“From the start You held a place in my heart, a place that no one else could fill; sin kept your Spirit from working in me–I couldn’t look at life honestly. . .Now, I’m forgiven! Now I have a reason for livin’! Jesus keeps givin’ and givin’–givin’ ’til my heart overflo–o–ows—“
Me. Bobbing my head, shuffling my feet, wagging my shoulders back and forth to the beat and rhythms in my mind: “Whoa-oa, I’m forgiven! Now I have a reason for livin’! Jesus keeps givin’ and givin’—-” In flappy old glossy purple sleep shorts and a white, stretchy athletic t-shirt. Hair bowing in every possible direction at the same time, cheerfully waving “Good Morning” to itself. Face stubbled and still retaining pillow-seams. Delightful trail of nighttime drool dried on the right corner of my mouth. All in all, quite the package.
And barefoot. Very crucial point. See, pinkie toes were specifically created to geo-locate furniture under low-or no-light conditions. Guess how I’m consistently learning to practice caution when happily bopping into a darkened room first thing in the morning?
And then. . . my mirror. I forgot how unforgiving it is. Here’s me, alternating between the song I awakened to running through my head (“I’m Forgiven!”) and that cult-classic craziness you can’t help but enjoy. . . Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do
. . .stepping lightly, nimbly down the stairs to my bathroom, did a slide into the door as I reached around inside it and flipped on the light.
Ever heard a mirror scream in mock horror and total embarrassment? And then – and THEN start helplessly laughing? Next came the rude comments. Oh, YOU thought the only talking mirror in Earth history was the fabled one that snidely lied to the Evil Queen?
“Nice. That face could hold a three-day rain.”
“Leave the stubble. It’s an improvement and will confuse the witnesses.”
“OW! Jesus, heal my eyes!”
I patiently waited, right eyebrow cocked, eyelids at half-mast. Anytime.
Mirrors are unforgiving. Right? They tend to see things just as they are. They accurately reflect exactly what’s there. The issue? They only reflect what’s on the outside.
People tend to do that, too. They can be just as unforgiving as your mirror. And often for some of the same reasons – they judge according to what they see (or saw) on the outside.
Since God forgives perfectly and totally – by choice – and since we’re told to forgive just as God through Jesus forgives us? That must mean forgiving is also a choice for us. . .
Hang onto it, remembering every detail, letting it get bigger and uglier each time–or let go of it, trashing every part and receiving lightness, understanding and a growing love each time.
“Each time? I thought forgiving needs forgetting added to it to work.”
It does. Forgetting is not just a one-time deal, either. My eldest brother gave me some real, strong pearls of wisdom across the years. One such is every time somebody would come to him with a repetitive complaint or a tattling, he’d nod judiciously and then say:
“I distinctly remember forgetting that.”
Do that often enough and soon neither man, woman nor devil can successfully distract you from growing beyond whatever that event was back there, and loving whomever it involved, freeing them to grow, too.
“It’s not always that easy to do.”
Nope. If it was easy, we’d all be doing it. Agreed; it’s not easy. But we’re told to do it. Just flat git ‘er done. We weren’t given that command as part of the Christian’s optional equipment. We’re to forgive just as thoroughly and intentionally as God has forgiven us.
Why pound on that? Choosing not to forgive someone and refusing to forget what they did or didn’t back when has power to kill present relationships. It doesn’t matter how close they’ve been nor how long their duration–keep holding on to a real or perceived slight or action long enough and you will kill a love that was there.
“Wait! I’ll make that right! No, really. I see it now!” Tyler Perry repeatedly makes the point in his live theater productions and every one of his movies: forgiveness is not for the other person. It frees you from the prison you constructed from your own unwillingness to forgive and – AND – forget.
So what if they are unrepentant and don’t favorably respond? That’s on them. You can be free from that unforgiveness and make it clear you no longer will drag that old Whatever-It-Is around behind you.
It’s up to the other person how they’ll receive it. You may as well know, however–forgiveness can be in your heart and you may wish with everything in you for things to be as they were back when. They may never be such again. The longer you carry an old hurt around with you, the more it kills and deadens what was there.
Love is often the result of wounds left open too long. It can be reclaimed to a point. God can and does make things new again. Part of real forgiveness is recognizing the wounds you cause by refusing to offer it until it’s too late.
Now–aren’t you glad your mirror only reflects what’s on the outside?
I am SO grateful that a shave, shower, some deo and a smidge of cologne (yeah–I still kind of like Lagerfeld); and we’re good to go.
I am also SO grateful that God’s forgiveness to me is TOTAL. I can therefore go through the day being a complete irritation to everyone I see because I’m. . .
Wait for it. . .
. . .Bobbing my head, shuffling my feet, wagging my shoulders back and forth to the beat and rhythms in my mind: “Whoa-oa, I’m forgiven! Now I have a reason for livin’! Jesus keeps givin’ and givin’—-”
Happy? Oh, yeah, babe. (Thanks, Emeril!)
© D. Dean Boone, July 2014