AND THE BRICKS CAME TUMBLING DOWN
(Trussville, AL USA)
"The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with smooth stones; The sycamores have been cut down, But we will replace them with cedars." (Isaiah 9:10)
Human nature being what it is, human beings cannot occupy the same space as home and office, without having conflict and offending others. That is why families, workplaces, churches, schools and neighborhoods can become hotbeds of human conflict and suffering.
You see, we humans oftentimes become hurtful. We don't mean to be, we just are. We have been that way ever since our first parents disobeyed God's principles in the Garden of Eden. (Geneses 3:1-7) It is virtually impossible to live on this fallen planet without getting hurt, offended, misunderstood, lied to, and rejected. Learning how to respond properly is one of the basics of the Christian life. Thus, this fictitious relational blog.
First, a Bible definition of "Forgiveness" (taken from, allaboutgod.com) The word “forgive” means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt. When we wrong someone, we seek his or her forgiveness in order for the relationship to be restored. It is important to remember that forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. Instead, it is an act of love, mercy, and grace. (Ephesians 4:31-32) (Romans 5:8)
Have you ever finished a DIY home project that you were so proud of, that you just stood in admiration looking upon it, in hopes that your family would realize the same joyous outcome? Recently I experienced that same blissful feeling when I looked upon a back yard brick retainer wall I had just finished. You probably would have also appreciated such a project, if you had only known my lack of handyman skills. For you see, a brick mason I am not.
My jubilance didn't last long, however, as the strangest thing happened that day. Suddenly, without prior notice, I was in the company of what appeared to be a brick mason. He dressed the part and had all the required tools of the trade strapped to his belt. Before speaking to me, he reached out and carved the word "Forgiveness" in big letters across the bricks of my newly erected wall, simply by just a wave of his finger. That act alone caused my temper to rise beyond the boiling point. But before I had a chance to react, he begins speaking.
"What would happen, if I pulled some bricks from the bottom foundation layer?” he asked.
"You ought to know, you appear to be the professional,” I replied.
And lo and behold, before either of us could say anything else, he did just that, and the newly-built retaining walls, that I had worked so hard to build, came tumbling down. Needless to say, I almost lost my cool at that point. But before I could respond to his atrocious deed, he continued to speak.
"Is forgiveness not like that?” he asked.
"What do you mean?" I replied.
He continued, "Much like these fallen bricks, if you forgive someone, the forgiveness has taken place. It is gone, but much like the remaining pile of bricks, the scars are still there. You see forgiveness is one thing, but forgetting oftentimes is another hurtful situation that seemly will not go away.”
He went on, “I don't mean that person should let you off the hook for your wrongdoing. You are accountable for your behavior, be it good or bad, and hurt feelings are oftentimes hard to forget". After all, it happened to the injured party.”
Now I asked, "Who are you, and how do you know about me?” I suddenly recalled a recent unpleasant episode at work and my recent hurtful incident at home with my wife. He shouldn't know about me, about my quick-tempered disposition, and about my past.
"Well, let's just say that I'm your conscience,” he replied.
Before I could reply to his remark, I looked around and he was gone, disappearing in a twinkle of an eye. Who was he? Was he really my conscience in human form? Was he an angel delivering a message? In any event, he surely got it right as far as my disposition is concerned. I must do something, and do it quick.
Being a member and a loyal Deacon of a local fundamental gospel church, I went straight to my Bible for the answer. Looking up the word "forgiveness" led me to the Scripture passage (1 John 1:9). So I got down on my knees, pleaded with my Heavenly Father, and got up rejoicing in my tears.
I just couldn't wait to confess to my co-worker and especially my wife. Yes, after hearing of my experience, they both rejoiced with me, as well.
What about the destruction to my newly-built back yard retainer wall, you might ask. Well, when I awakened from my sleep and from my dream, the wall was still standing, as good as ever, with no damage whatsoever. Amen!
So, how often have you heard it said to your request for forgiveness, "No apology necessary,” or "Oh don't worry about it"? Those type responses only make it more difficult for all parties involved. Having the necessary friendship redemption and renewal is absolutely essential. When we wrong another, an apology is crucial. It is necessary for peace of mind with all concerned.
"To forgive is to give up all hope for a better past.” (Lily Tomlin) That's probably why we oftentimes find it virtually impossible to apologize. To do so just seems to be an admission of guilt, an admission hard to live up to.
To forgive, and to forget, must be a godly release. In other words, it has very little to do with our feelings or even our trust. It's simply a decision to let go, and let God have His way in the matter.
Now, may I ask you; have you recently been wronged by someone, a friend, a co-worker, or even a family member? Are the scars still there? If so, our Heavenly Father can fix it. The root word of "forgiveness" is "forgive." (Matthew 18:21-22)
I realize forgiveness is hard at times. However, when you withhold forgiveness, you not only refuse to offer what God has given you, but you also hurt yourself. Not forgiving just seems to grow and grow on one's conscience, much like the piling up of those falling bricks.
You see, God knows how hard it is to forgive, but He wouldn't ask you to do something without giving you the power to do so. (Ephesians 4:32)
"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
Remember, relationships are always critical to your existence as human beings. God created you to have relationships with others, and Him. He wants to be connected to you through his Son Jesus. A relationship with your Creator is to be known by God himself.
A PRAYER OF FORGIVENESS
Dear God, I choose as an act of my will, regardless of my feelings, to forgive the person who has wronged me. I release them, and I set myself free to Your healing. With Your help, I will no longer dwell on the situation or continue to talk about it. I thank You for forgiving me as I have forgiven them. I thank You for releasing me. I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen. (From allaboutgod.com)