Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Forgiveness ~

This post was about to be my comment on 

She wrote a touching and raw post about Mercy & Grace and I realized that it wasn't right to use her comments section in that way, but that I could post it here.  

Here's what came to my heart in response to her post~

We all will stumble and we all will fall. All of us, every single person. We will do things that we know before we start that we shouldn't and we will do things that afterwards, we realize whether on our own or through another that we messed up, made a bad choice etc. Yes, it is God's mercy and grace that gets us through it all, along with the mercy and grace that others extend to us. Probably because He is using them for just that purpose.

I'll share two times that I've experienced the giving or receiving forgiveness and I saw God's gift of mercy and grace like no other.

One was several years ago. A fairly close friend had an affair and for some reason other friends thought I knew and turned my back, I didn't. I did feel deep in my gut that something was going on and had caught her lying to me, but truly knew nothing. When it all came out I was - well lots of things. My emotions were all over the place, to say angry or mad doesn't do it. I felt used & betrayed and was even ashamed to say I associated with her, in addition to a hatred I felt toward her. I never called her, nor did she call me. But I would think how could she? Why did she choose this path? Why did she lie to me, to others?  Many weeks later at church, our associate pastor {who's so hard to follow} was preaching that day - when it was over {after I managed to hang with'em} I had to call her and apologize to her for the way I handled it. That I had done wrong.  Long and short, a sin is a sin and we are all sinners every single person, not one is less of a sinner than another {this was so hard to swallow - HARD}. There is no sliding scale with God and his rules.  I am no better then her, or anyone else and we were no better than someone sitting in jail for sure guilty by the justice system, we are all sinners. But even with that sin God looks at us all the same, as his child, his creation that he loves abundantly. He is heart broken when we sin, in the same way I find myself upset with my child when they do wrong, yet our love never waivers and neither does his.

Funny thing it really help me become more comfortable in who I was and to care far less what others think of me or my decisions for myself or my family. Someone may want to make feel like less, but I'm not, not in Gods view anyway and that's the most important opinion to me. Everyone has short comings and insecurities, everyone struggles with something. We are all sinners. We each have our own journey and I have no right to judge someone on theirs, when there are flaws in mine.

Another and more recent time that comes to mind.  I needed to conduct an interview with some one who also happened to be an old beau. He had dumped me 4 weeks before my senior prom, but our paths had not crossed since. Can we say uncomfortable? Anyway he moved away and had since moved back, and had gotten on with life as had I.  I decided it best not to tell him who I was {since my married name is different} just conduct the interview and be very professional. I learned during the interview that his life had been far from perfect. Some drug use, a major accident that forever changed his life, a failed marriage, and that he was now a christian. We finished the interview, I asked him if he had anything he wanted to add? He said no, that now he wanted to know how I was. He said he knew the minute he saw me and since our first meeting that he knew that he needed to ask for my forgiveness for how he treated me. His body language mirrored the words coming from his mouth, this was sincere and genuine. Just as interesting is the fact that there is a lot of his past that he can't remember due to his accident. But he remembered me, how he treated me and wanted to make it right. My forgiveness was important to him, after all he had gone through, my forgiveness was important. I had forgiven him, long ago, we were kids after all. But it got to me at my core. I came home shared this with my husband {who knew the whole deal before I left for the interview} and for two days I was a complete mess. Why? I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't deny him forgiveness, I had given forgiveness, not received it. I extended grace to him with the forgiveness that he had asked for and was very happy  to give it {although not prepared and in some shock about it}. I didn't need an apology, at least not as far I knew. Still it messed with me for a few days, I would cry just thinking about it all and wonder why.  It did make me think did I owe someone an apology? Did they deserve it, did they need it, were they waiting for it? Did I need to be forgiven? I began working toward that.

Thankfully in the end we are all better for these types of experiences and to see God's mercy and grace up close and personal.