The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; Daniel 9:9
When I was a kid, there was a show on TV called Romper Room and the star was a lady named Miss Nancy. One of the things I really remember about that show were the stilt like things the kids on the show sometimes walked around on. They were like little upside down sand buckets with strings attached. The kids would step up on them, hold on to the strings and walk around a foot taller. I thought those were so cool so I begged my dad to make me some. Being the awesome dad that he was, he used coffee cans and bailing twine and made some that were even better than the ones Miss Nancy had! I remember thinking I would step right up and take off just like the kids on TV did but boy was I surprised when I did several face plants in the yard before I managed to actually take two steps in a row. It was so awkward, stiff and unnatural feeling; kind of like dragging giant bricks along. Eventually I did manage to take more than five or six steps but it was exhausting and dreadfully slow.
I was thinking about forgiveness the other day and the coffee can stilts came to mind. I really do believe walking around with unforgiveness in our hearts is a lot like trying to walk on those silly things. They were a burden that stood in my way. They might have made me feel taller or above things a bit but that was deceiving. You see, I couldn’t enjoy the view because I was constantly looking down to manage my next cumbersome step. I was just clomping along with a weight or a burden; I wasn’t free to move comfortably and hop, skip or run like a normal kid when I was hanging on to them. If I really wanted to take off and enjoy the day, I had to let go of the strings that attached me to them and step away and do the things I was designed to do.
Fr Joe Kempf tells the story of a man from Spain who had a bitter falling out with his teenage son. The situation caused much pain and after a while the father couldn’t stand clomping through his days which were filled with anger and unforgiveness so he decided to search for his son. Finally, in Madrid, in a last desperate attempt to find his son, he put an ad in the newspaper. The ad read, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven, I love you. Your Father.” The next day at noon in front of the newspaper office, more than a dozen “Pacos” showed up. They were all seeking forgiveness from their fathers.
Why is it that a gift so freely and constantly given to us by our Heavenly Father is often so very hard for us to give to someone else? Consider just one question; can you list one positive thing unforgiveness has done in your life? I heard someone say once that not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and hoping the other person gets sick. Offering forgiveness to someone doesn’t mean they didn’t do whatever they did to hurt you, it just means you give God permission to heal you, strengthen you and allow you to move about your life doing his will without clomping around dragging that heavy weight. Forgiveness is a choice and in the beginning we might have to remind ourselves several times a day that we made the choice to forgive. How about it? Jesus died and rose for us; can we climb down off our coffee can stilts and show the forgiveness to others that he shows to us every day? Easter is a time for new life; maybe we should start with the new life that comes from forgiving old hurts.
A Seed To Plant: This week in prayer, spend some time pondering where we might need to receive or show forgiveness. Ask the Lord to make you desire forgiveness and then ask him to help you make the choice.
Blessings on your day!
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