Words of Hope: Daily Relational Clean-up
Dad had the gift of reading the Bible and making the words immediately practical and healing. He believed Christianity should make us more like Christ–more loving, forgiving, generous, and full of joy. But it is hard to be a follower of Christ and harbor bitterness at the same time. Shann often says that though he went to church for years, he never saw a daily practice of asking for forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a daily practice like eating, drinking, prayer, and movement. We cannot eat once and be filled. We cannot drink fully for one day and have our thirst slaked. The daily practice of forgiveness keeps us out of the prison of bitterness and resentment.
Most people use forgiveness for huge messy, troubling issues. But just like a home devastated by a hurricane, it takes time, effort, and much work to repair the house. Forgiveness of huge hurts requires time and wisdom. One gift our Dad gave our family was forgiveness as a daily language of repair. Forgiveness is like a small hand vac cleaning up the small ways we hurt or mess up our relationships. Most of the time, we don’t intentionally try and hurt others, but we do. We have a sharp tone, a thoughtless comment, a controlling attitude, a spilling of excessive emotion, a selfish motive, blindness to need, and a desire for our way. Asking forgiveness brings our attention to the small ways we harm others. It allows us an opportunity to heal and repair. It cleans up our hearts and minds and leaves the relationships healthy and whole.
Thank you, Dad, for this beautiful daily tool that brings relationships closer.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. – Matthew 18:21-22