How often do we give others the chance to make a new beginning?
Some time ago, my husband had to go on a business trip. He left one evening to fly overnight from Boston to Edinburgh.
I woke early the next day expecting to see a text or email from him when his flight landed.
In the flurry of morning activities, I had little time to be worried. They kept worst-case scenarios at bay, for a while at least.
I scrambled eggs on the stove for my twin boys. Urged their sleepy bodies to leave the comfort of warm beds and get ready for school.
Sleep on an overnight flight would not have been as cozy.
Yet, I kept worrying if my traveler had arrived safely.
The morning was dull and dank, like my mood. Rain turned to snow—the first of the season.
With the change in weather, I made a last minute decision to drive my boys to school, instead of their usual bike ride.
Just before we walked out the door, I called my husband’s cell phone. It rang for a while and then:
“Hi,” said a surprised and familiar voice.
He had arrived after all!
“Oh,” I said, “you’re there!”
Relief flooded over me, but annoyance quickly followed.
I sensed he was not alone. So, although I wanted to yell: “you could have called me,” I resisted.
The boys hovered at the door, waiting for me.
I blurted out a hurried excuse and ended the call, abruptly.
Inside, I fumed.
I had been made to worry unnecessarily.
We choose revenge instead of forgiveness.
To me, there was no excuse for the lack of communication. I wanted to lash out: “fine, you treat me like this then I’ll treat you in the same way and see how you like it?”
I know I had done it in the past.
I should have let the incident pass.
However, I had a hard time listening to common sense and what my soul told me about forgiveness.
Instead, I let past gripes and grievances fill my mind, like mud stirred up at the bottom of a pond—except this grime was from the bottom of my heart.
God got an earful of my complaints.
None of us really want a heart that is angry and hurting. We often think un-forgiveness is the way to protect ourselves from more pain. Yet, it is the opposite.
God freely gives us forgiveness for our wrongdoing, but we forgive unwillingly.
God eradicates our mistakes, but we continue to bear grudges.
We remember what people have done to us, how they have hurt us. It’s only natural. We condemn others because we don’t want to let them off the hook.
The Bible instructs we must forgive because God has forgiven us. We should take these words seriously.
Just as Jesus daily bears our burdens, and intercedes for us continually, so forgiveness must be an every-day event. How better to practice forgiveness than to imitate that which God does?
Forgiveness is a way of life to be practiced and embraced.
No one said forgiving would be easy, even Jesus. Sometimes forgiving seventy times seven can relate to only one injustice!
Forgiveness is never a weakness. It is a display of strength.