Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The One Thing Consistent

“The one thing consistent about me,” I told my wife early in our marriage, “is my inconsistency.” Well, looking at how long it’s been since I’ve added to this blog, I have to admit that I’m still basically that same inconsistent guy. I also have to confess that I’m a bit overwhelmed. I could go in lengthy discourse about my battle and subsequent victory over chronic Lyme disease as well as vocational demands added to the challenges of raising teenagers, but the reality is that I haven’t felt much like writing for several months… and I didn’t have much to share. At least I didn’t have anything healthy to share. 

If despair is the absence of hope, then I was despairing. Whether by sheer force of will or through the muscle memory of repetition, I plodded through the motions in 2014. But if on the other hand Tolkien’s definition of hope is accurate (i.e. – refusing to despair), then I kept hope. I kept moving. I kept adjusting… all through the grace and strength of my God.

I pressed into Jeremiah 29:11-13 as a personal promise from God to me: 
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
And I held onto an earlier promise He made to me through Scripture in Psalm 40 as I prayed a simple prayer 25 years ago: “God, be the God of my life.” He has indeed, set my feet upon the Rock and made my footsteps firm… and many will see and fear the Lord. 

As we head into 2015, many are proclaiming a year of prosperity. Maybe it will be, and it’s certainly my hope for that to be the case. But I believe it will crash suddenly, greater than anything we’ve seen in my lifetime. The “greatest generation” is passing away, and our current culture in America is callous to the truth. Lies are not only common place; they are expected. More than ever, America and Europe have slipped into post-Christian societies, revering the power of man and respecting all things spiritual, excepting the One True God.

Yet there is hope and there is a remnant, a people both saddened by the state of the world and fearful that they will become like it. There is a God, Who remains in control, Sovereign over all things and continuing to work everything together for good. He hears the cries of His people and continues to provide for and protect them, strengthening and preparing them for times of great tribulation with an eye on the eternal. 

If I am wrong about 2015, which I certainly pray I am, then may I encourage everyone reading this to use whatever prosperity He gives you to the advancement of His Kingdom. But if I’m right, be encouraged that God is still in control and will use whatever pruning is needed to draw His people into greater intimacy and make them more fruitful. In either case, our job is to be faithful in both times of triumph and trial. That faithfulness begins with having a plan to draw close to God, which includes continual studying of the Bible. If you make only one resolution, then choose the one that offers eternal value, and set your feet upon the One Who is Eternally Consistent. 

Also, if you have found it difficult to find solid and balanced teaching material, I want to encourage you with a resource I’ve come to trust: http://livingontheedge.org/.  You’ll find podcasts as well as many free resources for both personal and communal growth.

Peace, grace, blessings and strength to us all in 2015!

copyright ©2014 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Invitation

An extremely wealthy man of great esteem was throwing the most spectacular party this world has ever seen. He sent invitations to all of his friends, noting that the invitation card would need to be presented at the entry gate to his estate. A man showed up to this extravaganza without the invitation and was turned away. Indignant, he hurled obscenities at the servants and asked that they pass on his sentiments to the wealthy man for having such stringent rules. However, those that presented the invitation were allowed entrance and praised the wealthy man’s generosity.

Did the man turned away at the gate have a right to enter the estate or was it within the wealthy man’s right to accept only those who presented his invitation? Of course, the wealthy man had no obligation to provide open access to just anyone and everyone. So why was the indignant man so embittered? Apparently, he felt entitled to be at the party despite the fact that he disrespected the wealthy man’s terms for entrance. The entitlement mentality reflects an over-estimated opinion of self; it’s prideful. 

Many people feel the same sort of indignation at another exclusive invitation. John 14:6 is one of the most hated, controversial verses in Scripture. It says, in essence, that no one has access to God the Father except through Jesus. Many people decry the exclusivity of this condition and challenge why Jesus is necessary? They claim that a devout Hindu, Muslim or fill-in-the-blank-religious-person should have equal access. They claim it’s arrogant to think that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
But the invitation of Jesus is both freely given and undeserved. No one can earn it. A “devout” Christian, Muslim, or any-religion is simply not good enough to entitle anyone access to an all-perfect God. It’s prideful to think that by following some set of rules we can become “good enough” to earn our way to heaven. Because despite all our striving to be “good”, we still fail. And that is not just failing at God’s perfect standards, we fail at the rules that we set for ourselves. How many have started life with an intent to be sexually pure, always truthful, anger-free, loving towards others, without greed, etc.? And how many have lived up to it? And because we can’t live with the dichotomy between our behavior and our moral standards, the standards are redefined to be more attainable, yet ever elusive: We fail to remain sexually pure, so we redefine sexual purity to actions performed with a loving intent… or that don’t hurt anyone else… or that we didn’t “think” would hurt others. Finally, we start justifying that maybe if I do more good than bad, it will be “good enough”.

The reality is that the invitation of Jesus is open to everyone that is willing to just accept God alone is God and that they are in need of a savior. Why wouldn’t a devout religious-anything welcome this news? No more striving; just gratefully accepting. To say that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life is a gracious invitation to anyone and everyone who is willing to present themselves with this Invitation as their right to enter heaven’s gates. 
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:11-13)
Why would anyone turn down this exclusive invitation except out of pride? The Invitation challenges everyone who has strived to reach perfection on their own… to acknowledge their pride and their need for a Savior. The Invitation only excludes the ones who think themselves above the need for a Savior. He is the Way… we need to just walk with Him. He is the Truth… we need to live in truth and not denial. He is the Life… the only life is through this free gift of God’s Love demonstrated powerfully in the life and resurrection  of Jesus. The Invitation is for all to join in relationship with God the Father through Jesus. 

My only access through heaven's gate is this Invitation, stripped of any pretense of entitlement. Have you received your Invitation yet?

copyright ©2014 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Values - Priorities in Relationships

Thinking about the Kingdom values we are called to represent, I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing is more important than relationship. God wants a relationship with each of us, desiring a close, on-going walk with us. Only He can fill me to overflowing with His Love (24x7x365!) while at the same time filling countless others... never taking His eyes off each of us... showing the same intense passion for all His children. It’s His desire for each of us to reflect that same love to others, especially other believers (John 15:12), but to non-believers as well… don’t forget the great commission to make disciples and preach the Good News of His love and salvation to all peoples, tribes and nations!

This world has so many needs, and while we’re each called to minister to the needs of others, no one can do everything. It’s true: I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me (Phil 4:13), and I can learn to be all things to all people (1 Cor 9:22), but we can only understand this concept in the humility of who we are. There is only one God. Only One Being is the All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Fully-Good, Eternally-Sovereign Lord of the Universe. We are finite; He is infinite. So in the enormity of need, we can easily feel overwhelmed, and in that sense of insufficiency become paralyzed, potentially becoming numb to the great need of others in an attempt at emotional self-preservation. 

There’s a secular myth that adds to this burden; it inappropriately elevates the collective power of man to eradicate the pain and suffering of others, but the reality is that only God is Savior. So we need to remember that both individually and collectively, the Body can’t do everything to meet the needs of others. Sometimes we are privileged to be used by Him, but He is still perfectly capable of working directly to meet the needs of others or to shore up any imperfect action on our part. Through God’s inspiration and strength, we truly can do anything that He’s called us to do. We can be anything needed to accomplish the purpose He’s given us in this present moment. The outcome is in God’s hands, but the responsibility to play our part in the solution cannot be delegated. 

Each of us, every Child of God (CoG), is like a cogwheel in God’s design and every little turn we make in His direction creates a change in the world that reflects His Kingdom. Every CoG is part of God’s design and is important in His purposes, playing a valuable role, but every CoG can still be replaced. (John 15:5-6, Romans 11:10-24) The disciple is called to act no matter how small or how large the objective seems to be. The reality is that it’s not about us accomplishing anything (that’s God’s part), we are simply called to be faithful in our part. Putting it another way: It's not about building a kingdom... it's about living in it!

Living in the Kingdom means we are obedient to the order of that Kingdom and its two, all-encompassing laws to love God and to love others. There is a priority in relationships. The first commandment is to love God. The second is to love others. And like a cog, we impact the pieces that are closest to us. Our healthy interactions empower those around us, while our misaligned activities can damage the cogs nearest to us. 

I’ve written before about the Undifferentiated Church and hinted to the values that I believe should be part of every church. The values of church need to reflect Christ’s message. They are used as a plumb-line for the activities that support the mission, keeping us on track. These common values are:

  1. Abiding in Christ
  2. Setting priorities in relationships 
  3. Living in the wisdom of Scripture
  4. Expanding the Kingdom
  5. Pursuing healthy lifestyles

The two driving values (#1 and #2 above) are what our spiritual walk is all about. The remaining, supporting values maintain a healthy, growing and sustainable community.

I have found it difficult these past several months to find the time to blog, but with God’s help I intend to explain and expand on these core values. Please pray for me that I find the time and words to convey this message and that it reach others who can make an impact on church cultures. Feedback is always welcome!

copyright ©2014 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dirge of the Beloved


I’ll not rejoice when Ishobeth’s beheaded
     I will mourn his great loss and his betrayal
Though his father pursued and tormented me
     I will remember his brother as my friend
Though his hand held claim to my inheritance
     His sister was my first beautiful betrothed
His scepter is my burden not my birthright
     And his family I will shelter and protect
I’ll mourn the loss of Ishobeth my brother
     And portray the heart of God as I protect
I will not rejoice when Ishobeth is dead

copyright ©2014 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Making a Happy Marriage

As I’m typing this, I am privileged to be celebrating over 20 years with my bride, and I’m fortunate to have a very happy marriage. I know there are so many things that go into a happy marriage, and I know that it takes both God’s grace and our willingness to cooperate with Him that ultimately creates and sustains a happy union. Life is sometimes hard, and when marriage gets difficult it’s easy to think there’s only one of two options available: 1) suffer through it or 2) get out of the marriage and have a chance at happiness. But there’s a third choice, and I believe it’s the best choice: Join God in making a happy marriage. By the way, to all the young, unmarried people out there, don’t think this message doesn’t apply to you. The habits and attitudes that you develop now will go into your marriage, so much more than you realize! 

So flash back over twenty years and relive a scene with me: a much younger, thinner, and more arrogant version of me late one night in Washington DC talking to a stunning blonde about the nature of love. In the course of that conversation, I was surprised to hear this beautiful lady say that even though love is an emotion, she believes it is more of a decision or commitment. I knew at that moment that she was the woman for me. Shortly afterwards, I asked her father for his blessing and subsequently proposed. We have remained committed to each other since that time, and with God’s help will forever be happy in our mutual dedication. 

I emphasize “with God’s help”, because I know it takes more than just our will power. Our will is fickle and often just not enough. We are, each of us, capable of doing the most wicked things, and our culture encourages selfish pleasure-seeking that leads down the wrong path. I was saddened to read about a billboard that encouraged marital infidelity. 


Compare this to Proverbs 7: 
With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.
All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.
Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say.
Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths.
Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng.
Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.
Proverbs 7:21-27
God’s Word is very serious about marriage. Sadly, I heard a statistic on the radio the other day that over 50% of Christian marriages end in divorce, and that caused to me to wonder how many are staying miserable in marriage. We need to fight for happy marriages… not perfect marriages, but ones filled with love and joy. As a consultant, I’ve worked with many different organizations, and I point out the very hard-to-implement fact that healthy businesses, just like healthy people, acknowledge the issues, discuss the issues and work to resolve the highest priority issues. Every person, every marriage and every organization has issues, but the only way to get healthy is to address the issues in an appropriate, collaborative manner.

Imagine if you will a very over-weight person. It can be a man or a woman… it really doesn’t matter. Now imagine this person really wanting to lose weight, even praying desperately to be thin, but there’s no change in lifestyle. Imagine this person eating unhealthy foods and avoiding physical activity while crying out to God to be thin.  Is God ignoring this person’s cry for help? No, but if this person really desires to be thinner, they will take active steps to get there. I’m not saying that God couldn’t make the person thinner and I certainly don’t believe the unbiblical saying that “God helps those who help themselves”. But the reality is that we are called to join Him in the work He’s doing, whether that work happens to be in us, through us, or despite us. 

It’s the same principal in a happy, healthy marriage. God has a “Happy / Healthy” plan for EVERY marriage, but it’s up to us to join Him in that work. Like losing weight, we may say we want a certain outcome, but once it requires effort and sacrifice on our part. We may be tempted to shy away from the task, which is both selfish and foolish. Selfish, because it fails to consider all the people that are impacted by the decision: spouse, children, family and friends. Foolish, because the same (or similar) issues tend to pop up in the next relationship, and rather than learning how to work through the issues together, passing that wisdom to others so they can benefit, we repeat cycles of frustration and wounding.

Ultimately, a happy marriage flows from a decision to “give” rather than the desire to “get”.  Love is about “giving”, while lust is all about “getting”. Ephesians 5 talks about husbands loving their wives and wives respecting their husbands, but I wonder if our modern English loses some of the intent. I believe that husbands are called to “cherish” their wives; likewise, wives need to “admire” their husbands. Deep down, I believe every woman has legitimate need to feel cherished, and every man has the good desire in his heart to feel admired. A healthy marriage has two people committed to giving so that these legitimate needs can be met. But if even only one person is committed to loving / giving, that may be enough to evoke a response in the other person. I can also say from experience that it’s precisely in those moments when we feel as if the other person doesn’t share our commitment that we need to trust that God is committed to our happy union, and we need to join Him in prayer and action to make that a reality.

I can honestly say I have a beautiful wife, more beautiful today than on that wonderful night in Washington DC. We are both stronger now than when we were younger. We have a lot of miles that we’ve traveled together, and I’m looking forward to the road ahead with her. We still have issues, but with God’s help, we will work through them and be a stronger couple because of them. With God’s help, we will continue to fight the good fight.

copyright ©2014 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Real Men

As a follow-up to “The Missing Fathers”, I’ve collected some tidbits of conventional wisdom about what it is to be a man and thought I’d compare them with what I’ve come to believe. Like Descartes in his Meditations, I tend to doubt everything, building upon the truth that I do know. I also have a general rule that I follow: when conventional wisdom doesn’t match what I see in the Bible, I throw out conventional wisdom. I’ve found the Bible to be true and reliable. Yes, there are paradoxes in Scripture, apparent inconsistencies that challenge us to pray for greater understanding, but I’ve found that God is faithful to grant wisdom and insight when we turn to Him for it. (Proverbs 2:25, James 1:5, Colossians 1:8-10)
 “Real men don’t cry.” – Conventional Wisdom 
“Jesus wept.” – John 11:35 (NIV)
It’s okay to cry in sympathy with others. It’s okay to cry tears of joy. It’s okay to cry, especially to cry out to God. It’s good to feel and to understand what’s behind our feelings, and it’s good to know that our God feels, that He feels our pain and understands it better than we do. God is both rational and emotional… and so much more than we can ever understand. Scripture has many references to God’s feelings, and if He can feel, and if man is made in His image, then man was made to feel. Feelings are like indicators on the dashboard of a car, telling us when things are going well or when there may be an issue, but unlike God’s feelings, ours can sometimes be faulty and in need of repair. Awareness of our feelings and understanding what is behind them is one of the first steps to real healing, and real men have the courage to seek healing.
“Real men are powerful.” – Conventional Wisdom
“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.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
Now I won’t argue that a particular woman may be stronger than the average man, but males are generally stronger than females. Strength is a characteristic of men -- we were made to be physically strong, using that strength to protect and provide for our families and communities. But real strength is not simply physical; it’s mental, emotional and spiritual. I believe that one of the greatest strengths is knowledge and a humble assessment of our limitations. In that humility we see and understand that all strength, power and wealth flow from God. (See Deuteronomy 8:16-18 and 1 Chronicles 29:12) Nehemiah understood this and prayed for the Lord to strengthen him for the task ahead. (Nehemiah 6:9) Paul understood that his own limitations provided proof of God’s power to work through him. Real men acknowledge their limitations, but they refuse to let their constraints limit them. Instead, they allow God to work through them, despite their imperfections. 
“Men can’t help themselves when it comes to pretty women.” – Conventional Wisdom
 “It’s okay to look at the menu so long as you don’t take a bite.” – Conventional Wisdom
 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:28 (NIV)
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” – Ephesians 5:3
This is perhaps the easiest lie to believe from Conventional Wisdom. It’s easy because our society has placed such low expectations on men, and it’s so easy to just give into something that takes the responsibility off of your shoulders. But Jesus’ definition of adultery doesn’t leave us with such a low expectation, and Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians is a standard that every Christian man needs to take up on his own as a personal commitment to his God, his family, his community, and himself. The reality is that boys refuse to take responsibility while a real man picks up the burden. Boys, even grown-up boys, will come up with an excuse; men will refuse to excuse a failing and strive to do better. Eventually, if we keep fighting for sexual purity, we start to see some victories. They are hard fought, and I can say from personal experience that I was surprised when I first started to see some success this this area. There’s a good book on this topic that I’d recommend for anyone willing to become a man. It’s called “Every Man’s Battle”. Real men refuse to stop fighting for what is good. 
“Real men are self-sufficient” – Conventional Wisdom
 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:5
The original sin: to be like God. It was the sin of Lucifer and the continual pull at a man’s sinful pride: the claim of self-sufficiency. But we are such limited creatures. We feel and we think with imperfect understanding. No matter how intelligent, regardless how powerful, we have limits. One of the greatest of these limitations is our own conflicting set of desires. Holiness, purity and righteousness vs. pleasure, convenience and reward -- which shall win out in the moment? No matter how much will power a person has, they cannot win against themselves. As Paul expressed it: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15) The lifelong battle to become a real man is done one step at a time, and it’s not possible to do it in your own power. It’s only possible to do in the power of Christ working in you. 

Now, what exactly is “Christ’s power working in you”? Aside from a cliché in Christian circles and something that makes absolutely no sense to the non-Christian, I spent years trying to figure this one out. But it’s actually pretty simple; it’s just two things: trust and obey. Trust that when God tells you to do something that He knows better than you and has your best interest at heart, no matter how stupid or silly or foolish it feels like at the time. And then obey. He’s God and you’re not.

If God says: “Spend some time with Me instead of watching that TV show”, we should do just that. If He says: “Don’t take your smart phone into the bathroom” then leave it outside every time. If He says: “Flip that magazine upside down” or even “Tear the cover off of that magazine and throw it away” then don’t delay or argue the point with God (how dumb is that anyway?), and obey. There will be a reward in that obedience. If you aren’t sure that it’s really God leading you, then take a leap of faith; He will not slam you for Him incorrectly and you will find a reward in that risk. Real men recognize their dependence upon God and thank Him for His goodness. 

To all the real men out there: “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1Timonthy 6:12)

copyright ©2014 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Missing Fathers

I took a day to be alone with God, a “personal retreat day”. It was long overdue, and I was looking forward to just spend time with God. My life has been very busy the past several months, and the idea of just spending time with Him gave me a feeling of both expectation and apprehension. I’m writing this at the end of that day, trying to stay focused on just one thing He showed me.

I’ll try to keep this all rated-PG in nature, but I guarantee it is not G-rated material. Stop reading now if you are easily offended or wish to shield your eyes from some ugly truths.

At one point in the day, I drove by a store specializing in adult materials. I could add that this chain of stores is heavily tied to witchcraft (although that is not advertised) and that it sits as a snare, the temporary pleasures of this world appealing to the lustful desires of men and the controlling urges of women. I was stopped at a traffic light on my way to an inexpensive restaurant about a mile away, and my eyes were drawn to 3 people outside the adult store: a woman and two men. The woman appeared to be urging the men to follow her into the store; the men lingered outside for about a minute before entering after her. The light turned green, and I drove on towards dinner.

About half-way through my meal, the threesome walked into the restaurant. Same clothes… same hair… but they were decidedly younger than I had thought when viewing them from a distance. No younger than mid-teens and no older than mid-twenties, this trio pulled at my attention, captured my thoughts and led me to pray. I’d occasionally glanced at them as I finished my meal. The girl was short, slender and pretty. The boys appeared awkward and unsure, being led by their female friend with each step; I was reminded of the Proverbs 7.

As I looked at the threesome, I was struck with a sad thought, a picture of the lives they were choosing and wondering if they had fathers that were actively involved in their lives. Fathers… not just sperm-donors who hang around for a while; not just ATMs and ugly lounge chair decorations; men who take an active interest in raising their children into the men and women God created them to be. We all fall short of the awesome calling of perfect parenthood, and I don’t mean to be critical of a person or cultural demographic. However, the sad truth is that our society has been lacking real fathers for so long that we don’t really know what that looks like anymore.

Real fathers teach their daughters to set high expectations for the boyfriends and future spouse. They rebuke, correct and train their children to become forward-thinking and responsible adults. They lead their sons, modeling manhood even as they are still trying to figure it out themselves.

There are so many myths about manhood out there: a real man is physically strong, doesn’t cry, is a reckless risk-taker, and is helpless to his own sexual desires. The most effective lies reflect an element of truth, and so it’s easy to buy into them. But what is man really like and where can a culture that is so short on real fathers look for answers about manhood?

So, I’m sorry to leave you with a cliff-hanger question, and I do have some ideas, but that will have to wait for future post.

copyright ©2014 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome to 2014

After some time away, I thought I'd write just to say: "Hi, I'm back." I've been busy just keeping up with life. Nothing bad; just busy.

I've also created a Twitter account, having held back on that for so long. If you have been encouraged or positively impacted by this blog site, please send me a "tweet" and let me know.

@Mitchell_Malloy


Now, I don't want to sound like a pessimist, but I'm not very optimistic about 2014. I think it's going to be a tough year. I believe I'm not the only one who's been overly busy the past several months. The world is busier than it's ever been without a corresponding increase in "value". Sure, we have a lot of new tech gadgets and more entertainment options than ever before, but Big Brother has started prying into the details of our lives. Any IT professional will tell you that collecting the information is just the first step. It's a scary time for Americans... but we're all too busy with work and entertaining ourselves to take real notice.

Perhaps it's a sense of hopelessness: "What can we do about it anyway?". Or maybe it's hard to prioritize: "Which cause should I support?". Or possibly it's mistrust. There's so much information available, but it's difficult to discern what is legitimate and what is hype.

I offer a simple test that tends to work over time: Listen to what is said and watch to see if subsequent actions match the message. Look back at historical information where it's available and apply the same test retrospectively. 

I was once accused by someone as "unforgiving" because I didn't choose to trust that person. I had observed that they were not trustworthy in certain areas, and I informed that person that I forgave them but did not trust them.

Trust and love are similar in that both are a choice. I can choose to love a person unconditionally despite the hurts from the past. But trust is different from love in that we wisely put up boundaries for untrustworthy people to earn back trust; it's not unconditional. I can love someone unconditionally while at the same time facilitating a safe environment to the rebuild the relationship. In other words, unconditional love (deciding to give what is in the best interest of another) does not mean you give in to all the desires of the other person. 

"Forgive" does not mean "forget". It means we choose not to hold them accountable for injustice against us and that we work to rebuild the relationship. A healthy rebuilding of the relationship takes deliberate effort. It requires mutually identifying issues, open discussion about the issues, and active resolution of the issues. It's hard and it takes effort on both sides. If both parties aren't ready for that kind of effort, then the timing is probably not right. And while it may never be the right time, a forgiving person positions their attitude to remain ready. 

So welcome to 2014. May it be a year where each of us makes healthy choices, especially with respect to the issues in our lives, our relationships, and our culture. That would make it a truly great year.

copyright ©2014 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)