Sunday, May 30, 2010

Late night confessions

The other evening, I was up late again, having another great late night conversations with dear friends about various topics.

"I can forgive, but I will never forget."

This sounds innocent enough. It would be foolish to forget any lesson that may be learned after going through certain trials. But let's examine this statement a little closer. What does this really mean? I know what it means for me, anyway. It means, "I am saying that I am forgiving you, and I will be nice to you again, temporarily, but what I really mean is now I have "ammunition" to use against you in our next argument." For that reason, I love "forgiving" people because it comes in handy later. I do this with my husband, my family, and my closest friends. That's pretty messed up. That's not forgiveness at all.

Let's think for a moment, shall we? What if God's forgiveness was so conditional? What if, when I die, I stare Him in the face and He says, "Well, you know, Ashley, I forgive you, but...."

The Bible says that if we don't forgive our brothers when they sin against us, our sins will not be forgiven. Conditional forgiveness is no forgiveness at all. I've got to get my act together. I'm a grudge holder. I love a good grudge. But it does nothing but make me an angry, bitter person. A person I don't want to be.

I haven't given up hope. One thing I've learned is that forgiveness is a daily discipline. I can think I've forgiven the person, and there's the anger again, rearing its ugly head on a new day. Every day, we have a choice to make. God loves us so much that He gives us second, third, and infinite chances to get it right.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.

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