Forgiveness. Sometimes it’s a pretty heavy word. God calls us to forgive. And, he’s pretty clear about it. In the Lord’s Prayer, we say, “And forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:14-15 goes on to say, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” No doubt about it … God calls us to forgive.
I ran into someone at the grocery store the other day. Someone I thought I would never forgive. We were friends at one time. We laughed and joked and were comfortable with each other. And, then we weren’t. We were co-workers and the environment around us became very unhealthy. We each retreated into our own fear-based behaviors. Me into eating disorder behaviors, and he into anger and withdrawal. Towards the end of our time together, we barely spoke. I felt sad, confused and angry. When I left that place, I swore I would never speak to him again. And, then … there he was, ten feet away saying, “Hi, Nanci!” My first reaction was delight. Then, I remembered, “I’m supposed to hate him!” But, you know … I didn’t want to be angry. All the good feelings about our friendship rose up. We chatted a bit. Talked about old times. Talked about the pain of where we had been and the joy of where we are now. Our lives are different. Better different. As I walked away from that encounter, I realized we all do what we have to do in the moment to survive. His survival relied upon shutting down and not getting involved. What I took to be collusion against me was simply withdrawal from the ugliness of it all. My heart swelled with joy knowing that I would never have to dread seeing him again. I even hoped to see him again. The weight of all that anger fell away.
Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Do it now. Don’t hold that heaviness and pain. I’ve heard many times that holding a resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Resentment and anger only serve to keep us in bondage. Ask God to fill your heart with forgiveness. Practice forgiveness. And then practice some more. Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect. But the more we practice the open we become.
God truly is working in our lives every moment making each day a Wonder-Filled Journey!