Well, I've embarked on a new journey that has taken up my blog time. My Bible study --for lack of a better description--has begun again for the fall, and I use my extra time to do my homework instead of blog--except for right now because I am busy writing run on sentences here on my blog.
This semester we are wrestling with forgiveness. Not my strong suit. It's not that I necessarily hold grudges, although I've been known to do that. I have a very long memory. I imagine God's memory could be longer than mine, but I'm told time and again in what I read and what I study that it isn't so. If he can forgive me, why can't I forgive myself? I think of the mammoth amount of pain he could hold on to if he chose to and he doesn't. The heartache we must cause him as fallible human beings is mind boggling, and yet we're created in his image. It certainly makes one pause to rethink what perfection is. Is it really not making mistakes? Is it really always doing the right thing? Is it really never making a misstep? Or is it something bigger than that? Is it more of a state of being than a measurable concept? If your state of being with God is perfect--in that you are his child and you are his beloved and you are his blessed one, the rest of it falls into place?
I've been learning to think about forgiveness in a different way. Forgiveness is free. Forgiveness already exists. You don't create it, you enter into it. It's already there happening all around you, you just put yourself in the middle of it--like standing in a stream or waterfall. You don't have to wait for someone to ask for it, or think they need it. You can offer it to them without ever even telling them.
Then there is forgiving yourself. This is perhaps the greatest hurdle of all. If God forgives us and even forgets what we have done than why can't we? Time is precious and short. We don't have the time to dwell on mistakes and harp on ourselves for not quite measuring up. Forgive yourself, right the wrong if you can, acknowledge it if you can't, and move on.
There is so much more to do in the world than wallowing in one's own self-doubt and lack of perfection. If we didn't put so much pressure on ourselves to measure up to something so unattainable, then maybe we would see our sins for what they are, human. I'm certainly not absolving truly evil acts, nor am I saying we that we shouldn't feel ashamed of our behavior from time to time. Sometimes we do terrible things in anger or out of hate or ignorance or desperation. And there are some acts of evil we can't explain or begin to understand. But I do know this, every single human breath drawn on this earth is drawn by God's child. Every single person. And if his grace and mercy and forgiveness are all around us waiting for us to accept and move on, then it's time to accept and move on.
This is my new favorite quote. Every time I read it, I start to cry--and I've read it many times in the last week. It was written by Charles Williams. I don't have the bibliography information, but I'm not taking credit for the words, they're his, so read on:
"If you want to disobey and refuse the laws that are common to us all, if you want to live in pride and division and anger, you can. But if you will be part of the best of us, and live and laugh and be ashamed with us, then you must be content to be helped. You must give your burden up to someone else, and you must carry someone else's burden. I haven't made the universe and it isn't my fault. But I'm sure that this is a law of the universe, and not to give up your parcel is as much to rebel as not to carry another's. You'll find it quite easy if you let yourself do it."