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Kathy Dingus


"Forgiveness"…just the sound of the word makes my heart swell inside my chest and I feel weak in the knees. Does anyone else feel that way about forgiveness?

It is a word that covers many bases and can take on many shapes and forms, depending on the transgressor and the transgressee. Some of us may automatically think, (when I say the word "forgiveness"), of an incident where we have forgiven someone of a transgression against ourselves. Or some of us may think about our children, who, having once fought over something trivial, quickly forgave the quarrel and continued to play happily with each other the rest of the day.

And, possibly you might think of an instance in your personal life right now, one where you know you need to forgive someone . . . and yet you've been resisting the urge to forgive and forget. Many different types of things may come to mind. All of us are different and have lived very different lives.

But most of us when we've been hurt, like to hold on to our anger and our battle wounds. We don't want to let them go. This is just human nature.

We like to nurse our hurts, put them away for a while like a valuable treasure, and then take them out and unwrap them every once in a while, lovingly stroke them, and remember.

This practice of storing away our hurts, and our anguish, makes us somehow feel justified for holding onto our bitterness and hurt and withholding mercy from one another.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? I have been guilty of holding grudges, and it's funny that in spite of me knowing just how bad that can hurt, I do it anyway. I'm not too proud to say that I've hurt someone's feelings in the past, and they've not forgiven me for it. Have you? It really hurts, doesn't it? Yet, we still tenaciously cling to those grudges we keep locked away, giving back as good as we've gotten.

We comfort friends who've been in a crisis, and it's difficult to give wise counsel when you have a hard heart towards the one who has hurt them.

We want to "pay back" others for their misdeeds, make them suffer as much as we have. We turn our backs on tearful apologies, close our ears to the pleas of sorrow. It's somehow easier that way.

I recently heard Bruce Marchiano speak to a group of ladies at the BEACONS retreat. He spoke about Jesus and his love for women. He told us how Jesus cringed at the mistreatment of women by the hands of their fathers and husbands.

He told us that Jesus loved us, in spite of our weaknesses and human frailties. He spoke about Mary Magdalene, and how Jesus didn't harshly condemn her for her life. He was gentle and kind and He showered his mercy and love upon her, even before she repented of her life of sin. He loved her so much that he died for her. He died to cover the very same sins. He ever so gently rebuked her for. Mary lived a life of sin, but when Jesus rained down his love and mercy upon her, and forgave her, she felt clean.

She might have even felt pretty and attractive once again. I'd like to think her heart might have "jumped in her chest" and she might have felt "weak in the knees," experiencing the forgiveness of Christ. Think about it.

Do you remember how you feel at the moment you knew absolutely, unequivocally, that Jesus Christ forgave you, and He saved you from the transgressions you've committed in your life? Weren't you so happy inside and filled with joy that you were dizzy?

Dizzy with relief and love for the Christ?

Friends, we need to realize something very important. We have the same power to forgive others as Christ did. We need to show the same love and mercy towards others as Jesus did. We need to let others feel Christ's mercy and love flow from us and into the hurting hearts of today's world.

We can extend a loving, helping hand towards them, whether they are our neighbor whose dog just happened to stop for a moment in our yard and left us a little deposit, as he took his morning constitutional, or whether it's our best friend who reacted to the stress of the day in anger towards us, or whether it's our husband, who never, never does anything right at all!

If I could think of anyone who could justly hold a grudge it would be Jesus. After all, we only killed him. Yet, what did he do? He became our willing Savior. Can we change our will towards the mercy side of life instead of being judgmental and holding grudges? I hope so. I know I need to.

How about you? It starts with one person at a time . . . just me and you.

Here's a story to go along with my article. It gave me a chuckle and made me realize how silly we humans are sometimes . . . well, all the time.

That evening Phillip came storming into the house, mad. You're right, "Angry" is the word. But this boy was "mad, mad, mad."

Of course, it was Ronnie's fault again.

Ronnie lived across the street and he was Phillip's buddy. But, no sir, not this time. Whatever he'd done, Ronnie could never come into our house again.

Never. Never.

So we ate our meal somewhat subdued that night. Somewhat sad. We liked Ronnie. Fact is, we loved him..

Then suddenly, the doorbell rang.

Philip, as usual, ran to answer and here he came . . . with whom . . . You guessed it . . .

"Hey, Mom, can Ronnie have some ice cream too?

"Of course, he can. But Philip, what about all those things you were saying? Didn't you mean them?

"Oh, sure," came the answer, "I meant them. But me 'n Ronnie, we got good forgetters."

Wouldn't it be wonderful if every one of us could say that? And mean it?

_Charlie Shedd_

Let's you and I find our good forgetters, okay?

Christ is the best forgetter of all . . .

My heart is swelling and my knees are weak, as I write these words just thinking about it . . . "forgiveness"

I'm sooo glad we're forgiven, aren't you?