"And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, as also in Christ God forgave you." ~ Ephesians 4:32
Sometimes that seems like a tall order, doesn't it?
I saw one representation of Ephesians 4:32 that said, "Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you."
Perhaps you're more Christ-like than I am, but I can find that to be a challenge in certain circumstances.
When I was a child, Mom would come in at night. We'd kneel down on the carpet by the bed...
It's such a vivid memory, even now I can feel the coarse carpet fibers in my knees.
Teeth brushed, pajamas on, we'd kneel and pray together...
"Our Father, Who Art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy Will be done..."
When we arrived at "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." I always managed to have a yawn handy.
Even as a child, I somehow understood the gravity of those words.
You mean I have to forgive well to be well forgiven?
I have to admit, even now I get stuck in a bit of theological quicksand on this one.
If I've chosen Him, chosen to love Him and live by Him, if I've chosen The Way, then don't I receive grace and mercy and salvation? Isn't that the gig?
Now that I'm far more mature :) , when I pray these same words, more often than not, I pause between that line and the next and utter the plea, "And, thank You Heavenly Father, for helping me to be good at it."
I was recently having a chat with a stranger who was telling me about a friend of hers taking another friend to task.
Friend b kept asking God to make her humble. Friend a chided her and said, "if you keep praying for God to make you humble, He'll give you circumstances that humble you! He'll give you heavenly sandpaper."
First of all... "Heavenly sandpaper..." I love it!
She was surprised I got it.
I explained that I am the daughter of a carpenter. Both earthly and heavenly, come to think of it.
I tell you what, I recently found myself in a heavenly belt sander.
He promises to refine us, and we're glad of that.
We want Him to love us enough to shape us, as any loving Father does.
But gracious, sometimes...
It took me weeks to ratchet down from sad and hurt and betrayed, amped up with boatloads of stress, to being willing to stand in peace and love.
And that doesn't mean it doesn't occasionally come back to haunt me.
When the words, "Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you" crossed my path, it was more than a little convicting.
He's still working on me, what can I say?
Thankfully, He knows our hearts. He knows when we're doing our darnedest. And, He has chosen to love us just the way we are, because He created us just the way we are.
I'm immensely grateful that He sees us washed clean, I imagine we're all inexpressibly so.
And, we'll continue our refinement, drawing ever nearer to Him, and ever more like Him... we pray. Day by day, breath by breath.
Thank You for forgiving us our trespasses, indeed.
Thank You for helping us to stand in unconditional love, as you have for us. Thank You for helping the Peace of the Messiah to rule in our hearts and lives and words and actions and deeds. Thank You for helping us to be the children You created us to be.
Thank You for the gifts of the Spirit, for helping us to train our eyes and hearts on you in all circumstances, and thank You for helping us to think on what is good and right and true.
All this we pray in the name of Your Son, Amen.
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in various trials..." ~ 1 Peter 1:6
"And when you stand to pray, if you hold anything against another, forgive it, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your trespasses as well." ~ Mark 11:25
"For You, O Lord, are kind and forgiving, rich in loving devotion to all who call on You." ~ Psalm 86:5
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise...
In combination with today's theme and our approach to Resurrection Sunday, this seemed appropriate. ♥
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