Yesterday I listened to a childhood friend share about forgiveness. It is a something she has been meditating on since last July. It was interesting, because it is something that I have been struggling with as well. Coincidence?
She used the analogy of ribbons. The first, a wreath ribbon that once used would hold the wrinkle. No matter what she did to try to get the ribbon to smooth out, it remained wrinkled. Sometimes I have to admit that I feel like that red ribbon. I have never hid my emotions well. The problem is, that it festers and spreads to everyone I am in contact with and it is nothing I am proud of.
The second example was one that was a little less unforgiving. It wasn’t quite so wrinkled. People looking real close might notice, but to the casual observer, it looked just fine. I think I spend a large majority of my life in this category. The problem is, I still harbor an unforgiving spirit and it isn’t glorifying and I must admit that I am embarrassed by it.
The third was a beautiful blue ribbon that seemed to take any amount of abuse, but remained unwrinkled. It was able to take the affects of the outside world, yet remain undamaged and useful. This is what I strive to be: a person that can take life’s hits, and not bring others down. I want to be a shining example, an encourager, and not be someone who harbors anger, resentment, and frustration.
I am sensitive. My feelings get hurt easily. I spend way too much time talking myself down from the ledge. I could seriously name all the people who have hurt me, or someone I love. Although I don’t think about it all the time I can turn to that chapter in my book at any given moment. We’ve taken some serious hits and life has often been a “dirt sandwich and every day is just another bite”. (Bub McSpadden).
As I creep toward that half century mark, I am reminded that I have done and said things that I have not been very proud of either. It is so much easier to point to someone else, when I really should have been examining myself. Like the red ribbon, I need to focus on what I CAN do, who I CAN influence positively, and what I NEED to do to change. Forgiveness is an action word and I need to actively work on it.
On Friday, on my way home from school, I was thinking about friends, family, and coworkers who have some very real struggles. I prayed for them as I drove and passed by their homes. They all have a story. They have real struggles and life hasn’t been fair at all. In fact, when I think about it too much, it overwhelms me. When I passed one particular place, I hesitated. I breathed deeply, and I pulled the car over. I looked inside the windows and prayed for each and every person inside those doors. It was not easy, I’m not going to lie. But this Christmas season, I am really trying to forgive and to actively pray for those who have not (and probably will never) ask for forgiveness. They wounded us. Some damaged us deeply when they thought they were helping. Some are fellow believers. But we are called to give it UP, move forward, let it go.
Thank you my dear friend for continuing to remind me that forgiveness is an action word. Today I choose to forgive. Tomorrow I will do the same, again and again until it feels natural because God does that for me. Every. Single. Day.