Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rocks, MSN and Forgiveness

Why is it important to remember?  Why look back?  To remember.  If we don't take the time to remember, it's easy to forget.  We celebrate anniversaries and birthdays to say, "I recall what happened on this day. I remember and I care!"  We shoot fireworks on the 4th of July in honor and appreciation of our freedom and those who fought for it.  We take communion to remember what Jesus did on the cross and pause in thanksgiving and anticipation until his return.

Let's face it... we are a very forgetful people by nature!  We need constant reminders.  Good grief, the disciples would actually see amazing miracles daily - feeding of thousands from a tiny lunch, storms calmed by mere words, diseased outcasts instantly healed - yet they'd have forgotten by the next day and were once again worried about where there next meal was coming from.  Forgetful to a fault.  I love the story in the Old Testament where the Israelites stacked up piles of rocks to remember how God had delivered them from their enemy...again.  The rocks were meant to be a reminder, a sign, so that when their children asked, "Dad, what's that pile of rocks over there?" they could tell them about all God had done for them.

There's one thing that we don't have a hard time forgetting... when someone wrongs us.  I wish I could blame my lack of forgiveness on someone else or my background or my genes...anything but myself!  Unfortunately, it's my human, sinful nature to forget the great things, the miracles, the good things, and linger on the wrongs.  Unforgiveness comes so naturally.  In one of my last posts I mentioned that my dad and I met up and began sharing - learning about God's grace and love.  It started with a shared forgiveness.  A pain from both of our pasts - The "crash" while in Hermiston. (If you missed the story of this, read:  When the Crash Happens )

This story begins because my dad wanted to MSN (live chat) with the grandkids, so we were trying to set up a link where they could "chat".  Something you should know about my dad is this: He was a much better writer than talker.  Little did I realize, God would use this time "writing" back and forth to open up a "chatline" that was much needed for us both.  Our chat went something like this:

Me:    The kids will love being able to talk with you live over the computer.
Dad:   They can practice typing, too.
Me:     So, how was your week?
Dad:    It was good.  But you'll never guess who I saw this week.

(I went on to guess several old family friends.  Finally, he just told me.  One of the deacons from the old church where he had pastored years before had shown up Sunday morning.  The guy's son had moved to the same new town my parents lived and had no idea dad was pastoring there.  Guess they both about spilled their coffee when they ran into each other. I'll be honest, my blood pressure shot up instantly, and I wanted to drive there and find that deacon and give him an earful!  I was instantly full of panic, fear and anger.)

Me:    What did you say?
Dad:   Not much.  He's the one that seemed nervous.  He acted like he wished
          he could just disappear.  I think he was pretty uncomfortable.
Me:    Are you okay?  I'm sure that had to be really hard.  I can't believe how I
          want to jump through this computer and be there.  It's not like you need
          protecting, but that's what I wish so I could be there for you.  Are you
          sure your okay?
Dad:   I'm ok.  Thanks.  I think it's a good thing this happened.
Me:    Serious?  Why?
Dad:   Because I need to forgive him.  I think seeing him face to face was good.
Me:    I KNOW I need to forgive him, but I'm still so angry at them!
Dad:   Maybe God knew we just needed him to show up to get us to deal with
          this very thing.

Dad and I would not have had this conversation so easily had we been sitting on a couch across from each other, but somehow typing the words made us feel safe. Vulnerable.  It had been nearly 15 years since Dad had been the Pastor in Hermiston, but this was the first time he and I had "talked" about it...ever.  To hear my dad say he needed to forgive the man made me realize he wasn't the only one who had held on to some unforgiveness.  That day, I saw my dad as a vulnerable human more than ever before.  My heart softened a bit that day as compassion began to seep in.  Empathy towards my dad and also understanding that it was time to forgive an old wound.  It was time to drop the rock.  

Rocks.  They can be piled up to help remember God's faithfulness.  They've also been used to stone offenders to death.  What are you doing with your rocks?  What shall we choose to remember today?  God's faithfulness or a grudge we have against someone?  Let's pile the rocks high!  We have so much to be thankful for!

No comments:

Post a Comment