“When she learned this,
love poured into her life
like a flood.”
This happened in 1987 but she never, ever will forget the lesson she learned through this experience.
She was driving one day, just minding her own business when out of the blue [not her fault] a young pimply-faced kid t-boned her and took off. She was the victim of a hit and run. He totaled her little “Rusty” [her rust-colored Toyota] and gave her the blessing of a lot of physical pain. She got the license plate number as she 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 insane that one of their other children was in jail for murder. So she got a small amount of money from her own insurance company. Needless to say she was angry:
Now could this stupid, pimply-faced kid
do something so stupid and then
leave all the consequences
of his stupid crap…
in my lap!!???
She 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 that she would never forget. He said:
We all suffer for each others’ sins,
and one of the most important lessons
you must learn on this planet… is to forgive
[But how!? If you will bear with me I will get to that in a minute.]
Along with these words she was given a vision – a motion picture. There were people, lots of them, including her, all milling around each other. All created by God – quirky. And they were all shouldering consequences for the quirkies of the other people around them. And she was having to shoulder these consequences too. But the real deal-breaker was – the kicker was — all the other people around her were having to take consequences for her quirkies too!!
A paradigm shift happened. She gained a new perspective. She didn’t have to kvetch anymore about having to forgive them! Because all the people out there, in turn, were having to forgive her too! It was all about a wheel of forgiveness that went around and around so that it all would come out in the wash. Because as long as a person breathes, they sin. And no matter how bizarre this sounds, someone out there is going to be bugged!
Slowly, something began to gel.
Living here…..in this world……
The quirkiness was everywhere!!
And it wasn’t just people. It was about quirky governments; bureaucrats; big business. The list was a mile long. If she didn’t learn to forgive, how could she ever get some peace in all this mess?!
Then it occurred to her….
Boy!! Did God give us a lot of stuff
to practice this forgiving on… or what?!!
It was even in the Bible……
Jesus put forgiveness in the “Lords Prayer”. Of all the hundreds of things He talked to us about, He chose this. Then, even more, He went on after the prayer to talk to us about it — again!
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 you sins.
* * *
“But how exactly was she to get
to this wonderful [ugg] place of
* * *
Glad you asked.
* * *
A long time ago she had read an article in a magazine. At the time, she wasn’t ready for it, but it stuck.
“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.”
* * *
So I’m going to tell the story about forgiving someone this girl hated her whole life.
This is the story of her relationship with her father. She hated this man with unrivaled passion. She was abused by him in every way. She wanted to string him up by the ankles and beat him with a rod until he confessed what he did to her. But since that would never happen, her resentment continued to fester inside her. Every day it got bigger…. and bigger…. and bigger. And as it got bigger and bigger, it got heavier, and heavier for her little shoulders to bear up under.
But God, in His infinite love… was hatching a plan.
At the time of this accident, She was living in a very sweet place in the country by a beautiful lake. It was evening-time and she had just finished feeding her 4 feral kitties that she loved with all her heart. Her back was doing somewhat better so that she was able to sit up. So she was sitting on her back porch steps and looking out over the lake; the moon poured down on the lake presenting her a path to heaven. Crickets were chirping, there was a slight, warm, enveloping breeze. It couldn’t have been a more perfect scene for providing complete serenity and happiness.
But as she sat there, taking all this in — she wanted to die.
Then God said to her
You’re drinking bitter water.
Your hatred is killing all your joy.
Along with these words the article she’d forgotten about was pressed into her mind again – the article on forgiveness that she ’d read in that magazine. Then, along with it was the reminder of her pure unadulterated fury at this man…. her father.
There was a whole lot of pain there around her relationship with her father, and it was stinking up her life. She was finally ready to excise the stench… to surrender her hate. It took seven years of horribly painful sober-from-alcohol rage before she became willing to surrender to this detestably, distasteful suggestion……….. forgiveness.
She was finally willing to surrender to what God wanted her to do. To take the Bible’s advice. She began to pray for her father. She prayed that blessings would rain down on him like warm summer showers. On the East Coast where she grew up there were these wonderful rain showers during the summer. They provided relief from the heat and humidity. Anyway . . . .
She prayed for the “S.O.B. -you-know-who-I’m-talking-about-God!” She was honest….. and she was loud!! After all, it did say she just had to say it, she didn’t have to mean it. She did not mean it. But she prayed for the S.O.B.Y.K.W.I.T.A.G anyway. Though she could barely stomach what she was saying, she prayed everything she wanted for herself, to be given to him. Peace, happiness, love, friendship, wealth, health, joy; and especially – wisdom! that it would be given to him. She did this as often as she remembered him – which was pretty darned often.
For sweating through this loathsome practice, three days later she was given a great reward.
She was “lifted up to heaven” in a way, and got a bird’s-eye-view of her father as he was being seen through God’s eyes. All she could say about it was this: love… love and compassion. As she 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 an odd sensation, but a miracle occurred. She got to experience her dad as someone not big – not scary – but small and hurting. There was so much emotional pain there, her heart could not help but go out to him. And so, for all the hard work she had put into it, she was given the strength to take a full on leap of forgiveness; a forgiveness she has kept in her heart for him to this very day.
And she found, as she sat on her porch steps again, that she was suddenly able to enjoy God’s beautiful gift to her – the evening time of bliss.
* * *
So, what about this 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 our lives 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 know that if we will “go with it” . If we surrender. If we are willing to do what God tells us in the Bible to do, we will get to much better places while we move along here, haltingly, in these fleshly bodies, on earth.