Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Forgiveness- The F word

Have you ever been lecturing your kids only to have it dawn on you that you don't take your own advice?

My oldest daughter has a tendency to pick on her brother and sister, as most older sisters do.  She's a bossy-know-it-all. I have no idea where she gets it from. *looks around the room, carefully avoiding the mirror*

When she makes a mistake, her brother and sister are always so gracious.  All they require to set things straight is a simple, "I'm sorry."  But not my oldest?  She hears their "I'm sorry" and raises them an "I told you so."

She's, as they say, is like a dog with a bone.  Will not give it up!  It's exasperating!  So the other day I sit her down and say, "if you expect forgiveness from others, you need to be willing to forgive easily."

And before the words even left my mouth, I felt the sting of conviction as God nudged me in the ribs with his elbow and knocked the wind out of me.  Because, HELLO, I forget that forgiveness is a choice that I have to make every single day and sometimes I think I'm just too busy to forgive everyone all over again and I just don't want to. The "F" word can be a difficult thing to do.

My biggest target for unforgiveness? My husband! Isn't that awful? That the person that I love the most is the person who I struggle to forgive? I'm really bad at seeking revenge, you guys.  Does that make me a vengeful person? I suppose it does although I only plot, I rarely follow through.  It's crazy how I say that as if it makes it any better! 

Last Saturday I woke up and my husband was gone. It was a crazy morning because my daughter had a sleepover and we had birthday parties and shopping and cleaning to do!  He didn't return for four hours.  He didn't leave a message, didn't text, wouldn't answer his phone.  I was so worried! Most of my anger (okay, all of my anger) usually comes from fear.  I was afraid that something had happened to him and his lack of response made me anxious.

When he finally returned and explained that he had taken his mother and another blind woman to a meeting and helped them get settled, I should have been relieved.  He was (almost) blameless.  Instead, I was still angry. I gave him the silent treatment which by the way, is just about the stupidest thing we can do to our men, ladies, because guess what? They like it! That's like him getting mad at you and as punishment, buying you diamonds!
Along with my silent treatment, I plotted revenge! I would go to my meeting later that week and I wouldn't tell him where I was going, who I was with and when I would be back.  I'd give him a taste of his own medicine! I would let him suffer just like I had! What am I? Thirteen?

I fantasized about it.  I imagined he'd be nauseous with worry, checking his phone, texting me frantically.  "Where are you? Are you okay? I love you so much! Come home!"  Ultimately, I didn't go through with it though.  Because it dawned on me that even when I do tell him where I'm going, he forgets so if I did this, I would probably come home and find him not biting his teeth and staring at  the phone but snoring in the recliner with a bowl of chips in his lap!  But also, I didn't do it because it dawned on me that I love him and want to work to BETTER our relationship, not damage it!

So yes, I get it. I need to work on forgiveness. I probably always will!  I need to take my own advice and "be willing to forgive easily if I expect forgiveness."

It's not as if I don't know this.  I work at forgiving every day and I'm getting better but damned if I don't make the same mistake over and over again.  It reminds me of what Paul said to the Romans (Chapter 7 v 15)
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 

I feel ya, Paul! I don't understand why I do it either.  I want to do better but I keep doing exactly the opposite of what I want to do.  I too have the desire to do good but do not carry it out.  I too am wretched.  And "thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

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