Gumby: Flexible and Forgiving

This week the Lord has impressed upon me the need to be flexible and forgiving, all the time. If you are even close to my age you may remember Gumby.  You could twist him up and mold him because he was evidently made of clay, very malleable.

Isn’t that just what God wants us to be in His hands?  In Romans He is referred to as the potter and we as the clay. Open to being shaped in whatever way He sees fit. Gumby was really made of an interesting rubber that did not dry out and harden like clay but had a consistency that could continue to be re-shaped. That is the parallel the Holy Spirit showed me this week. Don’t dry out, stay flexible!

It is very tempting to think others should do what we think is best, to act the way we want them to. When expectations are not met it is so easy to fall into the trap of disappointment or even judgment. When a word is spoken in haste or perhaps simply without a filter, it is easy to take offense. It is interesting that being forgiving and being flexible go hand-in-hand so often.

Because we are all sinful and imperfect we will surely wrong and fail each other repeatedly. So the attitude of forgiveness is vital to keeping us flexible and not rigid in our thinking, our expectations and our view of others. We are commanded to “forgive one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven” us (EPH 4:32).

Galatians 6:5

For every person will have to bear (be equal to understanding and calmly receive) his own [little] load [of oppressive faults].

Being flexibleis being open to the plans and ideas of others, you have to be willing to bend; if not, your relationship may break. If a family member of friend disappoints us and we quickly forgive them, trusting that God sees the big picture and that He is in control, not us, it allows us a freedom and joy that the enemy cannot steal through disappointment or judgment. Now, we can trust God, go with His flow, and make the most of opportunities and relationships. With this new attitude we’re able to make changes in our plans and ideas to accommodate others, fit the situation, and give everyone a break, including ourselves. We will be able to overlook a harsh or un-thoughtful word and go on with a positive outlook in relationship with another.

Colossians 3:1-2

If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and  seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

And set your minds and  keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

If our minds are set on higher things, other’s little foibles or words spoken out of turn, are easily forgiven.

2 Timothy 2:4

No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of [civilian] life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.

I love this scripture. If my attitude when responding to a situation or a word is always to please the Lord then my response and my heart will always be full of flexibility and forgiveness.

When we died with Christ and were raised up with Him we took ourselves right out of the center. No longer are we the key to our own little universe. Our love for others, our forgiveness is to be patterned after the love and forgiveness we have been shown. What greater gift can be given than Grace? We received it so readily and now we have multiple opportunities to “pay it forward”

Our delight becomes not following our own plans and schedules but rather in accommodating ourselves to His plans and others needs before our own.

Becoming flexible means we are accommodating which tends to eliminate pride. It also gives us a new ability to welcome change as opportunities. This is an attitude that leaves our hearts free to be excited to see what the Lord may do even when our plans may be tossed aside. For the sake of others we adapt ourselves to them rather than insisting that they become the adaptors. The results are awesome because relationships are more important than plans.

Proverbs 10:12

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Proverbs 19:11

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Living with forgiveness leaves me free of resentment, free of disappointment and out of arena where the enemy is able to gain a foothold.

What incredible direction Paul gives us in his prayer for the church at Phillipi

Philippians 1:9-10

And this I pray: that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight], So that you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value , and that you may be untainted and pure and unerring and blameless on the day of Christ [not stumbling nor causing others to stumble

The last few years we have been the recipient of a great deal of teaching  on the power of our words, that life and death are in the power of the tongue. An interesting by product of this knowledge is an awareness that others may simply not have been so blessed. Words may be spoken by others who did not realize their power. Consequently we need to have at our fingertips instantaneous forgiveness, rather than a reaction of judgement or resentment. This ability to live not in the flesh but by the spirit, with flexibility and forgiveness, just a bit more “Gumby like” makes us look just  a bit more like Jesus.