Notes on Forgiveness

She is ten years old today.

Books flood our home.  Being a homeschool family, our home is our schoolroom and we must work in the library wherever we can.  We have bookshelves in every room and more books than will currently fit on those shelves.

Of late, I am purging deeply. I want our home to be neat.  I want everything to have a place, so that there are no “loose” items lying around.  When things are more tidy, I can rest and play more often.  This has been a need for years.  It has been a desire and a goal.

I simply have not had the energy to get us from here to there.

With Joy’s attendance to public school, there are enough younger children’s books that I simply no longer need that I can remove them permanently from our arsenal. There are also high school texts that can go and handfuls of marriage and relationship books that will bless other people deeply.  I’ve gotten rid of most of them, but a few still hide, tucked away.  When and if I need books of that sort again, God will provide the right ones

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In my purging, I came across a small, zippered notebook.
Just in case it had important notes inside,
I unzipped the cover and cracked the spine.
There is a drawing of a tree on one page,
and a random drawing on another.
And the notes from a sermon in the middle of the book.
Notes scribbled in penmanship from year’s past.
Joy’s writing is much neater now, always cursive and beautiful.
Yes, these notes were written months, if not years ago.

I will set this book aside.
I want to remember her words ….
words that she wrote
because she thought they were important.

We all experience frustration with others.
We become angry and
need to forgive.
Frustration builds and
we have to  to work through the fact that
oftentimes, people who hurt us
do not deserve to be forgiven …
because, in reality, nobody d.e.s.e.r.v.e.s to be forgiven.
It is our natural, human inclination
to remember.
It is self-preservation, in a way.
We remember the fire is hot. Keep your distance.
We remember the thorn is sharp. Do not touch.
We remember the ground is slick. Walk carefully.

And … we remember which people hurt us.
We run away
and then
we build walls, fences and burn bridges as we gain distance.

Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts and teaches me through similar daily events.Because
harboring anger causes bitterness
that seeps into every area of our life.
We must choose what is most difficult.
We must forgive.
Nobody DESERVES forgiveness.
But, when we offer it freely
even when it is not requested,
we are the one set free.

Joy’s words ……

“Sometimes forgiveness involves a debt that cannot be paid”

“Forgiveness is not based on the other person, but on what Christ did for us”

“Withholding forgiveness is a sin”

“Withholding forgiveness is contrary to Christlike behavior”

Yes, today we will celebrate ten wonderful years of Joy.

And prayerfully, she will learn to walk through life
offering forgiveness
even to those who do not ask
and certainly do not deserve it.

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