Tripped Up

February 26, 2009

Forgiveness is almost a selfish act because of its immense benefits to the one who forgives. Lawana Blackwell

Guess what I’m working on?

You know what it’s like…you think you’re past something…that you’ve let it go…and then BAM! you’re blindsided by an old issue and have to work on your attitude again.

Forgiveness. Grr. It’s a hard one.

Some days it’s my own issues…someone hurts me and I struggle to forgive them. A memory returns or I hear something new and realize I’m not QUITE over it. Even harder for me, though, is when someone wrongs my husband or my kids…I pick it up and carry it around. I hold onto that grudge for a while…until it becomes my issue. That’s what I did today.

Sometimes I wish I could be The Avenger and go make everything right…make those dummies pay for hurting my loved ones. Prove how wrong they are. But in feeling even an iota of those feelings, I am the one with the biggest problem.

Luke 17:3-5 “Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.” The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith.”

Matthew 18:21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

It’s pretty plain, isn’t it. Forgive. Even the disciples knew they needed more faith to handle that one. And seventy times seven? That’s a lot of times!!!

I struggle with getting past it, but more than that, I struggle with knowing what is further required of me. Can’t I just forgive and be done with it? Do I HAVE to be nice TOO? What if I don’t trust them or their motives? Do I HAVE to subject my family to that? What is enough?

I don’t have the answers. Just more questions. All I know to do is make sure I work on my heart…that seems to be a full time job.

Colossians 3:12-14 (The Message) So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

It seems like we feel as if we’re allowed to be angry at someone if they haven’t made things right, if they haven’t apologized, if they haven’t ASKED for forgiveness…but it really is all about the FORGIVING, isn’t it. The hard part.

Even as I write this, I think of more things that I haven’t gotten over. My memory is funny that way, it retains way too many BAD things. For instance, one time Nate did a bunch of work for an artist and didn’t get paid…and didn’t get paid…and never got paid. Being Christians, you try to do the right thing and be kind, but you also want to get paid! He sent a few letters, asking nicely to please pay for the work he’d done. Then a little more urgently, then one with more of a COME ON, why are you seriously NOT paying? tone. They never did pay.

A few years later, a friend of ours heard this same girl singing on the radio and she was singing Nate’s song! She hadn’t asked for permission to sing Nate’s song. We had never gotten a penny for her singing his song. But this was the clincher: The DJ interviewed her afterward and she gave someone else credit for WRITING NATE’S SONG. This is me seeing RED.

See? I thought I was over that, it was years ago! But just writing this post on forgiveness made me think of that and with the way my heart is pounding as I write, I know that, doggone it, I am still carrying that around. It is not even mine to carry. It was Nate’s song, for crying out loud. But here I am, wanting to see that girl and her husband so that when she walked by, I could stick my foot out and trip her. Is that Christ-like? No, I think not.

Are they ever going to apologize? No. It has to be water under the bridge.

Here’s what I’m thinking…and I’m not saying I’m right…but I think God’s probably OK if I’m not best friends with those people. Does He want me to trip her and hope that she gets a scrape on the chin? Probably not.

I do think he understands our dilemna though…why else would he talk so much about forgiveness?

Ephesians 4:30-32 (NIV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Sooo…looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me.

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8 Responses to “Tripped Up”

  1. Bree says:

    This is one of my struggles. Forgive and LET GO. Not so easy. It’s so much easier to hold on and let it fester. But then I’m a much less nicer person.

  2. Marisa says:

    Wow Lady – you write about some hard stuff.
    You know the situation my family has been through with my brother – it’s been 10 years this month. Still can’t believe he’s gone.
    I don’t know that the forgiveness gig is a one time deal – for God yes! But for us. maybe it’s forgiving every time it stares us in the face, or maybe just plain ol’ everyday.
    I too struggle with knowing at what point I’ve forgiven, is it when things are back to the way things used to be (which is absolutely impossible) or is it when I think of them, I grieve and then pray on their behalf, not my own. Right now, I’m banking on the later.
    Yikes it’s hard, and scary trying to do it right.

  3. Girly Muse says:

    …or is it when I think of them, I grieve and then pray on their behalf, not my own.

    that got to me, marisa. i have to believe this is the very core of forgiveness.

    thank you so much for sharing that.

  4. I have this struggle, too. My husband will forgive and forget within five minutes of someone doing something that I think is punishable by death. I don’t know how he does it.

    How about this…YOU forgive that nasty, song-and-credit-stealing-person-who-doesn’t-pay-bills, and I’LL stick my foot out and trip her.

    Problem solved. Right? No, I know. It’s wrong. Darn it! (but fun to fantasize about)

  5. Girly Muse says:

    🙂 laughing LOUDLY over here, michelle.

    it’s a deal. hahahaha

  6. mrsmanley says:

    This too is an ongoing struggle for me. With my husband’s vocation it seems like I am always having to forgive and BE NICE TOO!

    Thank you for this post. It is a timely reminder of how much I need the grace of God working in my life. I am reminded of Paul’s words, “I am chief among sinners”. When I remember this I realize for everyone I am offended by there are that many who are offended by me.

    Thanks for reminding me I am not alone in this war for my soul.

  7. Girly Muse says:

    so true, deanna. and i know what you mean~ when you’re involved in ministry, you have LOTS of opportunities to deal with LOTS of people who need LOTS of forgiveness. 🙂

    it’s neverending, is it. this walk to grace.

  8. Shevek says:

    Alright, let’s drop the act. I’m SORRY I gave Grayley a cookie that night, I didn’t know about the special diet yet. I’ve felt terrible for months, please forgive me?

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