Saturday, May 17, 2008

Forgiving, Even When You Don't Wanna

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you" -Lewis B Smedes

I typically don't like to talk about serious topics, but this one just won't leave me alone so here goes. My sister is going through a particularly hard time with her extended family and the traded barbs have reached a new crescendo. I don't know all of the details about how it started or why, just that my sister is disappointed and I am heartbroken for her. It pisses me off too! As the oldest child, it is my knee jerk reaction to defend my family and wield my sabre with extreme prejudice.

As a close knit family, we expect to occasionally fight like cats and dogs between us, but when the attacks come from outside of our sacred circle they take on a very different element of seriousness. As my mom has said "It's like throwing rotten tomatos into an armed camp"

So I find myself caught between my base emotions of wanting to tear someone a new one versus taking a more Christlike approach to the situation. I was at a meeting once with a woman who was experiencing similar emotions. What she shared changed my life. "I decided that I needed to see this person through Heavenly Fathers eyes, and not my own. It made me change the way I felt about him." Her comment was powerful and life changing for me. It made me wonder, 'How DOES God feel about my enemies? Surely he can't love THEM the way he love ME... but He does... maybe even more... well that sucks!

The scripture of "judge not lest yet be judged" Matt 7:1 rings in my head all of the time. When I stand before my Maker and watch every detail of my life unfold I hope, hope, HOPE that Mercy kicks in. I'm going to need it, A LOT of it because honestly, it's going to be my only chance to get in. In my mind I would like to believe that I have done more good than bad but the horrible truth is that there is some nastiness in what I have done in this old life and I'd just as soon not think about it and just pretend I am oblivious to it What are you talking about grass up the nose? Someone stuck grass up Logans nose as part of Chineese torture? What the hell-Me? Seriously.....Ohh yeah, I kinda remember that... I believe parts of that can be whitewashed but only so far as I am willing to forgive others.

So for the past five years or so I have tried to be less judgemental and more understanding of other peoples shortcomings. It's hard for me, but when I remember to look at an offending person through Heavenly Fathers eyes it help me to soften, to forgive to "let go and let God." It helps me stay at peace with myself. So, if I have offended any of you, I am deeply sorry. I'm trying not to be THAT person anymore.

I have found that all of you are delightful when I choose to focus on your goodness, on your love and how you daily enrich my life. I am SOOO blessed! I have lived a life of abundance, of pleasure and adventure. More is on its way. So God bless each and every one of you. In my opinion I don't think we will ever be able to fathom in this lifetime the love that the Almighty has for each and every one of us (ohh and Dick Cheney too!) Sorry, I couldn't resist. I told you I had a hard time talking about serious topics. Please forgive me...


Ali said...

I believe in your words 100%, but they are SO hard to follow. Especially when someone has offended me and continues to go out of their way to hurt and offend me. It's easy to forgive one person once for something that they did, but it's so hard to have to wake up every morning and face the offense and have to forgive every day all over again. That's what I fight with every single day.

But I think that everyone could use a little "Christ Vision" in their lives. That is the true definition of Charity: not just Love, but loving as CHRIST loves: Pure, untainted by outside forces and unskewed by our own pride and selfish feelings.

Anyway, I loved the "total recall" moment where you remembered shoving grass up Logan's nose. I would hate to have total recall of all the things I have done.

Alyse Patrice said...

You have always been an example to me! I sure do love you for it too!

Katrina said...

Um, you shoved grass up MY nose as well . . .

"And lead me not into temptation . . ." I find that part of the Lord's prayer is a tangent to this topic.

Whereas Christ, who could look in your eyes, and read you past,present and future, is able to love all mankind equally well, I personally lack that specific ability; - to understand how it is that some people got to be so twisted, bitter, and cankered. So, instead of engaging the enemy, it seems best to just take the higher road - or whichever road leads away from dealing with twisted, bitter, and cranky beings.

But if someone keeps getting on my nerves, I find that the best way to love someone awful is to flat out walk away. Many times, Jesus answered the mobs with silence. I'm sure he was keeping his cool around a bunch of fumbling idiots.

And so I try and do the same. Keep my distance, and when forced to make contact with a witless wonder, maintain my silence as they make utter fools of themselves - however sorely tempted I am to point it out to them. "It's like going into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent," - as they say.

Nielsen's are awesome, I have to say. Loyalty and devotion, safety,and a love that runs deep. It's like a country song. :D Sure love you bro. Jesus does too. GO Jesus! Let's go tail gate at the temple again sometime!

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