Friday, February 25, 2011

Forgiving Enables Receiving


The fact is that the structure of our human bodies and personalities were not created to to bear the burden of unforgiveness. The body, heart, mind, emotions - in part or in whole - will 'crack' under the weight of an abiding spirit of un-forgiving-ness...Peace of heart, mind, soul, and body can only be enjoyed when God's forgiveness is transmitted through us as fully as it has been given to us. Jack Hayford
As a teen, I learned that I could shrink my heart by holding a grudge.

It started when I confided in a friend; told her what I could hardly tell myself.

I noticed that I felt relieved by releasing my secret.

Then it happened. As I stood speaking with the pastor at the back of the church, he asked me about the very thing I had kept from every I stammered low and hurried away from his presence - heart beating fast, tears streaming down, anger welling up and tumbling out faster than I could run.

When I saw her later, I wouldn't speak. She asked what was wrong. I asked her how she could betray my confidence. We stopped being friends.

Forgiveness seemed to me a strange response toward someone who hurt me so. But as I saw her laughing with her I wandered lonely through the halls, the truth slowly unfurled: I could not find joy because I shrank my heart. In my attempt to protect myself from hurt, I locked out the very gift given freely to me - forgiveness.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
How can I not give what has been freely given to me? I know what God has forgiven in my life. I am grateful. My gratitude is shown by imitating Him.

Over time, I have learned to give forgiveness because forgiving is for giving. The lessons came hard; the lessons came steadily. I am grateful for Love that gives and forgives.

I shared this story last year, but wanted to pour it out at the Faith Barista's Jam today.

Do you have a perspective on forgiveness to share?


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