Friday, June 1, 2007

Pat's Ponderings

I am hoping that this will be a regular, reoccurring feature on my blog in which I write about some of things that I have been thinking about recently.

Today's topic will be Forgiving those who have offended us. I have always thought that the ability to forgive is like a muscle and that we either use it or loose it. And so I have tried to tell myself that it is fortunate when I am offended as it gives me the opportunity to see how big my forgiveness muscle is. However, I do not feel happy while I am in the middle of the chance to forgive others. It is so easy to be bogged down with the feelings of injustice and the pain that comes with conflict with others.

Recently at Women's conference my sister and I walked from the dorms up to the Marriot center in the rain. Neither of us had an umbrella, but we did have coats on. My sister's coat was a waterproof raincoat, while mine was just a denim sort of thing lined with flannel. I noticed that the rain just rolled off her coat, while mine just soaked it up. The result of this was that my coat became quite heavy and wet for the rest of the day. Even though I stayed inside for the remainder of the day, my coat never did completely dry. Quite honestly it was a pain to lug around and made me cold if I ever touched it. My sister's coat on the other hand seemed no worse the wear and did not bother her at all. I wondered if this was a good parable for not being easily offended. We both walked in the same rain, but it was the way the coat dealt with the rain that made the difference. Could it be that two people could be exposed to the same offense, yet one take it in and absorb it while the other let it roll off her shoulders?

In studying my family history, I have read stories of ancestors who let offense be the reason that they left the church and all the blessings that it has to offer. This not only affected their life, but the lives of their children and grandchildren. I wonder if they could go back would they make a different choice? Recently, I felt very offended. I was extremely upset and it disrupted my sleeping, eating, and feelings for several weeks. I finally realized that I needed to forgive this person no matter what. I felt as though my ancestors were sitting next to me telling me not to follow in their footsteps. And so I was able through prayer and time to experience the miracle of forgiveness again. Not the miracle of my being forgiven, but the miracle of me forgiving another I felt had wronged me. And truly it is a miracle when we can forgive and forget.

It is a very simple plan that the Lord has given to us. We must forgive everyone, regardless of the circumstances. I don't need a forgiveness lawyer or accountant to help me figure out all the exclusions and exceptions. It is a very simple law to understand, just not as simple to follow. I know that I still have a long way to go in developing my forgiveness muscles, but hopefully I am on the right path.

1 comment:

amy said...

Great analogy about the two coats!