Sunday, August 5, 2012

Messy Floors

Ralph snickered at me when he was unloading our camping car, finding my on hands and knees scrubbing the baseboards and cupboards in the kitchen.  I know he was thinking that after nearly 6 days of camping I couldn't stand the sight of dirt in my home for another minute, and he's right.  But I'm also scrubbing away because I'm working through a realization about myself.

All this time, I maybe was thinking that forgiveness was about the rules.  That I'm supposed to forgive, I should, I will- eventually.

But today I'm thinking that maybe forgiveness isn't about playing by the rules, but how God wants us to forgive so we'll live in freedom.

Going back a little, I've noticed I'm wandering a lot.  Wandering away from the family & friends to do some important thing...wandering my way to a quiet spot with a book, wandering my way to the screen-o' distraction to peruse Pinterest or whatever.  I was wondering about my wanderings, asking God why I'm so withdrawn and why little interactions seem like work lately. Faithfully He whispered it to me, the answer:  I'm storing up hurt.

Holding it up in my heart and quietly building a wall around myself so that it won't happen again.  I won't get hurt without seeing it coming.

Here enters God's good plan for us regarding forgiveness:

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?"

Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:21&22)

Jesus told Peter to forgive over, and over, and over....even if that same person hurt him over and over and over.  Biblically we are able to forgive because God forgave us, and still forgives us for every sin.  We can give because we were forgiven.  

But God wants us to forgive, not only because he forgave us, but so we can live in freedom. 

Unforgiveness doesn't:

  • protect me
  • make me right
  • make me better
  • make me stronger
  • heal me
  • save me
  • hurt the person that hurt me

But forgiveness does give us freedom.

Freedom to be in that relationship and love and laugh and live.  Freedom to embrace that friend and all their stuff and love them anyhow.  

Lord knows I understand it's not always so simple.  It took me years to fully forgive my first husband who left me and betrayed me so badly.  Even longer before I addressed my anger toward his family.  When I did fully forgive him it didn't mean I was back in any sort of relationship with him.  Sometimes the relationship requires severing, but forgiveness is always freeing.

So I'm mumbling for help and healing in this area as I go back to my floors.  It doesn't do any good for me to stay mad at the mess people-I-live left on the floor.  I'm going to clean it up and move forward, knowing that my floors will get dirty again tomorrow and I'll be cleaning it up again soon enough.  I want to invite people in my kitchen.  I want to engage my heart and mind again in freedom knowing  nothing will protect me from getting hurt but I trust and know a God who can usher me through the hurt and will help heal me again and again,

seventy times seven.  

1 comment:

Hazel M. Wheeler said...

What a beautiful post, Amanda.
Let's just say that I agree wholeheartedly, but with a twist... sometimes, the best 'revenge' is letting go of our anger, living well for ourselves, and not giving a whit if that person who hurt us so badly ever sees how awesome our lives have become.

When we pull ourselves out of our anger and hurt--*that's* when we truly stop being in a relationship with those who hurt us so much. Amazing how we can still maintain those relationships--even one-sidedly--through our enmity.

Harder, too, to forgive the mess-makers right under our noses... maybe time to have them help do some of the scrubbing too? Make it a party of soap and suds, do it together because you made the mess as a family and boy, family is Always Messy!