“When I learned this, love came pouring into my life like a flood.”
This happened in 1987 but I never, ever will forget the lesson I learned through this experience.
I was driving one day, just minding my own business when out of the blue [not my fault] a young pimply-faced kid t-boned me and took off. I was the victim of a hit and run. He totaled my “Rusty” [my rust-colored Toyota] and gave me the blessing of a lot of physical pain. I got the license plate number as I realized he wasn’t going to stop. The police found the car and the family but there was no insurance. In fact the family was so messed up that one of their other children was in jail for murder. So I got a small amount of money from my own insurance company. Needless to say I was angry: “How could this stupid pimply-faced kid do something so stupid and then leave all the consequences of his stupid crap in my lap!”
I kvetched, and kvetched, and kvetched about this for many weeks while lying on the couch unable to move because of a wrenched back from the accident.
Then the Holy Spirit said something to me that I will never forget. He said:
“Robin, we all suffer each others’ sins.”
Along with these words I was given a vision – a motion picture. There were people, lots of them (including me) all milling around each other, and they were all shouldering consequences for the defective behaviors and personality quirks of the other people around them.But the real deal-breaker was – the kicker was — the other people were taking consequences for my bad behaviors and personality quirks equally!! It was a paradigm shift for me. It helped me gain a whole new perspective. I don’t have to kvetch about being forced to forgive them! Because they, in turn, are forced to forgive me! The wheel of forgiveness goes around and around, and it all comes out in the wash. Because as long as we breathe we sin and, no matter how bizarre this sounds, someone out there is going to be bugged!
And so – for the sake of sanity, forgiveness has to be done by all. Because it’s all “Even Steven”!!
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This is what I got out of the experience of dealing with Rusty’s accident.
Robin, one of the most important things you must learn on this planet is to forgive.
It makes total sense to me now.
Why do I think this is so? For two reasons
First: By observing how people work in this world where we all live……
It seems very interesting to me, that I have been formed as a being of defective flesh and at the same time live in such close proximity to other defective, fleshly beings. On top of that, I was created with a need to maintain a connection with these other beings. Here on this planet, in my fleshly body, I am surrounded on all sides by quirky and defective humans.
Everywhere I turn there are quirky and defective people I must get along with! And not just people but other defective things too; like governments, bureaucrats & big business, etc. So, I believe it is absolutely
a necessity that I learn to forgive in order to maintain a semblance of peace – and to grow in maturity.
And God gave us a whole bunch of stuff to practice on, including ourselves, didn’t He?
Second: Reading and remembering something Jesus said…..
Forgiveness is such an important concept in the Bible that Jesus put it in the “Lords Prayer”. There were many things He could have put in this prayer but He chose only a couple. There were only a couple of very, very important things and one of them was forgiveness. Even more so. He went on after the prayer to expand even more on this concept in Matthew 6:14-15….
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
“But how exactly does one get to this wonderful [ugg] forgiveness?!”
Glad you asked.
This was printed in a magazine article. I don’t know how long it’s been around in circulation.
Anyway… Here it is:
“If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don’t really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding, and love. It worked for me then, and it has worked for me many times since, and it will work for me every time I am willing to work it. Some times I have to ask first for the willingness to work it, but it always comes.”
This is a story about my father – and about forgiveness.
I hated my father with a passion. I was abused in every way by him. I wanted to string him up by the ankles and slap him silly until he confessed what he did to me. But, since that would never happen, my resentment toward him continued inside me on, and on, and on, ad nauseum
At the time of this accident, I was living in a very sweet place in the country by a beautiful lake. It was evening-time and I had just finished feeding my 4 feral kitties that I loved with all my heart. My back was doing somewhat better so that I was able to sit up. So I was sitting on my back porch steps and looking out over the lake; the moon poured down on the lake showing me the path to heaven. Crickets were chirping, there was a slight cool enveloping breeze. It couldn’t have been a more perfect scene for providing complete serenity and happiness.
But as I sat there, taking all this in — I wanted to die.
. .Then God said to me
“You’re drinking bitter water Robin. Your hatred for your father is killing all your joy.”.
Along with these words something was presented to me – the article on forgiveness that I ’d read in that magazine and along with it was the reminder of my pure unadulterated father-fury.
There was a whole lot of pain there around my relationship with my father that was stinking up my life and I was ready to excise the stench. And so I surrendered. It took seven years of horribly painful sober – from – alcohol rage before I finally surrendered to this horribly distasteful suggestion. I came to the place of being willing to do anything for relief.
I began praying for him. I prayed that blessings would rain down on him like warm summer showers. On the East Coast where I grew up we had these wonderful rain showers during the summer. They provided relief from the heat and humidity. Anyway . . . .
I prayed for the “S.O.B. -you-know-who-I’m-talking-about-God.” I was honest – and I was loud. After all, it did say I just had to say it, I didn’t have to mean it. And so I prayed for the S.O.B. . Everything I wanted for myself I prayed for him; peace, happiness, love, friendship, wealth, health, joy; and especially – wisdom! I asked for him everything I wanted for myself. I did this as often as I remembered him – which was pretty darned often.
For sweating through this loathsome practice, three days later I was given a great reward.
I was “lifted up to heaven” in a way, and got a bird’s-eye-view of my father as he was being seen through God’s eyes. All I can say about it was: love – love and compassion. As I looked down on him from the clouds, he appeared to be very small – gerbil-sized actually, and he was limping around making gerbil noises; “Erk, erk erk”. And he was in a great, great deal of pain. It was a very odd sensation, but a miracle occurred. I got to experience my dad as someone not big – not scary – but small and hurting. There was so much pain there, my heart could not help but go out to him. I was given the strength to take a full on leap of forgiveness; a forgiveness I have kept in my heart for him to this day.
So again, so what about forgiveness? It is a miracle healing devise. For anyone who tries to attain it, it will bring untold gallons of joy and release. Love will come pouring into your life like a flood. God set it up this way. He has his reasons; I don’t know why, but then I don’t know the “why” of most anything He sets up for us. But I do know that if I “go with it” – if I do what the Bible says to do – I will get to much better places while I move along here in this fleshly body on earth.