Busy Business Women who juggle a productive work life while trying to maintain a nurturing home life often rub up against the abrasive parts of life. No kidding?!
Few of us go very long without running into some measure of ill will, offense, betrayal or general snarkiness expressed against us. These can leave us with anger, resentment and even thoughts of revenge.
When something happens that hurts you, where do you go next?
On my knees one morning I was meditating on the Lord’s Prayer. I came to the part “Forgive us this day as we forgive others.” I heard myself say, “Father, for today, forgive me only insofar as I am able to forgive others.”
What had I just said? Shockingly sobering! I think I actually inserted the word “only” after “today.” ” Father for today ONLY forgive me . . . ” (translation: “Don’t hold me to it if this doesn’t work out”). Could I even exist one day with my Holy God judging me as harshly as I judge others? He understood my naiveté. My desire was to please him… not to be impertinent. I hadn’t intended to pray that specific prayer. However, I began to realize that every time I came to that part of the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others,” (Matt 6:12) that is exactly what I was saying. The severity of my prayer caused me to be extra sensitive to all the grievances and resentments I harbored. How easily these negative thoughts would bubble to the surface of my mind at real or imagined offense.
And so I began my journey into forgiveness.
It was very clear as I read every scripture that mentioned forgiveness: No forgiveness on my part means . . . Well, you know — no forgiveness extended to me. (Matt 6:15). Scary stuff. I pondered the word “forgiveness.” Every day I asked God to envelope me in forgiveness like a garment that I could wear to ward off the “schemes of the enemy” (2 Cor 2:11, Eph 6:11). My desire was to amass this large bundle of forgiveness and have it at the ready to dispense as needed. What I discovered was as I wore the garment of forgiveness, I was less likely to find offense in the everyday mistakes, blunders and aggressiveness of others. Previously, when my feelings were hurt or someone had let me down, I would have a period of anger, pain, and, on occasion, thoughts of retaliation. Eventually I would get over myself and ask God to give me a token dollop of forgiveness to offer the offender. Whether or not this involved a verbal tendering of forgiveness, it still took time. There was always a lag during which my spiritual life would dim while I nursed the injustice of it all.
But wearing forgiveness deflected offense.
One morning I even asked God to create a situation of wrongdoing toward me in order to give me an opportunity to practice my new found skill. I believe that those of us who are afraid of being hurt actually harden our hearts to protect ourselves. Our intention is that, when the wrongdoing we expect comes, we will be prepared. But the hard shell of our heart has tiny Velcro like hooks – catching every slight and affront that passes by. What a burden. In actuality when we soften our hearts by covering them in God’s gift of forgiveness, we create a Teflon surface that deflects all wrongs into the capable and just hands of God.
This forgiveness doesn’t cause weakness … It builds strength.
There is a saying In the Twelve Step programs: “Holding on to a resentment is like letting the offender live rent free in your head.”
Kick those squatters out! Scrape off the Velcro! Let those resentments go!
Live forgiving. Live free!
Dive into more of Carolyn’s helpful and encouraging wisdom, The One Thing Busy Women Desperately Need and Can’t Make Happen
Carolyn Dunn coaches busy women who are time starved, disorganized and distracted balance a productive work life with a peaceful and nurturing home life. Instead of struggling with overwhelm, procrastination and time management issues they can learn to say “goodbye” to chaos, and “hello” to sanity. Carolyn has a strong Christian background and a Fuller Seminary Masters degree in theological studies as well as marriage and family ministries. She is actively involved in planning large conferences as well as small retreats, and has been the speaker at many seminars and workshops.
To learn more about the author please visit Carolyn Dunn Coaching