Thunder crashes in the background as I sip my morning tea. The first rays of sunlight drift warmly in through the windows as the puppy curls into a ball for his post wake-up nap.
Is there a storm in Reno today? Not at all. Thank you modern technology and Google Home for bringing thunder storm sounds to this sunny and 60 degree day!
No doubt I am bored in quarantine, and even though it is a Saturday, my husband had to work; so I sit here alone. With my thoughts. A place many of us do not want to be.
I tried to open my Bible and read its pages with hopes of getting an encouraging word to start my day, a regular morning habit (and the best habit I have formed in the last 10 years).
I opened my Bible pages and read the context of 1 Peter.
“Everyone needs grace to overcome life’s hurdles,” the author starts with. I thought, ‘yea, that’s a good thought.’ “For some it is a difficult marriage, or the frustration of children, or people’s own limitations and hardships….”
I started to lose focus, so I skipped to Peter’s chapters. (I like Peter. He seems as bold and dumb and crass as I can be. You know, the imperfect person you can relate to and grab a beer with. I think he matured some where along his faith journey…. I am still waiting to get there;)
I had read through 1 Peter chapter 1 and was about to flip the page when I realized I did not recall a single thing I just read. I was reading but thinking about something else. (I heard in my work call this week that thunder in the background promotes focus. Next time I’ll have to try crickets or something.)
What had I been thinking about? I knew what I was thinking about, but why?
I was thinking about a ‘hurt.’ How had I started thinking about this hurt? It seemed very irrelevant to the “Living Hope” Peter wrote about.
In that moment I paused and wondered which path to pursue: I could process this hurt and find resolution OR skip over it and let it resurface at a later date. Against better judgment, I decided to process. Here we go:
This hurt is not ‘my’ hurt. No. I was not wronged ‘firsthand.’ A family member, someone I love, was wronged. I was hurt for him.
So instead of reading Peter, I was contemplating what I am going to do the next time I see the people who hurt my loved one. I’m thinking, “I can avoid them! That will be good. Nobody likes getting the cold shoulder.” OR “I can say I don’t want to get close because I might be an asymptomatic carrier.” Yea, yea, that’s good. Believable. OR “I can say something to them… we can clear the air, but it really is not my ‘hurt’ to clear the air with.”
At this point I am rooting for the ‘cold shoulder’ technique. You know: avoid the people and avoid the emotion of the situation. Avoid. Escape. Ignore. Block out. Put up walls, etc., The cold shoulder — oldest trick in the books. It’s a classic! Super easy. Super effective!
Then that sneaky little voice said, “Is that going to work?” WHAT? Don’t GOAD me! PSSSH. Get otta here. Of course it will work…. have you not been paying attention to ‘the plan.’ Apparently not. Apparently ‘Sneaky Voice’ was still reading 1 Peter while I was sculpting my master plan.
Sneaky Voice felt bothered, maybe sad; I could tell, so I wanted to check in with him/her and acknowledge where he/she is coming from.
Sneaky Voice: When you give the cold shoulder, not only do you ‘ice out’ your family, but you freeze and harden a piece of yourself as well. Blocking out, avoiding, and not forgiving hurts you as much – IF NOT MORE – than hurting the intended victim. I want better for you. You deserve more than that kind of pain and hurt in your life. Extending grace is not fair, but it’s loving. It’s what I chose to do for you. Will you choose to do it (for Me) as well?
Me: Yea, but what can I do? I am hurt by the situation. I would like to have a conversation with all parties involved, process and move on, but that isn’t an option. So how do I work through this solo with no apologies, clarification, or understanding of both sides? Do I just give grace, forgive, forget, and move on? That seems unfair, but the alternative is holding onto this bitterness, this hurt, this poisonous stick until I decide enough is enough, and I let go.
It seemed clear to me which option was optimal. Although I did not and do not believe grace is fair. Letting the ‘wrongdoer’ off the hook is not fair. There is something that feels so WRONG about grace and forgiveness, but I must admit, I do love being on the receiving end of grace. It’s just hard to be on the giving end of it.
Walking around with a chip on my should because someone else is choosing to be unkind or unloving or apathetic does not sound appealing. Why I should I let the decisions/choices of others to negatively affect me? I am not going to choose that. I am going to choose grace. I am going to choose love. I am going to choose to forgive, forget, move on, and when I see them next, I will love on them as much as I can.
The only regret I have now is: motive. Yea.
I wish my ‘motive’ to forgive was selfless, but it is not. My motive to forgive is ‘how it will affect me.’ I am the one at stake here.
I hope Sneaky Voice will grow my heart so my motive to forgive is because it is what is BEST for the other person. I am forgiven much, and I hope I can quickly extend the ‘unmerited’ grace I have been given.
1 Corinthians 13:1-7 reads like this:
Love Is the Greatest
13 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance
Of this verse, I love verse 5 and 6:
- Keeping no record of wrong is next level! It is one hurdle to forgive, and a next level hurdle to not bring up the wrong to that person. (My husband and I could both grow in this a bit if I’m honest. You likely could too if you’re honest!)
- Love rejoices with the truth. The truth is: everyday is a new day with fresh grace and new mercies, a day to start over and believe the best of each person.
Thanks for reading. If you have anything to share, process, or contribute, message me on the Contact Page. God bless.