Have you ever felt betrayed by someone? What was that like?
I kept returning to this question, unsure what it even meant. I would describe myself as an extroverted extrovert, who is a verbal processor. I am more of a thinker than a feeler. So after several days of thinking about it, I finally did what I do when I encounter something I don’t understand. I talked about it with some people I love and trust and sought out what the Bible had to say about the terms I was unsure about.
The first word that I looked at was “betrayal” because my first thought upon hearing “dealing treacherously” and “betrayal” went to pirates and intentional, plotted evil. What does betrayal really mean? I found that in interpersonal relationships it means we don’t treat another person in the way God created us to treat them. Betrayal against God is rejecting the truth, or not holding up our end of the deal (not doing what He created us to do). According to Ephesians 2, we are “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” and in Ephesians 4, Paul explains that we were “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
I couldn’t recall any experiences where I knew for sure someone intentionally plotted evil against me. But when I looked more intently into what the terms meant from the text in Malachi 2, I realized how many things I do could be considered treacherous in regards to my relationship with God. So, when I applied that type of “treachery” and “betrayal” to interpersonal relationships, I realized that I have been hurt by things others have said and done. My initial reactions are normally confusion, sadness, questioning why, and sometimes anger. I don’t tend to be angry at the person(s) directly, but rather the injustice(s) that has occurred. When we don’t interact with others in the way God interacts with us, we are “betraying” one another.
How did you find peace in that situation? Were you able to forgive that person?
My primary reaction to fractures in interpersonal relationships is often sadness and questioning why. Why would a person choose to cause another pain? And the root answer is sin. They and I choose ourselves over others. But referring back to Romans 3:23, is their sin worse or better than mine? If God forgives me of all that I do, who am I not to forgive others who have sinned against me (Colossians 3:13)? If I actually sit and list my sins and talk to God about them, I am overwhelmed by His grace and forgiveness. It never ceases to amaze me how intensely He loves us despite how awfully we approach Him or treat Him.
In regards to peace, I have lived through difficult things in life by standing on the Rock (Psalm 18) and resting in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 17 and 63). When I feel inundated by the world’s “sense,” I dig into the Bible to reestablish truth in my worldview. I read truth, I memorize truth, I listen to truth, and I sing truth. I don’t trust others, or even my own view of what is going on around me, but rather trust that the One who sees and understands all wants the best for me in every situation. “Best” does not mean without difficulty or pain, but rather what glorifies Him and shapes me to become more like Him.