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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Forgiveness, Part 2

Why do so many of us find it hard to forgive others when they have wronged us? I don't know about anybody else, but for me it has a lot to do with what it seems to mean. Forgiveness feels like complicity...as if forgiving someone makes me a participant in the wrong they have done to me. Or as if I am saying what was done to me was OK.

Intellectually I know this is not the case. But this is what so often keeps me stuck. When someone has done something horribly wrong to me, I don't want to act as if it didn't matter, as if what they did was OK. And forgiving and moving forward feels like this...like I am negating the severity of the offense.

So again, as I continue to work to be a more forgiving person, I remind myself that I must show the grace that I want shown to me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Forgiveness

I went to the grocery store to get a few last minute things for Thanksgiving. As I left the store, I saw someone who was a year ahead of me in high school. "Ugh", I thought to myself. My mind immediately flashed to my senior year of high school, when I was at the mall with my mother and this person was behind me. She made some very unkind comments about me, purposely loud so that I would hear. I was surprised, because I really didn't even know her so I couldn't understand why she had such disdain for me. So my "ugh" when I saw her was a reaction to something that happened when I was in high school.

I nursed these thoughts for only a moment when a sense of shame came over me. Seriously? Am I going to hold onto something that happened 25 years ago? And what will be gained? This woman probably doesn't even remember me, let alone the incident. And if she did, so what.?

My next thought was a flash of an incident where I was the "mean girl". In a fit of impatience, I made unkind statements about an intern in our office. Unbeknownst to me, she was still on the phone and overheard me. She did a great job defending herself in a very professional manner. I was so embarrassed you could have bought me for a penny. But you know what? This girl not only forgave me, she has been nothing but kind to me. In fact, we are casual friends! But I often think back to my 'meanness' and her graciousness. Her being nice always reminds me of the scripture that talks about being kind to an enemy is like heaping hot coals on their head. That certainly was true for me in this case.

As this year rapidly draws to a close, I am determined to be more forgiving. I have to learn to let go of hurts and wrongs done to me, and give the same grace that I want afforded to me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Lord Is Kind

I have been a member of the church I attend for fourteen years, and for as long as I can remember our pastor would say "the Lord is kind". I always agreed, because he is. However, I am understanding that expression on a deeper level than ever before. For several months I experienced a storm that, quite frankly, was hell. And as difficult as the primary situation was, in the midst of it I kept discovering unpleasant characteristics and personality flaws of my own. So not only was I feeling battered by circumstances out of my control, I was also greeted with ugly little pictures of my character---ouch!

But just when I felt totally overwhelmed by the magnitude of my flaws, I had four different instances of people coming along side me and truly building me up. Every single issue that I discovered about myself that was ugly and painful, someone came along and said something to offset it. Now let me be clear---all the ugly things I discovered about myself were true and needto be addressed. But each positive affirmation helped me to not be fully engulfed in negativity. God loved me enough to show me my faults (Hebrews 12:6 - whom the Lord loves he chastens); and just when He knew I was at the brink of self-loathing, people came along to help me see that my flaws are not the totality of my being. The Lord was kind enough to confront me with my 'sins' so I could grow deeper in my understanding of Him and His grace, His mercy, and my need for Him, and kind enough to provide me comfort and reassurance. I now really understand "The Lord is kind!".