Practicing civility towards one another is our only safeguard from becoming barbarians. Civility is the act of a polite action or expression. Barbarian is a crude and uncivilized state. So, the question before us is how do we forgive or do we forgive? This is my first Blog and you out there in cyber space land are evidently my first readers. To make a blog work well, we need each other, which ironically, is how life works. I would rather die than allow myself to be reduced to behaving like a barbarian, so with that said, allow me to practice what I preach and introduce myself. I am a “tell it like it is” preacher, because life is short, as my birthdays have now started coming every six months, and I feel like my arms may actually serve as vehicles for lift off at any moment, so time is right to figure out forgiveness of self and others!
My vocation is ‘working for God,’ publicly in the world, as an ordained Episcopal minister; therefore, people share their lives with me, young and old, and forgiveness is the trickiest business of all. Why do we gnaw on a hurt, like a dog chewing on a T-bone? If you try to take the bone away, you will draw back a nub. When we truly know who we are, then forgiveness is a snap. If you are a brave reader, who wants to cut the darkness from your soul, and stop allowing your hurt to define you, as if it were a part of your DNA, I am here to tell you that the only way to do this is by remembering every hateful and hurtful thing that you have ever said or done. Viola! You will then realize that there is not one thing that has caused you pain that you have not done to another person. The playing field of life has just been leveled. We are all passengers on the Titanic, but alas, there is hope to keep us from drowning in the dark and cold icy waters of life.
Confession to my readers: I have never read a Blog. So, I have decided to reveal myself to you, a tiny bit at a time, blog by blog, with a few hints and guesses. After all, some of you reading might have a heart condition and if I dared to give you the full reveal of how I feel about God, well, it just might be more than you can take; unless of course, you decided to sip a little Pinot Noir or eat a pint of your favorite Haagen Dazs ice cream, (mine at the moment is Pistachio) while we try to figure out ourselves with God.
I not only believe in Jesus, I am in love with Jesus. I actually like having him as my friend. He always has time for me when I call and he has never once allowed my call to go in to voice mail. I so admire him for obeying his mother, Mary and being pastoral with everyone who came to him for help. OK, BLOG #1 and I’m busted already! Yes, even Jesus had a couple of slips; i.e., he was disrespectful to his mother at the Wedding Feast at Canaan (John- look it up, as this blog serves no free lunch.) Jesus was lucky because Mary was not a Steel Magnolia because if she were, Mary would have said, “Jesus, let me remind you that I brought you in to this world and I can just as easily take you out- I am your mother and don’t you ever forget it!” And yes, Biblical scholars, Jesus rudely spoke to the Syro-Phoencian woman, (Mark- look it up) when she asked for his help and then she put Jesus through the paces.
Number 1: You are either too young to be reading this blog, so go to bed, if you think that the world has wronged you! I want us to see the blessing Number 2: If you are breathing, then you are in the game of life, like it or not. You do not ever get a pass on owning your responsibility in forgiveness, which will keep the ruffians at bay, within your heart.
If you decide to forgive because it is the civil thing to do, then don’t waste your time or God’s because you will be acting like Eddie Haskell from “Leave it to Beaver.” Disingenuous in thought, word, and deed. If you have decided that you want to genuinely forgive, then the act must come from your heart. Courage and faith are required so that God will love you through the pain that confession brings. Life is not earned nor is the love of God earned – both life and God’s love are given to you freely and that is called grace, and from grace grows graciousness, which is our step towards being Living Gospel in the world and then, our every thought, word, and deed will come from the love of Christ. ( The Book of Common Prayer: Prayer of Confession.)
Before you close your eyes tonight, TRUST me when I tell you that God does not care what naughtiness you have done in your life, or how hurt you have decided to be, or how angrily you have behaved because God loves you and me IN SPITE OF OURSELVES. God is patiently waiting for us to just say, ‘Thank you.’ Tonight, look yourself in the mirror and confess whatever you have chosen to say, or do, or feel, or ignore in your life and simply say, “I am so sorry. Forgive me, Lord.”
Sister Joan Chittister wrote, “Don’t confuse weakness with sin. Most of us struggle with something we never quite conquer. It is precisely that struggle that can become the stuff of compassion with others.”
P.S. Blog Followers: Blogger, could we please come up with a more attractive word for writing a blog?