Last time we took a look about what we can do to forgive without the accompanying hurt and anger. I also spilled about that wonderful ex bloke of mine. and how he got promises of being stewed in an upset lady’s fire of fury!
Forgiveness is about remembering differently
Can you remember any act of kindness?
Here’s a beautiful story I heard at that mid week service….There was a Servant that had served a king for 10 good years. The king had some very savage dogs. If anyone was thrown in the dog den, the dogs would tear the person apart, killing them. One day the servant made a mistake. The king decided to punish him by throwing him to the dogs. The servant asked the king for a 10 day reprieve. The king agreed reluctantly.
The Condemned Servant went to the servant who takes care of the dogs and asked if he could give a hand with the dogs for the next 10 days. The other servant considered it odd, but agreed. Why not, he thought. After all, he could put his feet up and enjoy the time while the condemned servant counted off his last days on the calendar.
The next 10 days, the condemned servant washed the dogs, groomed them and fed them. Finally, the day of execution arrived. The condemned servant was brought before the king. The king issued the command to have the servant thrown to his dogs. The dogs however instead of tearing the servant apart like they were competent of, licked him and jumped all over him with glee. Bewildered, the king angrily asked what had happened. This was the servant’s reply:
I served you for 10 years and one mistake was enough to cost my life. I looked after the dogs for only 10 days and they remembered my care. Therefore they could not tear me bone to bone. They were not quick to forget my kindness.
Can you think of something that the person did for you in the past that can overrule their act? We all make mistakes. True that?
Remember with compassion
When you remember with compassion, Forgiveness becomes a whole lot easier. See it that if they knew better, they would not have done what they did.
I got an email once from someone apologizing for something or things he had done when we were teenagers. He blamed it all on his youth. What could I have done? What did I do? Even if youth was to blame, the truth was that if had been more gracious or knew better, he would never have done what he did in the first place.
And it was gracious for him to write me (he found me on Facebook), after donkey years. The point was I had not given him or his deeds a second thought in many years, but as he said, it was something that had made him feel remorseful or guilty about. Words to that effect, anyway. He wanted to be free and move on (freely) with his life.
If we can see that sometimes the people that have wronged us are not necessarily enjoying the La vida whenever your name crosses their minds, we will be able to remember the pain with less hurt.
Remember with hope
Lewis Smedes said “We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” Forgiving does not mean we go back in time and erase what happened. But it means that if we gain back control of our lives, we have a hope for tomorrow. It even means we can rewrite the past because of what we have chosen to remember or how we have chosen to remember it.
That is not to say we build a fantasy story. But that where ‘the holes’, i.e. the bits we have deleted, appear in our past, we choose not to meditate on. If we hand over our future to the cogs of remembrance of suffered wrongs, the wheel only just keeps turning, and even gathers speed!
Remember there could be a why
And following on from above, we have the story of Jesus’ Crucifixion, say. But we don’t have a line by line documentary of everything that happened, do we? What has been chosen to be written, is enough to give us hope because it helps us to see the glorious future of why it all happened.
Forgiving and Forgetting – the final stage
In truth, I personally believe that forgiveness is a process. There are usually stages to forgiveness.
And the number one main stage which is forgiving and remembering, has to be passed before we can even consider forgiving and forgetting. We need to be able to remember the wrong without the accompanying pain. When that happens, we have started to forgive. It means that the wrong has no power over us any longer. And how liberating is that!
That is not to say we cannot go to the forgetting stage. When we ask God to forgive us, He says He remembers what we did no more. That is where we need to get to as Christians. We need to use our minds to stop thinking on the suffered wrong and to think good thoughts, even purposely at times.
Else with remembering the wrongs even though it has no power, there is a temptation to hold a grudge, and even worse not realize it! That is because the mind has imagination. The mind can conceive and begin to look at things differently.
I got to say this, lastly. Forgiving is not about excusing the inexcusable or getting away with murder. We will look at what forgiveness is not another time.
And now, back to my ex bloke at the beginning of this blog
Have I forgotten that he caused me pain and hurt? Not the newsflash headline, i.e. Bloke hurts Zoe! Ha, ha, no. However, I can’t remember the nitty-gritty details. Do I feel hurt, upset, or angry even, of the fact that he dismantled my world at the time? N-O! Certainly not.
If he saw me on the road, I would certainly not expect him to cross the road any longer….Although, I could easily say to him, thanks for doing me a favor, I would have to bite my tongue…cause even that is unnecessary.
In the end, the only way I could release myself from unforgiveness was I prayed for him. Not revenge is mine, I will repay saith the Lord kind of prayers. LOL. No! I prayed that God would bless him.
I tell you you it was the hardest prayer I ever uttered. But I prayed it every day till I meant it. Because in being truly blessed he was less of threat to others in hurting them they way he had hurt me. If I should see him coming up the road now, I would treat him with dignity, and genuinely wish him well.
And if you are reading this, ex bloke, that is what I would do, in the unlikelihood that our paths should ever cross again.
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