Everyone is hit with loss. How you view your losses determines if you get stuck in loss or bounce back.
I’ve talked in other posts about the difference between a scarcity vs. an abundance mindset. Let me contrast these two again with pie charts.
Each wedge in this chart represents a loss and the damage to your life:
E: Your ever shrinking sense of wholeness
If you view your losses through the grid of scarcity, you see your life getting smaller. You become increasingly hopeless as you feel losses chipping away at your life. You wonder if you can hang on any more because bad things keep happening. This view is often accompanied by anger and depression.
But if you look at loss through the grid of abundance, your life isn’t chipped away. The loss causes a temporary set back (the blue wedge) but as you invite God into your life, he helps you to grieve the loss, absorb it, and continue on with your life.
A scar remains, reminding you of the loss, but the wedge is gone. It shrinks back to nothing. So instead of loss chipping away at your life, with God’s influence, loss actually expands you as a person; it makes you deeper and able to be a resource to other hurting people.
I hope this helps you or the people you might work with.
Several years ago I was lamenting the life of someone I was counseling. It didn’t seem like they would ever climb out of the hole they were in. Then I remembered Psalm 23 where David said of God, “…he restores my soul.” It struck me that those words were either true or false. Did I believe God was a restorer of souls or not? I believe he is.
I’m convinced that many people stay stuck in exile because of a low view of God. For whatever reason, they don’t believe God is a restorer of souls, and they pay the price for it.
My last recommendation for reframing has to do with choosing to see God as a god of abundance, not scarcity. Will you look at life expecting God to show up in a big way? Or will you assume the worst?
We serve the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
Scarcity is about fear. You are afraid there won’t be enough: enough money, enough love, enough time, enough forgiveness: whatever it is you feel you need in life.
Scarcity focuses on what little you have; it’s all you’ll get, and if you aren’t careful you will even lose that.
Scarcity is about walls and locks and secrets and hiding because you can never be too careful to guard your meager holdings.
Abundance is the opposite. Abundance is about hope. Abundance sees opportunities when others are cutting back and preparing to throw in the towel.
Have you ever noticed how many seeds a tree throws off every year? Literally thousands. One tree shed enough seeds to create a forest. God has wired abundance into his creation. If he’s done that for trees, won’t he do it for his children?
In the wanderings of the Sinai Wilderness, God’s people doubted his goodness. They doubted he would meet their needs. God responded:
How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? Numbers 14:11
When I have a scarcity mindset I hold God in contempt. I tell him he’s not enough. He is not sufficient for my need.
Paraphrasing, God responded by saying: Okay. It’s your choice. If you don’t think I can help you overcome the obstacles then fine, don’t enter the Promised Land. And in fact, they didn’t enter. They wandered in the Sinai Peninsula for forty years.
It didn’t have to be that way. They had a choice.
In contrast to their contempt for God was Abraham. He believed in a God of abundance: the God of resurrection. Paul wrote that Abraham believed in:
…the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations …Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:17-22
We serve the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
I know there are exceptions. I know that all stories don’t end in resurrection and deliverance in this life. But God is a god of abundance. Why not expect the best? Why not expect something amazing…even if that’s an amazing sense of peace and joy in your exile?
Maybe you are in a hopeless place. But did you see what Abraham did? It says… against all hope, Abraham believed in hope…
You are not a fool to hope. You are a person of faith.
Do you see God as a God of abundance or scarcity? Be honest. What will it take to renew your hope in the God who gives life to the dead? Leave a comment below.
Asking people to forgive the unforgivable borders on being offensive. I realize that. But Jesus’ perspective on life was often offensive because he saw things from a different perspective. If we can gain that perspective it might transform the entire discussion. That’s my hope.
Tapping into a Divine Source
Forgiving the Unforgivable Requires a Divine Source
Forgiving the unforgivable requires tapping into a different source. Our human capabilities quickly dry up when called to this level of forgiveness. We are right in believing it is impossible, if…we look at ourselves. I’m suggesting that we tap into the life that God offers us.
Jesus referred to it as being “born from above” or eternal life. The apostle Paul referred to it as resurrected life. To gain this new life requires letting go of our former life. It’s the difference between being connected to a house faucet or a fire hydrant.
Abundance and Scarcity
I’ve written in another post about the difference between abundance and scarcity mindsets. The person who says they can’t forgive lives out the scarcity mindset. They believe that certain offenses use up all grace and then some. They focus on the enormity of an offense compared to our inadequacy to handle it.
The person who is willing to forgive the unforgivable lives out an abundance mindset. They believe that there is a never-ending storehouse of grace for both them and their offender. No act of humanity can overwhelm the abundance of God’s grace. He is like a fountain that is always gushing more water to dry land.
God’s Strength Made Perfect in Weakness
I don’t mean to over simplify complex realities. But at the same time I don’t want to make them harder than they are. When faced with our weakness we typically despair. But from a biblical viewpoint that could be our defining moment.
The apostle Paul struggled with his weakness until God spoke to him…
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Paul then comments…
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I don’t think there is any trick or magic to forgiving the unforgivable. What it requires is an utter dependence on God…a willingness to tell God that you can’t do it but you believe he can. It may take moments, months or years. But in him it is possible. God does through us what we can’t do ourselves.
Forgiving the Unforgivable is a Risk
Forgiving the unforgivable is a journey whose sight is set on God. It’s a risk. Faith always is…like a trapeze artist trusting that their catcher will grab them as they hang in thin air. But the rewards are high. Refusing to forgive is a dead-end because it relies purely on oneself. It offers nothing to the offender or the offended. Surely God has more for us than that. Watch short videos of people telling their stories of dealing with forgiveness here.
A Final Word
Short blog posts on such serious matters risk being trite and simplistic. That’s not my intention. I ventured into this topic because what I’ve read lately about forgiveness in our culture has reduced forgiveness to a self-serving mechanism to separate oneself from an offender. That definition is inadequate and I wanted to bring some balance.
For what it’s worth I hope these posts have helped. I realize that there are large holes to fill in such a brief discussion. But that’s what you are here for! Please bring balance, correction and affirmation to what you’ve read here. It will benefit us all.
Backtrack to read the entire thread. Please forward on Facebook if you found this discussion helpful.
Forgiving the Unforgivable (readingremy.com)
The Difference Between A Scarcity and Abundance Mentality (readingremy.com)
Someone asked me on my Facebook page to explain more about the difference between a scarcity and abundance mentality. So let me take a little space here to do that. Stephen Covey was one of the first people to discuss the contrast in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Abundance is Everywhere
Scarcity is all about fear; you are afraid that there won’t be enough for you…enough money, enough love, enough time…whatever it is that you feel you need in life. Scarcity focuses on what little you have and assumes the worst; that that’s all you’ll get and if you aren’t careful you will even lose that. Scarcity is about walls and locks and secrets and hiding because you can never be too careful to guard what little you have.
Abundance is just the opposite of that. Abundance is about hope. Abundance sees the opportunities. I’m looking out the window right now at all the maple tree “helicopter” seeds falling to the ground. One tree throws off thousands of seeds. One tree could create a forest. God has wired abundance into his creation if we will only see it.
Another way people have explained it is to see life as a pie with a limited number of slices. People worry if they’ll get their slice. People fight over the slices and even cheat to make sure they get a slice. But others walk away from that pie and the pettiness because they know there are other pies in the oven waiting to come out.
I don’t think you have to believe in God to have an abundance mentality. You just need to see the abundance and opportunity that exists. But believing in God helps because God can create something out of nothing. Even when all hope is seemingly gone God has a way of bringing things into existence, i.e. think resurrection.
The Bible is full of examples of abundance. One you may be familiar with is when 5000+ people had no food when they had spent the day listening to Jesus. One boy had some bread and fish. The disciples worried what would happen. But Jesus simply thanked God for what food they had and it miraculously multiplied to meet the needs of everyone there.