Saturday, November 30, 2013

Filed away

"But she hurt my feelings."  "She owes me."  "He let me down."  We seem to keep an active file of others' imperfections and transgressions against us, organized, alphabetized, and never forgiven.  That file cabinet is too heavy to lift and takes up an awful lot of room in our hearts.

But biggest file of all, the toughest stain, may be my own lack of forgiveness, a nastiness that I just don't want to let go, harboring, and filed away for so long that sometimes even the actual crime has been forgotten, but not the resentment.

But it doesn't have to be that way.  One incident of unforgiveness leads to another.  But one act of grace changes the world in incredible ways.

May we not just sing about peace on earth this year, but leave behind the debts, offenses, scripts of judgment written and re-written, and even those "punishments" envisioned for that imperfect person.  You are not hurting them back, but allowing your own wounds to fester. Instead, let it go. And as my father's 1931 dictionary states, "restore him to an unresentful place in your affections." That is what forgiveness does.

And as Jesus would say, "What debt?"  

Then Peter came up and said to Him,
"Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me,
          and I forgive him?
     As many as seven times?"
Jesus said to him,
"I do not say to you seven times,
but seventy times seven."

                           Matthew 18. 21-22

God is not counting.
Neither should we.

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