Tuesday, April 2, 2013
I've read so much about forgiveness. I know all the ins and outs of it. I love Corrie ten Boom's account of when she came face to face with one of the meanest prison guards from her time in the concentration camp - he asked for her forgiveness and she felt she just couldn't give it. But she knew it was important - she knew how Jesus had forgiven her, so she prayed, "I can physically stretch out my hand, God, but You will have to give me the forgiveness. I can will myself to make the beginning." And God did. She felt the forgiveness and love flow through her into the hand of the guard who had so cruelly treated so many. But when Colin and I had issues with our landlord at work, we really struggled with forgiveness. We really felt we were being taken advantage of and mistreated. We had every right to be angry and demand our rights. And yet, here he was telling us he thought WE were being unfair! Ridiculous! The lazy, good-for-nothing.... We struggled most of the morning. We had come to a comprimise with him and now we felt it was necessary for us to forgive him and remove these feelings of anger and discord that were filling our work-place. He wasn't there -we had only to contend with our own feelings and anger - yet we couldn't do it. No matter how we tried to smooth things in our own minds, we couldn't help but feel frustration at being "taken." It was mid-afternoon when I felt God whisper, "Make it physical. DO something to prove to yourself that you forgive him." I suggested to Colin that we phone him and forgive the entire amount of money in question - not just comprimise. Colin looked shocked. He had had the same thought, but worried I would berate him for being weak if he suggested it. (...oops, do I do that?) That was our confirmation. Colin wasted no time phoning our difficult landlord to inform him of our decision. He was truly appreciative and we were instantly able to see him as a fellow-human being, in need of kindness - instead of a greedy landlord, out to get us. I know it doesn't always work out this way, but it seemed like that night and the next were busier than usual - easily making up the money we forgave. I want to record this incident because I feel as though God has been teaching me lately about the importance of making things tangible. Loving and forgiving someone in your heart is alright, but turning that into a physical thing gives it reality. I want to remember this - to practice it so I won't forget.