Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Forgiveness and gossip and offense, Oh My!

When I'm struggling with a particular issue or better yet, when I think I am NOT struggling with a particular issue, I find myself confronted with multiple lessons on the issue. Perhaps, my heightened awareness makes me pay closer attention, or perhaps God, knowing that I require multiple examples from many different angles before I can get something, sends in the heavenly troops.

For example, just this past week: I read about forgiveness, kind of dismissed it thinking, "I'm a pretty forgiving person." Immediately I was confronted with a host of past hurts that, guess what, I haven't forgiven--strike one. Next, I read about gossip, and thought, "I don't really say mean things about people." Then I walked in on two people gossiping about me and my youngest child and said HORRIFICALLY unkind things about them--strike two. Finally, I read about offense, and I got scared. Hard as I try not to take things personally, I fall short most of the time. So, I prayed, "Lord, please...I all ready know that is an area where I need work,"--check swing.

The Revelation: Wow. I suuuuccccckkkkk.

It would have been easy to beat myself up for my reactions, agonize over how little progress I have made, and wallow in self-defeating guilt. Fortunately, I realized that the point of the lessons was not to drag me down, but to lift me up. The point was to realize that I can't change the past--not what I did and not what anyone else did. But I can stop that cycle of bitterness and resentment when it gets to me. I can't change what people think or say about me, my kids, or anyone else behind our backs, but I can stop that gossip right here. I can react with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

This is much easier said than done--obv (shoutout to Chloe), but I'm going to keep working at it. And every moment I'm breathing is an opportunity to do so.

As Lysa TerKeurst reminds me: “I was made for more than being stuck in a vicious cycle of defeat. I am not made to be a victim of my poor choices. I was made to be a victorious child of God.” Amen, sisters.



4 comments:

  1. I try not to say anything behind someone's back that I would not say to their face. That way, I have no problem with it being made public. In fact, I generally say pretty much everything to everybody since I really have no filter.

    I think that it's all well and good to try to break the cycle and react with kindness and generosity and imagine a world where we're all sitting around a love circle and, to paraphrase Joe Cabot, "sucking each others' cocks." But I also know that while these are wonderful intentions and the would would be a beautiful place with more oral sex, it's not always possible to simply turn feelings of anger into ones of generosity and kindness.

    I would worry that those feelings would instead be bottled up and stored away for later release at a time and place very often not of the bottler's choosing and often upon someone who is completely innocent of and oblivious to the fury they face. But then, I fantasize regularly about visiting unholy terrors upon people and wearing their heads as hats so my advice may be suspect.

    I think you're doing fine. Sometimes a little rage is completely justified.

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  2. I agree--re: the bottling up, haha. That's why I usually unload it on you or Brad:)

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  3. I also think realizing how often and how much we fail just reminds us of the grace we've received. Unmerited favor, indeed! And being reminded of how undeserving I am can help me remember to offer that grace to others.

    I don't comment often (I should!), but I always enjoy reading your thoughts.

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    1. Thank you, Mel, I appreciate your comments. I absolutely agree. The past few weeks scripture, books, and sermons have all been about forgiveness. I think I struggle equally with forgiving others and with accepting God's abounding grace despite my shortcomings. Thank you sharing your thoughts--I always appreciate and enjoy hearing from you and reading your blogs:)

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