He leaned over and whispered it in my ear during church. The man sitting next to me, the one I had argued with that morning about who-knows-what. It took me a minute to realize what it was he was saying. I had been waiting for the apology, waiting for him to take back words and agree with me. So when he leaned over and whispered,
"Will you accept my forgiveness?"
I thought he had apologized.
For a moment I reveled in the rightness of whatever my argument had been. Reveled in the fact that he had given in to his error and my correctness.
Then I realized what he was saying.
I elbowed him and I laughed silly and knew that we were alright. Will you accept my forgiveness, he says. He knows I can't resist and what was the argument about, anyway?
The slate is quickly cleaned and we try to keep a short account, to ward off bitterness and long bouts of silence. Some things take more than light-hearted jesting, but we do the hard work and love is stronger, more important than being right.
Yesterday we heard about forgiveness from Luke 6. About being forgiven by God with the same measure of forgiveness that we have offered to others.
I've always considered myself to be a forgiving person, mostly because I'm too forgetful to truly hold a grudge. Also because nothing too terrible has ever happened to me.
But sometimes things trigger a memory and, though love keeps no record of wrongs, I sometimes find that I do. That my memory is better than I thought and my forgiveness is less than I imagined it to be.
So when our pastor cupped his hands and said this is your forgiveness to others, and this is God's forgiveness to you, I had to evaluate things. The way I mete out forgiveness to others is the same measure God will use with me.
The Word, it stops me in my tracks sometimes.
There is infinite forgiveness for my blunders, and I want all of it. Do I want to extend it to others? Do I want to bless those who curse me, to pray for them, turn the other cheek?
What about those who just disagree with me or annoy me? What about those whom I don't love as much as I do my husband or children? Is it worth the hard work with them?
Because Christ is in me and when I don't feel like forgiving I am still called to it, me - being forgiven so much. It ought to read like this: forgiven=forgiving.
I realized yesterday that unforgiveness doesn't have to be this glaring obstacle, something so obvious that anyone can see it. It can be just a greasy film across your life. A thin, blurry film that covers the way you respond and think and react.
That kind of unforgiveness needs uprooted.
How do we best keep the list short? Those annoyances and our reactions, aren't they really unforgiveness? What are your thoughts?
There is so much to be thankful for. Here is our list - two weeks' worth since last Monday was full of the blessing of work.
210. warm tea when it's snowing on spring break
211. waking up to frozen, delicate, perfectly formed snowflakes *and there are beautiful pictures of these, on the broken computer* (was that thankful?!)
212. daffodils in a mason jar on the first day of spring
213. little boys hunting for flowers in their rain gear
214. sunshine after the rain
215. finding the perfect pedestal sink at the thrift store
216. the little white tea pot I wanted to buy at Freddies, but didn't? It's at the thrift store, too!
217. coffee with "old" friends
218. a house-ful of good friends for lunch and lively discussion
219. working with Dad...and blistered hands
220. pie with last summer's blackberries
221. driving lessons with daddy
222. some of the most important files on the computer...found!
223. another break from the rain
224. chocolate on my nightstand (thank you, dear!)