Monday, April 11, 2011

finding forgiveness

i think i was born without it. the gene that makes you hold onto anger and resentment. not that i don't get angry because i do. but it never stays. no matter what someone does to me, i can't hold onto being mad. i can't hold onto the pain. i call it my "15 minutes of madness" because that's all it seems to last. i never wake up the next day angry. a little sad maybe, but never angry.

i think it's my dad's fault. when my sister and i were growing up he would tell us we couldn't go to bed mad. he would remind us that the Bible said to "not let the sun go down on your wrath." and so i've never gone to bed angry. ever. sometimes i've joked that "i guess i won't be going to bed tonight" but i've always forgiven before i closed my eyes.

i think it's my mom's fault too. she died when i was six. she was 37 and she died in her sleep. something like that will change you for the rest of your life. i knew then that tomorrow wasn't promised. that there are no guarantees you'll see someone again. and i always think of that when i'm mad. that the very person i'm mad at i may never see again. and i ask myself if it's worth it. if what happened would be worth spending the rest of my life regretting the anger after they were gone. and it never is.

i've told my boys that too. i've tried to teach them to not get so caught up in the little things that they miss the bigger picture. people will make us mad. people will hurt our feelings. people will betray us. but the same it true for us. we will make people mad. we will hurt others. we will betray. we're all human. we all make mistakes. we all need forgiveness. and if we want people to forgive us we should be willing to do the same.

that's why i love The Lord's Prayer. it was the first prayer i ever learned. recently it made me stop in my tracks. it was like i finally heard it for what it was. "and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." the key word is "as".  forgive me my trespasses as i forgive others. dear God, please forgive me my mistakes in the same way i'm willing to forgive others who make mistakes towards me. WOW. seriously? to be bold enough to ask God to use our way of forgiving others as a measuring tool to use in our life? that's some serious stuff.

but forgiveness is serious. and hard. and sometimes we think impossible. but i serve a God of the impossible. somehow when i give Him my worries, when i give Him my concerns, when i give Him my pain, He gives me something better. He gives me peace. i can't explain it. it doesn't make sense. it's not even logical. but it's true. 

i'm only missing the anger gene because i've found the one who made each part of me. and when i'm hurt, i ask Him to help. because He can. and He will. and He does. Jesus, in excruciating pain up on the Cross, asked God to forgive those who had meant Him harm. He's never asked us to do what He hasn't already done. He's forgiven the unforgivable. and He's forgiven me. i find forgiveness in Him. and i pray that i always do.

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