Bear with [make allowances for; be patient with] each other, and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 (EXB)
Our 10 day getaway took me to some destinations not on the travel itinerary. We drove our mapped 5 hours, settled into the sweetest cabin/home in the deep northern woods of Wisconsin, busted out our bulk purchase of deet and started our spoiled time of refreshing, resting, reading and girl Legos. (Tim does more outdoor exploring than Lego Friend’s play)
i long for quiet moments to read. i love libraries, Nooks, Kindles, borrowed and bargain bin books. i wait for these days away to read, read and read. On our second morning i swirled coconut oil + stevia into my cup of fresh coffee and curled up with the black bear\pine tree blanket, i was ready to do some catching up on my reading. i wasn’t many minutes in when my catching up came to a screeching hault.
i don’t know who Scotty Smith is but his words stirred something in my heart that i knew wouldn’t quiet anytime soon.
“Avoiding people who’ve disappointed you is an easy thing; moving towards them and praying for redemption is a Gospel thing.” Scotty Smith
In my 51 years i have ridden a few spin-rounds on the tilt-a whirl of wounding and forgiving. The healing and restoration of my relationship with my dad and my step-father are just two in a very long list of lessons my Lord has taught me about forgiveness. My mom led by example the truth of forgiveness towards our Father. My Dad’s funeral was an amazing picture of what forgiveness looks like. i know the power and value of forgiveness; i have felt the pain and bondage of not forgiving. Yet when i read this quote, i instantly knew there was something critical happening in my heart. i knew there was a whole new world of truth involving forgiveness that i needed.
The challenges and truth kept coming as i continued to seek understanding.
i would say mostly our marriage is free of bitterness and resentment, yet i know there are times i resent Tim’s nap while our always busy and creative 10 year old is draining, draining, draining my energy. There are times i catch myself mentally ranting “i can’t believe Tim always ___________(insert perceived offence),” as i go about my daily duties. i suspect the “always” in my mental ranting is enough for me to be certain there is an issue here.
In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. DIETRICH BONHOEFFER, Letters and Papers from Prison
i am left with more questions than answers as we head back into our routine. Is resenting a nap unforgiveness or am i just selfish and need to “let it go!”? (Sing that with an Elsa voice). i don’t know all the answers; i do know there is a lot i need to “Let Go”, a lot i need to be done chewing on and a lot i need to stop reacting to.
From C.S. Lewis: To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says. C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: Harper Collins, 2001; Originally published 1949),
In the two years since my Father died there has been a significant chain of changes, losses and “moving-ons” that have touched our world. i suspect i have done some “avoiding the people, or disappointments” rather than moving towards those losses in forgiveness. i am not certain i have pursued redemption as my Saviour commands. My heart aches as i ponder this, i don’t want easy, i want the Gospel felt with every breath i draw; i want to live the Gospel, not talk the talk.
A prayer of forgiving contains these words…At times my “easy going” nature thinly veils the serial killer that lives within. Even as I write and offer this prayer, I’m aware of a few relationships that the gospel is targeting today. I’ve created a demilitarized zone—a buffer of peace, but I haven’t forgiven from my heart. Lord Jesus, as I think about how much you love me, I’m convicted about how much I’ve enjoyed holding a few people emotionally hostage by my self-righteous smuggery; and to be honest, I’ve felt justified in doing so. That’s a confession of sin. Help me, Lord, and others like me. Though I’m convicted, I can’t say it will be easy to let go of the pain; it’s served me well, in a twisted sort of way. Have mercy on me, Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. Scotty Smith http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2012/09/07/a-prayer-for-doing-the-hard-and-heart-work-of-forgiveness/
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when my ·fellow believer sins against me, how many times ·must [should] I forgive him? Should I forgive him as many as seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive him not just seven times, but ·seventy times seven times! [or seventy-seven times; the Greek can mean either 490 or 77; the point is unlimited forgiveness] Matthew 18:21-22 EXB
When things get “touchy” with Tim do i shut down just enough to create a demilitarized zone? If i have been offended by our fellowship leadership do i “move on”, creating a buffer of peace, all the while allowing myself to avoid forgiving from my heart? i ponder the possibility that our independent, mobile, unlimited access culture is enabling me to move through life in my safe little pockets of perceived understanding and acceptance while missing out on the true Gospel of bearing with one another. Am i choosing to obey HIS command to forgive seventy times seven? Am i running to easy and comfortable so i may avoid the accountability of Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors?
Ten years ago as i sat in the theater watching The Passion of The Christ for the first time i was challenged with this thought… Until i have given of myself as Christ gave for me, i have given nothing. Until i have suffered as God’s only Son suffered, that i may be forgiven and have new life, i have suffered nothing.
Heavenly Father, i confess my sin of choosing safety and comfort. Show me where i do not follow you into forgiveness and redemption. i choose to forgive because you have given all that i may have life. You have forgiven me immeasurably abundantly. i ask for your direction to know when to forgive and your power to obey.
His word does not suggest i forgive, HE commands i forgive a lot, all day, every day. i want to know and live that obedience, that i may know the freedom and peace that follows.