Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peaceful, Unified, and Thankful

Assumptions are the termites of relationships.  
~Henry Winkler

Relationships are complex, and often fragile. I have failed to protect certain relationships, and it has shown.

Assumptions on both sides have built walls...no, have dug chasms, that just a few days ago seemed impossible to bridge.

Praise God for doing the seemingly impossible.

Today I am exceedingly thankful for repaired relationships.

However, forgiveness is a tricky thing. Whether or not there has been a heartfelt apology (there has!), hurt tends to linger in dark corners, looking for any scrap of old assumptions, like a hungry, scared, rabid old dog.

I wish I was like God in that I cast the transgressions of others as far as the east is from the west. I wish I could say, "You are forgiven," and hurt, pain, and ways of thinking would disappear. I wish I could forgive and truly forget. It sure would be easier.

But, alas, I am human.

And therefore, I must work at forgiveness.

Let me be clear here. What and who needs forgiving is not the issue. The one who has hurt me has wiped the slate clean, has sought and received my forgiveness. Our relationship is mutually restored. Hallelujah! Amen!

But, the cause of many of the issues was wrong thinking about one another. It is years of built up resentment, bitterness, and inaccuracies. Wasted years. How tragic. The filter through which I run our conversations and interactions must change--that is what is difficult.  

This is ONLY a reflection on me.

Colossians 3:12-16: "Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience..."

Because I am a child of God, I can put on these things. To me it seems apparent I need to take off the opposites: coldness, cruelty, arrogance, impertinence, impatience.

"...bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."

It's so simple, and yet so hard. I have hurt God more times than one could possibly count. But I revel in His grace and forgiveness. I want to be gracious and forgiving, so others can revel too.

"And above all these put on  love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."
That is what I seek in relationships: perfect harmony. Not perfect agreement, as in we can only be friends if we agree, but perfect accord, or a lack of discord. Ironically, this comes through being able to respectfully disagree, being honest when one is hurt, and enjoying each others similarities and differences--this is something I have failed at. But no more!

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful."

Peaceful, unified, and thankful. This is my new filter. 

The act of forgiveness came easy for me. I wanted things to be good, so when given an opportunity to make them good, I took it. So did the other party, gladly and willingly. 

The process of forgiveness is long and hard, since it requires changing my thinking. But with the strength of God, the discipline to not even let my thinking go down old paths, let alone words or actions, and the mutual desire to grow together, I have no doubt that the next years will not be wasted.

"I will speak ill of no man, 
and speak all the good I know of everybody."
- Benjamin Franklin

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