Monday, September 04, 2006

Caring, Sharing, Forgiving

Mark 11:25 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

25And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

It was a few years ago when we went out into the sunny fall day, she and I, using a walk as an opportunity for her to tell me something she said she had on her mind.

The crisp air carried the pungent smell of earth and the smoke of a distant bonfire.On the bright green grass below our feet were scattered big yellow leaves and as we walked on, they disappeared and we found ourselves crunching through brown, brittle ones. We waded through places where the wind had piled them several inches deep and as we swished on, it felt and sounded like we were splashing through ocean waves.

If she had something to say, it wasn't coming out, for she talked about anything and everything under the sun for ten full minutes, without pausing. She walked head down, leaning forward, like an arrow shot from a bow, and I had to walk quicker than my normal pace, just to keep up with her.

I laughingly told her that we could slow down a little, and encouraged her to "spit it out." She took a deep breath and told me the details of how I had offended her. From the depths of my memory, the facts as she told them, resonated with familiarity. It had been several weeks ago, the details forgotten until she refreshed my memory, but now that they were coming back to me, I could see that I had indeed been insensitive and careless. I agreed with her recollection and asked her forgiveness, which she readily gave. She had carried hurt and dismay for several weeks and the enemy had used it to hinder her freedom. I was grateful that she had gathered her courage together and talked about it.

That night as I drove home, thinking of our walk in the leaves, I passed a large flag fluttering high against the blue sky, our beloved Canadian Maple Leaf, splashed red on a white background. It reminded me of Christ's blood, spilled to bring reconciliation between God and man. Being reconciled to each other is part of the deal he said more than once. It's not much fun engaging in the process, whether you're the offender or the offended one, but how the enemy hates it when we choose to stop ruminating over a hurt and actually practise what Jesus teaches us to do; search our hearts, talk, listen, confess to and forgive one another.

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