"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth cannot sustain itself forever, ultimately both parties end up blind and toothless." Gandhi
Yesterday morning prayer time was wonderful......I went outside and instead of being greeted with stifling heat I was met with a blessedly cool 75 degrees, something that is a distant memory between the months of May through early September here. And something else I have longed for, prayers accompanied by a little sprinkling of raindrops on the roof.
Afterwards, I went to look for my patriotic flag to hang for September 11 and remembered that it was a bit weather worn and I had thrown it out. I decided I needed to fly a real flag, so off I went to Walmart at 6:30 in the morning. Not many people there then. I drove home with my precious commodity and proudly hung it out.....red white and blue......glory against the backdrop of Arizona sky.
Today's prayer didn't go quite so well. It was clouded by a resentful thought that I could not dislodge. It came about halfway through prayer and stuck there.....
Instead of praying about it, as I should have done, I decided to keep it for awhile.....mull it over. It started me asking questions. Those irritating whys.....Forgiveness is good and right and Godly........yet so difficult when you have to live it out day in and day out.
How do you forgive someone when they have hurt someone you love?
When you are the caretaker for someone who has never cared for you, never treated you well, wounded you emotionally?
When you don't have to live with them it's easy. Out of sight, out of mind. But what if they are never out of sight? What then? It's like reopening old wounds every day.
Living out the Christian faith is easy when it's never tested. Our faith doesn't grow if it's not challenged. That's when we grow closer to Him. When we're tested. The challenge is proof that He loves us.
It's our love for God that motivates us to leave behind those things in us that are not Godly. Those things in me He wants me to change. The Holy Spirit does not deserve to live in a body and mind steeped in resentment....fear....anger. It helps to remember the sacrifice.
The terrible price that was paid for us. The ultimate price. "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." 1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20
As I sat in a beautiful church service yesterday, remembering the sacrifice of all those people running into those burning buildings, and saw all the names of those who died streaming down the wall.......my eyes streamed too. Four candles lit, one for each plane down.
They paid with their lives for the evil someone else did. He paid with His life, for what He didn't do.
"For I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Could it be that sometimes God's blessing comes from those who have been our biggest challenge in life? Could it be that He is heaping treasure in Heaven for us through this very person, these very circumstances that are the source of so much pain?
Is the very act of forgiveness the thing that will bring about the salvation for us all?
This one thing I know to be true.......God is building something eternal in us right here and now. It is something so big and so great we can scarcely imagine it. Everything we do with His help and by His power changes us forever.
Thankfulness wells up again, and again as I remember this.......